Q&A with Nick Neale, Griffin Property Co. Director

Q&A with Nick Neale, Griffin Property Co. Director

Nick Neale shares some insight on how prospective buyers should manage viewings.

Q: What questions should I ask the seller when viewing a property?

A: Before a viewing, it's always wise to ask the estate agent various questions about the house, for example, how long it has been on the market and if there have been any previous offers. I always ask sellers how long they have lived at the property, their reasons for selling and whether they get on with the neighbors and if they are planning on leaving anything behind.

Q: If there has been renovation work on the property, what should I ask to see?

A: Depending on the size and scale of the renovations, planning permission may have been required along with building regulation sign off. It's important to ask to see this documentation to ensure that due processes were followed. If it's something smaller like a new boiler, that will come with guarantees and new windows would require Fensa certification.

Q: Should I be more wary if there is a long chain?

A: The longer the chain, the more people involved; this opens up potential for delays or even sales falling through. Sometimes long chains can't be avoided but if you are selling and buying at the same time, choosing a chain free buyer such as a cash or first time buyer could help. Another option is to move into rental accommodation once your property sells as this puts you in far stronger position when you do find the next house. Buying a new build home normally avoids a chain especially if the developer will take your house in part exchange.

Q: If a property has been on the market for a long time, does that mean there is something wrong with it?

A: You can normally get a feeling for a property by the way it's presented for sale so hopefully any glaring faults will be easily spotted. It may be worth asking the agent if any previous sales have fallen through following a mortgage survey. However, it may just be that the property is overpriced.

Q: Can I get fixtures, fittings and appliances included in the sale?

A: When I'm on a viewing, Iask the sellers what they are leaving behind. Generally, anything that is attached to the house such as light fittings, satellite dishes or aerials are included. However, double checking is important; if they have an expensive light fitting, they may want to take that with them. Built-in appliances will normally stay but freestanding appliances are by separate agreement. The sellers will complete a TA10 fixtures and fittings form as part of the conveyancing pack and enable you to check which items are staying at the property.

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