Questions for estate agents

Looking for questions to ask estate agents? Find out what are the questions that will give you the edge when searching for your new home.

Buying a house can be a cut-throat business and with demand for houses at a level not seen since the Celtic Tiger it can be easy to miss out on important details about the properties you’re viewing.

When looking at properties the estate agent can be a wealth of information, so knowing the right questions to ask can be very revealing.

Keep reading to find out what questions will give you the edge when searching for your new home.

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  1. Why is the owner selling?
  2. As well as satisfying your own nosiness the answer to this question may also give you an idea of how badly the owner wants or needs to sell. If they’re truly desperate they make be willing to take a lower offer, which would work to your advantage. However, estate agents are not obliged to answer this question so be prepared for a polite redirection if you do ask.

  3. How long have the owners lived in the property?
  4. If the current owners are moving on from this property after a short period of time this could be an indicator of an underlying problem that you haven’t spotted. This could be anything from noisy neighbours to structural issues with the property which could end up costing you money in the long run.

  5. How did you determine the asking price?
  6. This one’s a little bit cheeky but if you’re willing to chance your arm and ask it you might be surprised at the answer. The price they’re asking for the home wasn’t pulled out of the air so it’s good to find out what the basis of it is. If there are similar homes in the area at lower prices now’s the time to point this out to the estate agent too.

  7. When do the owners have to move out?
  8. By finding out if the owners already have a property to move into or not you can gauge how keen they are to sell. If they already have somewhere else to go they may want a quick sell and could be open to offers under the asking price.

  9. In which direction does the property face?
  10. A property may have a beautiful garden but it won’t be much good for sitting out on a summer’s evening if it faces north as the sun faces south in the evenings

  11. Can they explain the BER certificate?
  12. The building energy rating certificate determines how energy efficient a house is. Ask the estate agent to break down what led to the property receiving its energy rating. If it’s a bad rating it’s good to find out if it can be improved and if the property has a good rating it’s important to know if there are factors contributing to this rating which may need maintenance, repair, or replacement in the future.

  13. How long has the property been on the market?
  14. Just because the ad only went up online in the last couple of days doesn’t mean that it’s the first time it’s been advertised. If previous bids have fallen through or the property has been re-advertised at a reduced price this could mean that the seller wants a quick sale. However, being on the market for a long time could also mean that there’s a problem with the property that isn’t immediately obvious. A surveyor will be able to give you a breakdown of any issues with the house but before you pay for that service the estate agent may be able to offer some insight.