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Posted on 17 May 2022
Jargon Buster
A document you sign and hand back to the mortgage lender to confirm you want to accept its offer.

Agreement in Principle (AIP)
A document from a mortgage lender that confirms it will lend you a certain amount based on your earnings and usually a credit search and credit score. An AIP will help prove to a seller you’re a serious buyer.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
Often misunderstood, an APR is the total percentage cost of the loan every year. So, that includes interest as well as any additional fees. APRs are a legal requirement when advertising financial deals like credit cards and mortgages.

An old-fashioned word meaning an estimate of a property’s current value according to an estate agent or surveyor.

Bank rate
Interest rate set by the Bank of England every month (also known as base rate or simply interest rate). If the rate you pay on your mortgage is variable, it may be affected if the bank rate changes.

Bridging loan
A high-interest temporary loan that offers short-term access to money, so you can buy a property before selling your existing home, for example.

Buildings Insurance
An insurance policy that covers any structural damage to your property from events such as a fire or flooding. If you need a mortgage, building insurance will be a condition of the loan.

Building survey
Formerly known as a structural survey, a Building Survey is a detailed report on the construction of a property. It’s the most comprehensive survey you can buy and is suitable for listed buildings, older or unusual homes or ones you intend to completely renovate.

Straightforward. The person who is buying a property (also known as the purchaser).

Buy-to-let mortgage
A mortgage designed specifically for buying a property that will be rented out, usually for investment purposes.

The amount of money put into either buying a property or paid as a deposit.

Most people need to sell their current home to be able to afford to buy the next one, and the people they sell it to need to sell their home as well. This is what is meant by a ‘chain’ and if one link pulls out, the whole chain can collapse.

Chartered surveyor
A surveyor, accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), who is employed to carry out a survey on a property.

Completion is when you can move in! The sale of the property is finalised and the legal transfer of ownership passes from one party to another.

The name for all the legal work involved in transferring the ownership of a property from one party to another.

Legal requirement which you’ll find incorporated in the title deed (or lease) requiring the owner to do (or NOT to do) something in relation to the property.

Legal documents proving ownership of a property or land. They may contain mortgages and leases, conveyances, contracts for sale and wills. They are also known as Title Deeds.

Endowment mortgage
An interest-only mortgage that is combined with monthly payments into an endowment policy. The loan is paid off in a lump sum at the end of the term.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
A certificate that details how efficiently a property uses energy with a ranking between A-G (with A being the most efficient). It will also provide an estimation of energy costs and offer suggestions on how to improve your efficiency.

The portion of the property value without a mortgage or loan secured against it.

Exchange (of contracts)
The point at which signed contracts confirming the intention to transfer ownership between buyer and seller are physically exchanged. At this stage the parties become legally bound by the terms.

Fixed rate mortgage
A mortgage deal that comes with an interest rate that’s 'fixed' for an initial defined period, typically for two, three or five years.

Fixtures and fittings
The non-structural items in a property that should be listed as included in a sale, although there may be negotiations about what exactly that includes.

When a seller has agreed an offer in principle on a property but later accepts a higher offer from another party.

Ground rent
An annual fee paid by the leaseholder to the freeholder of the property. Often between £50 and £200 a year.

Help to Buy
Help to Buy is a government scheme aimed at helping people with small deposits to buy their first home or move up the property ladder by providing an equity loan of up to 20%.

Land Registry
The government department responsible for recording ownership of land in England and Wales. Searches will be requested from the Land Registry by conveyancers as part of any property transaction.

Ownership and right to occupy a property by way of a lease agreement for a given period, usually subject to an annual payment of rent to the owner of the freehold.

Loan-to-value (LTV)
Percentage indicating the ratio of a mortgage loan on a property to its market value.

Long-term loan obtained from a bank or building society which is used to fund the purchase of a property where the property is held as security.

Negative equity
When the market value of a property falls below the outstanding mortgage loan balance.

Private treaty
The traditional means of buying and selling property, ie, where the price and sale terms are negotiated directly between the seller and purchaser or their estate agent.

When the owner of a property dies and leaves the property in their will, probate is the official process for proving the will is valid.

If you fall behind in your mortgage repayments the lender can take possession of the property that secures the loan.

Your solicitor will make enquiries to the local authority and Land Registry to ensure there aren’t any matters that will adversely affect the property or the surrounding area.

Stamp duty land tax (SDLT)
The tax paid to the government by a buyer on the purchase of a property. Rates vary between 1% and 4% depending on the purchase price.

Title deeds
Documents showing the legal rights to ownership of a property.

Tracker mortgage
A tracker mortgage usually follows the Bank of England base rate. As a result, your mortgage repayments can go up or down.

Refers to services such as gas, electricity, water, sewage and broadband.

The income generated from a rental property stated as a percentage of the property value.