Property Glossary ( UK )


When you are offered and accept a mortgage offer from a lender, this is what you need to sign and return.


Stands for ‘Annual Percentage Rate’ relating to interest on a loan


The term used by an estate agent refers to you when you are a potential buyer of a property.


When selling your house, an estate agent will ‘appraise’ your property to determine a current value for it.

Arrangement Fee

Some lenders may ask for this fee for providing or ‘arranging’ a loan


The transfer of ownership from one person to another. For example, if you buy a leasehold, property ownership is ‘assigned’ to you via the contract.

Base Rate

This is the lowest rate of interest a bank will charge when it lends you money and is used as a benchmark to set interest rates for borrowers—this rate is set by the Bank of England and is reviewed several times a year. Lenders will charge borrowers a margin above the base rate.Property

Bridging Finance/Loan

You may need ‘Bridging Finance’ if you buy a new property before selling your current house. This is to ‘bridge’ the gap before selling your property to complete your new property’s buying process before selling your existing home.


This is a person who advises on mortgages and loans, known as a ‘mortgage broker.’

Capped Rate

The maximum set interest rate you will pay on a mortgage for a set period of time. This means that the interest rate cannot go higher than the capped rate during the specified time period, usually the first few years of the loan.


This refers to a sequence of buyers and sellers. Most people who sell their homes are also buying at the same time. There can be a ‘chain’ of several buyers and sellers, each dependent on selling and purchasing their new homes. If one buyer or seller drops out, the whole chain may collapse, leading to a domino effect where the paperwork for several properties is delayed or canceled altogether.

Chain Free

This is when the property owner doesn’t need to sell the property to buy another. Thus it is offered chain-free.


Your house is ‘Collateral’ when used to guarantee you will repay a loan to your lender. For example, if you do not keep up with repayment, the lender could sell your house to get back the money they have loaned you.


This is the final stage of the property buying process – when the buyer has paid the agreed sale price to the seller. Legal ownership has been transferred from the seller to the buyer of the property.

Contents Insurance

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This insurance is taken out to cover/protect personal belongings that are in your home.


Once signed by the buyer and seller, this agreement binds both parties to the sale and purchase of the property.


This can refer to a property that has had the loft converted into a room or a house that has been converted into flats.


The name of the legal process that transfers property ownership from the seller to the buyer.


A requirement by law on the property owner to either do or not do something with their property.


Stands for Current Account Mortgage


This stands for County Court Judgement. If you have a judgment against you for defaulting on debt, it may mean you are turned down for future loans or pay a higher interest rate.


The legal documents regarding a property.


This term is used when you do not do as you agreed, e.g., failing to make a mortgage payment. If you fail to make mortgage payments (or default), your home could be repossessed.

Delayed Completion

Typically completion takes less than 28 days after the exchange of contracts. If it takes place after 28 days, then it is called ‘delayed completion.’


A deposit is the initial lump sum payment the buyer contributes towards the property’s total purchase price in terms of mortgages.Glossary


This is another word for the legal costs involved with purchasing a property.

Discounted Rate

This type of mortgage has an interest rate lower than the lender’s Standard Variable Rate (SVR).

Early Repayment Charge

This is a charge or ‘fee’ payable if you pay part or all of your mortgage off earlier than agreed. This is used to compensate the lender for interest that would have been paid if the mortgage had run for the full-time period agreed.

Equitable Interest

When a person has some legal rights to a property but not including the sale of the property.


This is what you actually own – it is the difference between the market value of your property and the amount of the loan you still owe to the lender.

Exchange of Contracts

This is the point at which the buyer and seller are legally bound to complete the sale.

Execution Only

A service with no advice, just carry out the orders of a customer.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage

A mortgage that has a ‘fixed’ rate of interest for a set period of time.

Fixtures and Fittings

These are items in a house that are included in the sale. For example, lighting fixtures, carpets, and so on – these should be agreed/confirmed before a sale.

Flexible Mortgage

As the name suggests, this mortgage is flexible in terms of how you pay the loan back. An example could be that it allows you to make overpayments or pay off your mortgage early.


Complete ownership of a piece of land and the property that is on it.


This is when a vendor (seller) accepts an offer but rejects accepting a higher offer from another buyer.


This is the opposite of gazumping – when the buyer threatens to pull out just before the exchange of contracts if the price is not reduced.


Using loaned funds to progress investments. For example, buying a house with a small deposit and the rest with a mortgage and then selling the property at a higher price, making a profit.

Ground Rent

This is rent paid annually by the leaseholder of a property to the owner of the freehold. Usually, it is paid to the landowners on which the property/properties are built.


A person who agrees to guarantee that they will pay a debt or loan if you default on payment.

Home Information Pack ( HIP )

Also known as a ‘Sellers Pack,’ this will be a mandatory Survey from the 1st of June 2007 to be produced by a homeowner or selling agents via a home inspector before a property can be put on the open market. The aim is to help improve buying and selling a home; it is part of the conveyancing process and will include detailed information about a property.UK


Independent Financial Adviser


This is when you give an estate agent ‘Instructions’ or the right to sell or let your property.

Joint / Multiple Agency

This is when you instruct more than one estate agent to market your property.

Land Certificate

The certificate that proves ownership of land is issued by the land registry.

Land Registry

A government office that stores records of land ownership and any charges like a mortgage.


A legal document detailing an agreement between a freeholder and those occupying their property for a specified period of time. It lists all the conditions which the leaseholder must abide by and what the landlord’s responsibilities are.


Land or property is ‘leasehold’ when the owner has to pay the freeholder an annual sum.


A person or company that lends money for an agreed time period. They expect to have the money repaid with interest added – your mortgage company is a lender.


Loan To Value

Maintenance Charge

A landlord charges for the annual maintenance of a property, which should be agreed upon in your contract. This includes keeping the outside of the property in good order and gardening services in communal areas.


Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee – an insurance premium some lenders may need you to take out on certain mortgages.


Money borrowed from a lender to buy a property. The borrower agrees to use their property as security against it until the loan is paid back.

Mortgage Deed

A document that has the details of a mortgage arrangement.

Mortgage Offer

An offer from a lender which details the terms and conditions of a loan.


The individual who is borrowing money to buy a property.

Negative Equity

When you owe more than the market value of your property or have paid or are paying back more than a property is worth.


An offer, usually below the asking price, you make on a property.


Open Market Value – the value a property can achieve when there are a willing buyer and seller.


This is the moment when you pay off your mortgage

Registered Land

Land including any property on it that is registered with the land registry.

Right Of Way

The legal access to a piece of property to access your own property.


Return On Investment – how much you get out of what you put in.


The process of finding out if there are any unwanted effects now or planned for the future on a property.

Sole Agency

A single (sole) estate agent has been given the right to sell or let a property.

Stamp Duty

Tax paid to the government on the purchase price of the property.

Subject To Contract

The point at which both parties are free to pull out of an agreement before exchange of contracts.


A survey is a report produced by a building surveyor to determine the value of the property and if it is structurally sound.


A person or persons (can be a company or organization) is entitled to occupy a property under the terms and conditions of a tenancy agreement.


The type of ownership of a property such as Freehold or Leasehold


The legal right to ownership of a property.

Title Deeds

A document that shows ownership of a property.

Under Offer

When a property has had an offer accepted but contracts have not been exchanged.


A service by an estate agent or independent expert to determine the value of a property in the current market.