Freeholds give you more freedom and control over your costs as they don’t include ground rent or service charges. If you're a freehold homeowner living on a private estate, you may be expected to pay service charges for the upkeep of the communal areas.
If you’re buying a leasehold property, always check how many years are left on the lease! This is something your mortgage advisor will ask about in your advice call.
The freeholder of a property owns it outright, including the land it’s built on.
With a freehold property, you don’t have to deal with the freeholder (the landlord) and you don’t usually have to pay ground rent, service charges or any other landlord charges.
With a leasehold, you own the property (subject to the terms of the leasehold) for the length of your lease agreement with the freeholder. When the lease ends, ownership can return to the freeholder, unless you extend the lease.
Most flats and maisonettes are owned leasehold, so while you own your property in the building, you have no stake in the building it’s in. Some houses are sold as leaseholds. If this is the case, you own the property, but not the land it sits on.
Share of freehold
You can sometimes buy the freehold from the landlord along with other leaseholders - for example, other people living in a block of flats. This gives you greater control over your home and costs. If the share of the freehold was purchased it would need to be an equal share with the other flats in the block (i.e. 4 flats, 25% share each).
Before buying a leasehold please check
How many years are left on the lease?
Are the service charges and ground rent affordable?
Might the length of the lease hurt my chances of getting a mortgage and make reselling the property difficult down the line?
Are there any restrictions on the property? Some leaseholds don’t allow pets, for example.
Is the management company reputable?