Questions to ask your estate agent when buying a home

May, 2023

Make sure you ask the estate agent the right questions before deciding to buy a home. Estate agents are legally bound to tell the truth and it could make the difference between buying a dream home or buying a dud. So here are all the questions to ask when viewing / buying a house.

Why is the owner selling?

One of the first questions to ask estate agents when you are looking at a property to buy, is why the owner is selling. If you’re lucky the estate agent might hint at the vendor’s circumstances which could help with potential negotiations. For example, you might find out the owner is desperate to sell, perhaps because work is taking them overseas, and so would accept a lower price if a quick sale could be secured. So make sure this is top of your list of questions to ask when viewing/ buying a house.

How long has the property been on the market?

If the house has been on the market a long time (especially more than three months), ask the estate agent why they think it isn’t selling. Are the vendors looking for too much or have they had a bad house survey returned?

Have the sellers had any offers?

The estate agent will most likely tell you if there have been any offers, but not how much was offered. But estate agents have a big incentive to get a price agreed, so might drop some hints if you ask nicely. If you can find out about the other offers, it obviously makes it easier to know what you should offer.

What is the minimum price the seller will accept?

It sounds silly, but asking if their price is negotiable can save you time and money. Understanding the vendors position will enable you to understand if a price is negotiable or not. Putting in an offer under the asking price without understanding this, could jeopardise you from getting the home of your dreams.

Is there a chain?

Understanding if the sellers have found a home already will help you with the negotiation. If they have, they may be keen to sell as fast as possible. Otherwise, if you have to wait until they find somewhere else, it adds to the uncertainty, with all the risks associated with being in a chain. So, asking this question tells you where you stand, and how keen the sellers are to move.

What is the council tax banding and what is the cost of other utility bills?

With a cost-of-living crisis you’ll want to know if your new home is going to cost you more and by how much. A property’s council tax band should have been included in the property’s listing – if not, ask. Also ask if you can see utility bills, or you can wait for your conveyancing solicitor to get a copy later down the line.

Are there any extra charges?

Whether you are buying a leasehold apartment or a freehold house, there could be extra fees involved. Check out if there are any ground rent or service charges payable to any management company.


While it’s important to ask these questions, don’t assume what the estate agent tells you is correct. Under estate agents legal obligations to buyers there are strict rules they need to follow, such as not withholding important information. But for example, if you ask the estate agent if any major developments are planned nearby and they say there are none that they’re aware of, it doesn’t mean there isn’t.

So regardless of what the estate agent (who works for the vendor) or the vendor say, you should still do your own research.

As such, selecting the right conveyancer is critical. So make sure you shop around and compare conveyancing solicitor quotes. And whatever your concerns are, make sure your conveyancer addresses them as early in the process as possible – especially if it’s about a potential deal-breaking issue.

Thinking of selling your home?

If you are interested to know what your property is worth, please click here to book a market appraisal. Alternatively, call the office on 0121 430 4448 or email for more information or an informal chat.

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