We have compiled a short list of property terms to help assist you with the buying process:
Chain: This is the sequence of buyers and sellers – most people who sell their property are also buying at the same time. Therefore there can be a chain of a number of sellers, which depend on each other for the sale and purchase of their new properties. For example, if one buyer or seller drops out, the chain may collapse, whereby the paperwork for the properties within the chain is delayed or cancelled.
Chain Free: This is when the owner of the property does not need to sell the property in order to buy another; therefore it is offered as chain free.
Completion Date: The date when the transaction (either the sale or purchase of a property) is completed, i.e. the date you become the owner.
Completion Statement: A statement from the solicitor detailing all financial transactions, including all costs.
Conditions of Sale: The terms by which the buyer and seller agree to sell/buy the property. The Law Society sets standard conditions. The lawyer sets special conditions.
Contract: The legally binding agreement specifying details of the house sale or house purchase. The contract legally commits both the buyer and the seller to the transaction. The house seller's conveyancing lawyer draws up two copies of the same contract and each party signs their own copy. When both parties are ready to legally commit, the two contracts are exchanged.
Conveyancer: The property lawyer who manages all of the matters arising from the sale of a house or the purchase of a house. Can be a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer.
Conveyance or Transfer: The legally binding document that transfers the rights, burdens and the benefit of the land.
Council for Licensed Conveyancers: A regulatory body for conveyancing with whom all conveyancers should be registered.
Deeds: Legal title document which provides historical information about the property.
Deposit: The amount paid to exchange contracts which is only refundable in exceptional circumstances. Contracts provide for 10% of the purchase/sale price but can often be negotiated to a lower level.
Disbursements: Out-of-pocket expenses paid by the solicitor/licensed conveyancer on the buyer's behalf, such as stamp duty, land registry charges and search fees.
Easement: A right given to the house owner over an adjoining property (e.g. right of way).
EPC: Energy performance certificate- part of a home information pack.
Equity: This is what you actually own – the difference between the market value of your property and the amount of the loan you still owe to your lender.
Exchange of Contract: The point that both parties are committed to the transaction.
Fixtures and Fittings: A list of the items at the property, which are either included or excluded from the agreed price.
Flexible Mortgage: Mortgages that are flexible in terms of how you pay the loan back.
Freehold: One of the two current tenures of land recognised by English law. This recognises the whole of the land not just a building.
FCA: The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is an independent body concerned with consumer protection in the financial market.
Gazumping: When the house seller accepts a higher price offer from another house buyer after the initial offer has been accepted.