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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DocklandsDocklands

" On the night of the viewing i was unable to locate the property due to my GPS playing up. However Nicholas located me, arranged a meeting point and drove me to the apartment! Nicholas was friendly and professional. Certainly recommend to others. "

KSApril, 2018

" Phil and Mark did a good job of selling my flat in difficult market conditions. I spent some time researching estate agents in the Greenwich area and interviewed half a dozen different agents before deciding who to go with. Franklyn James stood out because of their straight-talking honest approach, good value, and flexibility.

They managed to sell my flat within 6 weeks in tepid market conditions. We initially put the flat on the market for offers in excess of £375k, but interest was disappointingly low - we received less than a handful of enquiries in the first 4 weeks. Mark advised dropping the price a little to spark more interest - a strategy which ultimately worked well. With a couple more potential buyers through the door, Mark managed to find a very keen buyer in the final days of FJ's contract. After some negotiation, we agreed an eventual sale price of £366.5k - a figure I was happy with.

Phil and Mark and the rest of the team at Franklyn James were also very good at following up throughout the rest of the process and showed great flexibility in getting the final sale over the line when dealing with difficult demands from the buyers and delays from their solicitors.

If you're looking for a no nonsense, straight talking team of estate agents, who charge reasonable fees and are always on hand to help, then I'd recommend Franklyn James. "

TSmithAugust, 2017

LimehouseLimehouse

" We previously had our property with another agent for some time, and failed to find the right tennants. We moved to Franklyn James and Dovile immediately had viewings happening, she gave us great (timely) feedback and within a couple of weeks we had tenants moving in. This is our first time renting out a property so Dovile was able to help and advise on what needed to happen and when. Dovile was excellent from start to finish and working with Franklyn James has been very easy indeed. I would definitely recommend them, and especially Dovile. "

MikeApril, 2018

DocklandsDocklands

" Stephanie helped us to sell the property, Her professional and reliable service was pretty impressive, and always on the ball kept me informed every movement that was very helpful. "

CarolJanuary, 2018

LimehouseLimehouse

" David has provided great support throughout the whole process of selling our flat from the outset with his understanding of the local area and market conditions through to coordination with all parties at each stage and keeping us fully informed. I would certainly recommend David and Anthony at Franklyn James to anyone seeking a thoroughly professional and supportive service. "

LimehouseFebruary, 2018

LimehouseLimehouse

" In one word "Perfection". Dovile's services were second to none.
From day one she was happy to help with any query of ours. She was literally always there throughout the whole renting process. Not only did she contributed for the whole process to run as smooth as possible but also she always had a smile on her face which is vital for customer satisfaction.

Cheers Dovile!!! "

George/EleniApril, 2018

" Mark was an extremely helpful in the buying of our first property. Friendly, informative, always available and quickly responsive to help us through the process every step of the way. I would thoroughly recommend his services as an estate agent. Thanks Mark! "

William BatemanNovember, 2017

LimehouseLimehouse

" Dovile has been very helpful and happy to answer any questions. The service I received is professional and efficient. Highly recommend! "

LilyApril, 2018

DocklandsDocklands

" Nicholas has been very professional and friendly. A big thank you for him for answering all my inquiries promptly and even - after a few last minute changes - sacrificing his Sunday morning and driving over to give me the keys to my new flat. Fantastic service, I would recommend him to anyone looking for a new place. "

Captain DashenkaFebruary, 2018

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