What to know when buying an apartment

What to know when buying an apartment

Peter Greatorex, Managing Director of The Apartment Company explains what to know when buying an apartment.


As I blogged earlier this year, apartment living can be just as great as living in a house. However, buying one is slightly different. Here’s what you need to know…


You’ll be purchasing a leasehold property, which is where you buy the right to occupy an apartment in a building that you share with other people for a set period – rather than owning the land. There’s nothing wrong with this, but leases are legally more complex. Make sure you use a good solicitor who will guide you through the process.


It’s vital you check how long the existing lease is, before you buy it. Mortgage lenders tend to expect at least 70 years left on the lease. You therefore don’t want to purchase an apartment with less than 80 years for example, as you’ll struggle to sell in a few years’ time. If it needs an extension, try and push for one before you buy the property or simply get the seller to start the process off, as you need to be the owner for two years before you can apply for one yourself.


Understand what restrictions are in place. Although you will own the apartment, the freeholder may not allow pets for example.


You will need to pay service charges to live in the apartment. Check how much ground rent and service charges are, what service charges cover and who is responsible for general repairs of communal areas. Also check who is responsible for major repairs.


Finally, whether it’s a professional management company or the freeholder themselves, find out who you’ll be dealing with when paying service charges and reporting issues.

Renting a home might have always been seen as a lesser to buying one, but what you may not realise is that there are plenty of benefits to renting a home rather than owning one. One of the biggest benefits is that when things go wrong within the house, 9 times out of 10 it is not going to be something that you need to pay out (or organise) to be fixed. So, when is a maintenance repair job something to do with you and when do you need to leave it up to your landlord?