The Terminology

There’s a lot of specific terminology ‘jargon’ used in the house-buying process. If you’re not familiar with the legal and financial terms call us and we’ll try to help.  In the meantime we’ve listed some of the key words and phrases here.

Bridging Loan
A loan to “bridge the gap” between the sale of your present property and the purchase of your new home, when the dates don't coincide (or until long term finance comes through from your mortgage lender).

Building Regulations
Term applied by the local council to ensure that new properties are built to satisfy stringent regulations.

The finalising of the sale when all the monies are passed over and the buyer has legal right to the property.

Entered into by the seller and buyer of a property which only becomes binding on exchange of contracts, i.e. when both parties have signed the contract and the purchaser has handed over the agreed deposit to the solicitor.

The legal transfer of a property from one owner to another.

A restriction or condition affecting the property, which must be complied with.

All the legal documents relating to the property.

A part payment of the agreed purchase price paid by the buyer on exchange of contracts

Energy Performance Certificate
The sellers of properties in England and Wales are required to provide a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). It gives details about the energy efficiency of the property.

Exchange of Contracts
The contracts are in fact two identical documents, one signed by the seller and the other by the purchaser. When these are exchanged, both sides are legally bound to complete the transaction.

The full ownership of both the property and the land on which it stands.

This is usually discussed with your mortgage adviser or lender when making mortgage arrangements.

Buildings Insurance
Cover for the bricks and mortar of your home. It is advisable to review insurance cover regularly.

Land Certificate
A certificate issued by the Land Registry as proof of ownership.

Land Registry Fees
These are paid through your solicitor to register your ownership of the property with the Land Registry. The scale of fees is fixed by the Government.

Local Authority Search
Carried out by your solicitor, this establishes if your new home is likely to be affected by any planning decisions.

Management Company
Some buildings have a management company responsible for maintaining the common parts (e.g. stairs and hallways in flat or apartment blocks) and landscaped areas. On some developments a management company may also maintain roads, street lighting and open spaces. The management company recovers its costs from each owner through a service charge.

Most people will need to take out a mortgage – or loan – to buy a house. There are many different types of mortgages available to home buyers – your mortgage adviser will explain.

The lender.

The borrower (whose property is secured for the loan).

Mortgage Indemnity Insurance / Guarantee
Your mortgage lender will usually require additional security if the loan is in excess of 70% or 80% of the purchase price. This involves a once-only payment which can normally be added to your mortgage. The amount of the payment varies with the amount borrowed and the term of the loan.

Mortgage Protection Policy
An insurance policy often arranged in conjunction with a repayment mortgage, which is taken out to ensure that the loan will be paid off should the borrower die before the end of the mortgage term. Insurance may also be available to protect your repayments in the event of redundancy.

Mortgage Valuation Survey
Prior to making a mortgage offer your lender will have the property valued for “mortgage purposes”. You will pay a fee (variable on the purchase price of the property).

Registered land
Land (including buildings on it) the title to which is registered at the Land Registry and legal ownership of which is guaranteed.

A term used to denote the physical and written procedure for determining any adverse effects in/on a particular property, whether already in effect or planned to take place.

Stamp Duty
Government tax on the purchase price of a property. Your solicitor will automatically handle.  See our stamp duty calculator to further understand how this works.

Sold Subject to Contract
Sold 'Subject to Contract' (STC) means that the seller and buyer are proceeding with the sale but the paperwork is not yet complete.
The rights and liabilities that attach to the property.

Title Deeds
Legal documents describing the rights and liabilities that attach to the property and prove ownership of property.

Title report on
Solicitors' certificate confirming that the title to the property is acceptable. A Lender must have one before an advance cheque for the mortgage monies can be issued.