Never, EVER buy property like this!
Never use part-exchange schemes
Don’t use a developer’s solicitor – that in itself is a disqualification
If you absolutely insist on buying retirement leasehold – as opposed to renting first – then buy a re-sale property, not a new one with a “value” that’s just a salesman’s try-on
Carlex has been contacted by a woman in this particular dilemma. It does not matter which particular retirement leasehold developer she bought from.
She bought an apartment in 2011 in this position – “and have been trying to sell it ever since, realising I had been ripped-off!”
“After being given the hard sell and how wonderful these places were, I was like a rabbit caught in the headlights and went ahead. I have regretted it ever since as there have been nothing but problems. These include a water heater boiling over at 3 am necessitating a call-out to the fire brigade, a leaking pipe (twice) under the bathroom basin, skirting boards/window surrounds cracking and water stains in the bath/basin. Worst of all, water has run down the outside wall from the gutters, which turned the wall green.
“I thought when buying the place that it would be ideal as it was new, I had no worries regarding repairs (or so I thought) and had all the facilities, help, etc. As I said, I was given the hard-sell by a sales assistant and, knowing I was on my own, I was an ideal candidate.
“I was also being messed about by the prospective buyer who wanted to purchase the property I was selling at the time. Her buyers kept letting her down and that is where XXX came into their own. I went for one of their part-exchange schemes.
“My previous freehold property was for sale at roughly £285,000. A property company recommended by XXX bought the property for £240,000, XXX gave me another £10,000 and I had to find another £19,000 (goodness knows how I found it) to make up the price of £269,000 for this apartment.
“I found out afterwards that the property company actually sold it to the same person who had messed me about (I don’t know how much for). You can say it was all above board but it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.
“Yes, I did use the solicitor recommended by the developers, there is a 1% fee when I sell, which they say is for their contingency fund. There are 39 flats altogether and there are about 9 flats left. XXX has been trying to sell them since they were built and are so desperate to sell now that they are drastically reducing the prices just to get rid of them. It just goes to show they were never worth that amount of money in the first place.
“I will be lucky to get £180,000 if I sell. One agent has even suggested selling the flat at £150,000!”