Jargon Buster

Agreement in principle (AIP)

A document from your mortgage lender that confirms you can borrow a certain amount.


The UK’s foremost professional body for Residential Agents.

Basic Variable Mortgage rate

Mortgage lender’s standard rate of interest which may be increased or decreased periodically by the lender depending on prevailing economic conditions.

Buy to Let Mortgage

Type of mortgage designed for buyers purchasing a property with the sole intent of renting out.


A chain refers to other properties that are linked. For example, a first-time buyer offers on a property, the owner of that property then offers on another etc that is an upward chain.


This is the final step in the legal process of transferring ownership of property. The process will go through at any time on completion day, there is no set time. Our advice for completion day is just be as ready as you can be and make sure the agents can contact you!


The legal agreement between the seller and buyer which binds both parties to complete the transaction. Or the contract between vendor and agent which outlines the terms and conditions of the agents’ services and commission information.

Conveyancing/ Conveyancer

The solicitor who will handle the sale of the property. Conveyancing the branch of law concerned with property.


Fees paid by the buyer’s solicitor on their behalf such as stamp duty, land registry and search fees.


A certificate that details how energy efficient the property is. It also provides advise on how to improve ratings. The EPC is a legal requirement for selling or renting properties.


Exchange takes place before completion and it is when the contracts are exchanged, and the sale becomes legally binding. Up until this moment, either party could withdraw from the sale, however after this point you are likely liable to either loose your deposit or the seller may have to pay for any monies lost.

Fixtures and Fittings

Items within the property that can be used in the negotiations or bought separately.


Freehold, refers to the tenure of the property. Freehold is when the owner owns the house and the land it is built on.

Ground Rent

The annual charge levied on the property by the Freeholder.

Help to Buy

A scheme set up by the government to help first time buyers on the property ladder. Only available for new build properties.

Land Registry

The department of the Government responsible for registering ownership of land.


You own the property you have purchased but not the land it is built on, therefore you are normally subject to a yearly ground rent charge. The length of a lease can vary, but locally it is usually the balance of 999 years, and it is always advisable to investigate the length and any stipulations with leases before committing to a property.

Listed building

Buildings listed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic interest.

Local Authority Search

Where the buyer’s solicitor makes enquiries to the local council regarding any outstanding or future issues which may affect the property.

Mortgage Valuation

The report carried out on behalf of the mortgage lender to determine the property value and the maximum amount to be loaned.      

NHBC (National House Building Council)

A type of guarantee available on some new build homes.  

Peppercorn Ground Rent

An amount to be paid annually so small it is considered nominal.


When the owner of a property dies and leaves the property in their will, probate is the process for proving the will is valid. Contracts cannot be exchanged on a property until probate has been granted. This process can take several months. 


When part of the mortgage is held back until works or specified repairs are satisfactorily completed.

Structural Survey

A detailed report carried out on a property looking at the physical condition of the property.


Your solicitor will make enquiries to the local authority and Land Registry to make sure there are no matters that would adversely affect the property.

Stamp duty

A tax paid by purchasers of properties with a value in excess of £125,000.

Title Deeds

Paper documents showing the chain of ownership for land and property.