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  • Olivia Thomas

RF&Os Glossary of Useful Terms

A – Z Glossary of Home Buying, Renting and Selling Terms

Advance – the sum of money you borrow from your mortgage lender. Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – shown as a percentage, this is the total charge for the money lent to you for the loan. It includes fees and interest.

AST or Assured Short-hold Tenancy - The most common form of tenancy in the UK. Similar to an Assured tenancy but lasting for a fixed period of at least 6 months. More popular as it makes it easier for the landlord to give notice and end the agreement.


Bank of England Base Rate – The Bank of England sets a rate of interest which the high street banks use to calculate the interest rate they charge for some loans. Buildings Insurance – this is the insurance needed for the fabric of your property, against fire, theft and flood. Your mortgage normally requires this insurance. However, it is usually covered by the freeholder if you are purchasing a leasehold property. Building Survey - an examination of a property by a surveyor (which may include specific tests by the surveyor or other experts) in order to produce a report on the structural integrity of a building and its state of repair.


Chartered Surveyor - Chartered Surveyors are highly trained and experienced property professionals. They offer impartial, specialist advice on a variety of property related issues. Their duties include valuing property and looking for structural defects in buildings. They also provide expert consultancy advice in property, construction and related environmental issues. Chartered Surveyors are represented by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Complete – the end of the process of buying and/or selling a property. Once you have ‘completed’ the transaction has ended. Conservation Area - A tract of land that has been awarded protected status usually of architectural or historic interest. Conveyancing - the legal process for the transferral of ownership of real property. Council Tax Band - A letter code in the range A – I, each representing a specific range (or band) of property market values. In England the value is as at 1 April 1991; in Wales it is as at 1 April 2003. All domestic property is given one of these bands for the administration of council tax bills. There are different valuation bands in England and in Wales.


Deeds - Also referred to as ‘Title Deeds’. Title deeds are documents showing ownership, as well as rights, obligations, or mortgages on the property. Since around 2000, compulsory registration in England and Wales has been required for all properties mortgaged or transferred. The details of rights, obligations, and covenants referred to in deeds are entered on the property register. Domestic Energy Assessor – also known as the DEA, is a qualified individual who visits the property prior to it being marketed for sale or to let and checks the property’s energy efficiency by examining its dimensions, construction, heating and hot water provision. The DEA will also provide cost effective recommendations for improving energy use.


Energy Performance Certificate – also known as an EPC. The Energy Performance Certificate is the document provided by the Domestic Energy Assessor. It provides information on the property’s energy use, energy efficiency and recommendations for improved energy efficiency. It rates each property with a performance scale A to G, where A is very efficient and G is the least energy efficient. EPC – abbreviation for Energy Performance Certificate. Exchange (of contracts) - Both you and the seller sign the contract. You also agree a completion date that suits both of you. You also need to agree to pay a deposit to the seller at this point, typically around 10% of purchase price. This is paid via your solicitor. Once you have exchanged contracts, you are legally required to proceed.


Freehold – describes the dwelling and the land on which it stands which is owned by the possessor indefinitely.


Gazumping - Gazumping is when the seller, having accepted your offer, then accepts a higher offer from someone else. Ground rent – you will be charged this if you have purchased a leasehold property. It is often a token 'peppercorn' rent charged annually.


HIP – Abbreviation for Home Information Pack, see below. HIPs are no longer required.

HMO or House of Multiple Occupancy - A house which is occupied by three of more unrelated persons, who do not form a single household

Home Report – The Home Report is mandatory for residential properties being sold in Scotland. This is a pack of three documents: a Single Survey, an Energy Report and a Property Questionnaire. The Home Report must be made available on request to prospective buyers of the home. The Single Survey contains an assessment by a surveyor of the condition of the home, a valuation and an accessibility audit for people with particular needs. The Energy Report contains an assessment by a surveyor of the energy efficiency of the home and its environmental impact. It also recommends ways to improve its energy efficiency. The Property Questionnaire is completed by the seller of the home. It contains additional information about the home, such as Council Tax banding and factoring costs that will be useful to buyers.

Inventory - a list of all your possessions if you are moving home or if you are renting a property you will be presented with an inventory by the agent or landlord detailing the condition of the property at the beginning of the tenancy.
Landlord - a person who rents out land, a building, or accommodation.

Land Registry – the central body holding the register of title to land in England and Wales and records dealings (for example, sales and mortgages) with registered land. Leasehold - is a property term where one party buys the right to occupy land or a building for a specified length of time. Letting – an arrangement where a payment is made for the temporary use of a property owned by another person or company. Licensed Conveyancer - is a legal professional specialising in property law. The role of a licensed conveyancer is similar to that of a solicitor dealing with a property transaction. They will have been trained by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers. Listed - A building considered to be of architectural or historic significance and therefore given special protection. Listed properties are subject to planning limitations. Loan-to-value – Also 'LTV', this represents the size of the mortgage as a percentage of the valuation of the property.


Mortgage - A loan that is secured over a property.


New Build – property that has just been built and is usually sold by the building company.


Planning permissions - or planning consent - is the authorization required in the United Kingdom in order to be allowed to build on land, extend a building, or change the use of land or buildings. Property Ombudsman - The Property Ombudsman has powers that allow him to make awards of compensation for financial loss and/or aggravation, distress and inconvenience, where he feels appropriate. The service is free of charge for the public. He is not a regulator or consumer guardian. Property Questionnaire – Document essential for property sellers in Scotland. To be completed by the seller, the PQ gives prospective buyers useful information about the property. It includes information such as parking arrangements, council tax bands, and any local authority notices or notes of alterations that have been made to the home. Included in the Home Report.


Quotes – Indicative prices for a service. provides instant quotes for removals, conveyancing, surveys, Home Reports and EPCs.


Remortgage – repaying your mortgage by taking out an alternative mortgage the usually replaces the first, but still secured on the same property. Repossessed - The legal term relating to a property in which a borrower has fallen short of repayments on the loan for that property. A repossessed property is usually sold at a public auction.


Searches – these involve a search of files relating to a certain property or area which are held by the Local Authority. Other searches are also carried out such as the Water Drainage Search and Environmental Search. They inform the purchaser of any potential municipal or private building work or potential issues that can affect the property. Solicitor - is a lawyer who traditionally offers legal services outside of the courts. A Conveyancing Solicitor handles legal documentation involved in buying or selling a property. Stamp Duty - A government tax which is added to the purchase price of a property. Different percentages are charged for different values of property from 0% to 12%. Survey - a house survey for buyers is essential. By having it surveyed or examined by a RICS surveyor, you will know the structural state of the property. Different types of surveys go into different depths of detail.


Tenancy Deposit Scheme - Deposits paid by tenants are put into a secure account so they are available - all or in part – to get back when the tenant leaves the premises, depending on the condition in which the property is left.

Tenant - a person who occupies land o

r property rented from a landlord.


Valuation – the worth of your home. Mortgage lenders usually send a qualified valuer to confirm the value of your property before they will confirm the mortgage. This is not a structural survey. Vendor – The person selling a house.

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