This glossary describes the more commonly used industry terms to help you better understand the property market.
Document confirming to a lender that a borrower wishes to accept a mortgage offer.
Additional Security Fee
Fee charged by some lenders to protect them against the borrower defaulting. Also know as Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee and Mortgage Indemnity Premium.
Monies provided by a lender to a borrower and secured on the property as part of the mortgage debt.
Document outlining the terms agreed between the buyer and the seller and binding both parties to complete the sale/purchase transaction. Also known as Contract.
Any person looking to buy or rent a property.
When an applicant applies to rent a property. (Known as Offer with regards to Sales).
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
Total cost of a loan expressed as an annual interest rate. Provides a useful comparison when reviewing mortgage offers.
Fee charged by some lenders to cover the administration or arranging a loan.
- Sales: the amount that is overdue in relation to a mortgage, which may result in action by a lender to repossess the property
- Lettings: the amount overdue in relation to rent, or any other charges
Price set by the seller of a property as what they hope to achieve.
Transfer of a right or claim to a property from one party to another.
Method of sale whereby a property is sold to the highest bidder.
Back to back
A property that forms part of a row, or terrace, of similar houses joined together at the rear as well as the sides, with only one external wall (mid-terrace back to back).
Interest rate set by the Bank of England. Variable mortgage rates will often be adjusted depending on movements in the Base Rate.
Person who is obligated to repay a loan in accordance with its terms.
Defines the point at which a contract may be terminated.
Temporary loan designed to enable a property to be purchased prior to the sale of another property.
Insurance policy required by lenders and designed to cover any structural damage to a property.
Detailed report on the construction and any defects of a property, following a thorough inspection carried out by a Chartered Surveyor. Also known as a Structural Survey.
A residential property that consists of one level on ground floor.
Person who is buying a property. Also known as the Purchaser.
Buy to Let Mortgage
Mortgage designed for buying a property that is intended to be rented to tenants for investment purposes.
Amount borrowed on which interest is calculated.
Occurs where successive buyers and sellers are linked together and reliant upon one another to complete the transaction.
A bungalow with upper rooms set into the roof, usually with dormer windows.
Security in the property relied upon by lenders when granting a mortgage.
Suitably qualified person employed to carry out a Building Survey and report on the condition of a property.
Property pledged as a guarantee for the repayment of a mortgage.
Fee payable to an estate agent, usually a percentage of the property price, for providing certain services in relation to the transaction.
Point at which legal transfer of property ownership passes from one party to another.
Conditions of Sale
Terms defined in the contract and which determine the rights and duties of the buyer and seller.
Optional insurance policy designed to cover any loss or damage to possessions within the property.
Document outlining the terms agreed between the buyer and the seller and binding both parties to complete the sale/purchase transaction. Also known as Agreement.
Occurs when two or more parties attempt to purchase the same property and the Vendor (Owner) will sell to the first party to exchange contracts.
Suitably qualified person, such as a solicitor or licensed conveyancer, who handles the legal and administrative process of transferring ownership of a property from one person to another.
Legal work involved in transferring the ownership of a property from one person to another.
Legal requirement incorporated in the Title requiring the owner to do, or not to do, something in relation to the property.
Declaration of Trust
Document that binds joint owners of a property with regard to the division of proceeds upon completion.
Legal documents proving ownership of a property. Also known as Title Deeds.
Amount of money paid by the buyer to the seller on exchange of contracts in order to secure a property. Also known as Down Payment.
Property that stands alone and has no shared walls with an adjoining property.
Property that is either newly built or has been recently refurbished.
Third party costs relating to transaction paid out by solicitor to cover items such as Stamp Duty, Land Registry, Local Authorities, etc.
Termination of a mortgage obligation when no further payments are required.
Amount of money paid by the buyer to the seller on exchange of contracts in order to secure a property. Also known as Deposit.
Early version of the contract, which is then edited by the acting solicitors.
Early Redemption Charge
Financial penalty charged by some lenders if the borrower terminates a mortgage early.
Right granted to someone other than the owner of a property such as a right of way over land or a right to maintain services under land.
End of Terrace
A property situated at the end of a row of houses, only joined on one side to a joining property.
Mortgage designed for monthly repayments to be paid into an endowment (life assurance) policy, which is used to pay off the loan at the end of the term.
Final copy of a document prepared by a solicitor for signing by the parties.
Owner's financial interest in a property, calculated as the difference between the market value of a property and the balance outstanding on the mortgage.
Property professional who markets a property on behalf of sellers and landlords, and who charges a fee, usually a percentage of the selling price, or monthly rent (management fee).
Fixed initial sum that the insured party must pay on any insurance claim.
Exchange of Contracts (Exchange)
Point at which signed contracts confirming the intention to transfer ownership between buyer and seller are physically exchanged and the parties become legally bound by the terms.
A listing appears as 'Expired' in your favourite saved list if the property has been successfully sold or let by the marketing agent.
Failed Valuation Survey
When a lender turns down a mortgage application as a result of the surveyor's report.
First Time Buyer
Buyers who have not previously purchased a property.
Fixed Rate Mortgage
Mortgage with interest rates initially "fixed" for a defined period.
Fixtures & Fittings
Those non-structural items in a property that should be listed to be included in a sale.
A separate and self-contained premise forming part of a building.
Where part of a freehold property overhangs a different freehold property or land.
Absolute ownership of both a property and the land on which it stands indefinitely.
Full Structural Survey
Detailed report on construction and any defects of a property, following a thorough inspection carried out by a Chartered Surveyor.
Where the seller has agreed an offer in principle on a property but then subsequently accepts a higher offer from another party. A buyer is "gazumped".
Where the buyer has made an offer that has been accepted but then subsequently reduces the offer immediately prior to exchange of contracts. A seller is "gazundered".
Fee paid annually by the leaseholder to the freeholders in order to occupy the land on which a property stands.
- Sales: Person responsible for repaying a debt if the borrower defaults as required by some lenders.
- Lettings: Person responsible for paying rent if the Tenant defaults, as required by some Landlords and Estate Agents
Standard report conducted by a surveyor on behalf of a buyer to assess value and condition of a property, highlighting major detects.
Home Condition Report
An optional part of a Home Information Pack (HIP) providing an objective report on the condition of a property.
Home Information Pack
Information pack compiled by the seller prior to marketing a property for sale, containing specified information relating to a property. As of May 2010, this is no longer compulsory or required.
House Price Index
Statistical method of representing changes in house prices over time.
Grant made by a local authority towards the cost of repairing or improving a property.
Independent Financial Advisor (IFA)
Qualified person using specialised knowledge of the marketplace to select financial products to best suit the needs of their client.
Individual Savings Account (ISA) Mortgage
Mortgage designed for monthly repayments to be paid into an Individual Savings Account, which is used to pay off the loan at the end of the term.
Engagement by a property owner of an estate agent to market the property for Sale or Rent.
Protection against a specific loss over a period of time secured by payment of a regular premium.
Fee charged by a lender on the borrower, calculated as a percentage of the amount borrowed.
Interest Only Mortgage
Mortgage where only the interest charges are repaid initially. Monthly instalments are invested by the buyer and repaid in full at the end of the term.
Two estate agents jointly instructed by a seller to market a property.
Equal holding of a property between two or more persons. If one party dies, their share passes to the survivor(s).
A Just Added tag on a property shows you that the property was added to our website within the last 72 hours.
The owner of a rental property.
Government department responsible for recording ownership of land in England and Wales (See Registers of Scotland, ROS, for Scottish property). Searches will be requested from the Land Registry by conveyancers as part of any property transaction.
Land Registry Fees
Set fee paid to Land registry to register ownership of a property.
Possession of a property owned by another party for a specified time period. Also known as Tenancy. Often used specifically for Commercial property.
Legal document detailing terms whereby the owner of a property grants rights to another party to occupy it for a specified period of time. Also known as Tenancy Agreement, or Assured Shorthold Agreement (AST).
Ownership and right to occupy a property by way of a lease agreement for a given period of time (often a long period, e.g. 90, 120 or 999 years), subject to an annual payment of rent to the owner of the freehold.
Institution that lends funds in order to assist the borrower with a property purchase.
Lender's Legal Fees
Fees incurred by the lender in arranging a mortgage and that are passed on to the borrower.
Someone who holds the lease on a property. More commonly knows as a Tenant.
Someone who grants a Lease on a property. More commonly known as a Landlord.
Legal right or claim against a property as security for debt.
A property that shared no common walls with another, but usually linked together by a garage or covered porch.
Building that has been registered as being of special interest and has preservation orders on it. Often restricts certain changes to outside and inside of building.
Loan to Value (LTV)
Percentage indicating the ratio of a mortgage loan on a property to its market value.
Local Authority Search
Enquiries made to the local council regarding any future development issues that might affect a property and/or the surrounding area. Also known as Local Searches, or Searches.
- Charge to a tenant or leaseholder made by a landlord to cover costs of maintaining a property. Also know as Service Charge.
- Can often be charged at the end of a Tenancy to cover any costs to restore the property, also known as Dilapidations
Property that comprises a portion of a larger building, usually arranged over more than one floor with its own private entrance. (Simplified - a flat arranged over more than one floor).
Sometimes written as MA. An appointment to establish the likely achievable price of a property if it were to be out on the open market.
A property situated in the middle of a row of similar houses. Also known as Terraced.
Long-term loan used to fund the purchase of a property where the property is held as security.
Mortgage Agreement in Principle (MAP)
Lender's expression of intent to provide funding subject to certain conditions being met.
Document containing the terms and conditions of a loan secured on a property.
The lender of a mortgage.
Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee (MIG)
Fee charged by some lenders to protect them against the borrow defaulting. Also known as Mortgage Indemnity Premium (MIP) and Additional Security Fee.
Mortgage Indemnity Premium (MIP)
Fee charged by some lenders to protect them against the borrow defaulting. Also known as Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee (MIG) and Additional Security Fee.
Standard variable interest rate quoted by all mortgage lenders. This varies in accordance with the Bank of England base rate.
Period of time over which a mortgage will be repaid.
Report commissioned by the lender to assess property value and determine maximum amount to be loaned on the security of a property.
The borrower of a mortgage.
Where two or more estate agents are instructed by a seller to market a property. Only the agent who introduces a successful purchaser is paid.
Occurs when the market value of a property falls to a value less than the mortgage loan balance.
Property that is newly built. Can be specifically filtered on (or excluded in searches).
NHBC (National House Building Council) Scheme
A guarantee offered on some newly built homes for structural defects occurring within a specified time after construction.
A property that is not in a chain, or "chain-free", meaning that the property is being sold by someones who doesn't need to buy a new home.
Note of Interest
A way of ensuring that you get a chance to make an offer on a property that is for sale in Scotland. Not legally binding.
- Indication from a potential buyer of a willingness to purchase a property at an indicated price. An offer is not legally binding in England and Wales and can be withdrawn or changed at any time prior to exchange of contracts
- Known as a Note of Interest in Scotland
- Usually used in conjunction with Sales properties but sometimes used for Lettings/Rentals
Independent body responsible for the investigation of complains on behalf of consumers. With regards to property, The Property Ombudsman.
Open Market Value
Price that a property would likely achieve if it were available for sale.
Page views on a property refers to the number of times our users viewed the property advertisement over the previous 30 days. As this is a rolling 30 days, the page view number is subject to increase and decrease over time.
Nominal ground rent usually paid annually and of trivial amount.
Property kept for temporary or occasional occupation.
A person who has a property to rent but has not instructed the agent who uses this term.
A person who has a property to sell but has not instructed the agent who uses this term.
Initial set of questions regarding a property that the seller must answer prior to exchange of contracts.
Amount payable on an insurance policy, usually paid monthly.
Amount borrowed from a lender on which interest is calculated.
Usually Sales specific but can be used for Rental applications as well. The process after an offer (application) has been accepted, to carry out all the required steps so that the ownership of the property is transferred (AST signed). Properties are usually marked as STC/SSTC (or Let STC - Let Subject To Contract) while a progression occurs.
Public Liability Insurance
Insurance to cover the injury or death or damage to property of anyone on or around your property. Often reserved for Estate Agents, or public buildings rather than personal homes/properties.
Person who is buying a property. Also known as the Buyer.
Completion of the full and final repayment of a mortgage.
Amount required to fully repay a mortgage including interest and any penalties.
Mortgage with monthly repayments consisting of capital combined with interest.
Occurs when mortgage payments are in arrears and a lender chooses to take possession of the property that secures the loan.
Property occupied for private or domestic purposes. A home.
Amount held back by a lender until certain specified works have been completed.
Legal agreement between a seller and an estate agent.
Enquiries made to the local authority and Land Registry for determining whether any matters adversely affect the property or the surrounding areas. Also known as Local Searches, or Local Authority Searches.
Property used to secure the mortgage loan.
Person who is selling a property. Also known as the Vendor.
Property where one side wall is shared with an adjoining property.
Charge to a tenant or leaseholder made by a landlord to cover costs of maintaining a property. Also known as Maintenance Charge.
STC/SSTC - Sold subject to contract
When a property is sold subject to contract, this means an offer submitted by a buyer has been accepted by the seller, but the paperwork is not complete. It should also mean both parties are working towards an exchange of contracts. This will be based on the result of surveys, mortgage approval, and a satisfactory contract. However, the final contract which would make the deal irreversible has not yet been signed.
Where only one estate agent is instructed exclusively by a seller, or landlord, to market property.
Sole Selling Rights
Where one estate agent has exclusive rights to market a property and is entitled to a fee irrespective of how the property is sold.
Professionally qualified legal expert who prepares documents for the sale or purchase of a property.
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)
- Tax paid to the government by a buyer on the purchase of a property. Rates vary between 0% and 12% depending on the purchase price, if you are a first time buyer, where the property is located or if the property is a second home.
- Known as Land and Buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland
- Known as Land Transaction Tax in Wales
Standard Variable Rate (SVR) Mortgage
Mortgage with interest rates that fluctuate at the discretion of the lender based on market conditions.
Detailed report on construction and any defects of a property, following a thorough inspection carried out by a Chartered Surveyor. Also known as a Building Survey.
Flat consisting on one principle living area comprising both cooking and sleeping facilities with a separate bathroom/shower room.
Subject to Contract
Term used to indicate a provisional agreement prior to exchange of contracts that is not yet legally binding.
Report on the condition of a property.
Qualified expert who carried out the survey of a property.
Possession of a property owned by another party for a specified time period.
Legal document detailing terms whereby the owner of a property grants rights to another party to occupy it for a specified period of time. Also known as Lease Agreement.
The current occupant of a rental property. An applicant becomes a tenant once the Assured Shorthold Tenancy is signed.
Tenants in Common
An optional method of shared home ownership (not necessarily in equal shares). If an owner dies, the owner's interest in the property is passed to the owner's heirs, rather than to the other owners of the property.
Conditions on which a property is held, i.e. whether it is freehold or leasehold.
Property where both side walls are shared with adjoining properties. Also known as Mid-Terraced.
Legal right to ownership of a property.
A residential property, often terraced or end terrace, built over three floors.
‘Under offer’ is essentially a term used by estate agents to show a buyer has made a formal offer to a seller. At this stage, the seller still has to confirm whether or not they are going to accept it. If the offer is rejected, the property remains on the market until a new formal offer is made. If the seller does accept the offer, the property then becomes ‘sold subject to contract.’
Provision of a property that has been vacated by any previous occupants.
An MA (Market Appraisal), but one that can only be performed by RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) approved valuers.
A survey that gives the lender an independent confirmation of the property's value - including checking the prices of similar properties in the sold area.
Variable Base Rate
Basic rate of interest charged on a mortgage that may change due to market conditions.
A person selling a residential property. Also known as the Seller.
A property which was previously for sale, or rent, but is no longer available to buy, or rent. A property could be withdrawn before OR after an offer, rental application, was made.
Income generated from a property expressed as a percentage of the property value.