10 Questions to Ask When Buying a Flat

Buying a property is a decision that requires a lot of thought and considerations. Many first time buyers are caught up in a rollercoaster ride without studying the process and doing proper research. 

When it comes to research, asking the right questions will lead to a more transparent contract in real estate sales. There are two crucial phases for you to go through make before you make a decision to purchase a flat. First is your contact with the seller, and the second is the visit to the property. 

Avoid leaping into the unknown side of buying a property. It may lead you to a costly purchase and other mistakes that you could have avoided. 

 

Here are some essential questions that you should ask before buying a flat. 

Don't forget to read our article about 10 Questions to Ask When Buying a House

 how to choose a flat

How Long is the Lease Sale?

Most leases for a flat run for a period of 99 to 125 years. Some leases go up to 999 years. The longer the lease, the better it is for you. If the offer is below 75 years, then it might pose a problem for you. This type of lease for sale is best avoided because you will not be able to enjoy much of you and your family’s stay in the property. 

When buying a flat, make sure that the lease period is at 99 years minimum. Shorter leases may lead to issues in mortgages and when you are trying to loan some money. Likewise, even if you are not getting it on a mortgage, it will still cause issues when selling it. Many people will not buy a flat with a concise lease. 

How Much Is the Ground Rent?

Ground rent refers to the amount you have to pay to the freeholder. They are the owner of the land where the property is built. Often, ground rent is a fee that is paid annually if you buy a flat. Typically, a Ground fee is set by the freeholder, and it can be any amount that they want. However, it is fixed by the terms of the lease.  Make sure to ask for the amount that needs to be paid annually for the Ground rent. If it is very high, it can negatively impact the selling price of the property in the future.   

Is Maintenance of the Flat Costly?

Maintenance expenses vary from one property to another. It will depend on several factors. You have to study the market in the location of the flat you are interested in buying to know and compare the cost of upkeep for flats or flats. You have to find the right balance in this category because expensive maintenance is never good for money reasons. Likewise, cheap care means that the property has rarely had any repairs. 

For instance, a two-bedroom flat without water supply or heating, but has an elevator, the maintenance cost would be about $2000 per year depending on the location. Check around for similar properties and if you are given a price point that is vastly different from the others, ask the seller about it.  

Is There an Elevator in the Building?

If you are interested in getting a flat on the higher floors of a building, this is a crucial question to ask the seller. Its importance is not just about the convenience it can offer you. You also have to chip in for the maintenance, insurance, and repair of the said elevator.  Everyone in the building or flat complex is required to pay a portion for the use of the elevator. Each year, you can expect some additional costs for the upkeep of these amenities. 

Does the Building Have A Flat Roof?

For those who have not yet lived in a flat or flat, this question might not be something important. But if you lived in such a housing type, you know that everyone in the property under leasehold has to contribute to pay for all repairs related to the flat roof. Generally, a flat roof has a lifespan of about 15 years. If possible, find out when the last maintenance work was done on the top. If it recently happened, then you have several years before paying for the next repair.   

buying a flat

What Management Handles the Flat Block?

Ideally, you should also find out the reputation of the block’s management agent. Once you know the names, you can effortlessly search them up on Google to see if there are any negative reviews or press releases about them. Your relationship with the Management Agent can be compared to renting with a landlord. A good relationship with your agent will mean a fruitful and happy stay in your flat.  

Who is the Flat’s Freeholder?

The freeholder or the one who owns the freehold is the one who owns the building and land where the building is built. When you buy a house, you also become the owner of the freehold. On the other hand, flats are sold as a leasehold only. It means that you hold the lease from the freeholder and you can only use the house or flat located therein for a specific number of years. Get to know who owns the freehold and their reputation before you commit to buy the flat. 

Are Pets Allowed in the Flat?

This is a crucial question to ask if you are a pet owner. In most cases, having pets is allowed in flats with permission from the freeholder. You might need to get this in writing, and you have to keep in mind that freeholders can revoke this if your pet becomes a nuisance to other units in the building. 

Also, if you are not comfortable having pets around, you should check if there are other residents with pets in the building. If possible, find out if there are noisy dogs who bark all night in the area. You don’t want to finalize a contract only to find out that your nights are disturbed by rowdy pets in the same building. 

Does It Have a Reserve Fund? 

In most cases, residents of the same block set aside a pot of money to cover all the repair and maintenance of their buildings. Once you buy a flat in the same area, you will be obliged to pool in your share as well. Discover how substantial the fund is, as it should cover any unforeseen expenses whenever it arises. 

Does It Have Effective Sound Pollution Filter?

Most modern flats today have a high-standard of soundproofing. It is in compliance with standard building regulations. But if you are looking into older blocks, this is one of the essential questions to ask when buying a flat. Soundproofing might be severely lacking, and you might hear, or you might be heard easily by your neighbours. 

First time flat buyers might not be sure what to look for or check during a meeting with the seller or when they are visiting the property. You must know as much information as you can about the flat you want to buy before finalizing the sale. We hope that these questions to ask when buying a flat can help you gather all the things you need to know to make an informed decision.