Jargon Buster


Often humble, another word for a house.

An up-front, one off fee paid to the lender to protect them against the borrower defaulting on the load. Usually charged on mortgages over 75% of the house value. Also known as MIG, Indemnity Guarantee Premium and Mortgage Indemnity Premium.

Low cost housing for sale or rent, often from a housing association, to meet the needs of local people who cannot afford accommodation through the open or low cost market, or subsidised housing.

A dwelling which is subject to a condition or legal agreement that it shall only be occupied by someone who is employed or was last employed solely or mainly in agriculture, forestry or other appropriate rural employment.

A subsidiary use connected to the main use of a building or piece of land.

Annual Percentage Rate. The true cost of a loan.

Property sale. If you win the bid, you area legally bound to buy the house.


Much written about these great institutions but commonly where people borrow money to buy property.

Temporary finance ‘bridging’ the period between completion on the purchase of a property and the sale of an existing property, funds from which are intended to finance/part finance the new purchase.

An intermediary who will give you advice and offer a range of mortgages.

Another place to go for Mortgages and Loans. Often owned by banks.

Insurance to cover any structural damage to your house.


Often the amount of money you have to invest in the property as opposed to the mortgage.

This occurs when the seller needs the sale of their house to occur before they can complete the purchase of another property. The same situation may exist for others in the chain. As a result, the whole chain can collapse if one link breaks. This is more common in Scotland now due to the financial climate.

The term used for the security that the lender relies on when granting a mortgage.

When two parties have made an offer on the same house. The vendor will sell to the first party to exchange contracts.

Fee paid to your estate agent, usually following the sale of the property.

The point when contracts have been exchanged and ownership legally passes to the buyer.

This occurs in Scotland when the solicitors agree the terms of the contract on your behalf and its at this point that neither party can pull out.

Insurance to cover any loss or damage to your possessions.

The legal documents needed to transfer the ownership of property.

Legal work involved in buying and selling a house.

Traditionally styled small house often in the country and generally stone built.

Scottish term for four flats in a block all with separate entrances.

Local tax levied by the relevant authorities to cover the costs of public services.


The legal documents relating to property. These will include matters which relate to the property since it was built.

House standing on its own.

A new form of mortgage lender who deals solely over the telephone.

Expenses paid by the solicitor on behalf of the purchaser.

A reduced mortgage rate which is subtracted from the Standard Variable rate.


Type of mortgage where monthly payments are made into a endowment (life assurance) policy. The loan is paid off in one lump sum at the end of the loan period.

Fast becoming law, this certificate tells people how your homes energy efficiency performs.

Property agents who link up buyers and sellers. Estate Agents advertise houses and arrange viewings.

The initial sum you have to pay on an insurance claim.

The point at which buyer and seller are legally bound to the sale and purchase of the property.


When the lender turns down your mortgage application after reading the surveyor’s valuation report.

Absolute ownership of property and land.


A common practice whereby the seller, having already accepted an offer from Party A, accepts a higher offer from Party B.

When the buyer blackmails the seller into accepting a lower offer just before contracts are about to be exchanged.


Carried out by an RICS surveyor this is a sellers survey and comprises 3 elements: the valuation, the sellers questionnaire and the EPC.


See Additional Security Fee


When the seller commissions two independent Estate Agents or auctioneers to sell their house.


In Scotland this is carried out by the solicitor to register buyer as the owner of the house.

Document in which the owner of a freehold property lets out their premises to a named party at a certain price and for a specified time.

The ownership of a lease.

Charge passed on to the buyer by the lender for arranging a loan.

The fees incurred by the lender when arranging a mortgage. These costs area passed on to the buyer.

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, full survey is needed by the buyer.

An insurance policy which pays out a fixed lump sum on death of an individual. Life Assurance helps protect from financial difficulties.

A percentage expressing size of mortgage: value of house. For example, House Value=£100,000, Mortgage Size=£90,000. Loan-to-Value= 90%.

A search carried out by the Solicitor to find out if there are any Local Authority Notices, with respect to the building itself (e.g. has it been condemned?), and the surrounding area (e.g. have plans gone through to build a motorway next to the house?).


Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee. See Additional Security Fee.

Mortgage Interest Relief At Source. Tax relief is deducted from interest payments on the first £30,000 of you mortgage. Phased out in April 2000.

Scottish legal term to cover the legal process where the purchasers solicitors conclude a deal with the sellers solicitor to transact the sale.

A long term loan to fund the buying of a property.

See Additional Security Fee.

Period over which mortgage is to be repaid.

The lender of a mortgage.

The house buyer who takes out a mortgage.


When the value of your house falls to less than your mortgage. Over 1.5 million home owners have experienced this during the recent recession.


Monthly repayments made up of a) Interest on loan and b) contribution to a personal pension scheme. The loan on the house is paid off in one lump sum at the end of the loan period.

The monthly amount payable to an insurance policy.

The sum of the loan on which interest is calculated.

Insurance against damages awarded to members of the public because of an injury or damage to their property.


When a mortgage is fully repaid.

Specialists in finding houses, raising finances, organising surveys and completing negotiations.

A basic mortgage capital and interest on the loan are paid off in monthly installments.

When the mortgage lender takes away your home because you have fallen too far behind on your mortgage repayments.


Official who repossesses your possessions or house if you cannot keep up on your mortgage repayments.

When a seller chooses only one Estate Agent to sell their home.

Legal Professional who acts on behalf of the buyer in the purchase of a house. The solicitor will check the legal position of the house, carry out a Local Authority Search, Land Registry and oversee the exchange of contracts between the two parties.

A government tax on house purchases.

A report constructed by the surveyor detailing firstly, whether the house structurally sound and secondly, listing the major/minor defects (including the necessary work which needs to be done).

The person who carries out a structural survey of the property, examining the structure and general state of the house.


The period over which a mortgage is taken out.

The legal right to ownership of a property.

The document which shows the ownership of a property.


A survey carried out by a lender to ensure that the house’s value is not less than the proposed loan. Often the lender will arrange the survey and bill the buyer.