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24/10/2021

Ask Jackie: What are the seven essential questions to ask the estate agent?

Property

The three most important things when looking at buying a house are location, location and location

You've just gotten your mortgage approval. You've picked your area, arranged some viewings, what are the important questions you should ask the estate agent?

Here are the seven questions you should ask your estate agent to get the information you need before putting together your viewing list.

1. Really, where is it?

The three most important things, location, location and location. Sometimes place-names can be omitted from addresses. Check you have the correct full address before you add the house to your viewing list.

2. How big is it?

Agents have been known to use wide-angle lens photographs and virtual tours to make homes look bigger. Make sure to get the correct dimensions before you go to see it.

3. Is there room to improve?

Ask about planning and if you can extend a property, if they know planning permission would be denied they will tell you if you ask. If the property is 'fixer upper", can you live in a dust bowl for the time it takes to renovate?


4. Are there any planning or structural issues?

If the property has an attic bedroom, check if it qualifies as an actual room. Estate agents know any planning issues will show up sooner or later. They won't want to waste their time and yours, ask them outright. The same goes for structural issues.

5. How long has the house been on the market?

Ask your estate agent the history of the house. There is something suspect about properties that are a long time on the market and can't sell. Top Tip. If the grass is long at the base of the agent's sign post, but neatly trimmed in the garden, the house may have been on the market for some time.

6. Have there been any bids?

How many bids? How is the bidding progressing? Is it slow or frantic, jumping up dramatically, or edging up cautiously? You also need to know when the sale is likely to be wrapped up.

Once you make a bid, the agent will keep you updated on the bidding process. If you don't make a bid, you may lose out if the house goes "sale agreed" without your knowledge.

7. Is the extension pre-63?

When was the extension built? If it's before 1963, they are allowed to stand as this is when the relevant planning legislation kicked in. You may have to knock it down and start from scratch – or, worse, your lender may not sanction the loan.

Jackie White is the owner of Raymond White Auctioneering, Ballymahon. Email: jackie.white@raymondwhite.ie Tel: 087 133 4099

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