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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" 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. "

RachelSeptember, 2017

LimehouseLimehouse

" David found the buyer for my property, successfully identifying someone who could proceed quickly with the sale. Throughout the process David was helpful, professional and always replied swiftly to queries, keeping in daily contact. He helped to ensure a smooth sale throughout and was the key link to ensuring that solicitors on both sides spoke with each other and all outstanding issues could be resolved. He relayed messages between the buyer and myself on a regular basis to keep processes moving on the sale and keep me reassured throughout. I was really pleased with the services David provided and would highly recommend this agent. "

Ms DeenJanuary, 2018

LimehouseLimehouse

" Great service for very friendly staff throughout the initial process. Lee was very helpful in negotiating between the landlord and us (tenant) and offered good advice. Was very responsive throughout the agreement process. After sign-on, Hilary was our property manager who has been very helpful with any queries and issues we had, being also very responsive (even responding during late evening and weekend queries).
Could not ask for better service! "

Pam & JasonMay, 2018

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

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

DocklandsDocklands

" Stephanie was very helpful and she was constantly keeping us informed about the sale of our building. She's reliable, punctual, professional and eager to assist. "

GraceApril, 2018

LimehouseLimehouse

" David is just fantastic, very proactive and responsive. We took a bit of time deciding on the property and asked to see it several times. David was always very accomodating and happy to schedule the viewings for us at the most suitable time. During the buying process everything was just perfect. We never had to chase. We both highly reccommend David and will use his help again. "

AlonaOctober, 2017

" 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 were glad we made the enquiry to Franklyn James and was passed directly to Tristan.
Tristan is the epiphany of professionalism and courtesy.
He was happy to hear our requirements, discuss our options and make valuable proposals. He had never refused to revert and respond to even the most difficult of questions, almost seven days a weeks! He is an asset to the Organisation.
I highly recommend Tristan and indeed Frankly James! "

JC & SYSeptember, 2017

LimehouseLimehouse

" Tristan was awesome. He understood our needs quickly and showed us four properties - all of which we were very happy with. Once, we had chosen a place, Tristan completed the discussions with the landlord over the weekend so that we could quickly go ahead with the next steps in the process. Overall, we had a great experience with Tristan and Franklyn James and would recommend him strongly! "

VijayJanuary, 2018