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Would or have you bought an ex-council house?

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  • Would or have you bought an ex-council house?

    Title says it all really, are you put off when looking to buy a house if it is ex local authority?

    What are the factors you take in to account?

    Do you believe ex-council houses are harder to sell and do not gain as much value as private houses?
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  • #2
    Down my way, the cooncil hooses are generally more solidly built than the private - brick-built as opposed to timber-framed. If they were bought from the cooncil recently, then they're likely to have been well-maintained, since the cooncil has statutory requirements to keep them in good order - individual owners don't.

    I've never bought one though.

    I think people would be more put off by the area rather than the hoose itself.....


    • #3
      I think it all depends upon location. If the estate the property is in particularly renowned for being rough it will obviously not attract as much interest.
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      • #4
        My middle brother bought a nice new detached build in a former RAF housing estate - and found it very difficult to sell.

        It's the old mantra again - people will more likely buy a crap property in a good area than a good property in a crap area - and council estates are rarely regarded as good areas.

        Even though council's have a mandatory requirement to maintain the property, anyone who knows anyone in council housing knows that councils can really drag their feet on repairs, or else only make remedial repairs to avoid higher costs addressing deeper causes.

        Councils can only be counted upon to stop a property falling down - certainly they are under no compulsion to make any property pleasant to live in, and I guarrantee quite a number of council houses are close to breaching health and safety on issues such as damp, etc.


        • #5
          I bought an ex-local authority flat on the open market six years ago. It was all I could afford at the time, so despite being apprehensive at first, having never lived on an estate before, I took the plunge.

          The popularity of the part of London I live in has since skyrocketed, so my estate has turned from one for which there were once waiting lists for tenants to be rehoused elsewhere, to one for which there are waiting lists to get in. A lot of people have taken advantage of the right to buy, and many have then resold their homes, so there's now a good social mix on the estate. I suppose it's luck of the draw - when I moved in I don't think anyone but the most observant of estate agents anticipated that the area was going to become as popular as it has, and had it not, and had my estate not benfitted from that, I might not feel the same way.

          I think it's essentially true that XLA properties will never be as much in demand from buyers, even in popular areas. They aren't always the most attractive buildings, and people assume there's a greater risk that social tenant neighbours are more likely to be anti-social or problematic than private tenants or owners who might be their neighbours in private housing. Plus you can be hit for all kinds of service charges as a leaseholder, and there's no guarantee that, if you live in a block especially, that the council or ALMO will maintain the rest of the block. But, all those things are usually reflected in the asking price you paid in the first place.

          Best tips if buying an XLA flat are to research the area and estate thoroughly first - find out if any developments are planned which would make the area more or less popular. Find out how many people on an estate own their homes, how many are long-standing tenants etc - these people are more likely to have an invested interest in keeping things nice and getting involved in the community, or seeking council intervention if problems arise.
          Also, only consider buying in a block which has had some recent refurbishment - on the advice of a developer I made sure that the block my flat is in had been recently double glazed, fitted with security doors and draught excluders, and that the lift had been recently renovated. It's important to consider this because local authorities have to have their homes meeting the Decent Homes standard by 2010, meaning that many are hurrying their renovations through.
          Under leaseholder contracts, anybody who owns a flat in a block is responsible for contributing to the costs of these renovations - so if a council decides to double glaze and fit new kitchens into a block of 100 flats at a cost of £2 million, every leaseholder in the block would be responsible for contributing £20,000 towards it. So if you want to avoid such costs, check before buying that your block isn't up for new fixtures and fittings.