Thanks to rising house prices and interest rates, more and more people in the UK are struggling to get on the property ladder, but many professionals in the property industry, including estate agents, have noticed something of a buying trend developing!
In short, people looking to own their own houses are more open to considering ex-council houses for sale and while the benefits are obvious, we wanted to take a more rounded look at this plan! Come with us now and see if buying an ex-council house could be the answer to your prayers and if you can overcome the cons associated with the process!
The biggest upside to buying an ex-council house is that they tend to be far cheaper than comparably-sized properties, within the same area. This is even more of a selling point if you are already renting a council house that offers you the opportunity to buy it, as your previous years of rent are usually taken into account and deducted from the value.
Let's not forget that an ex-council house will usually be of a good-build quality (which is why there are so many concrete ex-council houses), as local authorities had no interest in ongoing maintenance costs, plus, they were designed to comfortably and safely house families, so they are usually surprisingly spacious! A three-bedroom home really might not be out of reach!
Even if you don't want to live in an ex-council home forever, you'll find that they offer fantastic rentability! As the start of a property portfolio, a lower-cost ex-authority house will never be difficult to rent out, if you buy one in a nice area that is family friendly!
Dealing with the local council, in a bid to buy a property they own, is a definite downside to the whole idea of investing in an ex-council house! Local authorities are notorious for not making things massively easy and can even drag their feet a little bit, but keep pushing and you'll complete in decent time, if you want to!
Another con of buying an ex-council house is that it can be difficult to get a mortgage arranged. Extensive surveys will be needed and a thorough audit of your finances will all be necessary but then on top of that, you'll have the annoyance of offset price reductions, if you have been a council tenant for a long time. If you ask the council who they suggest getting a mortgage through, this might speed up the process.
Finally, we are going to add in a con that actually, we don't think anyone should be affected by these days. Some people might think that there is a stigmas attached to owning an ex-council home, but what do they know? If anything, it's a sign that you have been savvy with your money, spotted a viable opportunity and struck while the iron was hot. We think that should be applauded, not frowned upon!
Apartments and flats are usually sold on a long lease (about 125 years), and not as a freehold. This allows you to live in the ex-council flat during this time, or sell it. If your flat is purchased from a council, housing association or another social landlord, they will usually own the land as well as the building, and be your landlords.
The lease will stipulate what your obligations to the landlord are, as well as your rights. For instance, it will include the landlord’s responsibilities to maintain the building, your payment schedule, what you may and may not do to the interiors of your flat, etc.
After you’ve been sent a copy of the lease for reading, scrutinise it with great care – even better, ask a solicitor for advice. But make sure you read it as well so that if anything seems unclear, you know what to ask and, if crucial, challenge. Once you’ve purchased the ex-council flat, you are bound by its legal terms.
And it’s always a good idea to keep a copy of your lease in case you need to refer back to it at some point.