The search for your brand new home has begun… and there are multiple questions to be asked. Mark Thompson – branch manager of Cobb Farr’s Bradford on Avon office – has all the answers to the most commonly asked conundrums to hand:

Can I get a mortgage for this property?

Most of our buyers will rely on a mortgage in order to fund their purchase. You can’t apply for a mortgage until you can specify which property you need the mortgage for, which is why potential buyers don’t proceed with this earlier. However, many mortgage firms will provide ‘pre-approval’, which essentially means that they’re agreeing to grant you a mortgage in theory. Further reading on mortgage advice here.

What is the vendor’s position?

You’re ready to buy… but is the vendor ready to move? All parties involved in the buying or selling of a property need to know what their position is in the chain: the line of buyers and sellers who are inextricably linked by the position and situation of the parties up or down that chain, bearing in mind that the chain will only loosen up at the pace of the slowest link. So: ask for clarity on this all-important question before you start making firm plans, bearing in mind that we often have the answers to hand.

Which way does the garden face?

Whether you want your garden to face north, south, east or west will depend on several factors, not least of all your plans for how you want to use your outdoor space. Most property descriptions state which way a garden faces but if the property you’re interested in doesn’t talk directions, ask your agent –  or, arrange a viewing, whip out your smartphone and use the compass feature.

In general terms, south-facing gardens are perfectly placed for optimum sunshine. East-facing gardens light up in the morning, west-facing gardens come to sunlit life in the afternoon/early evening and north-facing gardens tend to be cool and shady throughout the day but still get their fair share of evening sunshine between May-October, especially if they’re long and not overshadowed by tall trees.

commonly asked questions: south facing garden

How old is the boiler?

There’s nothing wrong with buying a house with an old boiler… as long as you have the funds to replace it if it fails (and bear in mind that new boilers aren’t cheap!) But if the existing boiler has been fully serviced and certified as safe, you can rest assured that serious problems aren’t on the immediate horizon.

But even in this instance, you could use an old boiler as the basis for a negotiation on price, putting in an offer that reflects the possible costs of a new one.

What changes can I make to a Grade-II listed building?

Ownership of a listed building comes with a set of rules and regulations specific to the individual property, most of which apply to making changes to the property in question. But overall, the charms of owning that property outweighs the challenges; read all about it here.

Cobb Farr  'For Sale' sign

How long has the property been on the market?

Few ‘secrets’ can be kept these days! At Cobb Farr, we make no bones about the length of time that a property has been on the market for, while online property portals such as Rightmove and multiple internet search engines will allow you to search details on this and related queries such as how much the property was previously sold for in a matter of seconds. While a house that’s been up for sale for a long time doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s over-priced, the vendor of a ‘sluggish’ property might be more open to negotiation on price in order to move things along a bit.

What is the broadband speed?

As we increasingly rely on reliable internet access and WiFi coverage for work, leisure and access to multiple amenities and services, broadband is today seen as the ‘fourth utility’ after electricity, gas and water. Broadband details are a feature of most of our property listings, and it’s not unusual for prospective buyers to ask the vendor for full details of their broadband set-up or use one of the many available online tools to check broadband speed before putting an offer in on a new home. Remember too that it’s usually possible to upgrade broadband services in most properties other than those in the most secluded rural locations.

Is there enough space for a home office?

Whilst we’ll all be glad to see the back of COVID-19 restrictions for good, it’s likely that working from home is a situation that’s here to stay long after face masks have been discarded. If the property you have your eye on doesn’t immediately lend itself to bridging the work/domestic life gap, read all about the possibility of adapting the property’s potential to your needs here.

I want to be based in Bath or Bradford on Avon… but how easy is it to get out and about when I need to?

Regular train services from both Bath Spa and Bradford on Avon railway stations to cities across the UK (and Bristol International Airport) and easy access by car to the M4 corridor make our region the perfect location for busy business people. Meanwhile, efficient, reliable bus services and well-maintained cycle paths that connect most neighbourhoods with city/town centres, local amenities and schools keep us on the move locally!