What Questions Should You Ask At A Property Viewing?

Last Updated on : 7th September 2023

It’s likely to be the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make, and yet time spent viewing a prospective new home is often relatively brief. To make the most of the time you do have with the agent, these are the questions that our property partners suggest you ask.

Robin Chatwin, Savills

How long has the property been on the market?

This is useful as an indication of demand; if it’s been available for some time, it might suggest the price is a little high for current market conditions.

Dalby Road – £1,425,000

Why are the vendors moving?

It’s always nice to know if the vendors are selling their much-loved family home of 20 years, whether they have been posted overseas, or they simply fancy a lifestyle change in a new area.

What way does the garden face and how big is the plot?

We are asked this on nearly all viewings. Most buyers prefer a garden which faces south or west; however, there are benefits to a north-facing garden – for example, in the heat of the summer the rear of the house remains much cooler. If it’s a large garden, then orientation doesn’t matter so much as you can position terraces and seating areas further away from the house to capture the sun.

Are there any developments planned close by?

This could have a material impact on a buyer’s decision to purchase. It will come up later in searches conducted by a solicitor, but if the buyer knows at the outset, then they can make an informed decision without incurring any legal, lender or surveyor costs.

Do you have comparables at this price?

This will give backing to the valuation and confidence that you are paying the right price. It will also show the knowledge and experience of the agent.

Dorlcote Road – £5,250,000



Austin Thorogood, John Thorogood

Would the vendor prefer me to pay cash for their property, if I decide to make an offer?

This would immediately flag you as a buyer of interest to the estate agent. Clearly, the answer to the question is yes and once the agent knows that you can pay cash, it may put you towards (or even at) the front of the queue (depending on demand)!

Clapham Common – £2,650,000

Are there any specific items included or excluded from the sale?

We’ve had one buyer who even bought the car on the front driveway! But usually, obtaining clarity on any ‘special’ items at an early stage, means avoiding any potential arguments down the line over whether the seven-year-old washing machine is excluded from a £2m house sale!

Where did the owner develop such fantastic taste in décor and furnishings?

This would endear you straight away to the agent, making sure they note your interest. An added bonus would be that any vendors, who might well be listening in from the next room, would find it hard not to be flattered and will likely remember you in the case of multiple offers being received for their property.

Would it benefit the vendors if I can exchange quickly?

The answer in most cases would be yes and once again you will have identified yourself as a buyer that is keen to proceed and deliver. If the answer is no, you may well have dodged a bullet!

Why do you think this is a good property and a good location?

You will doubtless already have your own views on these points but go ahead and put the agent on the spot. If they don’t know or can’t answer, then you’ll probably realise that you can’t trust their answers to your other questions. If they can answer, it’s probably because they know the area well (30+ years well in our case) and can give you local insights that you, as a newcomer, may be unaware of. A second and well-informed opinion is always welcome…

Mallinson Road – £1,750,000



Joel Baseley, Rampton Baseley

What are the vendors onwards plans?  

Finding out about the vendors’ onward movements is essential, not necessarily to be able to drive the hardest bargain but to get more certainty on their desire to go through with the sale. The purchase process is an expensive business and the last thing you want to do is find out that the vendor was just testing the water or that they are in two minds about moving on.

Clapham Common – £2,850,000

Who are the neighbours?

Always ask who lives in the neighbouring properties. The agent should know the answer to this and if they don’t, they will be able to come back with this information. If you feel that the explanation is vague or lacking in detail, make your own investigations.

Have there been any disputes with neighbouring properties or neighbours in general?

Disputes can cover a wide subject matter from boundary disagreements, noise complaints and anti-social behaviour.

Has there been any building work in the last 10 years?

It is good idea to get a feel for the overall condition; there is only so much that you can find out through the agent, and let’s not forget this is what the surveyors are paid to do. However, a list of recent extensions or an explanation of recent refurbishment works is a must.

Have there been any ongoing structural issues including damp problems to the vendors’ best knowledge?

The vendor has an obligation to answer any questions honestly if they have a fundamental bearing on whether the purchaser would proceed with the purchase. The same rule applies to the agent.

Magdalen Road – £1,750,000




And finally, here are two apartments that have just come on with Portico…

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