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Ex-local authority flat- trying to convince DH...would you be keen to buy?

(99 Posts)
TurquoiseDress Sat 27-Aug-16 16:43:39

We are in the middle of the big property hunt (we are FTB).

Ideally looking for zones 2/3 in SE London, seen lots so far but not found anything we love, or even like that much.

Been very slow over the summer, not many new things coming on.

I saw this property on Rightmove:

It's in Beckenham which we don't know a great deal about apart from meeting some friends for a meal & drinks there- it's zone4/5 from what I've researched.

It's a 3-bed property which is appealing for us, however, DH says it's clearly ex-local authority and that is putting him off a viewing. It seems to have been on the market for ages too (since around Easter).

Would an ex-local authority property put you off buying?
I might just organise a viewing myself to see what it's like.
Another concern is that the 2nd & 3rd bedrooms appear rather wondering if it's the original 2nd bedroom split in half.

Anyhow, please let me know what your thoughts are on ex-LA properties.

lanbro Sat 27-Aug-16 16:48:01

I bought an ex-ha 3 bed semi 12 years ago. Great proportions, so much so that we are struggling to find our next house and the price hike to non ex-la with similar proportions is extortionate!

The only downside is the area isn't the best, could be miles worse, but a move is on the cards in the next few years as dc get older.

I will have made money but there is always going to be a lower ceiling price than a completely private area.

Chchchchangeabout Sat 27-Aug-16 17:16:52

If area is fine I would definitely go for it. Lived ex LA for 6 years, great well proportioned cheap meant we could stay in area we wanted. Would be triple checking area, neighbours etc first but if fine no hesitation.

Nervybuyer2016 Sat 27-Aug-16 17:17:10

shock I never will get over the astronomical prices of London. You could buy a 4 bed detached in an amazing area for that here!!

Sorry, not helpful I know! I'm not sure I would to be honest, it's just so. Plain and soulless? And why has it been on so long? Nightmare neighbors? Bad area?

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Sat 27-Aug-16 17:20:38

That flat is great!

I knew Beckenam 10-15 years ago and it was great, unless it's changed beyond recognition you'll be fine.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Sat 27-Aug-16 17:22:03

What happens about repairs to the block? Be careful you don't get hit with a huge bill unless the whole block is ex authority.

WyfOfBathe Sat 27-Aug-16 17:24:10

I would go and view it. See how big it feels when you're in it, take a wander around the neighbourhood, etc.

I wouldn't rule out a house just because it's ex-LA, but the way they tend to look so... plain... and the fact that they are sometimes (often?) in neighbourhoods with less-than-fantastic crime statistics and schools. But if you don't mind the look and there are all the amenities you need nearby, then go for it!

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Sat 27-Aug-16 17:44:05

If you're looking at zones 2 and 3 it's quite a way from there. What's your budget?

Hockeydude Sat 27-Aug-16 17:49:38

This is why people don't live in London. Where I live you would have a beautiful 4 bedroom detached house with a garden, garage and driveway for the price of that flat, £345k.

I'd live a bit further out and commute personally.

The point about it being ex LA is really more to do with the area. Some are fine, some aren't.

gillybeanz Sat 27-Aug-16 17:54:53

We bought an ex council house, but nobody would have guessed as it was quite unique.
The only problem is they have a ceiling like any other house that may not be so appealing e.g near to train track, telegraph poles etc.
People are put off because they know it will never reach the price of similar property that aren't ex council, even when property prices are booming.
So unless you are looking for a huge return this isn't necessarily a problem, but you need to keep this in mind if you think you'll ever want to sell.

TurquoiseDress Sat 27-Aug-16 17:56:13

Thanks for all the thoughts & opinions- keep them coming!

Our budget is probably around 350k- but we would ideally like 3 bedrooms and there are hardly any around within our budget.

We are contemplating taking on a big fat mortgage, scary thought but also excited at the prospect of (maybe) being able to buy our own home.

I know, London is insane!
We could buy so much more for our money in other parts of the country...but for now, our careers are here and we have family to help out with childcare as well so that has to be factored in.

Please keep all the thoughts coming!

gillybeanz Sat 27-Aug-16 17:59:06

You could have a 5/6 bed detached, huge garden, double garage in the best area round here.

TurquoiseDress Sat 27-Aug-16 18:00:05


Yes I think the re-sale potential is what is worrying DH.

For us, it would be a stepping stone to get out of the rental trap rather than our "dream home" (very far from it) and so we would look to sell in a few (maybe 5?) years time.

If the property had a garden/some outside space I think he'd be more inclined to take more interest.

Just to add- my DH is not judging it purely because it's ex-LA and being a snob about it!

Think a big concern is struggling to sell it in the future, and as people have already mentioned, the ceiling price being much lower than other properties nearby.

tattiehat Sat 27-Aug-16 18:03:22

We bought an ex-LA house a few years ago when we moved for work, never really researched the area, it was a semi and the house next door was still LA, lovely neighbours, then they decided to move and done an exchange..... que not so nice neighbours, never really bothered us to be fair but had sheets up on Windows, untidy garden etc.
We have now moved again back north to where we were (still owned a property there) so put our ex LA house up for sale..... loads of viewing but neighbours house has put so many people off!! Have now had an offer which we've accepted but buyers went round to show their parents the house and next door had police cars & vans outside and a window smashed in, we panicked they'd withdraw offer (I would have in that situation!) but seem to be continuing thankfully for us!
All I would say is research well.
Good luck

kirinm Sat 27-Aug-16 18:04:12

I personally don't like ex-LA - that's down to the style of building and the way it's built really. I know friends who've bought an ex-LA in zone 4 and they pay quite large service charges etc (the LA are the freeholder).

I was told that there was little scope for changing things (electrics etc) because the floors / ceilings are concrete. And the freeholder 'owns' the windows so they can't change them for something more attractive and / or efficient.

BUT I love period properties and so I know I am not very open minded. That's why we've ended up with a large one bed Victorian - we have room to add another room and bought a share of the freehold too. All good. Except we moved in 7 days ago and have already had to get a quote for new double glazed sash Windows which will wipe out our savings. There's pros and cons to everything!

mirren3 Sat 27-Aug-16 18:06:44

I think it's lovely, just remember the situation you are in just now, whenever you go to sell there will be people doing as you are now, looking to buy for the first time.

GoldPlatedBacon Sat 27-Aug-16 18:12:40

I'd happily buy an ex-LA, rooms tend to be decent size and a regular shape. Maintenance costs are also likely to be lower than period properties. But I'm not fussed about a property looking picture perfect.

If the rest of the tenants in that block are LA tenants then if they are problematic you'd have the LA to complain too unlike with private properties. But yes re pp check service charges and covenants.

Btw, that bathroom is amazing!

Cavogirl Sat 27-Aug-16 18:15:04

It's huge and a great price for London - check out what the rental would be on it. I always think as long as you would cover your mortgage with rent (there are no where near enough rentals in London) you can always move on anyway.
I think it looks great xx

TurquoiseDress Sat 27-Aug-16 18:16:03


DH has singled out the bathroom as being dreadful- colour (pink!), style, everything!- and says he doesn't know if he could live with something like that!

Is it the pink equivalent of an avocado bathroom suite?!

TurquoiseDress Sat 27-Aug-16 18:17:21

Very 1970s! or before?

Cavogirl Sat 27-Aug-16 18:19:50

Yeah but you're not paying for someone else's taste and you could replace over the coming years - nice project and adds lots off value.
I just renovated a flat and made 80k profit in 4 months !!! You need a bit of luck too on these projects. What sort of price would one that was immaculate go for ?

QuiteLikely5 Sat 27-Aug-16 18:26:00

The plus side to ex LA properties is that they are usually very soundly built imo and apart from cosmetic work there are no unknown repairs around the corner!

HemanOrSheRa Sat 27-Aug-16 18:27:14

It's a good sized flat. Definitely LA which I have no problem with, I live in a 3 bed LA flat. Just be aware that most LA flat are sold with a 125 year lease.

JennyHolzersGhost Sat 27-Aug-16 18:27:30

You need to watch out for the council gouging on maintenance costs, as someone said above. There are a lot of examples of councils charging huge amounts for scaffolding etc when carrying out renovations (eg. Roof repairs, windows etc). Basically they try to get leaseholders to cross subsidise the rest of the work. I'd be v wary of having a council as the freeholder for that reason.

Other than that - re area and block itself, only you can be the judge so go view it and see.

If you're intending to trade up in a few years then how many bedrooms do you actually need right now ? If you don't have older kids who need separate rooms already I'd be tempted to go for something smaller closer in, in an area that will hold its value or gain (look for forthcoming transport improvements).

Lorelei76 Sat 27-Aug-16 18:33:51

I think the main thing to check is who owns the lease

one of the issues with ex LA can be that the council owns the lease and any works carried out to the common parts etc might be done by approved suppliers only.

That sounds fine on the surface, but in reality it does sometimes mean that work is massively overpriced and it's very hard to raise objections in that situation. Main red flag cost is usually roof replacement.

tbh there are always issues, council, not council, leasehold, freehold - but it's just something I wanted to raise in case you would like to know.

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