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    Port Pendennis, Falmouth
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    St Levan, Porthcurno
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Freehold vs. leasehold: Which is better?
Aug 2019
 

If you’re looking for a property it’s important to know whether you’re buying a building that is leasehold or freehold. Here’s a guide to each type of property ownership and why you need to think carefully before signing on the dotted line.

                           

What is freehold?

When you purchase a freehold property, you own the property itself as well as the land on which it stands. There is no limit to your period of ownership and you are solely responsible for maintaining the property. The vast majority of houses in Cornwall are freehold, although some new-build homes come with leasehold ownership (a phenomenon that is due to change under new government legislation).

Advantages of owning a freehold property:

  • You never need to worry about the lease expiring.
  • There is no landlord or leaseholder to potentially put restrictions on your lifestyle (for example, pet ownership).
  • You will not have to pay additional service charges or ground rent.

Disadvantages of owning a freehold property:

  • You take on the full responsibility and cost of maintaining the property, which can be considerable.

 

What is leasehold?

When you purchase a leasehold property, you own it for a fixed term but not the land on which it stands. When the lease ends, ownership returns to the freeholder unless you are able to extend the lease. The majority of flats and apartments in Cornwall are leasehold and if you’re thinking of purchasing one as a main or second home you should look at the terms of the leasehold (particularly the amount of time left on the lease) very carefully.

Advantages of buying a leasehold property:

  • You are not responsible for the maintenance of the building or grounds (for example, upkeep of any communal garden areas, roof repairs, or maintenance of exterior walls). This can be a big advantage if you do not plan on living in the property full-time and are looking for somewhere that is easy to maintain. It is also advantageous to older people who are unable to take on the responsibility of looking after their own grounds but want to enjoy having an outdoor space.
  • Leasehold properties are often less expensive than freehold properties.
  • Once you have owned your home for two years, you have the right to extend your lease by 90 years (providing you are a qualifying tenant).

Disadvantages of buying a leasehold property:

  • If the lease has fewer than 70 years left on it you will likely struggle to get a mortgage. You should also consider how long is left on the lease if you are planning on selling the property at some point.
  • Most leasehold properties come with service charges and ground rent that can be expensive.

If you would like more information about freehold or leasehold properties or are looking for a property in Cornwall, the experienced team at Lillicrap Chilcott will be happy to answer any of your questions. See all available properties on our website or call us on 01872 273473 today.