We include below a glossary of terms which will help clarify any of the legal jargon with which you might not be familiar.
Additional Enquiries: Questions raised by your solicitor when s/he receives the contract documents. These are raised on the client's behalf, and are sometimes required by the lender.
Buildings Insurance: Necessary as from exchange of contracts to cover the house you are buying against damage. If you are selling, however, you must pay your existing buildings insurance up to the date of completion. If the property is leasehold the freehold owner/management company arrange this.
Building Survey: A full inspection of the property by a surveyor, on behalf of the buyer of the property, paid for by the buyer.
Collateral/Security: The property which the lender can sell to repay the loan if the borrower does not keep up the mortgage payments.
Completion: The final legal transfer of ownership of the property. Upon receipt of the funds by the seller, the purchaser gains the legal right to the property, together with rights of occupation.
Completion Statement: A statement prepared by your Solicitor detailing all monies received and payable by your solicitor on your behalf
Content Insurance: This provides insurance cover for all your personal belongings against theft, damages, etc.
Contract: A legal agreement between the sellers and the buyer, the terms of which are binding upon exchange of contracts. It must be signed by both parties.
Covenants: Legally binding conditions forming part of the title deeds, concerning what you may or may not do with the property and land.
Conveyancer/Conveyancing: A solicitor or licensed conveyancer dealing with the legal aspects of buying or selling land/property. Conveyancing is the legal work involved in the sale and purchase of land/property.
Deposit: The deposit paid, normally 10% towards the total price of the property, is payable on exchange of contracts.
Energy Performance Certificate Every home put on the market, no matter what size must have an Energy Performance Certificate.
Environmental Search: Will show the level of risk from flooding, landfill, radon gas, and other such issues.
Exchange of Contracts: The point when both the buyer and the seller become legally bound to the transaction by the terms of the contract. The buyer's buildings insurance should start from this date.
Freehold: Outright ownership of the property and the land on which it stands.
Gazumping: When the seller accepts an offer, but then accepts a higher offer from someone else, before exchange of contracts.
Gazundering: Where the buyer having agreed a price at the outset of the transaction seeks to reduce it immediately prior to the exchange of contracts
Ground Rent: An annual charge payable by leaseholders to the freeholder.
Guarantor: A person who promises they will pay the borrower's debt, if the borrower fails to do so.
Home-buyer's Survey: A less expensive report than a full building survey prepared by a surveyor and paid for by the purchaser.
Land Charges Search: A search against the seller and predecessors in title when the title of the property has not yet been registered at HM Land Registry.
Land Registry Search: A search made by the buyer's solicitor to protect the interest of the buyer/his lender until the title to the property is registered.
Land Registry Fee: A standard fee paid to the Land Registry to register the change in ownership on the charge/land certificate.
Leasehold: The right to possession, but not ownership, of a property for an agreed period of time, e.g. 99 years. Ultimate ownership remains with the freeholder.
Lender / Mortgagee: The bank/building society where you have your mortgage.
Lessee / Lessor: The lessee is the person to whom a lease is granted - a tenant. The lessor is the person who grants the lease, - the Landlord.
Life Assurance: An insurance policy that pays a lump sum on the death of the assured life.
Local Authority Search: Questions asked by your Solicitor of the local authority regarding e.g. plans for new roads and planning permissions for any building work previously carried out on the property.
Mortgage: It has a specific meaning in law but has come to mean a loan to purchase a property with the property as security.
Mortgage Deed: Required by the bank or building society to secure their loan against the value of the property. All purchasers requiring a loan must sign this document.
Mortgagor: The buyer who has taken out a mortgage.
Office Copy Entries: An official copy of the registered title provided to the buyer's solicitors, at the expense of the seller.
Rentcharge: Some Freehold Properties are subject to a small annual sum payable to the person having the benefit of the rentcharge, which in some instances can be redeemed.