The ultimate property jargon buster
The property market can be difficult to negotiate, and it’s often made tougher by the masses of property jargon used by estate agents and solicitors. To give you a helping hand, however, we’ve drawn up a comprehensive property jargon buster, covering all the terms you might hear in conversation as you buy or sell your home.
A property is considered ‘accessible housing’ if it has been modified to enable an individual with a disability live independently.
Affordable housing is an owned or rented property that doesn’t compromise the residents’ finances. The mortgage or rent typically costs no more than 30% of the household’s monthly income.
Appraisal is another word for formal assessment, which, in this context, refers to an estimation of a property’s value.
To be in arrears means to still owe overdue money. If you enter arrears on your mortgage, you risk repossession of your property.
Unlike a typical house, which has a downstairs and an upstairs, a bungalow is built with just one floor or storey. In some instances, a bungalow has been converted to offer a second floor within the sloping attic.
Buy-to-let refers to the purchasing of property with the intention of renting it out, rather than living in it yourself. This is a popular motivation for individuals buying a second home.
Capital gains tax
Capital gains tax is a duty paid on the profits made on the sale of second property. The amount you pay depends on the value of your property.
Cash house buyer
A cash house buyer is somebody who can purchase your property in cash and in full, without the need to apply for a mortgage. Good Move is an example of a cash house buyer.
When buying a property, the completion date is, in simple terms, the day you can move in. It is the day the seller is required to vacate the home and hand over the keys.
Conveyancing refers to the legal transferring of property ownership from one person to another i.e. from the seller to the buyer.
Council tax is duty paid on domestic properties, determined by local authorities across the UK. The rate of council tax you pay is based on the overall value of your property. Often, you will be required to pay council tax even if you don’t own your home.
An estate agent is someone who manages the sale of a property on behalf of clients. If somebody specialises in renting properties, they are often referred to as a letting agent.
Eviction is the process of forcibly removing a tenant from a property. This is often a last resort, and done when a tenant fails or refuses to make payments.
Exchange of contracts
The exchange of contracts is the final step in the purchasing of property. It signifies that both seller and buyer are satisfied with the terms, and the process is legally binding.
Fixtures and fittings
Fixtures and fittings refers to the items that are left when you sell or buy a home, including everything from kitchen appliances to picture hooks.
Also referred to as an apartment, a flat is a self-contained living space situated within a larger building.
Freehold means that you own the entire estate you live on, including the property and its surrounding land. You are free to make any changes you like, within the parameters of planning permission.
Gazumping is when a seller verbally accepts an offer from one buyer before raising the asking price. It can also refer to a seller accepting a higher offer from another buyer after already accepting yours.
Gazundering is when a buyer initially agrees an offer on a property, before reducing it before contracts are exchanges.
Ground rent is an agreement that stipulates the leaseholder of a property to pay a regular fee to the freeholder to occupy the land.
A house deposit is the amount you pay up front when purchasing a property. The rest is covered by your mortgage. There is often a minimum deposit required, relative to the property’s value.
An inventory is a list of items, and, in this context, refers to everything included within a rented property. It should include fixtures and fittings, furniture, and any wear and tear.
If you are a joint tenant, you own an equal share of your estate alongside another party (or multiple parties). Your shares will pass on to the other parties upon your death.
A landlord is somebody who owns a property and leases it out to tenants, often offering amities and landlord insurance. A landlord might specialise in renting properties to professionals or students.
A leasehold property is one which is situated on land owned by somebody else (the freeholder). A leaseholder owns the property for the duration of a lease, but doesn’t have any claim to the surrounding land.
A listed building is one which has been given historical or cultural significance status by the relevant agencies covering England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.
A lodger is somebody who rents accommodation in a house also occupied by the owner.
A maisonette is a self-contained living area situated within a larger building. Unlike a flat or apartment, though, a maisonette has its own access point, rather than a shared entrance.
Market value refers to the amount that a property is worth on the open market. It is a fair valuation and takes the location and size of a property into account.
A mortgage is a legal agreement between an individual and a bank/building society that outlines a lending amount for the purchase of property. You won’t own the property outright until the entire mortgage agreement has been paid.
Power of attorney
If you are granted power of attorney, you are able to make financial and legal decisions on behalf of somebody else. An example of this is the family of an elderly relative who is moving into a care home taking control of their estate.
When somebody dies, their estate is distributed between the beneficiaries outlined in their will. This is a legal process called ‘probate’.
A property auction is a session in which interested parties are able to bid on a property. There will often be a reserve price on a property, to ensure the seller receives at lease a minimum value.
A property chain is when you are buying and selling a property at the same time. A property chain can cause a sale or purchase to stall or fall through, so consider the benefits of getting in touch with a quick house sale company.
Stamp duty is a tax paid on the purchase of property. The rate you pay is determined by the value of the property and whether you are purchasing an additional home or not.
A studio apartment is a self-contained living area whereby each home element is combined into a single room, rather than separated by walls.
A property survey is a professional inspection of a property to determine its conditions and any problems with the structure.
A tenant is somebody who occupies a room, property, or land rented from a landlord. There are various kinds of tenancy agreements.
Tenants in common
If you are a tenant in common, you own a partial share of a property or estate. Unlike a joint tenancy, when you die, your portion doesn’t automatically pass onto the other parties, but is instead distributed according to the will.
A title deed is a legal document evidencing that you have the right to ownership of a property or area of land.
With so much house jargon out there, it can be handy to have a helpful resource to look back on throughout the buying or selling process. For even more expert guidance, head on over to our blog.