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What to ask when you view a house

(and what to expect when showing yours!)

7 Nov 2018

We’ve compiled some of the key questions to ask when you view a house for sale. This list also gives you an idea of what you should expect to hear from prospective buyers if you have a property to sell.

How long has the house been on the market?

And what has interest been like? This is both an indicator of popularity as well as how likely the owner is to accept a lower offer than they otherwise might. If the property has been on the market for a long time, you should be wondering why. Perhaps the asking price is too high for the market or perhaps there is an issue which you have not yet spotted.

How old is the boiler?

If the boiler is a decade old or inefficient it might need replacing and that could cost a few thousand pounds. It isn’t a deal breaker but should be factored into your offer and your budget. It is also worthwhile asking about other utilities, the general wiring and what upgrades have been made.

Is it a listed building?

Listed buildings carry limitations and Edinburgh has more than most cities. If you are thinking that an extension or conservatory would make an excellent addition to the home you are going to view, ask the owner if they are aware of any constraints. You can double check the listed status of a property through the council, but the owner will likely know in the first instance.

Is it part of a chain?

If the owners have already made an offer on their next property, they could be motivated to sell up fast and thus may be open to quick offers. This could be an extremely useful piece of information to glean. If the owners have not found their next property, on the other hand, they may desire a long entry date, which could form part of your offer in order to make it more appealing.

How long have the owners lived here?

If the current owner has been in the property for decades, there may well be issues which have gone unnoticed and there will almost certainly be modernisation to undertake. If they have been there only months, why are they moving so soon and is it because of an issue with the property that you should be aware of?

Who owns the house next door, above or below?

If it is rented, ‘is it a long term let?’ should be your follow up question! You don’t necessarily want to move into a home with an Airbnb ‘party flat’ next door or above you. Not only could there be constant noise, but it could also lack the sense of neighbourhood and community that you may be looking for. Neighbours with children could be a positive or a negative, depending if you have children of your own!

What is included in the sale?

It is common to see appliances and white goods included in the sale, but not always. Make sure that you find out exactly what they plan to leave behind. Things like curtains, which can be costly to replace, could also be part of a deal.


Don’t forget to request the home report before a viewing and read it carefully. This is where you will be alerted to issues such as damp or water ingress which you can ask for more detail of in person.

When you are buying a new home, it is recommended to get your solicitor involved early as they can advise on the questions to ask. A good solicitor will also advise you on how to calculate your offer based partly on answers to these questions. If you are viewing properties and would like further advice, get in touch.