Jargon Buster

A

  • Acceptance - A document that you need to sign and send back to the Lender if you wish to accept the lender’s mortgage offer.
  • Advance - the amount of money that your lender agrees to lend you.
  • Additional Mortgage Security Fee - an up-front, one-off premium paid to a broker usually when a mortgage exceeds 75% of the property value. It is in place to protect against defaulting borrowers.
  • Adverse credit - t is a term used to refer to people with a poor credit history. This may include but is not limited to, things such as county court judgments (CCJ’s), bankruptcy, mortgage arrears, Individual Voluntary Agreements (IVA’s) and credit card or other borrowing arrears or defaults.
  • Agent - This is normally a person/company, organisation that has been appointed and who acts on behalf of a landlord, such as a letting agent, management agent or estate agent.
  • Agricultural covenant - This is a very specific planning condition that allows the building of a residential dwelling on the condition that it is occupied by a person employed or associated with working the land in someway.
  • Applicant – the potential buyer of a property
  • Appraisal – An appointment carried out by an estate agent to determine the current value of a property.
  • APR (Annual Percentage Rate) -  It's the way lenders describe the cost of borrowing money over a year. This is done in a standard way to allow you to compare the cost of products from different lenders. It takes into account interest as well as other charges you'd have to pay, such as any annual fee.
  • Arrangement fee – A fee sometimes payable to lenders for arranging your loan.
  • Assignable contract – is when an exchange contract allows you to sell on a property before the completion date.
  • Assignment – is when the ownership of a property is transferred from one person to another.
  • 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.

B

  • BACS (Bank Automated Clearing System) - A type of funds transfer that is normally electronically done it is normally free of charge.
  • Balance Outstanding - the amount of loan owed.
  • Base rate - This rate is set by the Bank of England and is used as a benchmark for lenders to set interest rates by. It represents the lowest rate of interest a bank will charge you when it lends you money.
  • Bridging Loan - a temporary loan given to help buy a new property before the existing one has sold.
  • Break Clause/Release Clause - clause in a tenancy agreement that provides both tenant and landlord the opportunity to terminate the tenancy agreement early during the fixed-term (e.g. the tenant can terminate a 12 month tenancy 6 months into the term)
  • Broker - This is a person that advises on mortgages etc. Known as a mortgage broker.
  • Buildings Insurance - this covers the cost of repair or rebuilding a property from scratch following structural damage or destruction.
  • Building Society - a financial institution usually owned by its members which specialises in mortgage lending and savings accounts.
  • BTL (Buy to let) - the purchase of property(s) for the specific purpose of letting it out.

C

  • Capital - The total amount – sometimes referring to sum borrowed in a mortgage – sometimes the amount you have left in a property after the mortgage has been repaid.
  • Capital and Interest Mortgages - also known as 'repayment' mortgages, these constitue of payment for both the loan amount and any interest inccured as a result of the mortgage loan.
  • CCJ (County Court Judgement - You can get a CCJ if you default on a payment of debt. If you do get a judgment against you may have difficulty in getting credit in the future.
  • Chain - a number of property sales where exchange of contracts must take place at the same time, because they’re linked together.
  • Chain Free -  It means the person/s selling the property to you is not dependent on buying another house in order for your sale to go through. Or it could be the property they have lined up has no chain that end, or they can move in to rented accommodation.
  • Collateral - something pledged as security for repayment of a loan, to be forfeited in the event of a default. In this case it is usually the property.
  • Completion Date - the completion of the legal transaction, with the money and documents all distributed, and keys are released.Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) -  this allows public bodies to force homeowners to sell up if their property obstructs a regeneration project or it’s for the “greater public good”. They can be issued by local authorities, highways authorities, regional development agencies, English Partnerships and, in Greater London, English Heritage.
  • 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.
  • Conversion - can mean such things as a house that has been converted into flats or a loft converted into a bedroom, as well as other things.
  • 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.
  • Credit search References - references taken regarding a potential tenant. These references can be from sources such as the tenant’s employer. A check of the tenant’s credit history is also often carried out.

D

  • Deeds - the legal documents that assign ownership of property.
  • Default - failing to make pre-arranged payments, in this case, missing mortgage payments.
  • Deposit - the lump sum that the seller pays towards the cost of the property.
  • Direct debits - re used to make payment directly from a bank account.
  • Disbursements - expenses paid by the solicitor on behalf of the purchaser.
  • Discounted Tracker Rate Mortgage - variable rate mortgage that is discounted for a period of time, based on the current interest rate set by the Bank of England

E

  • Early Repayment Charge (ERC) – also know as an early repayment penalty (ERP), this is a charge made by the lender if the borrower pays off the mortgage before the end of the agreed term of the loan.
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) - measurement of the energy efficiency within a property on a scale of A - G (A being the most effecient and G being the least).
  • Engrossment fee - this can be charged by a Solicitor for producing a final copy of a legal document such as a lease or conveyance, for signature by the parties.
  • 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.

F

  • Fixed Price - offers for the price shown only.
  • Fixtures and Fittings - non-structural items included in the purchase.
  • Flying Freehold -  is a term to describe a freehold which overhangs or underlies another freehold. Common cases include a room situated above a shared passageway in a semi-detached house, or a balcony which extends over a neighbouring property.
  • 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.

G

  • Gas safety regulations - A landlord must make sure that a gas safety check is carried out prior to letting out any property. Then it needs to be completed annually and a copy of the record must be given to the tenant. This check must be carried out by an authorised CORGI register engineer.
  • 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.
  • Gas Safety Regulations - the regulations determining a landlords' duties to make sure gas appliances and fittings provided for tenants are safe. Checks are to be carried out by an authorised CORGI register engineer.
  • Gearing - This is the amount of money you have against the amount of a loan. You can be ‘highly geared’ which is owning very little of a property with a very big loan or ‘lowly geared’ which is when you have very little debt against an asset. Also see ‘negative gearing’.
  • 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.

H

  • High rate tenancy - This indicates a tenancy agreement when the annual rent on a property is over £25,000 and is known as a contractual tenancy
  • HIP (Home information pack) - This is also known as a seller pack and have been legally required on all properties that are sold in on the open market since Dec 14th 2007.
  • 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.
  • Home Improvement Agencies (HIAs) - help vulnerable, disabled or elderly homeowners on a low income to repair, improve, maintain or adapt their homes. 
  • Housing Association - this is a not-for-profit organisation that lets you buy a percentage of the property and pay the rest on rent.

I

  • IFA - Independent Financial Advisor
  • IMRO (Investments Managers Regulatory Organisation) - a regulatory body that governs the way in which investors' money is handled and invested.
  • Indemnity - policy or cover to protect against mortgage payment defaulting (Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee) or covering a defect withn this property (House Indemnity Insurance).
  • Instruction - this is when a seller tells an estate agent to market a property.
  • Introducer fee- is a commission that is paid by the Lender to intermediaries for introducing business to them
  • 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.

J

  • 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/Seversl Liability  - This is when there is to be more than one adult living in a property. Tenants tend to be ‘joint and severally liable’ which means that they are liable together but also individually each tenant is responsible for payment of all rent and all liabilities.
  • Joint Mortgage - where more than one individual is responsible for the mortgage.

L

  • 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) - this is a self-regulating organisation responsible for regulating organisations offering life assurance and unit trusts as principals
  • 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.
  • Lender - A company or person who lends you money for an agreed time period. Interest is generally charged.
  • Lender’s Valuation - A valuation of the proposed property carried out by the lender before agreeing to give out a mortgage. This is only a valuation survey. A separate survey may be required by the buyer.
  • LTB (Let to Buy) - letting out your current residential property, in order to purchase a new residential property.
  • LTV (Loan-to-Value) - the percentage of the loan amount in relation to the purchase value of the property e.g. if a property is £200,000 and the mortage amount is £160,000, then the LTV is 80%.
  • 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.

M

  • Maintenance Charge - this is a charge made towards the upkeep of a leasehold property to the landlord.
  • Mortgage - A long term loan to fund the buying of a property.
  • 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.

N

  • Negative Equity - this is when the value of the property is less than the outstanding sum owed on a mortgage.
  • No Sale, No Fee - a package provided by estate agents that indicates that a fee is only paid when the sale of the vendor's home has been achieved.

O

  • 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.
  • OMV (Open market Value) - the sale value a property can achieve in the open market where the seller and buyer are both willing.
  • Overpayment - this is simply paying more towards your mortgage repayment than the amount set by your lender. Depending on the set agreement, it can lead to a shorter or cheaper mortgage term.

P

  • PCM - this stands for 'Per Calendar Month' and refers to the rent due each month on a rental property.
  • Personal Equity Plan (PEP) - an investment scheme whereby personal investors could invest a limited sum each year in shares or unit trusts in British companies without liability for tax on dividends or capital gains
  • Preliminary enquiries - These are set of questions that are raised by solicitors on the sale/purchase of a property. They can be completed in advance of an agreed sale (along with a fixtures and fittings form) to avoid any delays once a property is under offer.
  • Public Liability Insurance - insurance that provides indeminity against death or injury to anyone in or around your property.

R

  • Referencing - process of checks carried out on behalf of a landlord to ensure potential tenants are who they say they are and are able to commit to the letting requirements in place.
  • 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.
  • Right to Rent - recent goverment legislation that make it a legal duty to check that any prospective tenants are living in the UK legally and have the right to rent.
  • ROI (Return On Investment) - This term refers to how much you get out of an investment in comparison to how much you have put into it. For example, if you have invested £100,000 and got £125,000 out it would be a 25% return on your investment.
  • RTB (Right to Buy) - the right for a tenant who has lived in a council-owned property to purchase it at a discounted rate (usually based on the tenancy length).

S

  • Searches - checks of local council records for planning applications and restrictions.
  • Services/Utilities - Gas, electric, water and council tax. In most AST’s the tenant will be responsible for the cost of these.
  • Shared Ownership - usually provided by housing associations, this scheme allows first-time buyers the chance to purchase a share of property between 25% and 75%, and then pay rent on the remaining share. More shares can be purchased if offered till full ownership is gained.
  • Sitting tenant - This is when someone occupies a property as a tenant but has not signed an AST and so therefore cannot be asked to leave.
  • Sole agent- When a seller chooses only one agent or service to sell their home.
  • Solicitor - this is a legal professional who acts on behalf of the buyer or seller when a property is to be sold or purchased. They ensure all legal obligations and checks concerning the property is carried out, contact all the relevant local authorities, handle the transfering of the monies and oversee the exchange of contracts and completion between the parties.
  • 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.
  • Studio flat - This is a flat or an apartment with the bedroom/living room all in one. It will normally have either a separate kitchen or a kitchen in the corner of the main room. It will still have a separate bathroom and loo.

T

  • 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.
  • Tenants in common - This is when two or more people are co-owners of a property. When one dies, their share of the property automatically passes to the other/others.
  • Tenure - This is relating to whether a property is freehold or leasehold, it denotes the type of ownership a property has.
  • Title - the legal right to ownership of a property.
  • Title deeds - These are legal documents that describe the rights and the liabilities that are attached to a property and they also prove ownership of a property.
  • Transfer Deeds - document from the Land Registry that transfers legal ownership from seller to buyer.

U

  • Under Offer - this is when the seller has accepted an offer on their property but the contracts have not been exchanged yet.

V

  • Vacant possession - This is when the property is vacant. The previous occupants of the property must vacate the property before you move in.
  • Valuation - The process of evaluating a property to determine its market value. In some cases, there may be a cost for this service by a professional, this cost is referred to as a Valuation Fee.
  • Vendor - also known as the seller
  • Vetting - process of performing a background check on someone before processing as potential buyers or sellers
  • Verbal offer - a verbal offer by the buyer for a property (not legally binding)