What is a maisonette?
As you look for a new home, you may come across the word “maisonette.” You can use this guide to get a better idea of what a maisonette is and decide if it’s something you’d like to live in.
What is the precise definition of the term “maisonette”?
It’s hard to explain what a maisonette is because it means different things in different parts of the world. French people use the word “maisonette,” pronounced /ˌmeɪ.zənˈet/ which means “little house.” Maisonettes can be holiday houses or even homes that people live in full-time.
In the UK, on the other hand, a maisonette is a two-storey apartment that is separate from the rest of the building and has its own stairs and entry. Many maisonettes are found in old houses that have been turned into apartments or above shops in the middle of a town or city.
There is a common entrance for all maisonettes in Scotland. A maisonette is one of a group of duplex houses that are stacked on top of each other in a housing block.
In the United States, maisonettes are often called duplexes because they have two levels. They are usually on the upper floor of a high-rise building.
How are maisonettes and flats different?
Most flats are made in blocks, one on top of the other. There is a shared entrance to the main building and space between each flat’s front door. In a maisonette, your front door leads straight out to the street.
In a maisonette, the living space is spread out over two floors, just like in a house. In a flat, on the other hand, all the rooms are on the same floor. Another thing is that flats generally don’t have outdoor space, and if they do, it’s usually shared. People who live in a maisonette may be the only ones who can get to the small garden inside the building.
Why a maisonette is better than a flat
In some ways, maisonettes are like flats, but they have a few advantages. As an example, if you cut out the space for a maisonette in a block of flats, the maisonette would cost about 20–25% less for the same amount of room.
Also, anyone who has lived in an apartment block knows how often you can hear your friends get into trouble during the day. For some privacy and space, maisonettes are great. That is, if it’s not clean-chic Claire from upstairs cleaning her floor, yelling at the mailman for the third time that week as Aaron, or raver Regan blasting their DnB.
What distinguishes maisonettes from houses?
Even though maisonettes aren’t quite as big as regular houses, they are a lot like them in some ways. Like a house, a maisonette may have its own garden and garage. It also has a front door that goes to the outside of the property, not a shared hallway or space.
Houses and maisonettes are mostly different in size. A maisonette usually only has two bedrooms, even though the living space is spread out over two floors. A house, on the other hand, can have up to four or five beds. A house also has space in the attic, but a maisonette might be on the first floor of a building and not have any accessible loft area right above.
One of the best things about a maisonette over a house is that it is generally much cheaper to buy because it is so much smaller.
Why a maisonette is better than a house
Maisonettes aren’t quite as big as regular houses, but they are a lot like them in a lot of ways. In this case, you get the same level of privacy without having to pay for a house. You can also do whatever you want in your outdoor space, which is usually a private yard. Also, maisonettes often come with garages, which are great for storage and great for families that are growing.
Are maisonettes freehold or leasehold?
If you like a maisonette you see during your search, make sure you ask your agent this question. Either “yes, it has a lease” (which means it’s a leasehold property) or “yes, it comes with a freehold,” which is a bit more complicated.
You will have to pay ground rent to the freeholder for a leasehold maisonette. The amount you have to pay changes every year, so know how much you are willing to pay. Since maisonettes don’t have common rooms, there shouldn’t be a service charge. The only thing that might be charged is for maintaining any shared outdoor space, like a garden or driveway.
If you buy a maisonette and then own the whole building outright, other people who live there will pay you ground rent. This usually happens when an old building has been turned into two maisonettes. In the UK, the people who live in the maisonette on the ground floor below will pay you the ground rent.
When you own a maisonette, you’ll also need to know about the duties that come with it, since they are different from a house or flat. For example, the roof and gutters of a first-floor maisonette are the responsibility of the owner, while the foundations of a ground-floor maisonette are the responsibility of the owner. However, both properties are responsible for maintaining common areas and general areas like driveways and external walls.
How to increase the value of your maisonette
More and more people are choosing to live in maisonettes, which are typically found in dense urban areas. You might have snagged one for yourself and be wondering how to maximise its potential.
Although the real estate market might be unpredictable, there are steps you can take to maximise your maisonette’s worth. The following are all the home improvement ideas that can raise the value of your maisonette, whether you choose to extend it or make smart changes to it.
Tips to Add value to your maisonette
For more space, add an extension
It might not be as easy to add on to a maisonette as it is to other types of homes, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Just remember that your house won’t be qualified for permitted development rights, so you’ll need to fill out a full planning application.
There’s no need to be scared of full planning applications; they don’t take any longer than the allowed development planning process. That being said, they can be less objective, which is why you should hire a planner who has worked with your local government before.
Based on our figures, a 15m2 rear extension adds about £40,000 to the value of a home across the country. In Central London, on the other hand, that same increase can add anywhere from £124,000 to £280,000 to the value of the home! There are a few things that will affect how much value you add to your maisonette, though.
More usable space
The price of your home can change a lot depending on how you use the extra room. You can get more out of current rooms like the kitchen by making them bigger, but building new, high-quality rooms will give you the best results. One room that will always add the most value is the bedroom.
Substance above style
When building something, it’s always tempting to try to save money, but watch out for the bad things that can happen! The most important thing is to get a good build, because anything less can really hurt the value of your maisonette. Bad construction mistakes and additions that aren’t as good as the main building are the last things anyone wants to deal with.
People who are going to buy in the future care even more about open space since the 2020 pandemic. Extensions often take up grounds, sometimes by a small amount and sometimes by a large amount. You’ll need to figure out if this loss won’t have an effect on the price of your maisonette. There are ways to keep as much green room as possible. Talk to an architect about them. You might be able to get a side or wraparound addition, which will help you lose less.
Add a bath
But depending on the size of your maisonette, this might not work for everyone. If you have the room, adding a bathroom can be one of the best ways to raise the value of your home. People who want to buy a house only look at two rooms: the kitchen and the bathroom.
It can cost anywhere from £2500 to £6000 to turn an empty room into a bathroom. However, if you want to sell your maisonette, this can pay for itself because baths can raise the value of a home by 4 to 5 percent. Plus, you won’t have to fight over who gets to use the shower first in the morning.
Add insulation to your maisonette and make it eco-friendly
Insulation, insulation, and more insulation! Plenty of these methods aren’t cheap, but the money you spend will be well spent because they will save you money on energy bills and make your home more valuable.
In recent years, installing double-glazed windows in a home has become more common, which is a good thing. In the beginning, the installation can be pricey (around £500 per window), but based on the size of the maisonette, it will save the owner between £5 and £80 a year on energy bills.
This is appealing to people who want to buy a house because it can save them money and is also good for the environment. It is thought that eco-friendly homes can fetch up to 6% more than regular ones.
Choose an open floor plan
In the past few years, open-plan designs have become more common, and it’s easy to see why. If you have hallways, you might lose a lot of useful room, making your home feel small and dark. You can get back this space and let light flow through your maisonette by linking important rooms, like the living room and kitchen.
Our report found that picking an open-plan layout always has a number of health benefits. This floor plan is very flexible, so you can make your home fit your own tastes and interests. It makes more room for kids to play, for items that can be moved around, and for the family to get together during important times of the day, like when dinner is being cooked.
In the past, this was seen as a luxury only found in homes with rooftop jacuzzis and gift-wrapping rooms. But lately, underfloor heating has become popular among people who want to heat their houses more efficiently for less money.
But because this way of heating has kept its high-class image, it may be more appealing to people who want to buy it in the future. On top of that, underfloor heating makes a room more comfortable than regular heaters… Because, really, what could be worse than having to tiptoe across icy bathroom floors first thing in the morning in the winter?
Remodel your kitchen
Renovating the kitchen might be one of the best ways to raise the value of a maisonette. No longer are kitchens just for cooking and preparing food. Today, the kitchen is the heart of the home and can be used for many things, including parties, work, hobbies, and more!
If you want to make the kitchen in your maisonette bigger, make sure you make good use of the room you have. Put together too many trendy features in a small space if you want to keep the makeover simple. If your breakfast bar and eating area are both in the same small space, it can look like chairs have taken over your kitchen. If you hire an architect, they can help you with these problems and make sure you get the best plan for your money.
For people who own maisonettes, which usually have gardens, this is a great way to add value to their homes. You’ll need to decide what you can do yourself and what you’ll need to hire a professional for before you start your makeover. This depends on how good you are at gardening and how much you trust your own green fingers.
When you’re landscaping your yard, here are some things you might want to think about:
- A deck
- A rock garden
- Flower beds
- A pond
- A path made of shingles
- A fresh patio
If none of these projects interest you, though, you could just keep up with your garden and trim back those rose bushes. A well-kept garden can actually raise the value of your house.
The benefits and drawbacks of investing in a maisonette
- Maisonettes are great for first-time buyers because they usually cost less than a house and have more room than a flat.
- Unique living. A normal flat has several rooms spread out over one floor. Maisonettes, on the other hand, have two floors and are often more custom-made than flats because they aren’t part of a developed block. Because they are all different in size, plan, and features, each one is likely to be one of a kind, especially if it’s an old building that has been turned into a home.
- Extra room for storage. There may be useful storage room in a maisonette that you don’t get in most apartments and flats, like garage-style storage on the outside. This means you can store most things the same way you would in a normal house.
- Not the best plan if you want to make your house bigger. A maisonette won’t get permitted development rights like a house will. These changes mean that you will need to get planning permission for any big home projects, and there is a greater chance that they will be turned down.
- Not much room. Maisonettes might not be the best choice for a forever home if your family is growing. However, a maisonette won’t give you as much room as a normal house. Whether this is a problem for you depends on your budget and personal taste.
- Responsibility shared. If you need to do work on the outside of a maisonette, you have to talk to the people who live in the other half of the building and get them to help. Every family is responsible for paying for exterior work from the start, but they need to agree to the physical side of hiring someone to help and making sure the work is done right and up to code.
- Maisonettes above stores, for example. If the business below you is in the food business, you might have to get used to the noise and smells that come from it every day. Do your best to check out the property at different times of the day to get a feel for what it would be like to live there.
Things to think about before you buy a maisonette
You should familiarise yourself with the specifics of the lease or purchase agreement for a maisonette before moving in. Here are some important questions you should ask before you sign the deal.
How many rooms does the maisonette have?
While maisonettes aren’t as big as houses, having a good floor plan can make all the difference when it comes to comfort. When you visit the house, make sure your furniture will fit by asking how big each room is.
How much are the ground rent and service fees?
You will probably have to pay ground rent and service charges for a maisonette because they are usually leasehold properties and because there are several apartments in one bigger building. Before you buy a maisonette, find out what the extra costs are so you can include them in your budget.
Can I have pets?
If pets are important to you, you should find out if the place you want to move into accepts dogs and cats. When you rent a maisonette, the rules are usually a little stricter than when you rent a house. Also, the owner might say no to your request, so it’s important to go into the negotiations with realistic goals.
Should you live in a maisonette?
Whether or not a maisonette is right for you will depend on how big of a home you need and how you feel about leasehold and freehold problems. A maisonette might be the best choice for many first-time buyers because it has less room to manage and costs less.
Maisonettes are a fantastic option for a wide range of people, including small families, couples, and professionals. They are particularly appealing to those who want the feel of a house (like having multiple floors and a private entrance) without the high cost usually associated with detached or semi-detached homes.
However, what if you want to grow your business or family on a large scale? It might be better to have a bungalow or house with a more classic style.