Have been browsing the internet and am very confused about lease extensions...
Some websites say over 75 years lease is fine to sell - others say 80 years - does any one know the real figure? We've got 79 years left on our flat and looking to sell but don't know whether to start the ball rolling on extending the lease as the estate agent is saying we should as it's putting off buyers but don't know whether this is correct? If anyone could help that would be great.
Also if we are to extend how best to go ahead and do it?
Thanks in advance for your assistance if anyone helps me.
I recently did mine. I wouldn't delay it and yes it does put buyers off.
It's not cheap though. You have to pay two lots of solicitor's fees and for a surveyor (who is looking after the interest of the person you're buying it from). A bit of a nightmare all round.
The only bargaining position you have with the freeholder is that you don't have to extend the lease so you don't have to give them money. They tend not to see it that way though. They know that you can't sell unless you extend so they will want the most they can get out of you. The same goes for their solicitor and surveyor. There are appeal procedures and organisations designed to help, but at the end of the day it comes down to doing a deal with someone who is in a better position..... best advice I can give is be nice to them and never lose your patience!
It is always advisable to employ your own surveyor to negotiate on your behalf in these matters as they (should)know all the laws and methods for calculating a fair price for the lease extension. Unfortunately as your lease is for 79 years it will be more expensive to extend as something known as 'marriage value' comes into account. Extending a lease before it falls below 80 years left on it is cheaper. You will have to pay costs for both sides as previously mentioned but if you employ a good surveyor they may well negotiate a lease extension at a lower figure than if you go it alone so to speak.
An example from my own experience - we had to extend a lease that had fallen below the 80 year mark and our Freeholder wanted approx £12,000 more than our surveyor had calculated was a fair price. The Freeholder himself had not initially employed a surveyor either but I believe was going by a figure that his solicitor had come up with. In the end we paid a figure much closer to our intial offer and therefore saved far in excess of the total of all fees payable.
Finally, I believe that to extend a lease a leaseholder has to have owned the property in question for at least 2 years, a way around this is to lodge the request to extend the lease prior to a sale and include this in any sale agreement, again a surveyor will be able to confirm if/how this is done. Obviously any sale price will take into consideration the cost for extending the lease if you do it this way.
Good luck and if you want a recommendation for a surveyor please do ask.
We used JSS Egerton, contact James on 7664 6648, hopefully he'll be able to help you out, the solicitors we used were Dawsons but I don't have their number to hand. James may well have it as he dealt with them for us, he may also know of other good solicitors for you to approach.
I hope you manage to extend your lease without too much expense.