When it comes to selling your home, estate agents and the language that they use can be confusing. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive list of all the estate agent terms and property jargon that will help you understand what your estate agent means.
Take a look at our terminology glossary and if there’s anything you think we’ve missed, let us know.
- Advance – the amount of money that your lender agrees to lend you.
- APR – Annual Percentage Rate. This is the amount of interest you will pay on your loan.
- AST – Assured Shorthold Tenancy. It gives the landlord the right to claim their property back after a specific period of time.
- Auction – one of the quickest ways of buying a home. Exchange is seen as having happened when the auctioneer’s hammer comes down for the winning bid.
- Balance Outstanding – the amount of loan owed.
- Bridging Loan- a temporary loan given to help buy a new property before the existing one has sold.
- Break Clause/Release Clause – these terms are often used in fixed term tenancies.
- Buildings Insurance – this covers the cost of repair or rebuilding a property from scratch following structural damage or destruction.
- Chain – a number of property sales where exchange of contracts must take place at the same time, because they’re linked together.
- Completion Date – the completion of the legal transaction, with the money and documents all distributed, and keys are released.
- Contents Insurance – covers accidental damage and theft of all moveable contents of your property.
- Contract – the formal agreement between buyer and seller, prepared by the solicitor or conveyancer, detailing the terms and conditions of the sale.
- Conveyancing – the legal work behind buying and selling properties.
- Covenant – the terms of any given tenancy agreement, including obligations of the tenant and the landlord.
- Deeds – the legal documents that assign ownership of property.
- Deposit – the lump sum that the seller pays towards the cost of the property.
- Disbursements – expenses paid by the solicitor on behalf of the purchaser.
- Early Repayment Charge – a charge made by the lender if the borrower pays off the mortgage before the terms of the loan.
- Equity – the difference between the value of a property and the amount of mortgage owed.
- Exchange of Contracts – this is the point at which the sale becomes legally binding and neither party can withdraw without financial penalties.
- Fixed Price – offers for the price shown only.
- Fixtures and Fittings – non-structural items included in the purchase.
- Freehold – ownership of the property and the land that the property is situated on.
- Full Structural Survey – this looks at the main features of a property, including walls, roof, foundations, plumbing, joinery, electrical wiring, etc.
- Gazumping – this is where the seller accepts one offer only to reject it later for a higher offer.
- Gazundering – this is where a buyer reduces their offer just before the exchange of contracts.
- Ground Rent – ground rent is an annual sum paid by the leaseholder to the freeholder of a property.
- Guarantor – this is a person who will agree to guarantee that they will repay a loan or debt if you cannot pay it.
- HMO – House in Multiple Occupation. They are treated differently to the average property, with more rules and regulations.
- Home Buyers Report – a comment of the structural condition of the parts of the house that are readily accessible.
- Housing Association – this is a not-for-profit organisation that lets you buy a percentage of the property and pay the rest on rent.
- IFA – Independent Financial Advisor
- IMRO - Investments Managers Regulatory Organisation
- Instruction – this is when a seller tells an estate agent to market a property.
- Inventory – an inventory is a list of all the contents of a property, as well as the condition of a property and the structural fixtures, generally used for AST rental properties.
- Joint Tenants – two or more people co-live in the property. If one were to die or leave, their share of the property passes to the other/s.
- Joint Agency – where two estate agents work together on marketing a property.
- Joint Mortgage - where more than one individual is responsible for the mortgage.
- Land Certificate – a land registry certificate proving ownership of property.
- Land Registry – the government organisation that holds records of all registered properties in England and Wales
- LAUTRO – Life Assurance Unit Trust Regulatory Organisation
- Leasehold – To be given ownership of a property but not the land that it is built on, normally requiring the payment of ground rent to the landlord.
- Local Authority Search – a number of different searches to find out if there are any Local Authority Notices with respect to the building that you intend on buying and the surrounding area.
- Maintenance Charge – this is a charge made towards the upkeep of a leasehold property to the landlord.
- Mortgage Deed – a document that details the conditions of a mortgage secured on a property.
- Mortgage Offer – a letter from the lender offering you the loan and its conditions.
- Negative Equity – this is when the value of the property is less than the outstanding sum owed on a mortgage.
- Offer – when you make an offer for a property, you put in a bid of the price that you’d like to pay for the property.
- PCM – this stands for Per Calendar Month and refers to the rent due each month on a rental property.
- Repayment Mortgage – monthly repayments pay off the capital and the mortgage/loan.
- Repossession – if you fail to repay your mortgage, then the lender can repossess the property and sell it to make back the debt.
- Searches – checks of local council records for planning applications and restrictions.
- Stamp Duty – a government tax paid by the buyer on completion of the sale.
- Subject to Contract – a term associated with an agreement to purchase a property before the exchange of contracts.
- Survey – an inspection of a property made by a qualified surveyor. This can be a valuation report, a homebuyers report and full structural survey.
- Tenancy Agreement – also known as rental agreement, this is the terms and conditions of a tenancy.
- Tenants – people living in a property owned by a landlord.
- Title – the legal right to ownership of a property.
- Under Offer – this is when the seller has accepted an offer on their property but the contracts have not been exchanged yet.
- Vendor – also known as the seller.