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Understanding the language of the property market can be beneficial when buying and selling property, even with the support of an agent. Our glossary is here to help you decode the terminology, whether you’re a first-time buyer or an experienced seller.

A

Agreement in Principle

A preliminary agreement between a lender and a potential borrower outlining the maximum amount the lender is willing to lend, based on an initial assessment of the borrower’s financial situation.

Annual Percentage Rate of Charge

The total cost of a loan or mortgage, expressed as an annual percentage, including interest rates and additional fees.

Appraisal

An evaluation of a property’s value, typically conducted by a professional appraiser.

Advertising

The promotion of a property for sale through various channels, such as online listings, print media, and social media, to attract potential buyers.

B

Bank Rate

The interest rate set by the Bank of England, influencing overall interest rates in the economy.

Building Survey

A comprehensive survey conducted by a chartered surveyor, providing a detailed assessment of a property’s condition, structure, and necessary repairs. Suitable for older properties or those with unique features, the Building Survey assists buyers in understanding potential risks and maintenance requirements.

Buyer's Agent

An estate agency professional hired by the buyer to assist in the property search, negotiations, and transaction process.

Bridging Loan

A short-term loan used to bridge the gap between the purchase of a new property and the sale of an existing one.

C

Capital Gains Tax

A tax on the profit made from selling certain types of assets, including property.

Chain-Free

A property transaction where there are no other properties involved in the buyer’s or seller’s chain.

Commonhold

A form of property ownership in which residents collectively own and manage the common areas of a building or development.

Condition Report

A basic survey outlining the overall condition of a property, highlighting significant issues but providing minimal detail. The Condition Report is a cost-effective option, suitable for newer homes or those in good condition where a more extensive survey may not be necessary.

Conveyancer

A legal professional specialising in the legal aspects of property transactions, ensuring a smooth transfer of ownership.

Conveyancing

The legal process of transferring property ownership from the seller to the buyer.

Completion Date

The agreed-upon date when the property sale is finalised, and ownership officially transfers from the seller to the buyer.

Covenant

A legal obligation or restriction associated with a property, often detailed in the property’s deeds.

Credit Rating

A numerical representation of an individual’s or business’s creditworthiness, indicating the likelihood of fulfilling financial obligations. Credit ratings are often used by lenders to assess the risk associated with extending credit, including mortgage loans. Factors such as payment history, outstanding debt, length of credit history, types of credit in use, and recent credit inquiries contribute to determining credit ratings. A favorable credit rating can enhance one’s ability to secure favorable financing terms, while a lower rating may result in higher interest rates or difficulty obtaining credit.

D

Deeds

Legal documents confirming ownership and detailing the rights and responsibilities associated with a property. Also known as title deeds.

Deposit

A sum of money paid by the buyer as a commitment to the purchase, usually a percentage of the property’s value.

E

Easement

A legal right granted to someone allowing them to use another person’s land for a specific purpose, such as access or utilities.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

A certificate providing information about a property’s energy efficiency, helping potential buyers or tenants assess its environmental impact.

Equity

The difference between the property’s market value and the outstanding mortgage amount.

Exchange of Contracts

The legal stage in the property sale where contracts are signed and exchanged between buyer and seller.

Execution-Only

A type of financial service where a client makes investment decisions without receiving personalised advice.

F

First Time Buyer

An individual purchasing a property for the first time, often eligible for certain benefits or schemes.

Fixed-Rate

A mortgage or loan with a set interest rate for a specified period, providing stability in repayments.

Fixtures and Fittings

Items considered part of the property, like built-in furniture or light fixtures, which are included in the sale.

Freehold

A type of property ownership where the buyer owns both the property and the land it is situated on.

Freeholder

The person or entity that owns the land on which a property is built.

G

Gazundering

The practice of a buyer lowering their offer just before the exchange of contracts, putting pressure on the seller to accept a reduced price.

Gazumping

When a seller accepts a higher offer from another buyer after already agreeing to one.

Ground Rent

A fee paid by the leaseholder to the freeholder for the use of the land.

H

Homebuyer's Report

A detailed survey that assesses the condition of the property, highlighting any potential issues.

Home Staging

The process of preparing a property for sale by enhancing its visual appeal to attract potential buyers.

I

Incentive

A benefit or inducement offered to potential buyers, such as covering conveyancing costs or including appliances, to make the property more attractive.

Instruction

A formal agreement between a seller and an estate agent to market and sell their property.

Interest Rates

The cost of borrowing money, typically expressed as a percentage of the loan amount.

J

Joint Tenancy

A form of property ownership where two or more people share equal ownership rights.

Joint Agent

Two or more estate agents jointly instructed by the seller to market and sell the property.

Joint Mortgage

A mortgage taken out by two or more individuals, typically for a property they co-own.

Joint Sole Agency

An agreement where two estate agents jointly market a property.

K

Key Release

The point at which the keys to the property are handed over to the buyer, signifying completion of the sale.

L

Local Authority Searches:

Investigations to uncover information about the local area, such as planning permissions or potential developments

Land Registry

A government office responsible for maintaining records of land and property ownership.

Land Transaction Tax (LTT)

The tax payable on property transactions in Wales.

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT)

The tax payable on property transactions in Scotland.

Leasehold

A type of property ownership where the buyer owns the property but not the land it stands on.

Leasehold Enfranchisement

The process by which leaseholders can buy the freehold of their property.

Leasehold Extension

The process of extending the lease on a leasehold property.

Loan-to-Value (LTV)

The ratio of a loan amount to the appraised value of the property, influencing mortgage terms and interest rates.

M

Mixed-Use Property

A property that serves both residential and commercial purposes.

Mortgage

A loan secured by the property itself, used to finance its purchase.

Mortgage Broker

A professional who helps individuals find and secure mortgage deals from various lenders.

N

Negative Equity

When the outstanding mortgage is higher than the property’s current market value.

Negative Covenants

Restrictions on what the property owner can do with their property, often outlined in the deed.

New Build

A property that has been recently constructed and has not been previously occupied.

O

Offer

A proposal from a buyer to purchase a property at a specified price.

Open House

A scheduled period during which a property is open for prospective buyers to view without an appointment.

P

Probate

The legal process through which the estate of a deceased person is distributed. This process includes validating the deceased person’s will (if there is one) and settling any outstanding debts before distributing assets to beneficiaries. In the context of property, probate establishes the legal authority to transfer ownership from the deceased person to their beneficiaries or heirs.

Property Chain

A sequence of property transactions where each purchase is dependent on the success of the previous one.

Property Mark

Property Mark is the professional body for the sector that offers a recognised certification scheme to ensure the highest standards in property marketing and management.

Property Ombudsman

An independent body that resolves disputes between estate agents and consumers.

Property Valuation

An assessment of a property’s market value, often conducted by a professional valuer or estate agent.

Q

Quiet Title Action

Legal proceedings to establish clear ownership of a property and resolve any title issues.

Quote

A written estimate from a solicitor or conveyancer outlining the costs involved in the property sale.

R

Redress Scheme

A government-approved scheme to resolve disputes between consumers and estate agents.

Redemption Penalty

A fee charged by the lender if the borrower repays the mortgage before a specified date.

Rent Charge

An annual sum payable by the freeholder on some leasehold properties.

Right of Way

A legal right allowing someone to pass through another’s property.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

A professional body that regulates and promotes the standards of property professionals, including surveyors and valuers.

S

Snagging

The process of identifying and rectifying defects or issues in a new-build property.

Sole Agency

An exclusive agreement between a seller and one estate agent for the marketing and sale of the property.

Solicitor

A legal professional specialising in property law, responsible for the legal aspects of property transactions.

Standard Variable Rate (SVR)

The default interest rate set by a lender, often subject to changes in the broader financial market.

Stamp Duty

A tax levied on property transactions, paid by the buyer.

Survey

An in-depth inspection of a property’s condition and structure conducted by a qualified surveyor. Surveys help identify potential issues, allowing buyers to make informed decisions before completing a property purchase. Common types include the Homebuyer’s Report, Building Survey, and Condition Report.

Surveyor

A professional who assesses the condition and value of a property, providing a detailed survey report.

T

Tenants in Common

Ownership agreement whereby each co-owner owns a specific share of the property.

Title Deeds

Legal documents proving ownership of the property.

Turnkey Property

A property ready for immediate occupancy or use without the need for major renovations or improvements.

U

Under Offer

A status indicating that a seller has accepted an offer from a buyer but the sale is not yet complete.

Unencumbered Property

A property without any outstanding mortgages or liens.

V

Valuation

An assessment of a property’s worth, often conducted by an estate agent or surveyor.

Vendor

Another term for the seller of a property

W

Withdrawn

When a property is taken off the market without being sold.

Yield

The annual income generated from a property investment, expressed as a percentage of its value.

Z

Zone

Refers to specific areas or categories of land use, defined by local planning authorities.

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