Administration/Application fee

This is a charge levied by the lender to cover the costs of processing a mortgage application. If an application is not completed, the fee may not be refunded.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The APR is a compound interest rate figure used to compare different mortgages. Defined by law, it includes repayments on the loan plus any mortgage related fees such as booking, arrangement or basic valuation fees. The APR shows the true cost of borrowing over the entire term and should appear on all mortgage illustrations.


The increase in the value of a property as a result of changes in market conditions.

Arrangement fees

Fees charged to arrange a loan on certain products. Usually applied to loans where a special interest rate applies e.g. fixed or capped rates.


Any form of property owned by a person, including currency, stocks and enforceable claims against others.


The transfer of ownership of an insurance policy or lease.


The sale of a property to the highest bidder.

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

Tip: Have a survey carried out before the auction.

Agreement in Principle Certificate (AIP)

A document provided by a lender indicating how much they will consider a mortgage application for based on your monthly income and outgoings.

Application Fee

Fee charged by a lender to cover the initial costs of processing a loan application.

Back to top
Bridging loan

A short-term loan which can be used to bridge the period between you buying a new property and selling your previous home. Not all bridging finance is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Should you have a need for a bridging loan you will be referred to a third party provider. Neither Reeds Rains Ltd nor First Complete Ltd is responsible for any advice provided by a third party.

Building survey (formerly full structural survey)

A full inspection of the property, conducted by a chartered surveyor, who will write a detailed report setting out the soundness of a property and any property defects. Suitable for any house, particularly older properties and those that have been poorly maintained as well as properties that have been extensively altered or extended, or any property due to be altered or extended.

Buildings insurance

An insurance policy that pays the cost of repair or rebuilding in the event your property is damaged or destroyed. Most mortgage lenders will require buildings insurance to be taken out as a condition of their loan.

Buy-to-let mortgage

A type of mortgage specifically designed for people buying a property with the intention of letting it out.


An appointed official who can repossess your possessions or house on behalf of the lender if you cannot keep up on your mortgage repayments.

Back to top

The amount of money either put into buying a property or the deposit placed on a property. Also known as equity.

Capped-rate mortgage

A capped-rate mortgage sets a maximum rate of interest that the lender can charge, but only for a specified period.


The situation that occurs when a buyer is reliant upon completion of the sale of their existing property in order to complete on the purchase of the new property.


The estate agent's fee for selling the property.

Common areas

Areas of land or buildings, such as gardens, hallways, recreational facilities and parking areas, where more than one resident shares access.

Comparative search

A search that looks at the actual sale values of similar properties in the same area as your property. This search is normally carried out by a surveyor and should give an indicative sale price for a property.

Completion date

The completion date is the day on which money is transferred from the buyer's to the seller's solicitor. It is the date that the buyer becomes the legal owner of the new property.

Conditions of sale

The details that determine the rights and duties of the seller and buyer. These may be national, statutory or the Law Society's conditions.

Contents insurance

Insurance that covers the contents of a home, including electrical goods, carpets, furniture and curtains.


A legal agreement between the seller and buyer of a property, which binds both parties to complete the transaction.

Contract race

When two parties have made offers on the same property, the vendor will sell to the first party to exchange contracts.

Converted flat

A flat or apartment that has been created by the subdivision of a larger property.


A qualified individual such as a solicitor or licensed conveyancer who deals with the legal aspects of buying or selling a property.


The legal process surrounding the transfer of ownership of a property from seller to buyer.

Conveyancing fee

The charge made by a solicitor or conveyancer for undertaking the legal process necessary for the transfer of ownership of a property.

Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML)

The Council of Mortgage Lenders devised the Mortgage Code to ensure lenders treat customers fairly.


A condition, contained within the Title Deeds or lease, that the buyer must comply with, which is usually applied to all future owners of the property. A restrictive covenant is one that prohibits the owner from doing something.

Credit check

The procedure by which a check is made on the credit history of an applicant, usually conducted by one of the large dedicated credit rating agencies. The check will reveal history of credit card repayments, outstanding debts, arrears and County Court Judgments.

Credit history

A history of an individual's open and fully repaid debts. Checking a credit history helps a lender to assess the likelihood that a prospective borrower will maintain their mortgage repayments.

Council Tax

Levied by local councils to cover the cost of local amenities and services.

Closing Date

The date set for submission of offers when more than one party show interest in the property.

Communal Areas

The parts of the building and grounds, which are used by some or all of the residents. These can include hallways, gardens and parking areas.


The legal documents needed to transfer the ownership of property.

Back to top

Legal documents proving ownership, generally held by the mortgage lender.

Deeds release or discharge fee

The fee charged by lenders at the end of a mortgage term to cover the administrative costs of transferring the property ownership documents to the borrower.


A situation in which prices are falling (the opposite situation to inflation).


A sum of money paid by the buyer on exchange of contracts.


The decline or reduction in the value of a property caused by changes in market conditions (the opposite of appreciation).


Term used to describe a property that stands alone and is separated from all others.


A newly built residence or an older property that has been refurbished and modernised.


Fees paid by the buyer's solicitor on the buyer's behalf such as stamp duty, land registry and search fees.


Paying off a mortgage.

Discount mortgage

Mortgages charged at a rate discounted from the published bank standard variable rate for a set period of time. The rates are variable and are subject to go up or down in line with any changes to the Bank of England base rate.

Down valuation

When the lender restricts the amount you can borrow after the surveyor's valuation report indicates the property is not worth the sum sought.

Draft contract

Preliminary version of the contract.


The 2001 census defines a dwelling as a self-contained unit of accommodation. It is self-contained where all the rooms (in particular the basic facilities such as kitchen and bathroom) are behind a door that only the household can use. A dwelling can consist of one household space (self-contained) or more than one household space (shared).

Back to top
Early Repayment Charge (ERC)

A charge levied by the lender as a penalty if a mortgage is paid off within a specified period.

Endowment mortgage

Interest-only repayments combined with monthly premiums into an endowment policy designed to pay off the loan at the end of the term.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

An EPC measures the energy efficiency of a property using a scale of A-G. It is a legal requirement to have a valid EPC commissioned before a property can be marketed.


The amount of money either put into buying a property or the deposit placed on a property which exceeds the amount of any money borrowed against the property. Also known as capital.


The initial sum paid on an insurance claim.

Exchange of contracts

The point at which signed contracts are physically exchanged, legally binding the seller and buyer to the sale and purchase of a property at the agreed price.

Estate Agent

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

Environmental search

This is a search of current and historic records to find out whether a property is built on, or near, contaminated land.

Back to top
Financial Services Authority (FSA)

An independent body that regulates the financial services industry in the UK.

Fixed rate mortgage

A mortgage in which the interest rate is set for an agreed period of time.

Fixtures and fittings

All non-structural items included in the purchase of a property.

Flexible mortgage

An arrangement whereby you can increase or decrease your mortgage.

Flying freehold

A flying freehold exists when one part of a property extends over, or under, a neighbouring property.


This type of tenure means that you own both the property and the land it stands on and there is no time limit to the period of ownership.

Back to top

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


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

Ground rent

A yearly fee that leaseholders have to pay to the freeholder or landlord who owns the land the leasehold property is on.


The lender may sometimes require a borrower to appoint a guarantor. This is someone who promises to pay the borrower's debt if the borrower defaults.

Back to top
Higher lending charge

An up-front, one-off fee paid to the lender to protect them against the borrower defaulting on the loan. Usually charged on mortgages over 75% of the house value.

Homebuyer's survey and valuation

The homebuyer's report comments on the structural condition of most parts of the property that are readily accessible, but is less comprehensive that a full building or structural survey

Household insurance

An insurance policy that protects against loss or damage to the property caused by fire, some natural causes and acts of vandalism. Also see Buildings insurance and Contents insurance.

Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO)

A building of three floors or more which is to be occupied by three or more people and where these people live as more than one household and share facilities such as bathrooms, toilets or cooking facilities.

Home Condition Report

An objective report on the condition of a property designed to be used by home buyers, sellers and mortgage lenders. A description of the general condition of a home taking into account its age and location. A Homebuyer's Report would also include a valuation and insurance figure.

Housing Association

Also known as Registered Social Landlords (RSLs). A not-for-profit organisation providing social housing and run by a voluntary committee registered with the Housing Corporation. They improve properties and build new homes mainly for rent. Any surplus is ploughed back into the organisation to maintain existing homes and to help finance new ones. They exist to provide affordable housing including providing access to affordable or low cost home ownership schemes.A non-profit making body which lets you buy a percentage of the property and pay rent on the rest.

Back to top

Independent Financial Advisor.

Individual Savings Account mortgage (ISA)

An interest-only mortgage linked to an Individual Savings Account fund, which is designed to pay off the loan at the end of the period.


The general rise in prices over time.

Interest charges

The charges that banks make on a loan, calculated as a percentage of the amount borrowed.

Interest-only mortgage

A type of mortgage in which the borrower only repays the interest on the loan for the duration of its term and repays the full loan amount at the end of the mortgage period.


When a seller instructs an estate agent to market a property.

Back to top
Joint income

The total gross income of the two borrowers in a joint mortgage.

Joint tenants

A form of ownership for two parties whereby if one of them dies, their share of the property will automatically transfer to the remaining party, giving them full ownership (regardless of the terms of the deceased owner's will).

Joint Agents

When the seller commissions two Estate Agents to sell their house

Joint Mortgage

A mortgage where there is more than one individual named legally responsible for the repayment of the mortgage.

Back to top
Land registration

The process of registering the legal title of an area of land with the Land Registry, typically handled by a solicitor.

Land registry fee

The fee payable for the above.


A legal document by which the Freehold (or Leasehold) owner of a property lets the premises or a part of it to another party for a specified length of time, after the expiry of which, ownership may revert to the Freeholder or superior Leaseholder.


A type of ownership in which a person owns a property, but not the land on which it is built. The owner of the Freehold will grant a lease on the property for a specified length of time.

Legal charge

A mortgage on the property.


The party, typically a bank, building society or mortgage company, offering the loan.

Lender's arrangement fees

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

Listed building

A building officially listed as being of special architectural or historic interest, which cannot be demolished or altered without prior local government approval.

Loan to value (LTV)

The proportion of the value of the property on which the lender is prepared to loan.

Local authority search

A search carried out by your solicitor to find out if there are any Local Authority Notices or Plans with respect to the building itself and the surrounding area (for example, have plans gone through to build a motorway next to the house?).

Life insurance

Life insurance can also be known as 'term insurance' if it is an insurance policy only taken out for a set period of time and will only pay out if the life assured dies during this term.

Loan-to-Value (LTV)

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

Lender's Legal Fees

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

Lender's Valuation

A brief inspection, for the benefit of your lender, of the home you hope to buy. This is to make sure they are not lending more than the property is worth and that the property is suitable security for the mortgage, but this will not tell you if it is a good or bad buy. For your own peace of mind, you may want to arrange your own survey.

Back to top
Maintenance charge (or service charge)

The cost of repairing and maintaining external or internal communal parts of a building charged to the tenant or leaseholder.


A self-contained apartment (usually on two floors) in a larger house with its own entrance from the outside.


An amount of money advanced by a lender such as a bank or building society on the security of a property and repayable over a long period of time.

Mortgage Payment Protection (MPP)

This is an insurance designed to pay your monthly mortgage for a limited period, usually a year if you are unable to work through illness, disability or redundancy.

Mortgage broker

Someone who advises buyers on the types of loans available and helps to process any subsequent application.

Mortgage deed

The legal document that confers ownership or title to a property.

Mortgage rate

The standard variable interest rate quoted by all mortgage lenders which normally varies in line with the Bank of England base rate. All discounted rates are based on this mortgage rate.

Mortgage term

Period over which mortgage is to be repaid.The length of time you agree to take your mortgage over. This is typically 25 years, but can be shorter or go up to retirement age and beyond (subject to lender's underwriting criteria and affordability).

Mortgage type

This may be a fixed, variable, capped, discount, tracker or another type of mortgage.


The lender of a mortgage (i.e. bank or building society).


The house buyer who takes out a mortgage (also known as the borrower).


The selection of two or more estate agents to act on the seller's behalf, usually incurring a higher fee than if the sale is completed by a sole agency.

Mortgage Offer

A formal document issued by the lender to you confirming that your mortgage loan has been agreed, and setting out all of the details of the mortgage, including the terms and conditions.

Management Fee

You will pay a fee as part of your rent to cover the administration costs involved in calculation, collection and record keeping of your rent.

Back to top
NHBC scheme (National House-Building Council)

A type of building guarantee available on some newly built homes under which defects occurring within a specified time after construction are remedied.

Negative equity

A situation in which the value of a property has fallen to below the level of the loan secured on it.

Back to top

A sum of money that the buyer offers to pay for a property.

Offer of a loan

A formal document approving the mortgage you have requested and detailing the Terms and Conditions that will apply.

Office copy entry

An official document from the Land Registry confirming ownership of and borrowings against a property.

Open market value

The highest price which a buyer, ready, willing and able but not compelled to buy, would pay, and the lowest price a seller, ready, willing and able but, not compelled to sell, would accept.


Independent professional body who investigate complaints on behalf of customers against an organisation such as estate agents, solicitors and insurance companies.

Back to top
Payment break/holiday

An option on flexible mortgages that allows you to stop making mortgage payments for up to six months.


A specified charge that is levied by the lender under certain circumstances, usually for full or part repayment within a specific period linked to a discount, tracker, fixed or other product type.

Peppercorn ground rent

A nominal periodic rent usually paid annually.

Pied à terre

A property kept for temporary, secondary or occasional occupation.


A way for you to download audio files over the internet and then listen to them via a computer or MP3 player. Idasons may offer Podcasts for your property search.

Preliminary enquiries

The initial enquiries about a property put forward to a seller, which the seller must answer before the exchange of contracts.


The monthly amount payable for an insurance policy.


The amount of debt outstanding (excluding interest).


Idasons Protographers are trained specifically to collect property information including interactive floorplans, 360° tours and multiple photographs, all in just one visit.

Public liability insurance

Insurance that covers injury or death to anyone on or around a property.


A person who is buying a property.

Private Treaty

The way in which most house sales are completed in England and Wales.

Back to top

Refinancing a property by either switching a mortgage from one lender to another or by taking out a second mortgage to take advantage of any equity gained by a rise in value.

Really Simple Syndication (RSS)

RSS is a way to receive the latest information from a website (e.g. the latest properties) directly to a computer via an RSS reader. Idasons may offer this service for you.


When a mortgage is fully repaid.

Repayment mortgage

A mortgage in which monthly charges are used to repay the interest and reduce the outstanding capital.


When the mortgage lender takes possession of a property due to non-payment of the mortgage.


The ability of a lender to hold back (retain) part of a mortgage until certain conditions are met.

Back to top

Short Message Service. Commonly known as text messages.


A request or enquiry for information concerning the property held by a local authority or by the Land Registry


A property which is joined to one other house.

Service charge

Service charges are paid by the owner and cover the cost of providing various services (i.e. maintenance and repair of the building and common parts, provision of heating, lighting and security).

Share of freehold

Where the freehold on which the property stands is owned by a limited company and the shareholders of that limited company are the owners of the property.

Sole agent

When a seller chooses only one estate agent to sell their property.

Sole occupancy

A property that is occupied (lived in) only by the mortgage applicant(s) and their direct family.


A legal expert handling all documentation for the sale or purchase of a property.

Stamp Duty

A government tax paid by the buyer of a property, which ranges between 0% and 12% depending on the value of the property.

Standard variable rate

Mortgage lender's standard rate of interest, which may be increased or decreased periodically by the lender depending on prevailing economic conditions.

Structural survey

This is based on a detailed inspection of the property and reports on the general structural condition.

Studio flat

A flat consisting of one main room or open-plan living area incorporating cooking and sleeping facilities and a separate bathroom/shower room.

Subject to contract

Legal terminology that indicates an agreement is not yet legally binding and depends upon the terms yet to be agreed within the contract.


A professional person qualified to estimate the value and condition of land and property.

Sale Agreed

A verbal agreement from the seller.


Checks of local council records for planning applications and restrictions, etc.

Back to top
Tenants in common

A form of ownership by two or more people in which if one of them dies, their share of the property forms part of their estate and does not automatically pass to the other(s).


Conditions on which a property is held (i.e. length of lease).

Terraced house

A property that forms part of a connected row of houses.

The Property Ombudsman (TPO)

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) is a free, fair and independent arbitration service which provides sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants with an assurance that they will receive the highest level of customer service.

Title Deeds

Documents showing the legal ownership of a property.

Title insurance

An insurance policy which a buyer can take out to allow a sale to complete where there is a potential problem with the documentation in proving legal ownership of some part of the land they are buying.

Title search

An investigation carried out by a conveyancer or solicitor into the history of ownership of a property. The search will check for liens, unpaid claims, restrictions or any other problems that may affect ownership.

Tracker mortgage

A type of mortgage whereby any changes in the rate of interest charged follow exactly ('track') another, specified, interest rate or index. Typically a tracker mortgage will track the Bank of England base rate.

Transfer Deeds

The Land Registry document that transfers legal ownership from seller to buyer.


People paying to live in a property owned by someone else.


The process whereby the seller asks for written offers on a property usually with a set closing date.


The period over which a mortgage is taken out.


The legal right to ownership of a property.

Back to top
Under offer

The status of a property for sale when a seller has accepted an offer from a buyer, prior to exchange of contracts.

Back to top

A basic survey of a property to estimate its value for mortgage purposes. Mortgage lenders will insist on this before lending.


The price of a property under normal conditions, i.e. when the buyer is not forced to buy and the seller not forced to sell.

Variable base rate

The basic rate of interest charged on a mortgage. This may change in reaction to market conditions so monthly payments can go up or down.


The person selling a property.

Vodcasting ('Video Podcasting' or 'Video on demand')

A way to download video files over the internet before watching them on a computer or video-enabled MP3 player. Idasons may offer Vodcasts for your search.


An empty area or space.

Valuation Survey

A brief inspection, for the benefit of your lender, of the home you hope to buy. This is to make sure they are not lending more than the property is worth and that the property is suitable security for the mortgage, but this will not tell you if it is a good or bad buy. For your own peace of mind, you may want to obtain your own survey.

Verbal Offer

Offer from prospective purchaser, not legally binding on either party.

Back to top

Income from a property calculated as a percentage of its value.

Back to top