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.
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:
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.
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.
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 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.
" 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
" Mark's service was excellent. He was responsive, knowledgeable and very helpful in resolving last minute issues in order to ensure completion occurred smoothly and on schedule. I would definitely recommend the services of Mark and Franklyn James. "
" We were very impressed with Franklyn James, in particular Philip Dockerill.
We felt Philip genuinely cared, and that practically he could handle the high stress of certain elements of our move. He managed complicated negotiations, questions and problems throughout the sale with calm, professionalism and proved the depth of his knowledge around all elements of a property sale and the market at the time.
We also found that we could always reach Philip, or if we couldn't he would return the missed call promptly. He maintained regular updates and contact via email and we also found him willing to pick up the phone to manage and discuss difficult scenarios. This seems a simple thing, but is a quality we very much valued and appreciated in him during a stressful time.
We cannot recommend him highly enough if you are looking to buy or sell in the area. "
" He was always available, kind and professional! I will suggest the agent, Nicholas he did a great job for us! "
" 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. "
" Great service and Gary is always quick to respond to any queries or questions. I'd recommend him to help you with any rentals. "
" 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
" 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. "
" Nicholas is very professional and friendly. I would recommend to anyone looking for a new place. Great positive attitude, flexibility, and responsiveness. Strongly recommend! "
" Mark did a great job of arranging our viewing, showing us the property and answering all of our follow-up questions. Mark was very quick to respond to email, which was greatly appreciated. "