Property Viewing Checklist: What Questions Should You Be Asking?

Property viewing - What questions should you be asking - Carousell Philippines

Buying property, whether it’s your first or your fifth, always takes a lot of research and preparation. Usually, you would want to buy a property because you’d like to have your own home, move to a better location, get a bigger living space for your growing family, or you just want to invest.

With sites like Carousell, looking for property to buy has never been easier. However, that’s just the first step. When you’ve made a shortlist of properties that have caught your fancy, it’s time to start doing property viewings. It might seem like a daunting task but as long as you approach it methodically, you’ll be fine.

To help you, here’s a checklist of what you should do when you meet with the real estate agent or property owner:

 

What to ask about the property itself

How old is the property/the building it’s in? 

This will give you an idea of the general condition of the property right off the bat. If a building is a little old, then be on the lookout for any structural damage or wear that’s been covered up. It should also give you an idea of how safe the property would be in the event of a disaster. In particular, buildings constructed before 1992 (when the Philippine Structural Code was last updated), need to be retrofitted to make sure they can withstand earthquakes. This question is particularly critical if you’re buying a foreclosed property.

Possible follow-up questions you can ask: 

  • Has this property/building been retrofitted?
  • How well does this property/building stand up to typhoons? Has there ever been a flooding situation in the past?
  • Has this property/building been through any disasters in the past? Fires? Flooding? Earthquakes? 

What to ask about the property itself - Carousell Philippines

 

How big is each room?

The size of the whole property is one thing, but to know how big each room is will give you a better idea of whether or not it will meet your needs. You should also be aware of this if you want to be able to fit your old furniture and appliances into your new home. If you’re looking for a fresh start, we recommend not to take everything from your old home with you. You can choose to donate them when you do move to a new property or sell them on Carousell to make some quick money. 

Possible follow-up questions you can ask: 

  • Can your bed fit in your chosen room?
  • Does it have enough space for your kitchen appliances and dining furniture?
  • If it’s a condo unit, is there provision and adequate space for a washing machine and dryer in the bathroom?

 

What are the options for renovating the property?

Whether you want to customize a space to truly make it your own or you want to have some sections reconstructed or repaired, you should ask what your options are. This is also a good point to consider when negotiating the price of a property. For example, if you noticed the walls need repainting, you can ask if the property owner would be willing to shoulder the cost of repainting. If not, you can negotiate a lower price for  the property and repaint the walls yourself.

Be sure to also check what sort of renovations are allowed. If you’re purchasing a condo unit, for example, the property management might restrict certain types of construction so make sure to ask about this. 

Possible follow-up questions you can ask: 

  • What kind of materials are the walls/flooring made of? 
  • What walls/posts can be taken down without affecting the building’s structural integrity?
  • What are the times construction is allowed in the property?

 

What to ask about the property location

How accessible is the location?

You might have found the property of your dreams, but if going home is going to take you hours, you might want to reconsider. As the old adage goes, “Location, location location.” Heading to the property itself should already give you an idea. 

If you can, try to simulate your route going to and from the places you often go like your place of work. If you’d like to take it a step further, ask if you can arrange a property viewing at the usual time you would like to be able to come home from work and test the route yourself. 

Possible follow-up questions you can ask: 

  • What are the public transportation options available?
  • How long would it take to get to and from (where you work) from here?
  • Is there parking? What about parking for guests?

 

What can be found around the property?

Asking this should give you an idea of what living in the property would be like. This is a good opportunity to gauge if it matches your lifestyle or the lifestyle you want to have. For example, if you’re a parent, a property might become more appealing if it’s near a school your children can go to. If you don’t own a car, having a grocery store within walking distance of the property could also be something you’d consider. If you do have a car (or planning to buy one), ask about nearby gas stations and service centers. If the property or building is near a major road, you should be prepared to hear honking, even late at night. 

Something else to consider: Places of worship. If you’re interested in regularly fulfilling religious obligations, ask about churches in the area. 

Be sure to also ask about other developments in the area. A new mall being constructed nearby could raise the value of the property in a few years. On the flipside, if a skyscraper is being constructed, placing the property/building under its shadow, you might have to deal with dampness and perhaps an obstructed view outside your window. 

Possible follow-up questions you can ask: 

  • Where are the local businesses in the area?
  • Are there any parks or recreational centers nearby? 
  • What are my options for dining out / exploring the night life?

What to ask about the property location - Carousell Philippines

 

How safe is the area?

When searching for property, be sure to factor in your safety and your family’s. After you’ve checked how safe your property is, observe its surroundings. What’s the crime rate in the location? Are there CCTV cameras? If the property is in a condominium or a village, ask about the security agency and their procedures. 

Besides crime, take the risk of fires into account as well. Check to see if there has been a history of fires in the area and how far the nearest fire station is. If it’s in a building, look for smoke alarms and fire escapes. If you’re planning to purchase property in a tall building, note that water from fire truck hoses might not be able to reach higher floors.

Possible follow-up questions you can ask: 

  • Where is the nearest hospital? Police station? Fire station? Barangay hall?
  • What is the community in the area like?
  • Are there roving police or security guards?

 

About the property’s last owner/developer

What is the property owner’s reason for selling?

Asking this might reveal some things that can help you negotiate the price of the property. If the owner is selling the property because they’re moving abroad for example, it could be an opportunity for you to bargain. You could tell the real estate agent or property owner that you’re willing to buy it sooner but only if they’re flexible on the price. 

Possible follow-up questions you can ask: 

  • Can you describe the property owner’s lifestyle?
  • What are the owner’s complaints about the property?
  • How many owners has this property had?

Ask about the property's last owner or developer - Carousell Philippines

 

How good is the property developer’s track record?

If the property you’re eyeing was put up by a developer, you can cover a lot of ground about it in terms of your own research. However, the current owner or real estate agent might know things you don’t so there’s no harm in asking. In fact, you can research reviews and other news surrounding the property and ask what the owner or agent has to say about them. 

Possible follow-up questions you can ask: 

  • What other properties has the developer made?
  • Has the developer undergone any regulations or penalties recently?
  • If the developer has faced issues in the past, have these been resolved in this property?

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And that’s about it. Of course, there are many more possible questions you can ask but these questions would help you cover a lot of ground immediately. More questions can branch out of the ones you ask here. 

Just always make sure to be alert, be observant, and be skeptical if you need to be. Buying a property is a major decision so ask all the questions you have to. Happy house hunting!


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