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Administration/Application fee - This is a charge levied bythe 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 compoundinterest 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 borrowingover the entire term and should appear on all mortgage illustrations.

Applicant- The person or party applying for a property to buy.

Appraised value- The value of a property, as estimated by asurveyor.

Appreciation- The increase in the value of a property as aresult of changes in market conditions.

Arrangement fees- Fees charged to arrange a loan on certainproducts. Usually applied to loans where a special interest rate applies e.g.fixed or capped rates.

Asset- Any form of property owned by a person, including currency, stocks and enforceable claims against others.

Assignment- The transfer of ownership of an insurance policy or lease.

Auction- The sale of a property to the highest bidder.

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.

Applicant- The person or party applying for a property to buy.

Appraised value- The value of a property, as estimated by a surveyor.

Appreciation- The increase in the value of a property as a result of changes in market conditions.

Arrangement fees- Fees charged to arrange a loan on certain products. Usually applied to loans where a special interest rate applies e.g. fixed or capped rates.

Asset- Any form of property owned by a person, including currency, stocks and enforceable claims against others.

Assignment- The transfer of ownership of an insurance policy or lease.

Auction- The sale of a property to the highest bidder.

Bridging loan - 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 propertydefects. Suitable for any house, particularly older properties and those thathave been poorly maintained as well as properties that have been extensively altered or extended, or any property due to be altered or extended.

Buildings insurance - 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.

Buy-to-let mortgage - A type of mortgage specifically designed for people buying a property with the intention of letting it out.

Capital- Administration/Application fee 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.

Capped-rate mortgage- A capped-rate mortgage sets a maximum rate of interest that the lender can charge, but only for a specified period.

Chain- 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.

Commission - The estate agent's fee for selling the property.

Common areas - Areas of land or buildings, such as gardens, hallways, recreational facilities and parking areas, where more than one resident shares access.

Comparative search - 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.

Completion - The completion date is the day on which money is transferred from the buyer's to the seller's solicitor. It is the date that the buyer becomes the legal owner of the new property.

Conditions of sale - The details that determine the rights and duties of the seller and buyer. These may be national, statutory or the Law Society's conditions.

Contents insurance - Insurance that covers the contents of a home, including electrical goods, carpets, furniture and curtains.

Contract - A legal agreement between the seller and buyer ofa property, which binds both parties to complete the transaction.

Contract race - When two parties have made offers on the same property, the vendor will sell to the first party to exchange contracts.

Converted flat - A flat or apartment that has been created by the sub division of a larger property.

Conveyancer - A qualified individual such as a solicitor orlicensed conveyancer who deals with the legal aspects of buying or selling aproperty.

Conveyancing - The legal process surrounding the transfer ofownership of a property from seller to buyer.

Conveyancing fee - The charge made by a solicitor or conveyancer for undertaking the legal process necessary for the transfer of ownership of a property.

Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) - The Council of Mortgage Lenders devised the Mortgage Code to ensure lenders treat customers fairly.

Council Tax - a tax levied on households by local authorities in Britain, based on the estimated value of a property and the number of people living in it. You can find out the council tax band here

Covenants - Rules and regulations governing the property,contained in its Title Deeds or Lease.

Credit check - The procedure by which a check is made on thecredit history of an applicant, usually conducted by one of the large dedicated credit rating agencies. The check will reveal history of credit card repayments, outstanding debts, arrears and County Court Judgments. You can check your own credit rating here

Credit history - A history of an individual's open and fullyrepaid debts. Checking a credit history helps a lender to assess the likelihoodthat a prospective borrower will maintain their mortgage repayments.

Deeds - Legal documents proving ownership, generally held bythe mortgage lender.

Deeds release or discharge fee - The fee charged by lendersat the end of a mortgage term to cover the administrative costs of transferring the property ownership documents to the borrower.

Deflation - A situation in which prices are falling (the opposite situation to inflation).

Deposit - A sum of money paid by the buyer on exchange of contracts.

Depreciation - The decline or reduction in the value of a property caused by changes in market conditions (the opposite of appreciation).

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Detached - Term used to describe a property that stands alone and is separated from all others. 

Development - A newly built residence or an older property that has been refurbished and modernised.

Disbursements - Fees paid by the buyer's solicitor on thebuyer's behalf such as stamp duty, land registry and search fees.

Discharge - Paying off a mortgage.

Discount mortgage - Mortgages charged at a rate discounted from the published bank standard variable rate for a set period of time. The rates are variable and are subject to go up or down in line with any changes to the Bank of England base rate.

Down valuation - When the lender restricts the amount you can borrow after the surveyor's valuation report indicates the property is notworth the sum sought.

Draft contract - Preliminary 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.

Endowment mortgage - Interest-only repayments combined with monthly premiums into an endowment policy designed to pay off the loan at the end of the term.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) - An EPC measures theenergy efficiency of a property using a scale of A-G. It is a legal requirement to have a valid EPC commissioned before a property can be marketed. To download a copy of of your EPC please click here

Equity - 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.

Excess - The initial sum paid on an insurance claim.

Exchange of contracts - The point at which signed contracts are physically exchanged, legally binding the seller and buyer to the sale and purchase of a property at the agreed price.

Financial Services Authority (FSA) - An independent bodythat regulates the financial services industry in the UK.

Fixed rate mortgage - A mortgage in which the interest rate is set for an a greed period of time.  Image title

Fixtures and fittings - All non-structural items included in the purchase of a property.

Flexible mortgage - An arrangement whereby you can increase or decrease your mortgage.

Flying freehold - A flying freehold exists when one part of a property extends over, or under, a neighbouring property.

Freehold - Where the owner of the property also owns the land on which it is built.

Gazumping - When a seller accepts a higher offer from a third party on a property that they have already agreed to sell to someone else prior to exchange of contracts.

Gazundering - When a buyer reduces their agreed offer prior to exchange of contracts.

Ground rent - The annual charge levied by the freeholder to the leaseholder.

Guarantor - The lender may sometimes require a borrower to appoint a guarantor. This is someone who promises to pay the borrower's debt ifthe 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. Usuallycharged 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.

Household insurance - 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.

IFA - 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.

Inflation - The general rise in prices over time.

Interest charges  - Thecharges that banks make on a loan, calculated as a percentage of the amount borrowed.

Interest-only mortgage - A type of mortgage in which theborrower only repays the interest on the loan for the duration of its term andrepays the full loan amount at the end of the mortgage period

Joint income - The total gross income of the two borrowersin a joint mortgage.

Joint tenants - A form of ownership for two parties wherebyif one of them dies, their share of the property will automatically transfer tothe remaining party, giving them full ownership (regardless of the terms of the deceased owner's will)

Land registration - The process of registering the legal title of an area of land with the Land Registry, typically handled by a solicitor. Find out if a property is registered with the land registry here

Land registry fee - The fee payable for the above.

Lease - A legal document by which the Freehold (orLeasehold) owner of a property lets the premises or a part of it to another partyfor a specified length of time, after the expiry of which, ownership may revertto the Freeholder or superior Leaseholder.

Leasehold - A type of ownership in which a person owns aproperty, but not the land on which it is built. The owner of the Freehold willgrant a lease on the property for a specified length of time.

Legal charge - A mortgage on the property.

Lender - The party, typically a bank, building society or mortgage company, offering the loan.

Lender's arrangement fees - Charge passed on to the buyer by the lender for arranging a loan.

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Listed building - 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.

Local authority search - Procedure whereby a buyer's solicitor checks with the local council regarding any outstanding enforcementor future development issues that might affect the property or immediate area.


Maintenance charge (or service charge) - The cost ofrepairing and maintaining external or internal communal parts of a building charged to the tenant or leaseholder.

Maisonette- A self-contained apartment (usually on two floors)in a larger house with its own entrance from the outside.

Mortgage - An amount of money advanced by a lender such as a bank or building society on the security of a property and repayable over along period of time. Please click here for the mortgage calculator.

Mortgage Payment Protection (MPP) - This is an insurance designed to pay your monthly mortgage for a limited period, usually a year ifyou are unable to work through illness, disability or redundancy.

Mortgage broker - Someone who advises buyers on the types ofloans available and helps to process any subsequent application.

Mortgage deed - The legal document that confers ownership or title to a property.

Mortgage rate - The standard variable interest rate quotedby all mortgage lenders which normally varies in line with the Bank of Englandbase rate. All discounted rates are based on this mortgage rate.

Mortgage term - The period of time over which a mortgageloan must be repaid.

Mortgage type - This may be a fixed, variable, capped,discount, tracker or another type of mortgage.

Mortgagee - The lender of a mortgage (i.e. bank or buildingsociety).

NHBC scheme (National House-Building Council) - A type of building guarantee available on some newly built homes under which defectsoccurring within a specified time after construction are remedied.

Negative equity - A situation in which the value of aproperty has fallen to below the level of the loan secured on it.

Offer - A sum of money that the buyer offers to pay for a property.

Offer of a loan - A formal document approving the mortgageyou have requested and detailing the Terms and Conditions that will apply.

Office copy entry - An official document from the Land Registry confirming ownership of and borrowings against a property.

Open market value - The price a property should achievewhere there is a willing buyer and willing seller.

Payment break/holiday - An option on flexible mortgages that allows you to stop making mortgage payments for up to six months.

Penalties - A specified charge that is levied by the lenderunder certain circumstances, usually for full or part repayment within aspecific period linked to a discount, tracker, fixed or other product type.

Peppercorn ground rent - A nominal periodic rent usually paid annually.

Pied à terre - A property kept for temporary, secondary or occasional occupation.

Preliminary enquiries - The initial enquiries about aproperty put forward to a seller, which the seller must answer before theexchange of contracts.

Premium - The monthly amount payable for an insurance policy.

Principal - The amount of debt outstanding (excluding interest).

Public liability insurance - Insurance that covers injury or death to anyone on or around a property.

Purchaser - A person who is buying a property.

Re-mortgage - Refinancing a property by either switching a mortgagefrom one lender to another or by taking out a second mortgage to take advantage of any equity gained by a rise in value.

Redemption - When a mortgage is fully repaid.

Repayment mortgage - A mortgage in which monthly charges areused to repay the interest and reduce the outstanding capital.

Repossession - When the mortgage lender takes possession of a property due to non-payment of the mortgage.

Retention - The ability of a lender to hold back (retain) part of a mortgage until certain conditions are met.

Search - A request or enquiry for information concerning the property held by a local authority or by the Land Registry

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Semi-detached - A property which is joined to one other house. 

Service charge - Service charges are paid by the owner and cover the cost of providing various services (i.e. maintenance and repair ofthe building and common parts, provision of heating, lighting and security).

Share of freehold – Where the freehold on which the property stands is owned by a limited company and the shareholders of that limited company are the owners of the property.

Sole agent - When a seller chooses only one estate agent tosell their property.


Sole occupancy - A property that is occupied (lived in) only by the mortgage applicant(s) and their direct family.

Solicitor - A legal expert handling all documentation for the sale or purchase of a property.

Stamp Duty - A government tax paid by the buyer of aproperty, which ranges between 0% and 12% depending on the value of the property. Calculate your stamp duty here 

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.

Structural survey - This is based on a detailed inspectionof the property and reports on the general structural condition.

Studio flat - A flat consisting of one main room oropen-plan living area incorporating cooking and sleeping facilities and a separate bathroom/shower room.

Subject to contract - Legal terminology that indicates anagreement is not yet legally binding and depends upon the terms yet to be agreed within the contract.

Surveyor - A professional person qualified to estimate the value and condition of land and property.

Tenants in common - A form of ownership by two or more people in which if one of them dies, their share of the property forms part of their estate and does not automatically pass to the other(s).

Tenure - Conditions on which a property is held (i.e. length of lease).

Terraced house - A property that forms part of a connected row of houses.

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) - The Property Ombudsman (TPO)is a free, fair and independent arbitration service which provides sellers,buyers, landlords and tenants with an assurance that they will receive the highest level of customer service.

Title Deeds - Documents showing the legal ownership of a property.

Title insurance - An insurance policy which a buyer can takeout 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 they are buying.

Title search - An investigation carried out by a conveyanceror 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.

Tracker mortgage - 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.

Transfer Deeds - The Land Registry document that transferslegal ownership from seller to buyer.

Under offer - The status of a property for sale when a seller has accepted an offer from a buyer, prior to exchange of contracts.

Valuation - A basic survey of a property to estimate its value for mortgage purposes. Mortgage lenders will insist on this before lending.

Value - The price of a property under normal conditions, i.e. 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.

Vendor - A person selling a property

Void - An empty area or space.

Yield - Income from a property calculated as a percentage of its value.