Estate Agent Glossary Of Terms
This is a charge levied by the lender to cover the costs of processing a mortgage application. If an application is not completed, the fee may not be refunded.
Annual percentage rate (APR)
The APR is a compound interest rate figure used to compare different mortgages. Defined by law, it includes repayments on the loan plus any mortgage related fees such as booking, arrangement or basic valuation fees. The APR shows the true cost of borrowing over the entire term and should appear on all mortgage illustrations.
The person or party looking to rent a property.
The value of a property, as estimated by a surveyor.
The increase in the value of a property as a result of changes in market conditions.
Fees charged to arrange a loan on certain products. Usually applied to loans where a special interest rate applies eg fixed or capped rates.
Any form of property owned by a person, including currency, stocks and enforceable claims against others.
The transfer of ownership of an insurance policy or lease.
Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)
The most common type of Tenancy Agreement in the private rental sector setting out the rights and obligations of the landlord and tenant. It is used where the rent is below £25,000 per annum and the tenant is an individual, or group of individuals, rather than a company. The term must be for longer than six months.
The sale of a property to the highest bidder.
A break clause gives the tenant or landlord the right to terminate a Tenancy Agreement, under specific circumstances, before the date it is officially due to end. Usually requires written notice.
A short-term loan commonly used to cover or 'bridge' the overlap between the purchase of a new property and the sale of an old one.
Building survey (formerly full structural survey)
A full inspection of the property, conducted by a chartered surveyor, who will write a detailed report setting out the soundness of a property and any property defects. Suitable for any house, particularly older properties and those that have been poorly maintained as well as properties that have been extensively altered or extended, or any property due to be altered or extended.
An insurance policy that pays the cost of repair or rebuilding in the event your property is damaged or destroyed. Most mortgage lenders will require buildings insurance to be taken out as a condition of their loan.
A type of mortgage specifically designed for people buying a property with the intention of letting it out.
The amount of money either put into buying a property or the deposit placed on a property. Also known as equity.
A capped-rate mortgage sets a maximum rate of interest that the lender can charge, but only for a specified period.
The situation that occurs when a buyer is reliant upon completion of the sale of their existing property in order to complete on the purchase of the new property.
A payment received from conducting business.
Areas of land or buildings, such as gardens, hallways, recreational facilities and parking areas, where more than one resident shares access.
This form of Tenancy Agreement is used where a company is the tenant. There is no additional statutory protection; both landlord and tenant are bound only by the terms of the written agreement.
A search that looks at the actual sale values of similar properties in the same area as your property. This search is normally carried out by a surveyor and should give an indicative sale price for a property.
The completion date is the date on which money is forwarded from the buyer's solicitor to the solicitor of the vendor. It is the date that the buyer becomes the legal owner of the new property.
Conditions of sale
The details which determine the rights and duties of the buyer and seller. These may be national, statutory, or the Law Societys conditions.
Insurance that covers the contents of a property, including electrical goods, carpets, furniture and curtains.
A legal agreement between the landlord and tenant of a property.
This form of Tenancy Agreement is used where the rent exceeds £25,000 per annum and the tenant is an individual or group of individuals. The tenant is not given any additional statutory protection and both parties are bound only by the terms of the written agreement.
A flat or apartment that has been created by the subdivision of a larger property.
A qualified individual such as a solicitor or licensed conveyancer who deals with the legal aspects of buying or selling a property.
The legal process surrounding the transfer of ownership of a property from buyer to seller.
The charge made by a solicitor or conveyancer for undertaking the legal process necessary for the transfer of ownership of a property.
The process by which a company relocates an employee as part of the employer's normal course of business.
Rules and regulations governing the property, contained in its title deeds or lease.
The procedure by which a check is made on the credit history of an applicant, usually conducted by one of the large dedicated credit check agencies.
A record of an individual's or company's past borrowing, including information about late payments and bankruptcy.
Legal documents proving ownership, generally held by the mortgage lender.
Deeds release or discharge fee
The fee charged by lenders at the end of a mortgage term to cover the administrative costs of transferring the property ownership documents to the borrower.
A situation in which prices are falling (the opposite to inflation).
A sum of money (usually 4-6 weeks rent) paid by the tenant prior to moving in.
The decline or reduction in the value of a property caused by changes in market conditions (the opposite of appreciation).
A term used to describe a property that stands alone, separate from all others.
A newly built residence or an older property that has been refurbished and modernised.
Any disrepair or damage to a rented property. The costs of the dilapidations are usually recovered from the deposit.
Fees paid by the buyer's solicitor on the buyers behalf such as stamp duty, land registry and search fees.
Paying off a mortgage.
When the lender restricts the amount you can borrow after the surveyors valuation report indicates the property is not worth the sum sought.
Preliminary, unfinalised version of the contract.
Early Repayment Charge (ERC)
A charge levied by the lender as a penalty if a mortgage is paid off within a specified period.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
An EPC measures the energy efficiency of a property using a scale of A-G. It is a legal requirement to have a valid EPC for their property.
The amount of money either put into buying a property or the deposit placed on a property which exceeds the amount of any money borrowed against the property. Also known as capital.
The initial sum paid on an insurance claim.
Exchange of contracts
The point at which signed contracts are physically exchanged, legally committing the buyer and seller to the purchase and sale of a property at the agreed price.
Financial Services Authority (FSA)
An independent body that regulates the financial services industry in the UK.
Fixed rate mortgage
A mortgage in which the interest rate is set for an agreed period of time.
Fixtures & fittings
All non-structural items included in the purchase of a property.
An arrangement whereby you can increase or decrease your mortgage.
Where the owner of the property also owns the land on which it is built.
This is when a seller accepts a higher offer from a third party on a property that they have agreed to sell to someone else prior to exchange of contracts.
When a buyer reduces his agreed offer prior to exchange of contracts.
The annual charge levied by the freeholder to the leaseholder.
The lender may sometimes require a borrower to appoint a guarantor. This is someone who promises to pay the borrowers debt if the borrower defaults.
Higher lending charge
An up-front, one-off fee paid to the lender to protect them against the borrower defaulting on the loan. Usually charged on mortgages over 75% of the house value.
Homebuyer's survey and valuation
This is a survey report, which is not as detailed as a structural survey, carried out by a chartered surveyor to assess the state of a property and its value.
An insurance policy that protects against loss or damage to the property caused by fire, some natural causes and acts of vandalism. Also see Buildings insurance and Contents insurance.
Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO)
A building of three floors or more which is to be occupied by three or more people and where these people live as more than one household and share facilities such as bathrooms, toilets or cooking facilities.
Independent Financial Advisor.
Individual Savings Account mortgage (ISA)
An interest-only mortgage linked to an Individual Savings Account fund, which is designed to pay off the loan at the end of the period.
The general rise in prices over time.
The charges that banks make on a loan, calculated as a percentage of the amount borrowed.
A type of mortgage in which the borrower only repays the interest on the loan for the duration of its term and repays the full loan amount at the end of the mortgage period.
A list describing the condition of furnishings and contents of a property at the commencement of the tenancy, against which dilapidations/weaknesses etc which occur during the tenancy can be measured.
The total gross income of the two borrowers in a joint mortgage.
A form of ownership for two parties whereby if one of them dies, their share of the property will automatically transfer to the remaining party, giving them full ownership (regardless of the terms of the deceased owner's will).
The process of registering the legal title of an area of land with the land registry, typically handled by a solicitor.
Land registry fee
The fee payable for the above.
The owner of property that is rented.
A reference given by a previous landlord, which confirms an applicant's history of payment of rent and previous conduct as a tenant.
A legal document by which the freehold (or leasehold) owner of a property lets the premises or a part of it to another party for a specified length of time, after the expiry of which, ownership may revert to the freeholder or superior leaseholder.
The formal legal document entered into between a landlord and a tenant that reflects the terms of the negotiations between them. It constitutes the entire agreement between the parties and sets out their basic legal rights.
A type of ownership in which a person owns a property, but not the land on which it is built. The owner of the Freehold will grant a lease on the property for a specified length of time.
A mortgage on the property.
The party, typically a bank, building society or mortgage company, offering the loan.
Lenders arrangement fees
Charge passed on to the buyer by the lender for arranging a loan.
A building officially listed as being of special architectural or historic interest, which cannot be demolished or altered without prior (local) government approval.
Loan to value (LTV)
The proportion of the value of the property on which the lender is prepared to loan. This can be up to 100%.
Local authority search
Procedure whereby a buyer's solicitor checks with the local council regarding any outstanding enforcement or future development issues which might affect the property or immediate area.
The cost of repairing and maintaining external or internal communal parts of a building charged to the landlord. Also known as service charge.
Maintenance charge (or service charge)
The cost of repairing and maintaining external or internal communal parts of a building charged to the tenant or leaseholder.
A self-contained apartment (usually on two floors) in a larger house with its own entrance from the outside.
An amount of money advanced by a lender such as a bank or building society on the security of a property and repayable over a long period.
Mortgage Payment Protection (MPP)
This is an insurance designed to pay your monthly mortgage for a limited period, usually a year if you are unable to work through illness, disability or redundancy.
A company which advises lenders on the types of loans available and which helps to process any subsequent application.
The legal document that confers ownership or title to a property.
The standard variable interest rate quoted by all mortgage lenders which normally varies in line with the Bank of England base rate. All discounted rates are based on this mortgage rate.
The period of time over which a mortgage loan must be repaid.
This may be a fixed, variable, capped, discount, tracker or another type of mortgage.
The lender of a mortgage (ie bank or building society).
NHBC scheme (National House-Building Council)
A type of building guarantee available on some newly built homes under which defects occurring within a specified time after construction are remedied.
A situation in which the value of a property has fallen to below the level of the loan secured on it.
A sum of money that the tenant offers to pay to rent a property.
Offer of a loan
A formal document approving the mortgage you have requested and detailing the Terms and Conditions that will apply.
Open market value
The price a property should achieve where there is a willing buyer and willing seller.
An option on flexible mortgages that allows you to stop making mortgage payments for up to six months.
A specified charge that is levied by the lender under certain circumstances, usually for full or part repayment within a specific period linked to a discount, tracker, fixed or other product type.
Portable Appliance Test (PAT)
A test carried out by a registered engineer to ensure that all electrical installations and appliances within a property are safe in conjunction with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994..
The initial enquiries about a property put forward to a seller, which the seller must answer before the exchange of contracts.
The monthly amount payable for an insurance policy.
Where rent for the property is paid in full up front.
The amount of debt outstanding (excluding interest).
The management of a property on behalf of the owner.
Public liability insurance
Insurance that covers injury or death to anyone on or around a property.
A person who is buying a property.
Refinancing a property by either switching a mortgage from one lender to another or by taking out a second mortgage to take advantage of any equity gained by a rise in value.
When a mortgage is fully repaid.
Renewal of contracts
Opportunity to renew a contract which has or will shortly expire.
A mortgage in which monthly charges are used to repay the interest and reduce the outstanding capital.
When the mortgage lender takes possession of a property due to non-payment of the mortgage.
The ability of a lender to hold back (retain) part of a mortgage until certain conditions are met.
A request or enquiry for information concerning the property held by a local authority or by the Land Registry.
A property that is joined to one other house.
A short let is a property which is typically let for a period of less than six months (subject to local authority restrictions). When renting a property on a short let basis, all utility bills are included in the rent (excluding telecommunications services).
A person occupying a property who is legally protected against being removed.
When a seller chooses only one estate agent to sell their property.
A property that is occupied (lived in) only by the mortgage applicant(s) and their direct family.
Legal expert handling all documentation for the sale or purchase of a property.
A tax paid by purchasers of between 1% and 4% depending on the value of the property.
Standard variable rate
Mortgage lender's standard rate of interest, which may be increased or decreased periodically by the lender depending on prevailing economic conditions.
This is based on a detailed inspection of the property and reports on the general structural condition.
A flat consisting of one main room or open-plan living area, incorporating cooking and sleeping facilities usually with a separate bathroom/shower room.
Subject to contract
Words which confirm that an agreement is not yet legally binding.
A professional person qualified to estimate the value of land and property.
The temporary occupation of a property by a tenant.
A legal agreement designed to protect the rights of the tenant and landlord setting out all Terms and Conditions of the rental arrangements.
An individual, group of individuals (up to four) or company who holds or possesses property for a time, in return for the payment of rent.
Conditions on which a property is held (i.e. length of lease).
A property that forms part of a connected row of houses.
Documents showing the legal ownership of a property.
An insurance policy which a buyer can take out to allow a sale to complete where there is a potential problem with the documentation in proving legal ownership of some part of the land he is buying.
An investigation, carried out by a conveyancer or solicitor, into the history of ownership of a property. The search will check for liens, unpaid claims, restrictions or any other problems that may affect ownership.
A type of mortgage whereby any changes in the rate of interest charged follow exactly ('track') another, specified, interest rate or index. Typically a tracker mortgage will track the Bank of England base rate.
The land registry document that transfers legal ownership from seller to buyer.
The status of a property to let when a landlord has accepted an offer from a prospective tenant, prior to exchange of contracts.
A basic survey of a property to estimate its value for letting purposes.
The price of a property under normal conditions, ie when the buyer is not forced to buy and the seller not forced to sell.
Variable base rate
The basic rate of interest charged on a mortgage. This may change in reaction to market conditions, so monthly payments can go up or down.
The person selling a property.
An empty area or space.
Period of time where the property is empty/unoccupied by the tenant.
Income from a property calculated as a percentage of its value.