When shopping around for a Cheap Conveyancing Quote when buying a flat in London, it pays to know the tenure of your home and when selecting the Conveyancing Quote options, if your property is 'share of freehold', select 'leasehold' (unless of course 'share of freehold' is an option).
Buyers are often surprised when their Conveyancing bill includes a leasehold fee when they are buying a 'share of freehold'.
Is the buyer being ripped off by an unscrupulous 'Conveyancer' or is there something else going on?
The estate agent will have gone to great pains to point out that the property (most likely a flat) comes with a share of the freehold but it should be understood that this does NOT mean that the property has a freehold title. In fact, more confusing still, there is still a lease!
Do not be alarmed however, the truth lies somewhere between the two states - leasehold and freehold.
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When a flat is sold with a share of freehold it means that in addition to the lease, the buyer will either have a share in the freehold itself or, more commonly, a share in the limited company that owns the freehold.
So the Conveyancer is telling the buyer he will be both leaseholder and freeholder (in part)?
Basically yes, meaning there may still be ground rent, possibly service charges and almost certainly covenants in the lease that must be complied with.
Surprisingly even some Conveyancers can get confused by this. Through no fault of their own some property lawyer s have very little exposure to the complexities of leasehold due to the minimal amounts of leasehold flats in certain parts of the country. (London Conveyancers probably have more experience of leasehold than freehold). Thankfully a good Conveyancer (and we certainly advocate using one with local knowledge) will be un-phased by this technicality.
Some bad news though - your Conveyancer will almost certainly charge you as if the property is a leasehold as of course there is still a lease to be investigated and reported on. Perversely though, this is actually a bit of a bargain as far as Conveyancing Fees are concerned your Conveyancing Solicitor will need to handle the transfer of the vendor's share in the limited company to the new owner on completion requiring a additional and you will probably not be charged for this.