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Questions to ask your estate agent

Most people who purchase a property tend to deal with an estate agent, and for many it can be a whole confusing time of jargon and misleading facts. In most cases estate agents will do anything they can to avoid the important issues regarding a prospective home and blind you with incentives, simply to sell you the property. This is why it is so important to ask the right questions, as by law, estate agents must be open and tell the truth when confronted with a direct question. Therefore asking specific questions could end up saving you from a very bad deal.

Firstly find out why the owner is selling the property. It could simply be due to relocating with work in which case you could be in a good position to offer a lower price as the seller may want a quick house sale, but if it is due to problems with the structure of the property you may need to back off. Speak to the neighbours or people in the local area about the history of the property or any potential up and coming developments locally which may affect the value of the property further down the line.

Find out exactly what is included in the sale by asking the estate agent to highlight things such as fixtures and fittings, both inside and outside the property as well as boundaries. Also ask how long the property has been on the market as this could indicate problems if it has been on a long time. On the other hand you may be in a position to negotiate with the seller, if they wish to sell house quickly. Don’t forget to find out how long the current owners have lived there. They may have just bought it as a development property which could explain a short ownership or it may be due to problems either with the home or in the local area.

Find out about the asking price and how they came to that conclusion or whether the seller has increased the recommended value. Check with similar properties nearby to find out what their homes have sold for to get an idea of what that property may be worth. It’s also worth being cheeky and asking bluntly what the minimum price would be that the seller may accept. You may be lucky enough that they tell you, as it is in their own best interests to complete a sale no matter how low it may be.

You could also try and get an idea of any other offers that have been made and therefore work out what they may or may not accept. It is also a good idea to find out when the seller needs to vacate the property. If they already have a new home waiting they may want a quick house sale, otherwise you may end up in a long and frustrating chain. And don’t be afraid to try and speak to the seller directly as this may be more beneficial in the long run.

by Cormac Henderson

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