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Opinion On Basement Flats/ Lower Ground Flats


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Hi HPC

Am considering buying a basement flat/ lower ground flat in SW6 (fulham). (Marketed as a "garden flat"!)

It has access to a 50ft shared garden with the flat above.

I currently rent nearby so know the area quite well and like it.

I notice you seem to get more for your money with the basement/ lower ground flats.

Are they somehow less desirable? is there a stigma attached to living lower ground?

Its been on the market 2 months and hasnt had a single offer - its in a great location and is in great condition and (I think) is reasonably priced compared to similar sq footage in the area.

I haved viewed the flat a few times and it seems quite bright - light doesnt seem to be an issue.

The ceiling height seems fairly normal.

Is there something I should be looking for/ or im not thinking about?

I just cant understand why it has had no offers and other flats with the same sq footage Ive looked at in the same area sell within 6 weeks.

Appreciate your thoughts

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Hi HPC

Am considering buying a basement flat/ lower ground flat in SW6 (fulham). (Marketed as a "garden flat"!)

It has access to a 50ft shared garden with the flat above.

I currently rent nearby so know the area quite well and like it.

I notice you seem to get more for your money with the basement/ lower ground flats.

Are they somehow less desirable? is there a stigma attached to living lower ground?

Its been on the market 2 months and hasnt had a single offer - its in a great location and is in great condition and (I think) is reasonably priced compared to similar sq footage in the area.

I haved viewed the flat a few times and it seems quite bright - light doesnt seem to be an issue.

The ceiling height seems fairly normal.

Is there something I should be looking for/ or im not thinking about?

I just cant understand why it has had no offers and other flats with the same sq footage Ive looked at in the same area sell within 6 weeks.

Appreciate your thoughts

I don't think there's a stigma as such, but they can tend to be prone to damp, and security is probably always going to be an issue, unless you have bars on the windows. Assuming it's leasehold, length of lease could be a factor - if it's getting close to 80 years, it's going to cost a lot more to extend it. Also maintenance charges - are they higher than average?

I would certainly ask someone to check for signs of damp. Sellers can help to cover such things temporarily with a new coat of paint, carpet etc. If a place appears to have been done up very recently to help to sell it, it does pay to be a mite wary.

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85 years left on the lease - council are the leaseholders - £350 a year maintenance charge - think thats quite reasonable

WIll def get a survey for damp before buying

It seems great to me (depening on survey) just cant understand why no offers when similar sq footage is selling well

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85 years left on the lease - council are the leaseholders - £350 a year maintenance charge - think thats quite reasonable

WIll def get a survey for damp before buying

It seems great to me (depening on survey) just cant understand why no offers when similar sq footage is selling well

That 85 years could be a factor - getting close to the point where extending the lease will cost a lot more. It's quite possible that mortgage lenders will be wary for that reason. At the moment they seem to be looking for any excuse not to lend.

Fact is, if you tried to sell a few years down the line and hadn't extended the lease, the value would be reduced and it would probably be more difficult to sell.

It'd be well worth finding out what it would cost to renew the lease - probably a few K. You can get a 'desktop' calculation done by a surveyor, but it does cost.

Or see if the vendor will arrange a new, longer lease as part of the purchase deal. Seems to be quite common to do this. As I recall, you can't extend it yourself until you've owned it for 2 years. So well worth getting it done beforehand.

If you need a mortgage and have one in principle, make sure they know about the length of lease. Otherwise you could get quite a way down the purchase route and then have them pull the offer after you've spent money on surveys, etc.

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85 years left on the lease - council are the leaseholders - £350 a year maintenance charge - think thats quite reasonable

WIll def get a survey for damp before buying

It seems great to me (depening on survey) just cant understand why no offers when similar sq footage is selling well

Basement

Short lease

Ex-council

Think about it very carefully, it will be a dog to sell when you want to move

I would only do it if I was convinced I would be happy to live there for a decade or more

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Basement

Short lease

Ex-council

Think about it very carefully, it will be a dog to sell when you want to move

I would only do it if I was convinced I would be happy to live there for a decade or more

OP, is it council-built or one of the period properties previously owned by the council?

Period LG floor flats are one thing, particularly with a garden. More recent ex LA flats are another.

Though ex LAs do differ widely and some offer fantastic space for the money.

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Hi HPC

Am considering buying a basement flat/ lower ground flat in SW6 (fulham). (Marketed as a "garden flat"!)

It has access to a 50ft shared garden with the flat above.

I currently rent nearby so know the area quite well and like it.

I notice you seem to get more for your money with the basement/ lower ground flats.

Are they somehow less desirable? is there a stigma attached to living lower ground?

Its been on the market 2 months and hasnt had a single offer - its in a great location and is in great condition and (I think) is reasonably priced compared to similar sq footage in the area.

I haved viewed the flat a few times and it seems quite bright - light doesnt seem to be an issue.

The ceiling height seems fairly normal.

Is there something I should be looking for/ or im not thinking about?

I just cant understand why it has had no offers and other flats with the same sq footage Ive looked at in the same area sell within 6 weeks.

Appreciate your thoughts

**Shared garden**

Forget it, seriously.

Personally, I would not have too much of an issue living in a basement flat, providing I had sole rights over the garden.

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**Shared garden**

Forget it, seriously.

Personally, I would not have too much of an issue living in a basement flat, providing I had sole rights over the garden.

But does the other flat have easy access to the garden, e.g. stairs down from the back, like a lot of period maisonettes?

If they don't have easy access, they're not nearly so likely to use it much.

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there is steps down from the back - so their access is ok.

Its a 50ft garden - my thinking was its going to make both flats more valuable if the garden is split in 2 so they both have a private garden. An upside down L shape for the basement flat on the RHS so you would have a path to a 25ft garden at the back. A 25ft slightly narrower rectangle with direct access for the street level flat.

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there is steps down from the back - so their access is ok.

Its a 50ft garden - my thinking was its going to make both flats more valuable if the garden is split in 2 so they both have a private garden. An upside down L shape for the basement flat on the RHS so you would have a path to a 25ft garden at the back. A 25ft slightly narrower rectangle with direct access for the street level flat.

I can't quite catch what you're saying.

Is that how the garden is laid out now, or is that how you would like it to be?

In any case, a basement flat only has appeal if the whole garden plot is demised to it. Otherwise it's likely to be a tough sell, as the current owners are now finding out. Don't get stuck with something like that.

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there is steps down from the back - so their access is ok.

Its a 50ft garden - my thinking was its going to make both flats more valuable if the garden is split in 2 so they both have a private garden. An upside down L shape for the basement flat on the RHS so you would have a path to a 25ft garden at the back. A 25ft slightly narrower rectangle with direct access for the street level flat.

You're right that it'd be better, but that's something you'd have to sort out with the freeholder.

Probably not so easy unless you're actually in possession, and you'd need agreement from the upstairs leaseholder. Who might like the idea, or not.

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Last time I lived in a basement flat, I could hear the upstairs neighbours **** sliding into the bath at 1:30am daily.

Hearing him sat on the loo was probably the worst bit. Oh, and I hope none of the neighbours has a habit of setting off their laundry in the cheap early hours eleccy.

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I don't think there's a stigma as such, but they can tend to be prone to damp, and security is probably always going to be an issue, unless you have bars on the windows.

I see quite a lot of basement flats with bars at the windows. I don't really understand why security is anymore of an issue with these flats than ground floor flats, or the ground floor of standard houses. I very rarely see bars at those windows.

Noise should actually be less of an issue than living in and upper grounf floor flat where you will have to contend with noise from above and below rather than just above.

The main issues for me would be light and damp.

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Any lease over 80 years can be extended very cheaply, 85 years is not a 'short lease' but you should extend it asap.

Councils are good landlords generally, they do not rip you off over repairs and the ground rent is usually £10 fixed.

It is better to have a leaseholder above you than than a tenant - find out how many other leaseholders are in the building.

Damp problems cost might be shared equally between the flats - check the lease.

Shared gardens are a pain if no one is a keen gardener. Also maybe noise, barbecues etc, check the lease.

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I see quite a lot of basement flats with bars at the windows. I don't really understand why security is anymore of an issue with these flats than ground floor flats, or the ground floor of standard houses. I very rarely see bars at those windows.

Noise should actually be less of an issue than living in and upper grounf floor flat where you will have to contend with noise from above and below rather than just above.

The main issues for me would be light and damp.

No, there's really no reason why it should be more of an issue with basement than with G floor. Security in many areas always more of an issue if you're below 1st floor, though.

Personally I've got a Thing about being able to open bedroom windows at night, so could never cope with ground floor or lower bedrooms, but I know a lot of people aren't bothered.

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its an 85 yr old lady. met her and shes very nice - we would have the garden pretty much to ourselves for the time being.

after that its a lottery who we'd get.

You could well be lucky with who comes next, but there's always the possibility of selfish people galumphing around at all hours - and getting rid of carpets that keep the noise down.

Some leases expressly say that upper floors must be carpeted, but they seem to be widely ignored.

Still, that's a glitch you could get with any flat that's not on the top floor.

Good luck, anyway - if you go ahead I hope it all works out well for you.

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You could well be lucky with who comes next, but there's always the possibility of selfish people galumphing around at all hours - and getting rid of carpets that keep the noise down.

Some leases expressly say that upper floors must be carpeted, but they seem to be widely ignored.

Still, that's a glitch you could get with any flat that's not on the top floor.

Good luck, anyway - if you go ahead I hope it all works out well for you.

I would only EVER rent a flat. Too many hassles - it's one area where short tenancies work in your favour: just give in your notice & it's the landlord's problem.

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