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A Buyer’s Checklist: What to Ask When Visiting Real Estate Properties

Are you looking to make a real estate purchase? Here is a list of questions to ask - and to ask yourself - during the first visit. 


Before going inside


First of all, ask the previous owners about the costs of owning and maintaining the house: 

  • the council tax band and property tax 
  • the costs of electricity and heating per annum 

Before going into the building, it is important to analyse the surrounding environment: 

  • the neighbourhood 
  • potential problems (busy roads for example) 
  • nearby shops and schools 
  • parking spaces 

Once this has been done, look into the building itself and ask questions regarding: 

  • the state of the roof, to find out when it was last checked 
  • the condition of the walls: cracks or evidence of water infiltration. If you can see even the slightest problem, ask what the cause is. This could reduce the sale price of the property. 
  • Potential repair works to be carried out according to the results of the property survey 
  • How exposed the property is, light and sunshine 


Once Inside the Building 


  • Check the state of the electrics as well as the electrical cabinet. 
  • The kitchen should also be carefully looked at, to check that all the equipment works properly. 
  • Ask how the building is heated and if the energy bill is above average. This will allow you to avoid any surprises.  
  • Check if there are any storage spaces in the building.

Make sure to visit multiple buildings, to compare them and find the one that is right for you. Visit at different times and on different days: this will allow you to be sure of the house’s lighting as well as its heat insulation. Ask how long the property has been for sale: if it has been on the market for more than a year, ask yourself why. There may be a problem; for example, the building’s asking price may be too expensive for its condition. You can also ask the former owners about the advantages and disadvantages of the property, in order to be fully aware of any potential renovation work required. 




If you are considering buying a flat, be aware that communal charges may be very high if large-scale work needs to be carried out. This could be works relating to: 

  • heating 
  • restoration
  • installation of sub-metres that measure the consumption of water in a given unit 
  • upgrades to comply with building standards 


For a flat 


  • Check that communal areas are in good condition 
  • Ask of the building has an intercom, caretaker or concierge. 

If you buy the property, make sure to check all of the hidden defects.  This could include an insufficiently watertight roof or defective foundations, for example. It is also necessary to check for any administrative issues: check that any works have been properly declared to HMRC; if this is not the case, this may change the amount of tax you are required to pay.


Using an Architect 


Visiting properties with an architect is known as an advisory visit. It allows you to avoid any surprises relating to the state of the building. The architect will help you better negotiate the value of the property, including any works that may be necessary, and to check that the asking price is reasonable. 


For all of your real estate needs, contact architects in your area at

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