Buying off-market resale properties ALWAYS comes with degrees of uncertainty.
The industry operates at a rapid pace, so getting a viewing before reserving is almost impossible, because in the time you go to view, the property has already been taken by another investor. Therefore, you need to have a robust line of research and enquiries so you can take decisive action fast.
When we are looking into off-market resale properties, we always ask a range of questions to the vendors / agents / auction houses / sourcers:
IMPORTANT – even we do not get all the answers beforehand, but the line of questionsing sets our tone and tends to unearth the truth. The questions that are unanswered in the build up to reservation should be asked by the buyer’s solicitor during the conveyance.
Either way, always have a contingency budget set to the side.
- Reason for sale of property?
- Is it tenanted?
- If not, when was it last tenanted?
- Why has it been kept empty for x time?
- If tenanted, when does AST expire?
- How long have tenants been in property?
- Who is managing the property currently (lettings agent)? How much do they charge?
- Do current tenants intend on staying on at property?
- Occupations of current tenants?
- Have current tenants got guarantor in place?
- Current rent vs estimated market rent?
- Where is current tenant deposit held? (DPS)
- How much is current deposit amount?
- Does the tenant owe any arrears to current landlord?
- Does the current tenant generally pay on time?
- Are the images you sent, recent images? (when were they taken approx.)
- Can tenant / owner do a WhatsApp Video / Facetime? (they don’t have to show their face)
- EPC in place? Rating, Expiry? (“E” or higher = fine for BTL / from 2025 = “C” rating)
- Gas Safety Cert in place? Expiry?
- Elec Cert in place? Expiry?
- Size of property?
- Layout? (size of rooms)
- Any works needed on the property that the vendor is aware of?
LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES FOR LANDLORDS (not all)
- keep your rented properties safe and free from health hazards
- make sure all gas and electrical equipment is safely installed and maintained
- provide an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- protect your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme
- check your tenant has the right to rent your property if it’s in England
- give your tenant a copy of the How To Rent checklist when they start renting from you (you can email it to them)
- fit and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms
- follow fire safety regulations for property in a purpose-built block of flats or for houses and property adapted into flats
General common signs:
- SMELL = a musty smell.
- VISUAL = appearance of mould or mildew on walls, floors or ceilings
- VISUAL = dark or discoloured patches on walls or plaster
- VISUAL = Excessive condensation on windows.
- FEEL = walls, floors or ceilings that feel cold or wet.
- VISUAL & FEEL = lifting or peeling wallpaper.
Could there be ‘penetrating damp’ or ‘rising damp?’
- Comes through the walls, not upwards
- Loose slates and tiles
- Defective gutters and leaking downpipes
- Cracked render
- Damaged brickwork
- Water that has risen up from the ground
- If damp course not there or failed
- A leaking pipe
- Ground outside has been raised too high and then breaches the DPC
You can usually spot a damp proof course by looking on the outside of the property and seeing
- different colour bricks (blue)
- drill holes
- grey-ish line between the bricks in the mortar joints.
If damp course not there or failed, look for:
- Discolouration on walls
- Peeling wall paper
- Dry or wet rot to skirting boards
ROOF = check for dislodged or broken tiles
GUTTER = check gutter for leaks, blockages or mis-alignment
LOFT = check any water tanks for leaks and ensure any thermostats work correctly
EXTRACTOR FANS = check extractor fans are working correctly and discharging moisture outside
GARDEN = check slope of garden – is water draining towards the house? Can water be diverted to drains or around house via drains?