Questions a Homebuyer Should ask & Receiving a HIP
When you're viewing a house to buy it can often be an overwhelming experience. Aside from being a little scared of the amount of money you're handing over there's also the excitement of standing in the house you could soon be living in. Your mind may be buzzing with ideas of where to put the chest of drawers and whether or not to have blinds or curtains in the front room but this is where you need to reign in your imagination and get down to business.This is you chance to ask all the necessary questions that will help you understand whether or not this house is right for you.
Questions to ask
Ask about the neighbourhood. This is a major issue, especially for families. What are the schools like? Are there are crime problems in the neighbourhood?You should also find out what is being left in the house and what is being taken as many deals have fallen through due to a misunderstanding over what is being taken by the seller and what isn't.
It is also at this point of course that you should ask to see a Home Information Pack. As of December 14th 2007 all properties must have a HIP commissioned by the time they go on the market. As of June 1st 2008 HIPs must be completed before the house is put on the market and therefore ready to give to the prospective buyer. You should be able to see the Home Information Pack within 14 days of requesting it. If not the seller must have a valid reason.Check that the pack contains all the necessary documents. They are: an Energy Performance Certificate, an Index, a Sale Statement, Evidence of Title and Standard Searches.The estate agent should provide the pack for you, or, if the seller isn't using an agent you should request to see the pack from the seller. Check what the energy efficient rating of the property is. This is included in the Energy Performance Certificate. If the rating is not as good as you would like and the energy assessor has suggested ways to improve this you could ask that the seller make these improvements before putting in an offer.
If there is a Home Condition Report included in the pack (remember this is only an optional component) it will detail the general physical condition of the pack. Be sure to read this carefully and question anything you are unsure of. As with the EPC if there are problems detailed that you are not keen on, ask the seller if he or she could repair them before putting in an offer.If there is no HCR you need to ask questions about the condition of the property. Ask about potential properties or ongoing issues. Ask about recent replacements that have been made and enquire about other replacements that may be necessary. You should be made aware of any structural damage in the property and if possible get confirmation that the seller will fix this.