5 Questions a Buyer Should Ask on a Viewing
1. What are the current service charges and what is included?
What Service charges to expect is a question that should be asked when buying a property. Service charges are paid yearly, and it is important to know the exact cost and what this cost will cover. If the community is heavily landscaped, service charges may include the upkeep of the greenery and parks and will, therefore, be on the higher end of the spectrum. Service charges may also cover rubbish collection and security of the building or area if 24-hour security is on hand. Lift maintenance is covered by these charges, as is a ‘reserve fund’ for any building damage or unexpected repairs. These charges are often brushed over and forgotten about when all focus is on the fees included in buying a property, but with service fees being a mandatory payment, questions must be asked.
2. What does the owner love about the property?
Asking an owner what they love about a property can be very beneficial. People fall in love with properties for all different reasons and an owner or tenant who perhaps have lived in the property for some time can offer an insight which, at the forefront, is not initially noticeable. Whether it is a layout that works well for them, storage space, a view, the light shining into different rooms - it is always good for a potential buyer to get a feel for the property from someone who has had the chance to enjoy it.
3. What does the neighbourhood have to offer?
A buyer should ask the agent and the seller what amenities are in the neighbourhood. Perhaps there are hidden gems they weren’t aware of. Local shops and their distance from the property is always a very advantageous fact, as is the location of healthcare facilities, schools and other interests of the buyer. Being aware of available community groups that take place in the area could be worthwhile and give the buyer a better understanding of the property and surrounding areas as early as the viewing process.
4. When do the tenants or current owner plan to move out of the property?
Asking when the residents of the property move out is extremely important. If the property is owner-occupied that ultimately means they are selling to move elsewhere which often leads to a smoother handover compared to a tenant-occupied property. Tenants, in accordance with RERA, need to be given a 12 month notice period which therefore means that end-user buyers need to be aware of the tenants’ status. If the tenants are settled in the property and do not have plans to move, then buyers can only serve notice when the property has been transferred into the new buyer’s details. The property may not transfer for two months after the sale has been agreed. This could lead to a buyer needing to find an alternate place to live for 12 months – something that needs to be considered and thought out early doors.
5. Is there any known construction in the area?
A buyer is entitled to know what construction is taking place or is going to take place in the area they are planning to buy in. It is important for the buyer to ask this question at the viewing process. If construction is a definite no, then a property can be ruled out before any attachment is formed. Construction disturbance varies, so in this case, a buyer should ask the timings of the construction work, the estimated completion date and the potential disruptions explained. It is also worthwhile to ask the completion dates of construction and what is being built because malls, schools, and shops, once completed, will more than likely add value to the home.
There may be a very popular question missing from this list – Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) bills. It is a question that is most commonly asked, however, it is a very niche answer. DEWA bills vary from household to household and all depend on individual usage. A seller may use less DEWA than the new buyer and therefore cannot give an accurate answer to the question of how much to pay for this service. Some people may leave A/C on all day and lights on all night whereas others might take a more cut-back approach. The same can be said for water usage. The more people living in the house – the more showers and baths are being had. A buyer can always ask about DEWA bills but must take into consideration that they may differ from the current residence of the property.