A-Z of Estate Agent Jargon

As an Estate Agent, it is our job to help you with selling your house or letting your property. We don’t like using jargon but at times you will come across some terms that you may not be familiar with. To help, we have put together an A-Z Glossary of Estate Agent Jargon of frequently used words and terms.

Agent – Your agent is the person you employ to sell your house or let your property. They will have a local office or may operate online. An agent works on a fee or commission basis, so they will receive a certain amount when they sell your house or find a tenant.

Buyer – This is the person buying the house.

Conveyancing – This is the legal process of transferring ownership of a property/land from the seller to the buyer. The conveyancing process begins when an offer is accepted and ends when the keys to the property are handed over to the new owners.

Completion – This is the date the funds for buying a house are transferred from the buyers solicitor to the sellers solicitor. This is usually the day you also pick up the keys to the property.

Chain – A chain is where those buying a property and those selling a property are linked and dependent on the other for each house purchase to complete. For example, if you are buying a house but need to sell your own home in order to buy the new property, then you are in a chain. You are dependent on someone buying your home, in order to purchase another.

Deposit – A security deposit is a sum of money paid to the landlord that is kept to cover any unpaid rent or damages to the property. It is paid before a tenant moves into a rented property and is returned when the tenant moves out. The deposit is protected in a tenancy deposit scheme.

Deeds – Title deeds are the official documents showing the chain of ownership of a property or land. They will be required when selling property.

EPC – Energy Performance Certificate. An EPC provides information on a property’s energy use, typical costs, and has recommendations on how to reduce the energy usage and improve efficiency. It is a legal requirement to have an EPC if you are selling or renting a property. They are valid for 10 years.Exchange – This refers to the contracts that have been created and signed being exchanged between the buyer and seller’s solicitors. At this point, the agreement to buy the property is legally binding.Equity – The equity on a property is the difference between what the market value is and any outstanding debts on the property. Negative equity is where what is owed on the property is greater than its current market value.

Freehold – When you buy property it can be freehold or leasehold. Freehold is when you have complete ownership of the property and the land it is on.

Fixtures and fittings –Fixtures are usually those items that are attached to the property and not easily removed, for example a chandelier that is hanging from a ceiling is a fixture and a fitting is an item that is easily removed like blinds or curtain poles.

Gas safety certificate – Confirm that the gas appliances in the property have been inspected and deemed fit for use.

Gazumping – this term refers to when an offer has been accepted by the buyer, but before the sale completes, the seller receives and accepts a better offer from another buyer. This is not a regular occurrence and a good estate agent will obtain the best possible price for you and act swiftly to get the contracts exchanged. 

House Price Index – this is a measure of change in the price of residential properties sold and will show the areas where house prices are increasing or declining

Interest rates – this is the amount you are charged for borrowing money. Mortgage lenders have different products based on interest rates so there are a variety of options for buyers.

Joint – If you are renting or buying a property with another person then this is a joint contract.

Keys – You will receive the keys to a new purchased property on the agreed completion date. Tenants will receive the keys to a new rental on the day agreed as the tenancy start date.

Leasehold – With a leasehold agreement, you do not own the land the property is built on or the building in which your property stands. For example, in a block of flats, each flat will be owned by someone but the actual building and land the block sits on will be owned by the person with the freehold rights. Each flat is a leasehold.

Mortgage – This is a loan taken out to purchase property or land.

Memorandum of sale – This is a written confirmation that a price has been agreed for the purchase of a property and declares the intention of both the buyer and seller to complete the sale.

Negotiations – When you are selling a house, there will be offers received from various parties and the agent will endeavour to get you the best price by reaching a mutual agreement on what a buyer is prepared to offer and what the seller is prepared to accept.

Offer – When a person wants to buy a property, they will provide a price that they are prepared to buy the property at, and this is the offer. It may or may not be the sellers asking price.

Price – The asking price is what the seller is asking buyers to pay for the property. This is an indication that the seller will not accept an offer below this value.

Quotations – These are a written confirmation of what the costs are for the services you require.

Right of way – When you purchase land or property and you have right of way, it means you are legally able to access the land of another person in order to get to your land or property. If you have a property on a lane that is used by another property owner, you may not own the lane but have right of way and can use it to gain access to your property.

Repossession – If you have been unable to pay your mortgage and no agreement can be reached on repayment, then your lender can force you to leave and surrender the property to them. The property will be sold and if there are any funds remaining after the mortgage and fees are cleared, you will receive the balance. If there are no funds remaining and you owe money, you will be liable to still pay for the outstanding debt.

Searches – when buying a property your solicitor will carry out property searches. These will confirm for example if the property is a listed building, in a conservation zone, if there are trees or anything else to be protected, if there are planning proposals for the surrounding area, what the water drainage system is, and also if there is any environmental hazards.

Stamp duty – this is a tax payable when you purchase a property or land for more than £125,000 or if it is a second home then £40,000.

Tenancy – this is the occupancy agreement between the person who owns a property and the person who is renting it.

Under offer – when a house for sale has received an offer and the seller has accepted this but contracts are not completed, then the house is under offer.

Vendor – this is the person selling the property.

Witness – When signing legal documents, you may be asked to have a person be present to see you signing the documents. This person acts as a witness to the signing.

X – marks the spot if you are digging for treasure.

Y – is hopefully not what you say after you have started to pack to move.

Zzzzz is you sleeping after moving!!!

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