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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BlackheathBlackheath

" Mark was the first agent we saw. We described our rough tick-list of what we wanted, where how much we wanted to pay etc. As it transpired, the perfect house came onto the market in that evening and Mark knew it would be right for us.

He was pretty spot on. We took it straight off the market and were the first to view the property. A month down the line, we're moved in and couldn't be happier.

Mark is a top bloke - friendly, not too salesy, understood what we wanted and post offer was really helpful. "

Jack PayneMarch, 2018

DocklandsDocklands

" Antony is very kind and friendly to solve the issues we faced during the property renting. With his help, we rented a satisfactory flat and everything goes well. Thanks to Antony. "

WenApril, 2018

BlackheathBlackheath

" Mark was very helpful and prompt with helping me on renting a flat.
He was very proactive and performed a very professional liasion between myself and the landlord.
The process was very straight forward, professional and hassle free. "

DealdiggerAugust, 2017

LimehouseLimehouse

" A very good Estate Agent. Found David to be professional throughout the buying process, sticks to his words and happy to resolve issues when needed. David is also easy to reach and always contactable. Would recommend David to friends, colleagues etc. "

JNovember, 2017

LimehouseLimehouse

" Dovile was Excellent.
Booked a viewing with her towards the end of December, she made every effort to work around my busy work schedule, unlike other estate agents she actually turned up and was knowledgeable about the property she was showing. She would pick up calls after hours and during her day off to answer any question I had.
She made this whole process very enjoyable and by end of January I had moved into my new flat. "

Miss JohnsonJanuary, 2018

LimehouseLimehouse

" I found David to be one of the best agents that I have used. He was always contactable and responded quickly to any questions without the need to be chased. He was also very helpful and patient with me while I decided on a property. Would certainly recommend David and use him again. "

TerryNovember, 2017

LimehouseLimehouse

" Recently sold our flat through Frankly James. Had a very positive experience and found them to be exceptionally professional throughout.

We had four different agents give us valuations - which differed hugely between high and low. Antony provided our valuation on behalf of Franklyn James and impressed not just with accuracy and justification of his assessment but also with the amount of homework he'd done - including pulling out the previous particulars from when we bought it, something which the agency which actually sold it to us had not.

After a further discussion we agreed on a price at which we would market and a level which we were aiming for. Throughout the process we were kept well informed of viewings and given good feedback. It didn't take long to get an offer which we were happy to accept though, as were agreed within two weeks.

David and Antony did a good job of nudging the sale along as the lawyers were doing their work and ensuring any sticking points got dealt with promptly, meaning we exchanged a mere 6 weeks after the offer was accepted - pretty quick for a leasehold property.

Would definitely recommend them to anyone looking to sell in the area. "

Rob McLeodNovember, 2017

BlackheathBlackheath

" Mark and Philip helped me in the renting process from start to the end in an extremely professional way; their approach is proactive and you can feel from the beginning how professional they are and how much they care about their clients. Constant communication, associated with an excellent suggestions throughout the process, make Mark and Philip (and obviously Franklyn James) the best choice if you want to rent or sell your property! "

PiergiorgioDecember, 2017

LimehouseLimehouse

" It has been a complete pleasure renting our property from Franklyn James and Dovile. Dovile is always quick to reply to any queries we have and is extremely helpful. She is very open and honest so provides all the information you need to know about a property. The whole experience of renting was stress free with her help. "

EmilyMay, 2018

DocklandsDocklands

" It was a first purchase in UK. Stephanie was always available to assist and answer our queries. The process took longer than expected but was smooth and this was helped along by Stephanie. I would recommend Stephanie and this agency from my experience. "

Carole & FloNovember, 2017