Are you planning on buying an apartment or a house? You should be aware that it is a decision requiring a lot of thought . Two phases are notably crucial before taking a decision: the first contact with the seller, and the visit to the apartment or house. In order to help you make the most out of these two phases, ShBarcelona has made a list of the questions you should ask before taking a final decision.
During the first contact
You have set your eyes on an apartment or a house you like and have decided to dial the number in the ad to set the date for a visit. This first contact is extremely important: before you launch yourself into the visit without a second thought, ask the following adequate questions on the phone, as it will make you win a considerable amount of time and will guard you against big disappointments on the day of the visit.
Even if it sounds repetitive, it is very important to inquire about each of the characteristics mentioned in the ad. By allowing them to expand on the characteristics, you will learn a whole lot more than by reading the ad and you will perhaps find out more about the possible flaws not mentioned in the ad.
Here are several vital questions to ask if the subject was not answered while reviewing the points in the ad:
- Make sure all the rooms advertised have a surface according to the law (in Spain, a room cannot be under 6m2, or at least cannot be advertised as being a room).
- Lighting: what is the orientation of the apartment? How many windows are there and what are their sizes?
- General state: when were the last construction or renovation works done in the apartment? Is it necessary to renovate? If so, how much money would need to be spent on it? If the apartment is being sold furnished or equipped with home appliances, what was the date of their purchase?
- If it is a condominium, it is very important to request information about the soundproofing of the walls and the maintenance of common areas.
- Another important aspect: the bills. Will you be required to pay condominium fees? How much are the water and electricity bills on average?
- Is it a calm neighborhood? What are the closest facilities? (transport, shops, schools in case you have children…)?
Do not hesitate to ask any question you feel is necessary before setting a date for the visit of the apartment or house!
During the visit
If the apartment or house has convinced you after this first telephone conversation, it is now time to think about the visit and how to take advantage of it.
Some advice :
- Arrive a little bit before the visit. This will give you the opportunity to take a tour of the neighborhood or to even talk to the neighbors or the guardian, if it is a property. This way you will learn more about life in the neighborhood (and if it is noisy, for example).
- Remember to observe every detail, whether it is the state of the ceiling or the windows. We do not always think of these details, and yet they are very important.
- Do not hesitate to ask to visit several times, at different times of the day. This will give you a better idea of the apartment.
- Some good questions to ask:
- If it is a condominium , ask to see the minutes of the latest general meeting. These documents are very useful to know the costs of the latest works, or even any nuisances and complaints that have been identified.
- Feel free to check for yourself that everything works perfectly: the faucets, windows etc ; if there is a fireplace, ask the seller if it works. If any equipment is not in good condition, ask about the repair work required and how much it would cost.
- What is the amount of property tax, land tax and local taxes? You can also ask to see the latest bills, it will also inform you about the possible extra monthly expenses.
Finally, do not hesitate to ask any questions you find useful regarding the history of the house or apartment.
How long did the owners live in the house/ apartment?
- What works did they do to it?
- Were the works or renovations after its building made by a professional?
- How long has it been for sale? Attention :if it has been for sale for a long time and its price has continuously fallen, there might be a flaw they haven’t told you about. Moreover, you have nothing to lose by asking directly if the house has any flaws and which ones exactly they might be.
- Are there any other properties for sale in the neighborhood? If there are, at what price? This will allow you to make a comparison.
If other questions seem useful to you, do not hesitate one bit to ask them! This way you will be able to decide whether to purchase the property or not with peace of mind.