Things to know if you’re buying an apartment

High angle view of a smiling young couple in meeting with a financial adviser at home

Buying an apartment can be more complicated as you do not own the land outright. Often a new apartment will involve the owner paying a deposit and then paying monthly payments that cover the entire cost of the apartment. Apartment owners will sometimes have to wait for over a year to live in their new apartment. Here are some areas to consider if you are buying an apartment.

The difference between freehold and leasehold – Freehold properties are homes built on a landowners own land. Shared properties like flats and apartments fall under leasehold. Leasehold properties are usually complicated and should be checked by a solicitor to ensure the owner understands the legal aspects of the property.

How long is the existing lease? – Leasehold properties let the buyer live in the property for 999 years, but the lease can exchange hands. If you buy a lease with 80 years remaining, you may struggle to sell your home if it has ten years left on the lease. Hence, if the lease is ending, look at extending the lease before you buy your apartment.

What are the service charges? – Apartments have ground rent and service charges for general repairs for any communal areas in the apartment building. These charges can increase as the apartment ages.

What alterations can you make? – Most often apartments owners will not be able to make alterations to the interior and exteriors of the apartment but can make simple changes to the style and color of the walls inside. If you have plans to make lots of changes, it is best to check with your solicitor and receive written consent that you can carry out your changes.

Written by Lyle Charles. These experts provide a professional opinion and a complete construction claim analysis. If you are either a contractor or the employer, seeking out the opinions of experts with a construction background will almost always guarantee a step in the right direction.