Here at Bromley Property Company we know that when it comes to buying and selling a property, so much of the language, or jargon, used can be confusing for both buyers and sellers. Whilst we’re always here for our clients if they have any questions that they want answering, we decided to put a useful list of property jargon together that you may encounter during the buying and selling process, along with what each word means- hopefully making things a little less confusing!
Here is our A-Z of property jargon explained…
The document you need to sign when accepting a lender’s mortgage offer.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
The total cost of a loan, that takes into account any interest charges, arrangement fees and other costs, and this is shown as a percentage.
The fees charged by a mortgage lender or broker to arrange a loan.
To transfer the right or interest in a property to another person
Assured shorthold tenancy (AST)
A commonly used rental agreement where the tenant is an individual and net rent does not exceed £25,000 a year. It covers a fixed period, so both parties are clear as to when the agreement is up and the property is vacated.
The rate of interest which the Bank of England charges for lending to other banks.
A short-term loan on a temporary basis that enables someone to purchase a property before selling his or her current property.
Building inspection/Structural survey
A report on the physical condition of a property. The surveyor will look at all accessible parts of the property and give a written report on defects or issues affecting it. See also HomeBuyer Report. We always recommend that buyers have one of these carried out (and you can read why here!)
Also known as equity, capital is an asset that is less liquid than cash. It represents the amount of money you have put into a property, investment or deposit.
A chain is formed when several property sales and purchases are dependent on each other.
The point at which the sale of the property is concluded and the buyer receives the keys. Always a relief!
A document which your solicitor will provide as a final record of all the financial transactions and costs involved in purchasing or selling a property.
Conditions of sale
The specific items in a sale contract that sets out the rights of the buyer and the duties of the seller.
The legal document detailing the agreement of terms between the seller and buyer.
A representative, solicitor or licensed conveyancer, who deals with the legal aspects of buying or selling a property. The buyer and seller will each need to appoint their own conveyancer.
Rules governing the property in its title deeds or lease.
The legal documents that prove the ownership of the property.
When buying: The amount of money paid by the buyer on exchange of contracts, often 10% of the purchase price.
Items that have been damaged during a rental tenancy. The tenant is usually responsible for the cost of repair or replacement.
The items in addition to legal fees in conveyancing. These may include Stamp Duty Land Tax, Land Registry fees, search fees, mortgage redemption costs and any other expenses. All conveyancers should be able to estimate the likely level of disbursements before the transaction commences.
The initial version of the contract. This can be amended during the course of the sale but is finalised at the point of exchange of contracts.
A right that affects a property – such as the right of neighbours to pass over an access path or the right of the water company to have their pipes and drains running under the property.
Questions which are raised by the buyer’s conveyancer, often about survey or property information forms.
The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) shows the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of a property and gives an indication of the fuel bills. It is displayed as two graphs – the energy efficiency and environmental impact of the property. Each is graded from A (the best) to G (the worst).
Your equity in your property is how much of it you own. It is the difference between the value of your home and the mortgage you still owe. Negative equity occurs when you owe more to your lender than the sale price of the property.
Exchange of contracts
The buyer and seller both sign the contract for sale and at a certain time and date the conveyancers action the exchange. At this point, the sale is binding and cannot be changed.
Fixtures and fittings
When buying: Fixtures are items that have become part of a building or land and are therefore included in the sale. Fittings are not attached to the building or land and so are not included in the sale unless otherwise agreed. The seller will complete a fixtures and fittings form that will confirm what is and isn’t included in the sale.
When renting: Items usually provided in a letting that may include curtains, carpets, blinds, light fittings, kitchen units and appliances. In some cases it may also include furniture. It is advisable to check what is provided so clear if you need to buy anything yourself.
The broadest form of property tenure guaranteeing that occupation continues for an indeterminate period of time. This contrasts with leasehold, which is always subject to a specified period of occupation eg 80 years left on the leesehold.
Gas safety record
A certificate that states all gas appliances, pipework and flues are safe. It is a legal requirement for all landlords and must be provided every year by a CORGI registered engineer after a safety check.
Where a sale is agreed to a buyer at a certain price and then the seller accepts a higher offer from another buyer. Until contracts are exchanged, estate agents are required by law to tell a seller about any offer they receive for a property.
A report designed in a standard and easily read format that tells a buyer about the physical condition of a property. Lists defects and grades their seriousness and need for attention. This isn’t as detailed as a structural survey.
A list of the contents of a rental property. The inventory will note the condition of items and will form the basis of a dilapidation report at the end of the tenancy.
A government office which is responsible for holding records of land ownership and any charges, including mortgages, against the property.
Land Registry fee
A fee charged by the Land Registry to record the change of ownership of a property.
The use and occupation of a property by way of a lease agreement for a certain period of time. A lease is frequently applicable to flats but can also apply to houses. The term of a lease varies but is commonly 99, 125 or 999 years.
Buildings of special architectural or historic interest. A listed building may carry certain obligations and restrictions governing its use, repair, and maintenance, and also effect plans for any building works, which usually have to be carried out sympathetically.
Many leasehold properties (especially flats) are subject to such a charge which pays for items such as the insurance and maintenance of the building, mostly on a yearly basis.
Often incorrectly referred to as a “mortgage survey”, the mortgage valuation is carried out by a surveyor acting on behalf of a lender to provide them with a professional report stating the value of the property. The purchaser usually pays the fee for this.
Where the sale value of a property is less than the amount outstanding on the mortgage.
Open house (or open viewing)
A process usually managed by an estate agent, where several house hunters are given a time of a few hours on a specific day when they can all go and view a property for sale.
When a sale is agreed, the buyer’s conveyancer will send the seller’s conveyancer a standard list of questions about the property.
If a mortgage is not paid over a period of time, the lender may ultimately take ownership of the property by the process of repossession.
These are conducted by your solicitor to check if there is anything that might affect the current or future value of the property. It is a legality to have a local authority search before exchanging contracts.
Share of freehold
This is when the freehold of the property is owned by a limited company and the shareholders are the owners of the property, usually the owners of flats within that building.
Where only one estate or letting agency firm is instructed by a seller or landlord to offer a property for sale or to rent.
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)
The tax paid to the government by the purchaser of a property. Rates of SDLT can vary.
Subject to contract
Where contracts are still not exchanged and nothing is yet legally binding on either seller or buyer.
This is a report prepared by a qualified building surveyor to check the structure for any faults. Home owners can choose from three main types of structural survey, depending on how much information they want.
Possession of a property by a tenant under the terms of a lease.
The mode of holding ownership of a property: for example, leasehold or freehold.
Documents detailing and confirming the legal ownership of a property.
A property becomes “under offer” when a seller accepts an offer from a buyer and the legal processes of the transaction begin.
A term used by estate agents to cover the process of them giving an opinion of the value of a property.
The person selling a property.