The pros and cons of buying a maisonette

Should you buy a maisonette?

There’s plenty of conversation around maisonettes and whether it’s a good idea to move into one, as opposed to a house or a flat. Reading on, we’ve answered the question ‘what does a maisonette look like?’, explored the pros and cons of buying a maisonette, and revealed the top questions you should be asking before making the move.

What is a maisonette?

A maisonette is a self-contained living area found within a larger building, on two or more floors. However, the difference between a flat and maisonette is that the former has its own entrance; it’s completely separate, and doesn’t share any amenities or access points. You might find a maisonette either positioned above a shop, office, or garage, or atop another ground floor maisonette.

The difference between a maisonette and house

Because each maisonette is completely separate, with individual doors, it can be easy to mistake the building for a house upon first glance. However, when it comes to picking between a maisonette or house, there are a few distinct differences:

  • Maisonette’s often come with stricter rules when it comes to pets and partying.
  • A maisonette can be a leasehold or a freehold, whereas a house is most commonly a freehold property.
  • Buying a maisonette property will often come with a smaller price tag than a house.
  • You might find it a little more difficult to secure a mortgage when buying a maisonette, compared to a house.

The pros of buying a maisonette property

Moving into a maisonette comes with a whole host of benefits, and is often considered a nice medium between living in a flat and a house. Ideal for professionals and couples, we’ve outlined the main pros of buying a maisonette.

1. Maisonettes are more affordable

Buying a maisonette property is generally a more affordable option than purchasing a house. If you’re not especially concerned about having other households within the immediate vicinity, either above or below, a maisonette could prove to be the ideal pick.

2. Buying a maisonette means privacy

As highlighted, maisonettes come with their own private entranceway, rather than a shared access point. This gives you an element of added privacy and personal space – almost comparable to living in a house – you just can’t get with a flat.

3. Enjoy outdoor space

Contributing to the maisonette vs flat debate, the former will often come with its own back garden or yard, rather than having to share communal areas and external spaces. This allows you to enjoy the luxury of outdoor privacy without the price tag that comes with buying or renting a house.

What are the drawbacks of buying a maisonette?

Because maisonettes are smaller than houses, they’re often not as comfortable for families who require the space to grow. We’ve outlined the other drawbacks of renting or buying a maisonette as your next home.

1. Some shared facilities

When you shut the front door, your maisonette is private from the outside world; you might even have your own personal back garden or yard to enjoy. But, because you’re sharing a building with other households, there might be some facilities that you simply have to share: a driveway being one. Be aware that you might have to share parking spaces with other tenants or leaseholders.

2. Mortgage difficulty

While it’s certainly not impossible to secure a mortgage when buying a maisonette, it can be testing, and the criteria are generally stricter than those of a typical house mortgage. If the maisonette is a leasehold, your provider will need to assess the length remaining on the lease before weighing up the value of the loan.

3. Ground rent and service charges

As mentioned, maisonettes are often leasehold properties. This means, if you move into one, you’ll be liable for ground rent and service charges. Ground rent is paid to the freeholder, and is essentially an additional rent to live on the property grounds, while service charges cover the costs of maintaining share facilities.

Questions to ask when buying a maisonette

Before renting or buying a maisonette, you should get to grips with the details of the agreement. We’ve outlined a few key questions to ask ahead of completing the deal.

What is the maisonette floor plan?

Maisonettes are smaller than houses, so having a favourable floorplan can make all the difference when it comes to comfort. Visit the property, but also request the dimensions of each room, to confirm your furniture will fit.

What are the service charges and ground rent?

Because maisonettes are often leasehold properties, by virtue of them being multiple abodes within one larger building, you are likely to be subject to ground rent and service charges. Before buying a maisonette, make sure to establish any additional costs, so you can include these in your budget.

Can I keep pets?

If pets are a big part of your homelife, it’s important to establish whether your potential new abode allows dogs and cats. When you lease a maisonette, you’re often subject to slightly stricter rules than those of a house, and the landlord might turn down your request, so it’s important to approach negotiations with realistic expectations.

Can I get a mortgage?

We’ve touched on it already, but it can be more difficult to secure a mortgage for a maisonette than a house. When looking for your next home, take this into consideration. If you’re set on buying a maisonette, perhaps prepare a greater deposit to help your case.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking to move home, hopefully, we’ve offered a little insight into the pros and cons of buying a maisonette, and helped you to decide whether it is the right property type for you. For even more helpful guidance and expert property advice, check out all the latest over on our blog.

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