Buying FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

When you buy a flat, the lease on the property comes with a share of ownership of the building.   Leaseholders in a block with several properties often choose to buy the freehold between them and so share of freehold gives them more control over the management of the property.

A residential property lease is a legal document the freeholder of the property or building issues, which grants tenure for a given period of time (the length of the lease) to the leaseholder.   It sets out the insurance and repair obligations of both the freeholder and the leaseholder.

Ground rent is the rent you pay for the land the property is standing on, whether your property is freehold or leasehold.   Ground rent is normally paid every year or six months, along with the property service charge.

When you buy a property which is termed ‘leasehold’, part of the service charge may be paid into a sinking fund.   The sinking fund builds up over the years to cover future projects which may be needed to repair or improve the building.   The freeholder or the property management company will be responsible for the service charge management and will notify leaseholders if part of the service charge will be paid into a sinking fund.

An open day is when a property is marketed through viewings and buyers are invited to view the home in one day rather than spread out over a few weeks.   As you will only have a short time to view the property, it is very important to do your homework on the property and the area before the viewing.   Study the floor plan, walk around the area and consult your mortgage broker beforehand.   Use the viewing to ensure the home is to your liking whilst looking for any defects, as usually there is not time for a second viewing before you submit best and final offers.

A sealed bid is a method often used by people wishing to sell a property where high levels of interest are either anticipated or already being achieved to find buyers who are committed and willing to exchange quickly at the best price.

The contract is a written and signed agreement between the buyer and seller.   The first contract prepared by your property solicitor should have the following details confirmed:

  • The price you are paying for your property
  • The deposit amount
  • The address and description of the property
  • What is included in the sale price (e.g. carpets / white goods) of your home?
  • Covenants i.e. what you are required to do as the property owner

Check that these items are correct and ask your property solicitor if you have any doubts.