Once you’ve spotted a flat or house you love and can afford, it’s easy to get carried away in excitement when you’re viewing it.
It’s only after you’ve moved in that you may realise things aren’t quite what they seem and start to wish you’d asked more questions.
Although you’ll have your own list of priorities to ask about, there are a few things you’re likely to forget to ask.
1. Who’s responsible for that?
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If you’re in a flat, there could be common areas, such as kitchens, gardens, courtyards or hallways. If you’re in a house, you might also have a garden to enjoy.
However, it’s worth asking whose responsibility these areas are to maintain and whether the upkeep will cost you any extra money.
2. Who lives next door?
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Although your landlord or letting agent might not know, it’s still a good idea to ask if they have any idea of who the neighbours are – are they noisy, quiet, a family, young or elderly? Do they have pets? Have past tenants had any run-ins with them?
If you’re not satisfied with the answer, a quick glance at the outside of the neighbouring properties could give you a good indication of the sort of person that lives there.
3. What’s it like at night?
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Find out if the area is well lit at night and whether you’d feel safe walking around alone. Are there any popular bars or pubs nearby and can you hear the resulting noise from the property?
If the area is well lit, this is great for safety, but it can be a nightmare if your blinds aren’t good quality. There’s nothing like a brightly lit bedroom to ruin a night’s sleep – ask whether you’ll receive black-out blinds or, if not, whether you can put some up yourself.
4. What’s included?
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Whether your potential new place is furnished or unfurnished, what you see on a viewing may not be what you get. Make sure you ask what’s included, so you know what you’ll need to bring with you.
This doesn’t just include furniture; make sure to ask about washing machines, fridges, curtains and blinds. If you already own something that’s included with the property, ask if you can replace theirs with your own.
5. Can I decorate?
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Many tenancy agreements state that you can’t paint the walls, erect shelves, put up pictures or change any of the decor. If this bothers you, it’s always worth asking if there’s a possibility it won’t be included in your contract.
If the landlord won’t agree to you decorating, ask them if they can put some picture hooks up for you or check out our blog post to get some ideas around what you can do to make it feel more like home.
6. What’s the TV & internet like?
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Whether you want to bring your existing TV & internet service with you, or you’re planning on switching, it’s a good idea to check what’s allowed or available in the new place.
For example, a new landlord may not allow you to put up a Sky dish, Virgin Media cables may not be in place or you may have to change the phone line if you want to sign up to BT (which the landlord may not be too happy about unless you ask first).
7. How much is it going to cost?
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You’ll likely already know what the rent will cost, but there could be other fees too. You’ll need to know how much deposit you’ll be paying, how much rent up front, any letting agents fees and whether any bills are included with the rent.
You’ll then be able to decide how much you can afford and whether the property is worth the cost. Don’t forget to check out Council Tax bands and energy ratings too!
8. How’s the heating & water?
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Check what kind of boiler there is and ask to see whether hot water comes out of the taps and the radiators work. If there isn’t adequate heating, it’s also a good idea to ask if any space heaters are provided (but be aware these can cost more in electricity). Also look out for double glazing, which will keep the place much warmer than older style windows.
Finally, check the water pressure in the shower – you’ll be glad you did!
9. What happens in an emergency?
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Make sure there’s a 24 hour phone number you’ll be able to call in an emergency. Hopefully you’re not going to need to use it but, if a pipe bursts in the middle of the night, it’s nice to know it’ll be sorted out as soon as possible.
10. What are my transport options?
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If you drive, make sure to ask about parking. You may be given an allocated space or you might need to get a permit from the council, which could cost money.
If there’s more than one of you moving in, ask how many parking spaces you’ll get – you don’t want to be fighting over one space.
If you don’t drive, enquire into local public transport. How far away is it? Is it regular? The novelty of walking four miles to work will soon wear off and you’ll wish you’d asked before moving in.
11. Can you fix this?
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Make sure you look carefully for any damage or broken items and raise them before you commit to moving. Your landlord will more than likely be willing to fix them before you move in and it’ll save you any hassle later on if the problems escalate.
If they can’t or won’t fix it before you move, make sure to take a picture of the damage on moving day and ensure it’s logged in your inventory.
12. Where can I put my stuff?
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Think realistically about how much you own and look carefully at the storage solutions in the property. If there isn’t enough, ask whether more can be provided or whether you can put up shelves or rails.
If all else fails, our handy guide to decluttering might help you to get rid of some of your excess belongings before you move.