Have there been any issues with the neighbours?
If any complaints have been logged about the neighbour, the estate agent is legally bound to tell you.
How much is the council tax and utility bills?
Whilst the price of council tax may seem irrelevant in the scheme of buying a house, it is a reoccurring charge which you need to clarify. An estimate on utility bills will also enable you to calculate monthly and quarterly outgoings. The estate agent can check these questions with the vendor.
Is this property in a conservation area?
If the property is in a conservation area or is a listing building, restrictions will apply to the work which can be carried out on the property. You should find out if any restrictions are applicable before your purchase.
Can you speak with the sellers?
This is most definitely a pet hate amongst estate agents but they cannot stop you from speaking to the vendors. Unlike estate agents, sellers are not professional sales people and so they are likely to answer your questions honestly.
Have any other offers been made and how much?
Agents will not disclose offer amounts but they will give you an indication. Remember it is the job of the agent to sell the house and so they will want to get a price agreed.
How long have the current owners been in the property?
If the current owners only moved in a short while ago, then you need to find out why. Remember, when houses change hands frequently, there is usually a reason. This could be due to problems within the house or indeed noisy neighbours.
How long has the property been on the market?
If a property has been marketed for a long period of time this could indicate a problem. Be straight with the agent and ask them why they think it has not sold. Additionally if the property is simply overpriced perhaps consider putting in a much lower offer.
Is there any negative factors or issues to be aware of?
Hopefully you will already have done your homework but make sure you have not missed anything. If the estate agent seems reluctant to give you any information then ask the neighbours.
Why is the home owner selling?
This might give you an indication of any problems in the area but could also give you guidance on your offer price. For example if you know they are in a hurry to sell, they may accept a lower offer.
Can I negotiate on the commission?
You may be able to negotiate on the sales commission the estate agent is charging . Here's our guide to Estate Agent Fees.
Commission for conveyancing?
If your estate agent is pushing you towards their preferred conveyancing solicitor, ask them to clarify exactly how much they will receive for the referral, or the recommendation from the conveyancing firm. Then compare this against our conveyancing partners.