Packing up all your belongings and moving home is, let’s face it, a stressful process. With so much to do and so many things to remember, you could quite easily forget to ask some important questions about the features, or quirks, of your new home that only the previous owner will know the answer to. Missing simple, but important details about a property can prove to be problematic further down the line and end up being a costly mistake.
To help elevate some of the potential unnecessary drama, we’ve compiled a list of the 15 ‘need to know’ questions you should ask the owners of your new home before you get the keys.
- Where’s the main stopcock? Knowing how to turn off the mains water is key if there is ever a flood, or if you need to do building works in the future. Make sure there is clear access to the stop cock, if there isn’t, make that a priority when you move in.
- Where are the gas and electricity meters? You’ll need to know both of their locations to get metre readings when you take ownership of the property. Make a note of the readings, including the date taken and keep them safe for when you contact your new utilities provider.
- Where is the water meter located? Having a water meter may come as a surprise if you have come from a property where bills have been on a fixed quarterly charge. Make sure you know where the water metre is located as most are located outside your boundary.
- Where is the thermostat? Knowing how to increase or decrease temperatures in your home will be important for the changing seasons. If your new home uses smart gadgets or has underfloor heating, make sure you get instructions on how to use them.
- How does the boiler work? If there is no manual, or you can’t find the boiler make and model online, ask the previous owner to leave you simple diagrams on a notepad.
- What day are the bins / recycling collected? Find out what bins go out on what day of the week. You can also find out this information from the councils’ website.
- Where is the man-hole cover? These should be in plain sight, but often garden decking can hide or cover access, so it’s an idea to ask their location just in case you ever have a problem with the drains.
- Where are the spare keys for the front door, backdoor and window locks? Request all sets of keys from previous owners for all main access points to the property. If you are worried, get a locksmith in to change the locks for peace of mind.
- What’s the alarm code? Write this code down until you have memorised it, then destroy the piece of paper. If its key operated, make sure you have been given all keys. Ask if the alarm is monitored, if so, get all details so you can either continue or cancel the monitoring facility.
- Where are the keys to sheds, garages, and any outbuilding? Have blank keyrings ready that you can write on so you can label each key and know what they are for. If anything has an electric key fob, such as a garage door, don’t forget to get any spares.
- Where are the switches located for any external wall or garden lighting? This is good to know for when you are planning any future landscaping, or to add / remove any additional lighting.
- Do any surfaces need specialist cleaning? If the property has wooden flooring, granite worktops, or porous tiling etc, it’s a good idea to ask if anything specialist should be used when cleaning, or any products that need to be avoided.
- Do you have spare tins of paint you have used around the house? There is a good chance you will scuff or scratch walls when you move your furniture into a new property, so it’s a good idea to ask the previous owners to leave any spare cans of paint they used to touch up any mishaps. Same goes for wallpaper, any left-over rolls can be used to repair damages.
- Is there any warranty information for gadgets / white goods? If a product develops a fault, it could still be under warranty allowing you to get it either repaired or replaced, so check you have all the details as it could save you a lot of money.
- Are there any spare kitchen or bathroom tiles? If they don’t have any spares, ask where they bought them from – knowing this could come in handy if you ever break one.
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