12 Questions to ask when visiting a property

Have you spotted a property you want to buy? After studying the listing description in depth, you will now have to prepare for the visit. In addition to the condition of the apartment or house, certain questions must be asked of the former owners or the real estate agent in charge of the sale, during the property visit.  


By asking relevant and insightful questions you can acquire valuable information that goes beyond what is visible at first glance. These inquiries will provide you with essential insights into the property's history, maintenance, potential issues, and other factors that can significantly impact your decision-making process. Armed with this knowledge, you'll be equipped to make an informed and confident decision about whether the property is the right investment for you. 

‘What are the official room dimensions and size of the property?’ 

The seller must be able to provide you with this information as he must have a diagnosis dedicated to this calculation. It will allow you to ensure that the asking price is consistent with the rates charged in the sector of the property. 

‘What work has been done to the property recently?’ 

If the property has been renovated by the current owner or the one who preceded it, it is necessary to know what has been achieved and under what conditions: demolition of a load-bearing wall, change of room use, the creation of a new room, upgrades to doors and windows ...etc.   In particular, check, that all permits and certificates have been obtained, whether they come from the town hall, the condominium association, or any other official institution. Also make sure that these changes appear in the property plans, the co-ownership agreement and have been accounted for in the calculation of the property tax. 

‘What work should be done to the property?’  

Admittedly, an owner who wants to sell quickly may be tempted to answer you, "None", while the water heater has only a few months of life expectancy. However, by doing so, he takes the risk of being attacked later for hiding defects, and therefore, telling you the truth is in his best interest!  

The answer to this question will allow you to: 

  • Precisely define the budget necessary for your purchase. For example, you can account for possible financing or investment for the amount of renovations to be undertaken; 
  • Have a margin of negotiation on the displayed price.  

‘What damage has the property experienced in recent years?’ 

Flood, natural disaster, fire, collapse of an interior wall... are all unfortunate events that can affect the integrity of a property.  In most cases, these type of situtations are covered by insurance and may not visible during a visit, but they are indicative of certain "fragilities" of a property. So make sure you have all the information about the damage to the apartment or house. If necessary, check with the neighborhood. 

‘How much are the condominium fees?’ 

In a condominium, fees must be paid (monthly or quarterly) in most cases. Fees can also vary according to the size of the property and its location within the building. There also might be costs according to what amenities are/are not included like heating, water, etc). Consider asking about the average annual amount. The sum of any fees and costs will be additional to the cost of a mortgage, so this information will assist you in calculating wether  your budget is still on track or if the overall property costs are too high. 

‘Are renovations planned for the condominium?’ 

If work has already been voted and planned, it is not up to the next purchaser to pay them. If building modifications are simply "planned", or even put on the agenda for the next general meeting, you must be able to pay the resulting bill.  In the case of a planned façade facelift, for example, this can be quite expensive.  

 Ask if you can consult the minutes of the last three general meetings. You will find a lot of information about the life of the building and the changes envisaged. 

‘What type of glazing is used?’ 

This question is crucial, since simple glazing is always synonymous with poor insulation. This means you can expect significant energy bills, not to mention the external noises, which can be quite disturbing! 

Today, most properties have double or even triple glazing. This is a characteristic that you should not overlook, unless you have a large budget for the work. 

‘Where are the load-bearing walls?’ 

This information will be valuable to you if you want to change the layout of the property. Indeed, it is more restrictive and expensive to knock down a load-bearing wall than one that is not, both from a technical and administrative point of view (authorizations may be necessary). 

‘What type of Internet connection is available?’ 

Does the accommodation have an Internet connection by fiber optics, or ADSL?  Most often, in the city, the connection to fiber optics will have been made, but in the countryside, this is not always the case. If you have to work from home or if you are used to the comfort of a high speed data exchange, a return to the days of ADSL will quickly seem unbearable. By the way, take the opportunity,  to see if your mobile phone is picking up the network while you are visiting the home. 

‘What is the neighborhood like?' 

You may find that the local community near the property has many families with children, students in shared accommodation, elderly people etc.  Asking this question will allow you to subtly discover what type of  neighborhood noises and activity you can expect. 

‘Where is public transport?’ 

Well-connected accommodation is practical accommodation, for you as well as for those who come to visit you in your new home! So check that someone who wants to come and see you by bus, tram or metro will have the opportunity to do so. The parking situation for your, your family and your guests is also important.  

‘Why is the property being sold?’ 

Knowing the reason for the sale makes it possible to detect possible "weaknesses" of a property. If the current owner is struggling to answer, it may be that he is hiding neighborhood problems, humidity or important work to be planned. 



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