Leasehold property owners just can’t sell…
As the dark truth behind leasehold properties continues to be exposed through lawsuits and government initiatives, homeowners lacking freehold status are finding out that their property is impossible to sell.
The house buying process is extremely stressful for the majority of people – and in the midst of all the stress, it can be easy to overlook certain details that do not seem important until much later on.
Often, these details relate to structural issues or access to services or utilities, but in recent years there has been a growing backlash against housing being sold with a leasehold status.
Leasehold property purchases, by definition, are purchases where the new owner takes possession of the house itself, but ‘leases’ the land on which it is built. This means that every year, the owner must pay a ‘ground rent’ to the owner of the freehold, as well as pay fees whenever changes are to be made to the property itself. Moreover, once the lease has expired, the ownership of the property is returned to the freeholder – unless the leaseholder successfully applied to have it extended.
Leasehold sales were extremely common in days gone by and were always considered affordable. However, house-building companies today have been controversially selling new homes with leasehold status before selling the freehold on to third party management companies who often increase the ground rent fees dramatically – making the property extremely hard to sell and lowering its perceived value.
A new report by the National Association of Estate Agents has found that 94% of all leasehold owners questioned regretted their decision to buy, while 62% feel as though their homes were intentionally mis-sold to them.
“Almost all of the homeowners we surveyed say they wouldn’t advise their friends or family to buy a leasehold home, which is a damning indictment on the industry,” said Mark Hayward, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents.
“It’s time we listened to this and sought a robust solution for all those affected, unable to sell their homes, and serving a leasehold life sentence.”
In December last year, the government put an end to sales of new leasehold properties, but this is little comfort for those who need to sell their leasehold home fast but are unable to find a buyer due to the widespread preference for freehold equivalents.
With extreme fees payable to the freeholder for small changes, such as £1,422 to install double glazing, £887 to change kitchen units, and £689 to replace flooring (on top of the normal supplies and labour costs), it is perhaps unsurprising that National Homebuyers have been inundated with enquiries by leasehold owners looking to gain competitive sold house price quotes in order to sell in a short-time frame.
Luckily, National Homebuyers will buy any home, regardless of leasehold status. And many of these purchases can be completed in as little as two weeks, helping individuals who were mis-sold their homes to finally move on with their lives.
Is your home leasehold? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property.