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Jargon Buster

Trying to understand property related jargon?

A

Agreement in Principle

The pre-qualification of a borrowers potential to obtain a mortgage.

Applicant

A person, registering with an Estate Agent who wants to start the search for a property.

Appraisal Price

An estimated selling price given to a property.

Appreciation

The increase of a property’s value, caused by market conditions.

APR (Annual Percentage Rate)

This rate assumes certain fees and costs on a mortgage, and is intended to help the borrower compare different products and lenders.

Arrangement Fee

A potential fee charged by a mortgage lender.

Arrears

The overdue amount of payments missed on a mortgage.

Auction

The sale of a property to the highest bidder with a legally binding contract at the drop of a hammer.

B

Bank of England Base Rate

The rate set by the bank of England which influences interest rates charged by lenders.

Buildings Insurance

Insurance which provides cover if the structure of a property is damaged.

Bungalow

A property all on one level (ground floor).

Buy to Let Mortgage

A mortgage which has been processed on a property which has been purchased to rent out.

C

Capital

The amount of money you have in a property after deducting mortgage owed and costs. (Also known as equity)

Chain

A chain is formed when a buyer is reliant on the sale of their own home to purchase a new property.

Charge

The order of which a person or company is entitled to the property.

Commission

A fee charged for conducting business.

Completion

This is the final stage of the home buying process when the property is transferred legally to the buyer.

Contents Insurance

Insurance which provides cover if the owners belongings are damaged.

Contract

An agreement which is legally binding between the buyer and the seller of a property.

Contract Race

The race between two parties to exchange contracts first on a property purchase.

Conveyancing

The legal process (usually carried out by a solicitor) followed to purchase a property.

Council Tax

A charge levied by local councils and is charged dependant on bandings.

Covenants

The rules and regulations that govern what can and cannot be done usually held in the title deeds or lease.

D

Data Protection Act

Sets rules and regulations of how your personal information can be held or used.

Deeds

Legal title documentation that proves ownership of a property.

Deposit

The money paid to a solicitor to ensure the purchase of a property.

Depreciation

The decline or reduction in the value of the property caused by market conditions.

Detached

A property that stands alone, with no other connected building.

Disbursements

Various fees paid to your solicitor. Can include land registry fee and search fee.

Down valuation

When a lender restricts the amount of borrowing based on a surveyors market valuation.

Draft Contracts

The preliminary contract drawn up by a solicitor (conveyancer).

Due Diligence

A process of performing duties to the generally accepted professional standard.

E

Early Repayment Charge

An extra charge on some mortgages, if you repay some or the entire loan before a specified date.

End Terrace

The properties at each end of a line of terraced properties.

Endowment Mortgage

A mortgage where the interest only is paid to the lender which often requires a separate insurance policy with the aim to pay off the mortgage at the end of the agreed term.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

An EPC measures the energy efficiency of a property using an A to G grade. It’s a legal requirement to have a valid EPC commissioned before a property can be marketed.

Equity

The amount of money you have in a property after deducting mortgage owed and costs. (Also known as capital)

Excess

The initial sum paid on an insurance claim.

Exchange

The point at which signed contracts are physically exchanged, legally binding the sale/purchase of a property.

F

Financial Services Authority (FSA)

The independent regulatory body for the financial services in the UK.

Fixed Rate Mortgage

A mortgage in which the agreed interest rate will stay the same for an agreed length of time.

Fixtures and Fittings

Items that is included in the sale of a property.

Freehold

Where the owner of the property also owns the land on which it’s built.

Full Structural Survey

An inspection of the structure of a property conducted by a surveyor who will issue a detailed report regarding any possible defects.

Further Advance

An extra loan secured against a property.

G

Gazump

When the vendor accepts a higher offer from a third party after already agreeing the sale with someone else.

Gazundering

When the vendor accepts a lower offer from there buyer before the point of exchange.

Ground Rent

An annual charge levied by the freeholder to the leaseholder.

Guarantor

A third party who promises to pay a borrowers debt if that borrower defaults.

H

Higher Lending Charge

A fee, potentially charged by a lender where the loan is above a pre-set percentage of the value of the property.

HIP (Home Information Pack)

Under the provisions of the Housing Act 2004 a Home information pack (HIP), sometimes called a Sellers Pack, must be provided before a property in England and Wales can be put on the open market (suspended on the 21st May 2010).

Home Buyer Survey and valuation

A survey report on the property which is not as detailed a full structural survey that assesses the condition of a property and its value.

I

IFA (Independent Financial Advisor)

A qualified and regulated individual who can advise on your mortgage and insurance needs.

Individual Savings Account (ISA) Mortgage

An interest only mortgage which is designed to pay off a loan at the end of the period.

Inflation

The general increase in price over a period of time.

Interest Only Mortgage

A mortgage where the monthly payment consists of only the interest, meaning no capital is repaid.

J

Joint Tenants

The form of ownership for two parties where if one of them dies, the deceased share of the property automatically transfers to the remaining party, giving them full ownership (regardless of the terms of the will)

K

KFI (Key Facts Illustration)

A summary of the information relating to a mortgage that you wish to apply for.

L

Land Registry

The department that registers the legal title of an area of land.

Landlord

The owner of a property that is rented out.

Lease

The legal agreement between the landlord and tenant.

Leasehold

The ownership of a property but not the land on which it’s built (usually applies to flats).

Legal Fees

The amount of money paid to your solicitor (conveyancer).

Lender

A party typically bank or building society that lends money for the purpose of buying a property.

Listed Building

A building which is considered to be of special architectural or historic interest.

Loan to Value

The percentage of a loan against the value of the property.

Local Authority Search

The process where a solicitor (conveyancer) checks with the local council regarding any outstanding or future issues which may affect the property.

M

Maintenance Charge

Charged by the freeholder to the leaseholder, this cost is for the up keep of any communal parts of a building.

Maisonette

A self-contained apartment usually over two floors, often with its own front door.

Mid Terrace

A property in the middle of a row of properties.

Mortgage

A loan by which the borrower can purchase a property.

Mortgage Valuation

A survey carried out on behalf of a mortgage lender to check the value of a property.

MPP (Mortgage Payment Protection)

An insurance that pays your monthly mortgage payment if you’re unable to work because of redundancy, sickness or accidents.

Multi Agency

When more than one Estate Agent has an agreement to market a property at the same time.

N

Negative Equity

A situation where the value of the property is less than any outstanding loans secured against it.

O

Offer

The amount of money a buyer is prepared to pay for a property.

OIEO

Offers in excess of the price listed.

OIRO

Offers in region of price listed.

Open House

A scheduled period of time in which a property is designated to be available for viewing for potential buyers.

Open Market Value

The price which a property should achieve on the open market.

P

Payment Holiday

An option with some mortgage lenders that allows you to stop paying mortgage payments for a set period of time.

Peppercorn Ground Rent

A nominal periodic rent usually paid annually.

Pied à Terre

A property kept for temporary, secondary or occasional occupation.

Premium

A monthly amount payable for any insurance policy.

Probate

The administration of a property by an executor of a will following the death of the owner.

Public Liability Insurance

Insurance that covers injury or death to anyone on or around your property.

Purchaser

A person who’s buying a property.

R

Redemption

When a mortgage is fully repaid.

Remortgage

The refinancing of a property by switching from one lender to another.

Repayment mortgage

A mortgage when the monthly payment consists of interest and capital, gradually reducing the debt over a period of time.

Repossession

When the mortgage lender takes possession of the property due to the non-payment of an agreed loan.

Retention

Where a mortgage lender retains part of the loan until specified work has been completed.

S

Search

A request for information directly relating to the property.

Semi Detached

A property which is joined to one other house.

SMS (Short Message Service)

Commonly known as text messages.

Sole Agent

When a vendor uses only one Estate Agent to sell their property (often resulting in cheaper commission).

Solicitor (conveyancer)

A legal expert handling the legal process for the sale or purchase of a property.

Sought After Location

An area within a town, that is popular for potential buyers.

Standard Variable Rate

A mortgage lenders flexible standard interest rate.

Studio Flat

A property consisting of one main room incorporating cooking, living and sleeping facilities, usually with a separate bathroom/shower room.

Subject to Contract

The term used to confirm a property purchase is not yet legally binding.

Surveyor

A qualified person to estimate the value of property and complete structural surveys.

T

Tenant

A person who rents a property and pays an agreed monthly rent to the landlord.

Tenants in Common

The ownership of a property where each party owns a pre-determined percentage.

Tenure

The conditions on which a property is held, i.e. Leasehold or Freehold.

Terraced house

A property that forms part of a connected row of houses.

Title Deeds

Documents showing the legal ownership of a property.

Town House

A property laid out over three floors, often with the lounge on the first floor.

Tracker Mortgage

A type of mortgage where the monthly payment can change, often dependant on changes in the bank of England base rate.

U

Under Offer

The term given to a property which has had an acceptable offer made, but prior to exchange of contracts.

V

Vacant

A name given to a property where there are no current occupiers.

Valuation

A basic survey of a property to estimate its value.

VAT (Value Added Tax)

A legal charge levied against some goods and services.

Vendor

The name given to the owner of a property being sold.

Viewing

When a potential buyer physically attends a property to look around.

W

Will

A legal document that details what happens to a person’s assets upon their death.

Y

Yield

Income from a property calculated as a percentage of its value.

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