Fed up with the constant management of a freehold? Tired of chasing ground rent payments? Unable to commit the time required for this responsibility?
Do any of those points sound familiar? We’ve heard many such exclamations over the years from people who eventually decide to sell. Whatever the reason, here are my top ten tips for anyone looking to sell a freehold.
1. Seek independent legal advice
As with selling any property, there are many legal implications so naturally, it makes sense to obtain advice from someone who knows their stuff and can guide you through the correct procedure.
2. Use an experienced legal representative who specialises in conveyancing & property matters
Selling a freehold brings with it specific issues. For instance, in adherence with the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, you should offer the tenants (if there are two plus flats) the right of first refusal, allowing them to buy the freehold before it goes to market. You must also provide the right paperwork within the right time frames. It makes sense to seek out a solicitor who has a proven track record of dealing with this type of sale so that they can cover anything you might have missed.
3. Research selling avenues, such as investment companies
Don’t just rely on estate agents for the sale, there are lots of reputable property investment companies out there who might snap that freehold out of your hands – great if you are selling in a hurry. You don’t have to sell to an individual. If your tenants don’t want to buy, then consider a different avenue.
4. Dig out or obtain a copy of the leases ready to answer questions
Inevitably, tenants will have queries, so too might your managing agents and solicitor. Familiarising yourself with the leases and having them close to hand will allow you to answer promptly – making your life just a little bit easier.
5. Have full information available
Have full information available, such as a full address, number of leases, years remaining on each lease, ground rent income, insurance, and maintenance responsibilities
As above, having this information within easy reach will aid the process exponentially.
6. Ensure that the correct notices are served to the tenants
You must make sure you provide tenants with enough information within the correct (very strict) timeframes, as per the leasehold agreements and as required under the Landlord and Tenant Act, 1987. Failure to do so could be costly.
7. Attempt to collect all outstanding payments from tenants prior to selling
No one wants to be left out of pocket. If you need assistance, your solicitors may be able to address any problems.
8. Shop around for the best price – if the price is important to you
If time isn’t an issue, then do some research in order to obtain a good price. Arrange for several valuations, so you have a ball-park idea of what you should be looking for.
9. Be sure to give the correct details to any buyer
Misleading information may directly affect the price they offer and you don’t want to haggle later down the line. Though this might seem obvious, it’s easy to overlook a detail or mistake a figure and this could impact any offers made. Check everything before you communicate; it might take longer and seem unnecessary, but it could prevent hassle later on.
10. Take note of all deadlines, timescales, notice periods, and requirements to ensure a smooth sale
We can’t reiterate this point enough – there are some very strict rules surrounding the sale of a freehold, so it’s well worth seeking expert advice. You must stick to the deadlines, otherwise, you could be looking at a really long, awkward journey.