Susan Ward, residential property lawyer at Mooney Everett Solicitors in Ormskirk, recommends that owners of leasehold houses or flats should be considering how to make their property the most attractive, especially to first time buyers.
One way of achieving this is to extend the leasehold or consider purchasing the freehold to make your property more attractive, especially as the minimum number of years required by mortgage companies is greater than it once was. Most lenders are now looking at a minimum of 70 years remaining on the lease.
A leasehold property is one where someone else owns the land on which the property sits. A freehold house or flat with an extended lease will be much easier to sell than a leasehold house or a flat with a short lease.
“You have the right to buy the freehold or extend the lease after you have owned the property for more than two years,” says Susan.
It is quite easy to find out how many years remain on your lease. The first place to look would be in your property’s title deeds. If you do not have these, then often the freeholder or their agent, who you pay the ground rent to, can tell you. This information can also be obtained from the Land Registry very quickly and at a minimal cost.
While the sale and purchase of the freehold or extension of the lease can take place simultaneously, you may find it advantageous to deal with the lease first to avoid putting prospective buyers off.