The housing market is still going strong and you’re eager to start looking to buy your first home. But there are a few essential questions every first-time buyer would be wise to ask when looking around a property.

Also bear in mind that a home is usually the single most expensive purchase you will ever make. And yet, on average, we spend around 25 minutes viewing a house before we decide to buy it!

Why are the present owners selling?

It’s good to find out if they’ve just put their home on the market to see what kind of interest it gets, or are they motivated sellers. If they’ve found their next property and need to move quickly, as long as you’re in a position to move quickly too and already have your mortgage sorted in principle you will be in a great position.

How long has the property been on the market?

If the house has been on the market for a few months, you should ask why. Though bear in mind that a number of factors can affect this – local market demand, the price, and type of property – so it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with the property. A survey will reveal any problems.  It could very well be the opportunity you have been looking for.

Has any major building work been done lately?

Ask if the property has been subject to any major alterations and check to see if it has been extended and when that was. Ask if there was planning permission for the work, and ask to see documentation and bills.  In the right circumstances the wise course of action may be to have a full structural survey if you intend to buy, for peace of mind.

Is there parking?

If the property doesn’t have its own garage or parking space – and many don’t – you’ll need to find somewhere to park. If you buy a property on a main road and happen to need a disabled parking spot, contact the local council to find out how you can get a designated space.

How much are the bills?

Ask how much the council tax is for the area. Check the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) on the property listing. That will tell you the current rating from A-G and the potential rating it could be if the energy efficiency is improved. You can also get the agent to ask the seller how much their regular bills are. They shouldn’t mind if they’re keen to sell.

Is the property part of a chain?

Being in a chain can create complications for buyers as any delays or complications for the sellers will have a knock-on effect for you. The ideal situation is that the property is chain-free. If not, knowing the sellers are organised and keen to move quickly can bode well for a quick and uncomplicated sale. This is where a good agent can provide invaluable advice to steer through potentially troubled waters.

Is anything included in the sale?

Are things like the cooker, fridge-freezer, washing machine, dishwasher, garden shed or greenhouse included in the price? Having certain conveniences in place can make your move easier, but if you’d prefer to bring your own, you could ask that unwanted items be removed – or sell them.

For more advice on buying your first home, get in touch with the experts at Louis Taylor on 01782 622 677 or email