5 key questions you should ask an estate agent when house hunting

2 min Read Published: 19 Sep 2012

Buying a property is a very stressful process but it's important to ask the following key questions when you find a potential purchase.

1. How long has the property been on the market?

There are a number of reasons why a property is slow to sell but ask this question and you could find out whether:

  • the property is overpriced compared with other properties of a similar size, location & condition.
  • there are things wrong with the property that are putting off potential purchasers
  • the sellers are too inflexible regarding the selling price
  • there are some local development issues that are making potential purchasers nervous

2. Why are the current owners moving?

  • Are they moving for reasons connected with the area?
  • Is this a probate sale, which may mean the seller could be flexible on price?
  • Are they moving for reasons connected with the property itself?
  • Is the reason for moving convincing?

The answers to the above questions will give you an excellent insight into the property and you may avoid buying a future problem, or secure the property at a better price.

3. Are the sellers buying another property?

It is vital that you fully understand the seller's situation to enable you to make a considered judgement. You need to know the following.

  • If the seller is buying another property, have they already found a property or are they still looking? If they are still looking this may jeopardise your purchase if they can't find the property of their dreams.
  • If they have found a property, how far are they into the process and how long is the chain? Again this may cause potential problems regarding timescales but if you know this from the outset it will be less of an issue.

4. How many offers or aborted sales have their been?

  • If there have been a number of offers, but none have been acceptable to the seller, then it may show they are inflexible on price.
  • If there have been previous aborted sales then this may indicate that there have been problems uncovered though the legal process. There may be restrictive covenants on the property or some local planning proposals that have bought the sale to a halt.

5. What are the sellers timescales?

  • The seller may be on a tight timescale due to a job relocation or children's schooling issues. If you are in a strong position with no property to sell then you may be able to negotiate a good price. However, if you are still trying to sell your current property then the seller's timescales may be put you in a difficult position with the possibility of an expensive aborted sale.


When you finally find a property you want to buy, it is easy to get caught up in all the excitement and make some wrong decisions. Asking the above questions are absolutely vital if you are to secure the property of your dreams and not end buying a future problem or experience an expensive aborted sale. Good Luck!

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