Educating Myself

Hi guys, just looking to pick a few of the wiser brains on the pin. Whilst I firmly believe in ‘if you’re not embarrassed making your offer then you’re offering too much’, I’ve lined up a few viewings to dip my toe into the market, purely to see what’s on offer and get a feel for things as they currently stand. I am a complete novice to this and am wondering what type of questions should I ask the estate agent? What’s deemed as important information to know about the property. Obviously common sense dictates but I’m just wondering what other people think just in case I’m forgetting something blindingly obvious. Many thanks in advance.

From experience, you’re nearly better trying to find out information by some other means rather than ask an EA. They can be either very dumb or lie… or both.

In the past I’ve asked;

Q: When was it built?
A: Don’t know

Q: Block built or timber frame?
A: Don’t know

These aren’t difficult questions for somebody who’s selling (or failing to sell) something worth several hundred thousand euro.

Recently while looking at our current rental, the EA told us we had a south facing back garden. Sun sets on the front.

My sister was viewing houses built around a square. She asked which side of the square had south-facing gardens. The answer: “All of them.”

Apart from the obvious “how old is the wiring/plumbing/heating/etc?” questions, make sure you check local planning applications for unexpected six-storey apartment blocks.

If you’re looking at old houses, ensure you know what asbestos looks like.

Bring a compass to any viewing you are serious about (or look it up on google earth after). EA’s either don’t know or routinely lie about orientation… and in this climate you need all the sun you can get!

Don’t bother asking the EA about the build-type, year of build, previous extensions, planning in the area etc - they are generally completely clueless anyway. Do your own research on the area (planning applications etc) and get a good surveyor/ architect who you trust to give it a good once-over if/when you get to sale agreed stage (make sure your offer is subject to survey of course).

A large measuring tape or better still laser or ultrasonic measurer to get the internal dimensions of the property. EA’s regularly (I’m told always “generously”) round up the size of a property. Once you have proven them to be lying about the size, you should be able to seize the upper hand in any negotiations (as in “I’m sorry but you’ve/your company has proven yourself to be untrustworthy, so how can I believe you now?”.)

I agree with the compass. I have personally brought one to a property viewing, the EA, who claimed to have done the brochure for the property said (and I quote) “I never thought of using one of them”. The mind boggles. (If you don’t have one, an easy alternative tip if the sun isn’t shining when you view, nearly all working satellite TV dishes point south-east, there’s usually one or two visible in any development).

Other than that, standard questions; how long has the property been on the market (usually you won’t get the real answer, but look for signs such as uncollected post, check the dates, or an accumulation of dust, don’t be afraid to call back to the neighbours and ask about the previous occupants), reason for sale (estate sale, vendor moving if so, have they purchased another and so ‘need’ to sell). If it’s a recent development check whether it’s on a flood plain.

Be sneaky, engage the EA in small talk and see if you can figure out just how much they need the sale … the hungrier they are, the more likely they are to push the vendor.

Blue Horseshoe

Built on the north pole, was it?

Better than the South pole. Imagine, north facing everything *shudders

Learn Auto320’s words off by heart


The Salesman

I have dealt with enough property salesmen in my time though to know the usual patter, regardless of country, which usually goes like this…

  1. Ryanair are going to be flying in here next year.
  2. They have applied for the winter olympics/summer olympics/european open etc.
  3. This is the last one that faces west – you get the evening sun.
  4. This is the last one that faces south - you get the sun all day.
  5. This is the last one that faces east – you get the morning sun.
  6. This is the last one that faces north – you need to be facing north because the sun will roast you out of it in summer.
  7. They are going up on Monday
  8. They have gone up since yesterday, but you can have this one at the old price if you close today.
  9. There is a 2 year rental guarantee on these.
  10. The rent will pay the mortgage.
  11. I am buying one of them myself.
  12. All the lads in the office have bought one each.
  13. The top floor is the best, you don’t have to maintain a garden.
  14. The ground floor is the best, you have the use of a garden.
  15. I know that the ski season is short, but you can rent it out all summer as well.
  16. I know the summer season is short, but it’s only three hours from the ski slopes, you can rent it out to skiers as well.

In the Southern Hemisphere we pay a premium for North facing. We’re upside down you see. :wink:


But wouldn’t it be the south pole?

Joe, from my brief experience of house hunting the past few months, estate agents either have no idea or else feed you a pack of lies.
E.g. one didn’t know when the house was built, what the energy rating was, one didn’t know where the nearest shop or school was, one told of south facing garden when I knew it was west etc.

So, yeah, do your own research is my advice.

Frankly, it seems to me that a lot of EA’s are rank amateurs who got a cushy job in the boom, and most have no idea how to sell a property to a client. I met with an older EA, probably in his 50’s, the other day, and it was actually a refreshing experience to hear the sales patter, history of house, etc. He even brought me into one bedroom and showed me the lovely view, and then over to next door to have a gawk at what they’d done to their house :laughing:

It made a big change from surly platinum blondes rocking up in their Audi A4s, and then me having to wheedle info out of them

well I now firmly believe in inlucding commodities, durabale and/or other tradables in addition to a cash offer. It is my view that vendors of a next to worthless asset class ie property (based on supply and demand analysis) should be very happy with this approach - no more no less…

EAs are tricky little snakes indeed, theres always an offer above the asking.

Last winter an EA was ten minutes late for viewing while we all stood out in the freezing cold. Of course, the heating in the house was maxed out well before he arrived. Might create a good impression of the house that.

When you do go, with your bag of turf, a bag of coins (gold and copper), a couple of hens, a few pigs, and a carpet remnant… Give us a shout as I would love to witness the bartering… just to witness, nothing more and nothing less.

At least we’ll get a view… we deserve it…

Please post the time and date, as I’ll assure you’ll have a crowd…

(All those who would wish to witness this can Pm me), bring sandwiches…

well you are misrepresenting what I said - no more no less…commodities, durabales and/or other tradables would in addition to cash form the offer

I never intended to misrepresent you, but a bag of coins to me is cash… and the most liquid.

gold coinage is not cash and copper coins as an offer for a house is infantile…no more no less…

No more.