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anything i should be aware of before proceeding?!

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  • anything i should be aware of before proceeding?!

    hi all!
    after being sent all the paper work and from my solicitor, i'm feeling a little bit over whelmed! i've read through most of it and listed questions to ask, but is there anything I should be aware of or questions i should ask the seller when buying a leasehold property
    any suggestions would be so helpful as i am uncertain about what i should really be asking
    megan x

  • #2
    Re: anything i should be aware of before proceeding?!

    Apart from the obvious - ensuring that you understand and are comfortable with the obligations of the lease itself, the history of maintenance bills and any administrative costs such as managing agents' fees - here are some of the things that I would do before going any further:

    1. Visit the development and look carefully at the communal areas (entrances, stairwells, gardens, parking and bin areas). Are they well maintained? If so, the management company is likely to be well-run and the neighbours a considerate bunch. If the communal areas are unkempt, dirty or in sore need of repair or redecoration, what does that say about the management company's attention to less-visible maintenance such as windows, roofs, loft spaces, fire alarm systems, etc. And what does it say about the neighbours?

    2. Knock on a few doors and ask the residents whether their requests for repairs are attended to promptly and whether the managing agents regularly visit the development. Also, ask whether residents are properly consulted about planned or future expenditure and - this is something that can often prompt people to put their leasehold properties on the market so it always pays to ask - whether there is any major expenditure looming such as roof repairs or window replacements.

    If Richard Webster was online, he would also prompt me to say that when knocking on doors, you should also ask about the neighbours themselves because if someone is not complying with their obligations under the lease, it can be difficult and expensive to deal with if you have to resort to legal remedies.

    Other members of the forum might have more suggestions to offer but I hope that this helps. Good luck.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: anything i should be aware of before proceeding?!

      Apart from the obvious - ensuring that you understand and are comfortable with the obligations of the lease itself, the history of maintenance bills and any administrative costs such as managing agents' fees - here are some of the things that I would do before going any further:

      1. Visit the development and look carefully at the communal areas (entrances, stairwells, gardens, parking and bin areas). Are they well maintained? If so, the management company is likely to be well-run and the neighbours a considerate bunch. If the communal areas are unkempt, dirty or in sore need of repair or redecoration, what does that say about the management company's attention to less-visible maintenance such as windows, roofs, loft spaces, fire alarm systems, etc. And what does it say about the neighbours?

      2. Knock on a few doors and ask the residents whether their requests for repairs are attended to promptly and whether the managing agents regularly visit the development. Also, ask whether residents are properly consulted about planned or future expenditure and - this is something that can often prompt people to put their leasehold properties on the market so it always pays to ask - whether there is any major expenditure looming such as roof repairs or window replacements.

      If Richard Webster was online, he would also prompt me to say that when knocking on doors, you should also ask about the neighbours themselves because if someone is not complying with their obligations under the lease, it can be difficult and expensive to deal with if you have to resort to legal remedies.

      Other members of the forum might have more suggestions to offer but I hope that this helps. Good luck.
      I'm online now and I agree with what Jeannie D has written.
      RICHARD WEBSTERwww.rwco.co.uk
      As a conveyancing solicitor I want to be helpful (England/Wales only) but can't accept liability for this.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: anything i should be aware of before proceeding?!

        That's great advice, thanks for you help! X

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: anything i should be aware of before proceeding?!

          If Richard Webster is online, please can you advise as to what "engrossment fees" are? We've just been told that the searches are complete and that we need to sign before contracts are exchanged.
          Question 2: should I transfer my funds to the conveyancing firm now?
          Ta,
          Carmen

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: anything i should be aware of before proceeding?!

            Bear in mind that the legal fees for purchasing a leasehold property are usually more expensive than the fees for freehold. Make sure you inspect the property carefully and pay particular attention to its condition and the state of the communal parts. Leaseholders are often required to contribute to the common parts and you should check the condition of the building yourself.</li> While lending on leasehold properties is commonplace, buyers need to be aware that mortgage companies do not, with very few exceptions, lend on freehold apartments.</li> Any lease of more than seven years must be registered at the Land Registry but bear in mind that mortgage companies will not generally lend on leasehold properties with less than 30 years to run.</li> Pay special attention to pre-contract enquiries. A solicitor would normally submit (if not provided by the seller’s solicitors) a set of standard pre-contract enquiries addressed to the landlord/managing agents.&nbsp; These enquiries cover a multitude of matters such as the current name and address of the landlord, whether there are any disputes involving existing tenants, whether the rent for this particular apartment has been paid up to date, and very importantly, whether there are any items of considerable expenditure which are to be spent on the building by the landlord/managing agents and which will be apportioned pro rata between the tenants. Make sure that you inform your solicitor of any issues that, following your inspection causes you concern. The pre-contract enquiries are your chance to obtain information which the seller knows about the property, but which you may not.</li> It is becoming increasingly common for tenants to put leasehold properties up for sale when they become aware of expenditure, which will be required in due course. An example would be if a roof needs replacing or if re-wiring is required. Try and speak to another leasehold owner in the block to try and find out whether maintenance or repairs are planned.</li> Some leases require a Licence to Assign, i.e. permission to be obtained from the landlord for the assignment to the new buyer and again your solicitor will advise. The fee for such Licence to Assign is normally payable by the seller. These costs can be considerable and certain local authorities will charge in the region of £700 for fees for the provision of Licence to Assign.</li> Ask your solicitors questions – make sure that you understand precisely the terms that are applicable to you, not just on the purchase itself, but in relation to the landlord and the building as a whole. The purchase price may seem cheap, but the ancillary items of expenditure, which you would be liable for can make the monthly cost of a leasehold property more expensive than a freehold.</li> Consider whether there will be an opportunity to purchase the freehold from the freeholder, and at what cost. This is something that purchasers on new build developments may be interested in because it obviates the need to seek consent for certain external alterations or improvements to the property.</li> Make sure you understand the terms of your lease. Some solicitors send the lease to their clients, merely asking them to review the terms. This should not be accepted and you should ask your solicitor to take you through each clause carefully, preferably face to face.</li> If finance permits, solicitors will advise you to have a survey undertaken of the property in question. This is to be recommended.Solicitors do appreciate, however, that in these difficult times, many people do not wish to go to the expense of having an additional survey carried out, particularly if a survey/inspection in whatever form is being carried out on behalf of any proposed lender.</li> Do not be afraid to ask further questions. Make sure that before you commit to a purchase you are certain of all costs involved.

            Jhonny
            Justclaims.co.uk

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: anything i should be aware of before proceeding?!

              Hi,

              Very often it is possible to pay off the leasehold for its term or better still, to acquire full ownership of the land. Whether or not this makes sense depends on the circumstances and I would urge everyone to seek advice first. But the possible advantages are clear since:
              • one is no longer dependent upon the whims of the municipality or the private land owner
              • it is much easier to get a mortgage (especially in the case of private leasehold!)
              • it is easier to sell your property, since the new owner will face fewer uncertainties (and, of course, it is easier for the buyer to get a mortgage)

              Regards,
              Jhonny

              Comment

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