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Should I offer on this flat? So many issues...

(29 Posts)
Feelingchipper Sun 28-May-17 12:36:21


I am interested in this flat. It is a good size, comfortable and ready to move into, in a location that is very convenient for us and on a nice, leafy road.

The first issue is that it has a short lease of 70 years left. The cost to extend will be between £18k (vendor quote) to £30k (quote from an expert I spoke to who has not been in the property), plus a good few thousand on professional fees - probably around £4k but with the risk that it could go up to £8k if we can't agree between ourselves and the freeholder, in which case we'd have to go to tribunal to agree a price. Vendor is willing to give notice to extend before selling.

For comparison, this is 2 doors down and has a longer lease of 88 years (ie past the watershed of 80 years, below which it becomes very expensive to extend):

So gutted that we didn't manage to buy this one. I'm not sure how much it went for but I would assume £350-360k.

Other issues....

EPC rating of F. I'm going to request the EPC certificate to try to understand the reason for the low rating and what the potential EPC is.

Jungle of a garden with a broken fence between its garden and the one of the ground floor flat. Very tight narrow passage from the front to access the garden.

Neighbours have an aggressive sounding note up at the front of the house saying don't ring the bell with any parcels. Going to find out more about the neighbours.

Road is quite congested as far as parking goes - may have to park on a different road sometimes.

Finally, re our personal circumstances, we may not actually be able to live here beyond a few years. We would rent (and are still tempted to) but are a bit sick of being treated so badly and have been given notice twice in quick succession and can't deal with having to move constantly (have children). Also, our deposit is being eaten away by deflation and other issues (quite considerably).

Help! Thank you

wowfudge Sun 28-May-17 13:15:21

Not relevant to your query, but what happened to that newel post and why on earth has the EA included a photo of it?

Feelingchipper Sun 28-May-17 13:35:27

Sorry I don't understand?

Btw I meant inflation not deflation!!

loveka Sun 28-May-17 13:40:52

I think it's a lovely flat. The kitchen is huge.

If you are only staying a few years then do you need problems? Just get an easy flat that's going to sell quickly in a few years.

Feelingchipper Sun 28-May-17 13:51:01

Well, a lot of the local flats are new builds which we are sure will lose value in the short term (no longer new, plus many seem overpriced). Other flats are much smaller and/or have excessive service charges. We also want to protect ourselves from possible falling prices and this will allow us to add value despite it being a flat (sorting out the lease extension alone should help, plus tidying up garden). To clarify, we would offer based on asking price minus projected costs to extend lease.

bojorojo Sun 28-May-17 14:13:05

Not sure Croydon is likely to suffer from over supply of housing to mean prices will fall. It is far to close to London for that scenario. The flat in general looks fine and it is worth improving the garden and agreeing a new lease if you can get the price reduced to compensate. Or keep looking if you don't want a modern box!

aheffalump Sun 28-May-17 14:46:13

Having just extended the lease on our flat and I can tell you it's a right pain in the arse. Our sols forgot to file something the first time and we had to wait another two years, the freeholder left everything to the very last minute and it cost us 20k. Do you know you'd have to wait two years to start the process too? I would give it a swerve to be honest. Unless the current owner can extend it as part of the deal?

loveka Sun 28-May-17 14:47:13

Well if you offer based on the lease issue then why not?

Gardens are easy (and inexpensive if you do it yourself) to de- jungle.

Neighbours are a different matter. But neighbours can move. You can never be sure who you will get! After 18 years of joy we ended up with a total cunt, so we are having to move.

I thunk having stairs is a real advantage for when you sell.

Also, check the soundproofing. We have just had to spend quite a lot on soundproofing a semi which had been divided up using hardboard!

Feelingchipper Sun 28-May-17 15:03:05

Aheffalump (love the name), the vendor's are going to put in notice to extend and then assign their notice to us. Therefore the process would start straight away, we wouldn't have to wait 2 years.

Feelingchipper Sun 28-May-17 15:04:37


TheCrowFromBelow Sun 28-May-17 15:07:45

Our lease had 67 years left on a property of less value than yours, and it cost £32k but our freeholder was an absolute so and so.
You need to own the property for 2 years before you can apply, I'm not sure whether that right can be transferred part way (which I think is what your vendor is suggesting by giving notice to apply).
I would seek advice from a specialist conveyancer before making an offer, and download a copy of the leasehold from the Land Registry.
The EPC is a red herring really as most of the upgrades will probably require the whole building to be done, or solar panelS fitted so not that cost effective short term, you can download them for free - google EPC register postcode search.

Feelingchipper Sun 28-May-17 16:27:00

I've spoken to a leasehold expert and the notice can definitely be assigned to us as part of the sale. We would make it a condition of the purchase that they gave notice and assigned it to us.

I've downloaded and read the lease document from the Land Registry and if that's all there is then it seems reasonably unrestricted. I'm not sure though if there is some other leasehold document with covenants etc that isn't registered with the Land Registry?

Thanks for the tip on the EPC certificate.

Loveka why is having stairs an advantage when selling?

TheKurgan Sun 28-May-17 16:38:52

As you said you definitely can have the notice assigned to you as part of the sale so you don't have to wait two years. Having gone through the process of extending the lease and acquiring the freehold in our old flat I can report that it was stressful and cost a lot more money than we had hoped it would. It looks like a lovely flat but, given that and the other issues you mention, I would think very carefully about it.

Coneheadmum Sun 28-May-17 19:46:28

Is it worth contacting the agent of the one that sold just to make sure that sale is proceeding?

Both of them look very nice. I would not stress about garden fences etc, you can mend fences (arf arf). The lease though sounds like a right pain.

Hs2Issue Sun 28-May-17 19:53:41

Can't comment on flat but if you wanted to look up EPC it should be on the EPC register and you can search by postcode for it. Once one has been done they should be put on there.

Feelingchipper Sun 28-May-17 23:25:02

Coneheadmum, yes I've done that and it would be amazing if it came back on the market but I don't hold out much hope because it's been sold stc for a while sad We missed it by a month or two.

smu06set Mon 29-May-17 09:54:32

Just a thought - is your mortgage company ok with a 70 year lease? Some won't lend on that length of lease.

Feelingchipper Mon 29-May-17 10:05:38

Yes, we spoke to our broker and he said it would be fine. We would also need to retain the amount we'd need for the lease extension from our deposit but he has said we're still ok to buy with a smaller deposit. It's nice to have the option but in some sense it would be easier to have the decision forced upon us!

NoSquirrels Mon 29-May-17 10:15:16

It looks lovely.

But for only a couple of years, and with all the leasehold drama, I wouldn't.

Do you have DC yet? If not, buy smaller (protecting deposit in property) and buy larger with less issues in a few years?

Feelingchipper Mon 29-May-17 11:51:32

We have 2 DC but happy to live in a 2 bed property for a few years yet. It's all so difficult to balance the different costs and amount of work various properties will take. We've looked at other flats which cost a similar amount (meaning cost to buy + leasehold extension cost) but are smaller and have large annual service charge + ground rent costs. We have the budget to buy a 3-bed house but we're really keen not to stretch ourselves, plus most of the houses within our budget will need a bit of work, although at least with a house you are free to do what you want with it. Interest rates are so low at the moment that borrowing 80k more for a house compares well with a flat plus 2k service charge and both are much cheaper than continuing to rent for 2 years and we'd have security of tenure at least. Just can't decide what to dooooo!

MovingtoParadise Mon 29-May-17 11:57:12

It's a lovely 3 bed. Plenty of space, nice area.

Chewbecca Mon 29-May-17 12:01:46

If your budget is nearer £400k, taking into account the potential cost of lease extension, I would go for a 3bed freehold house without all the worries and hassle of the lease and the fact it is a flat.

loveka Mon 29-May-17 12:42:11

Buy a house.

Moving in 2 years is a waste of stamp duty and moving costs.

Are you totally stuck on Croydon? Could you go a little further out to get more for your money? Sutton, Epsom?

Feelingchipper Mon 29-May-17 12:59:40

Location is the only thing that's non-negotiable...

We have to move either way unfortunately and estate agent fees for rental are circa £600 angry. Stamp duty costs would be offset by saving in monthly rental costs vs interest cost plus whether we buy this flat or a house, we would expect to add enough value to offset the cost of buying and probably a bit more.

Truckingalong Mon 29-May-17 13:04:42

No I wouldn't buy it. Add in the cost of extending the lease and you can afford to buy a house, like this There seems to be lots of suitable properties in the area, so no need to make too many compromises so soon.

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