Selling a leasehold property


14 Sep Selling a leasehold property

We’ve spoken about all the things you need to know when buying a leasehold property, but what about when you are selling one? As the leading independent estate and lettings agent in Colnbrook and the surrounding areas, we have a huge range of properties on the market at any one time; from leasehold apartments to detached houses we have something for any budget.

If you are currently looking at selling your leasehold property, this blog is for you. We’re going to take a look at what you can do to help your transaction progress smoothly. If you would like to talk to a member of our team about selling your property, give us a call on 01753 683000 or email us.

Leasehold vs. Freehold

The difference between the two is fairly simple. Flats and maisonettes are usually leasehold and houses are usually freehold. If you own a freehold you own the property and the land upon which it is built. If you own a leasehold you do not own the building or the land, but you own the lease – the building and land is owned by the freeholder or landlord.

The lease on a leasehold property can last for 99, 125 or even 999 years, so it’s as good as permanent. The lease will, however, set out some restrictions such as what kind of modifications are permitted, flooring regulations and whether or not you are allowed pets. Leaseholds are usually also subject to a maintenance charge in order to maintain the communal areas of the property – shared parking, gardens and painting of the building exterior.

Does it take longer to sell a leasehold?

Short answer is yes. According to research, the conveyancing on a leasehold can take around three weeks longer than on a freehold.

There are extra layers of complexity when it comes to selling a leasehold; these types of transactions have a higher fall through rate than normal freehold transactions. This is not to say that it is not possible – thousands of leaseholds change hands every year, but owing to the complexity of the process it is wise to manage your expectations and not lose faith should your sale fall through.

A complex business

There is considerable more work to do on the legal front with leasehold properties. As well as doing everything you would for a freehold, your conveyancer also has to review all terms of the lease, speak with landlord, managing agent/company and residents’ association, review the management accounts, identify any planned works, ensure the mortgage lender’s criteria is met and investigate any past disputes.

Leases with less than 90 years left on them can be difficult to secure a mortgage for; this can lead to lenders refusing the finances and delaying the transaction while the buyer finds alternative funding.

How can I help sell my leasehold?

This is an area in which the vendor can really assist in the selling of their property. The key thing is to instruct a solicitor as soon as you put your flat on the market. Try and find one who specialises in leasehold transactions – your estate agent will usually have one they can recommend.

Your solicitor will then apply for a managing agent information pack from your freeholder; this comes at a cost and while it may seem steep to pay out before you have a solid offer, it can reduce your conveyancing period by a number of weeks, waiting will delay the process. The information pack can take 3-8 weeks to compile so it’s best to start early to avoid delay.

Make sure that you are organised and have all of your property relating documents available for when your solicitor needs them. When it comes to selling any property there is no substitute for being prepared and organised.

Delays are usually down to a number or factors. Flat buyers are often first-time buyers/sellers so if they have not instructed a solicitor as soon as the property goes on the market they’ll simply be unaware of the importance of such an early start.

Get in Touch

If you are looking to sell your leasehold property make sure you speak to people who will give you good advice and who have a long track record in selling leasehold properties. As the leading independent estate agents in Colnbrook and the surrounding areas we are location experts and are always happy to talk you through your property options. You can contact us on 01753 683000 or email us. You can also follow us on FacebookLinkedIn and Instagram.

image: shutterstock/Grand Warszawski