The frank buyers guide

If you haven’t used an Estate Agent before, or just need to refresh your memory on what happens next, this is where we provide a brief guide to each process. Whether you plan to sell, buy, let or rent, these guides should make the task a little easier. Print out and tick off the stages as you go.

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How it all works

Budget

So you want to buy a property? First things first – if this will not be a 100% cash purchase what are your savings looking like? How much have you got put aside that you definitely don’t need to use for anything else? Also, how good is your credit rating – do you have a credit card, do you pay council tax in your own name and are you on the electoral register – all these things will help. What are you currently paying in rent and could you pay a bit more if it was for a monthly mortgage repayment?

Next, decide whether you feel confident enough to research the available mortgages yourself, or whether you would prefer to pay a mortgage broker to do this for you. Franklyn James can provide details of a trusted mortgage broker who may be able to assist you — for further information, please see our Mortgages section.

Be prepared to fill in a lot of paperwork in order to get a mortgage offer agreed in principle. Don’t forget that there will be quite a few fees and other costs involved in the buying process, the biggest of which will almost certainly be stamp duty on top of the purchase price. Find out how much this will be by looking on the gov.uk website here:

https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax-rates

Viewings

So, that’s the money bit out of the way for the moment. Now comes the fun bit where you actually get to view available properties. No amount of online research can replace actually seeing properties in person, so try to allocate sufficient time to do this. Contact Franklyn James and make sure the sales negotiator knows exactly what you are looking for and your budget. You will always like the properties at the top end of your budget better than the ones you could easily afford, but think about the sacrifices you may need to make for the property you’ve set your heart on. When you find a property that you would like to buy, check out the background information thoroughly before making an offer. Ask to see the exact parking space, get the council tax band, ground rent and usual annual service charge in writing first.

Offer

Make a reasonable offer based on what similar properties have sold for (ask your agent or do your own research online). Be prepared to show proof of deposit, proof of mortgage in principle and be ready to instruct a local, reputable solicitor quickly. Franklyn James can provide you with a list of experienced conveyancing solicitors — for further information, please see our Solicitors section. Don’t get carried away, resist the temptation to offer more than you can actually afford.

 

Conveyancing

Your solicitor will need you to pay a sum of money up front and complete a lot of forms too, do this as quickly as you can to show that you are serious about the purchase. Contact your mortgage broker or lender and get your formal mortgage application under way. Pay for the valuation or homebuyer survey promptly to keep things moving along swiftly. Come to an agreement via the agent on a completion date which is acceptable to both you and the seller. Let your solicitor and agent know as soon you receive your mortgage offer.

Contract and deposit

When you receive the Report on Title (thick document) and the contract (a couple of pages) set aside the time to read the Report thoroughly and ask your solicitor about any sections which you are unsure of, or any plans which don’t look quite as expected. When you are happy, sign the contract and return it to your solicitor. Make sure your deposit funds are readily available and look into what method you are going to use to transfer the funds and how long this will take. Even after you have signed the contract, there may still be a few outstanding issues which your solicitor needs to attend to. Once they are totally satisfied that everything is in order they will ask you to confirm the completion date and send the deposit. Once the deposit has been received, your solicitor will request your permission to exchange contracts.

Congratulations, you have exchanged!

Celebrate, book a removals van and if parking can be tricky, contact the council to get a parking bay suspended for completion day. Contact all relevant utility providers and let them know when you will take over at the property. Arrange buildings and contents insurance. Get funds ready to pay the balance of all costs, fees and stamp duty.

Completion day

Completion of a sale often takes place in the early afternoon, so as soon as you hear from your solicitor that the sale has completed, check with the agent that they have the keys to your new place and drop round to the office to collect them. Take meter readings as soon as you get to the property and begin the hard work of unpacking. Enjoy!

All information provided correct at time of publication.

Key steps

  • Consult mortgage adviser/lender re budget
  • Contact Franklyn James with requirements
  • View properties & make offer
  • Select solicitor & start mortgage application
  • Instruct & pay for valuation/survey
  • Get deposit ready to be sent
  • Read contract, sign & return
  • Agree on completion date
  • Send deposit monies, exchange & book removals
  • Send completion monies & collect keys

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LimehouseLimehouse

" David is hands down the most professional agent I've ever dealt with. I've had the pleasure of working with him on quite a few transactions over the years. Most recently David helped us complete a sale in a fairly complicated chain and in a challenging market and I am certain that it would have broken down if it weren't for his involvement. Thanks again David "

GregJune, 2017

LimehouseLimehouse

" David was proactive and found us a great buyer within 2 days. I would highly recommend. Testament to this he also sold us the property originally! "

WatergardensMarch, 2017

BlackheathBlackheath

" We used Franklyn James to sell our house. We dealt with Phil Dockerill & Stephanie Dang. Both polite helpful , and
Nothing was ever too much bother . They kept us updated regularly through the sales process. Communication was excellent. "

Gerry & CharlesMarch, 2017

LimehouseLimehouse

" Tristan and Lee on the letting side were brilliant. Knowledgeable, responsive and going above and beyond what I expected to get my property listed and let in a rapid timeframe, for the asking price.

I have confidence in the on-going management of my property under the direction of Gary given my experience with the firm so far. "

Nick DeakinMay, 2017

Property managementProperty management

" I rented an apartment, with two friends, in North Greenwich (Rent PCM: £2600). Moving in, the agency was incredibly accommodating with our situation and made the whole process of moving in so smooth. We had the opportunity to move in one day early at short notice. Throughout the tenancy, they have been respectful of our space and understanding. When we first moved in, the extractor hob wasn't working and Nicole was very quick to respond to emails and sort the situation out! (Not easy with manufacturers based in Germany). "

Gwsmith22June, 2017

LimehouseLimehouse

" ...we instructed Franklyn James to handle the letting and management of our flat following my meeting with Lee Alter. He arrived on time in order to view the flat and gave an honest opinion as to what to expect. His enthusiasm, knowledge and good communications are the reason why he was able to achieve a let within days. Very professional "

Mrs WhiteFebruary, 2017

BlackheathBlackheath

" Kate from Franklyn James was excellent to work with. This being our first home, she supported us throughout the process and kept us updated regularly. I would wholeheartedly recommend Kate & Franklyn James, friendly, caring, considerate and professional. "

The FédiasJune, 2017

BlackheathBlackheath

" I placed my flat for sale with Franklyn James, in a difficult market - and from the beginning the staff were friendly, professional , knowledgeable and beyond helpful. Before I had even signed up with them, Philip Dockerill helped me find tradesmen to do some repairs to the flat, and he was unfailingly good natured and adaptable when my timings for the valuation visit went awry. Sophia and Stephanie were patient and supportive throughout. This is a rare thing – an estate agency with integrity! I would absolutely trust them to put a client's interests first – which is not the case with other agents I have encountered! I can't thank them all enough. "

A.KMarch, 2017

DocklandsDocklands

" Stephanie helped us on our flat purchase. During the course of purchase, she was very helpful, professional. She was always available to assist and answer my queries. We are very happy to have her as our agent, and I would definitely recommend this agent. "

AaronApril, 2017

Property managementProperty management

" I rented a flat from Gary and his team at Franklin James for over seven years. From the initial viewing to the final closing they always acted in a highly professional manner. Maintenance issues, such as a broken appliance, were handled quickly and efficiently. They were always pleasant to deal with and I have no hesitation in recommending them. "

Peter DJuly, 2017