House prices, particularly in London, have risen sharply in recent years. This has taken the average price for a London home to almost half a million pounds, and to well over £200,000 across the rest of England. Many potential home buyers are finding that flats are the only viable option when it comes to taking that all-important first step onto the housing ladder. But what type should you go for and is a period flat conversion suitable for you?
Experienced chartered surveyors Anderson Associates offer building surveys and a range of other property services in south east London, Suffolk, Essex and Kent. Here is our advice on some of the issues to consider if you are thinking of buying a period flat conversion.
Quality of Work
When dealing with older properties, establishing the building’s history and suitability becomes even more important.
Period flats are generally to be found in larger, older properties which have been divided up into smaller, separate units. Potential buyers should check if the conversion work been done in a way that is sympathetic to the original. Equally, has it got rid of any of the potentially awkward quirks of the original home? These issues may be important to potential buyers.
If the work has been done to a high standard, a top-quality conversion can still be the ideal home for you. Bear in mind that there can be issues with new-build flat conversions too.
The Age of the Original Property
Homes from different ages have their own characteristics. For example, a Georgian property (dating from 1720-1830) will typically have high ceilings, large windows and ornate internal fixtures and fittings. The height of the rooms can create problems if you need any work done.
The average Victorian house will also often have high ceilings and several chimneys and could well have issues with roof insulation and damp. Edwardian homes, dating from the beginning of the 20th century, are typically less ornate and smaller. They are more likely to have had an effective damp course installed but can still have issues with chimneys, roofs and walls.
Another factor is how recently the property was converted from a single home into flats. If the conversion work is more recent, then it is more likely to comply with health and safety requirements in areas such as noise insulation and fireproofing. If the conversion and the original property are comparatively old, then the chances of you needing to have some modernisation work done are increased.
Depending on the precise arrangements, flats are often more likely to be more secure than homes with gardens and other means of access. The flip side is that you won’t necessarily have anywhere to relax in the fresh air outside, or, if you do have a garden, you may have to share it with the owners of neighbouring flats.
The higher ceilings some period flat conversions enjoy can create a greater appearance of roominess. They generally have more character and individuality than purpose-built flats and are less likely to be ‘shoe boxes’ in terms of room and overall size. Older properties, particularly in London, also are more likely to come with their own outside parking space.
When buying a Leasehold and shared freehold flat, full building surveys will give you peace of mind, given that buying a flat or house is such a major investment. It will include details of every accessible part of the property and the likely cost of any remedial work needed.
If you are thinking of buying a flat or maisonette, you will have some responsibility for maintaining and repairing parts of the building other than your own home and it is essential to be fully aware of this. A full leasehold survey is particularly useful in identifying if you will have to pay for items such as roof repairs, even if you have a ground-floor flat in a three-storey building.
Anderson Associates are the experts to call if you need to arrange a period flat conversion survey or a survey for any other type of property in south east London, east London, Essex, Kent and Suffolk. Click on the link to find out more.