Some things to consider when buying a flat…

The key things to consider when buying a flat are:

  1. What’s the lease like?  How long is it, what are the restrictions and what’s the cost to extend it (if necessary).   
  2. Maintenance.  How is the block maintained?  What happens if the roof needs replacing?  Is there a sinking fund?
  3. Who else lives in the block?  Are they rented or owner occupied?
  4. Who is the managing agent?  Freeholder?  Etc. etc.

The worst scenario I’ve come across is a block of 8 flats in a really great location.  Every flat has a share of freehold and the maintenance is on an ‘as and when’ basis with each flat responsible for 1/8th of the cost.   They have a meeting every 1/4 to discuss work that needs doing and see if they can agree.  Sound ideal so far?

The problems come when 3 of the block don’t want to spend any money on maintenance.  They will pay out the minimum requirement to have things fixed if they really need it.  This has led to the stairwell being bodged, the front door to the block is a set of sliding patio doors.  No joke.  The value of each persons property is severely impacted by others. 

If you’re buying a flat, beware of the maintenance setup, so that you don’t get trapped with a lovely flat in a horrible decaying block.

I’d be far happier with a flat in a block that has a reputable management company in control, a set of accounts showing recent maintenance, a fixed monthly cost that is sensible that EVERYONE pays in to and a reasonable sinking fund.

There are a million other things to consider when buying property, but consider the above and it may well help you make your mind up on a purchase..