The excitement of your new home is all consuming. It is like the first weeks with your partner, it is the excitement of the shiny new toy, it is all embracing. Of course as with any consuming thing there is a reality behind.
Does your significant other pick their teeth, leave their clothes scattered or obsessively tidy up? These are the things you notice when the excitement wains, when the newness wears off.
Your home can be the same. You go around the new development, see the show flat, fall in love with the dream of the furniture, the view the ideal. But in reality the home is the walls and the fixtures, all the other stuff comes from you. Not some interior designer. Of course, the experience of communal living can come as a shock.
Communal living? Well not in the sense of sharing space but in reality if you buy a flat in a block then you have to respect what other people do and how other people live. Recently Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) initiated a survey sponsored by Brady’s solicitors. The survey conclusions are fascinating and illuminating. Basically the message is property managers need to keep improving and communicating with the leaseholders more but there is also the necessity for more education for leaseholders to help them understand what they are buying in to.
First Time Buyer magazine is incredibly far sighted in the guidance, articles and information it provides for you to help you buy your first home. Last issue of the magazine there was a great article on service charge. Service charge is one area where you can never know enough and there will always be suspicion on the expenditure or someone saying they could undertake work cheaper! What LEASE is endeavouring to do is provide the education to assist leaseholders and prospective leaseholders to better understand their rights, responsibilities and ownership.
This is an ongoing journey of course and in reality never ending. We have relaunched the LEASE website as part of this which is cleaner, crisper and with much easier navigation. We would recommend you search the website to answer any questions you may have on all matters leasehold, find out your rights and responsibilities along with understanding what you are buying into. There is a one page document that estate agents should be handing out to all prospective purchasers which you can find on the website. It was produced in conjunction with residential property trade bodies and organisations to give an understanding of what it means to buy leasehold. There is also a two page version which gives more information. From there it is making sure that you get answers to any questions you have. In fact every question you could possibly have will be answered on the LEASE website.
There is a number of factors that will result in more leasehold property and therefore it is highly likely your first home will be leasehold. The Housing Act 2016 is introducing a commitment on starter homes. This is in addition to the right to buy which has been extended to renters of housing association homes. Given that a lot housing association property is flats then the renters will become leaseholders and need to know their rights and obligations.
The starter homes are being forecast to mainly be developed in leasehold blocks of flats. The reason for this is one of economics and development profitability. To achieve the desired discounted prices for the starter homes there has to be the maximum development on a site and that usually means blocks of flats. The result is more leasehold coming through and the probability of your first home being leasehold.
Therefore knowing your rights and obligations would seem sensible. Having easy access to them is what LEASE offers. The advantage of having knowledge of leasehold is that when you come to viewing prospective homes you can wallow in the show home, get lost in the views, and dream of your life in your new home with eyes open and clear understanding.
When you have bought your home then LEASE will be there to help with initial advise and the website will be there for questions as they arise and occur. Of course First Time Buyer magazine gives you the wealth of information as well to guide you.