It's crucial to understand the difference between a freehold and leasehold properties before you climb on the housing ladder. A freehold property means you have complete ownership of the building and land. You are in total control of it's maintenance and day-to-day running and essentially you can do what you like with it, as long as you stay within local property and planning legislation. In a leasehold property, on the other hand, you buy the right to to live in the property for a defined period of time and the freehold owner still retains control. In a leasehold you also have to opportunity to buy a share of the freehold. This process is called enfranchisement.