We’re always on a mission to hunt down jargon and eliminate it from our communications. But conveyancing has a long attachment to its particular brand of lingo and legal phrasing, and sometimes there’s just no avoiding it. So, for those times when we just need to insert the old-school word we thought a round up of conveyancing blurb and acronyms might be helpful.
Disbursements: payments we make on your behalf to third parties e.g. stamp duty or for property searches.
Stamp Duty: a tax you pay when purchasing a property; first time buyers are exempt up to £300,000. See here for a calculator on how much you’ll need to pay for your dream home.
Searches: a collection of reports about the land surrounding your new home.
Freehold: you own the building and the land in perpetuity.
Leasehold: you own the property for the length of your lease agreement, you’ll usually pay maintenance fees and annual ground rent.
Peppercorn rent: a token or nominal rent, fairly common on very long leaseholds, can be as small as £1 per annum.
Exchange: solicitors exchange contracts and your moving in date gets arranged.
Completion: you now officially own your new home!
Gazump: a seller reneges on your offer and accepts a higher offer from another buyer.
Chain: a group of buyers and sellers connected in a property chain.
Homebuyers report: a report giving an overall opinion on the condition of a property that helps you decide whether or not to go ahead with the purchase.
Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS): RIC surveyors conduct homebuyers reports.
Mortgage in principle: a document from your lender indicating how much they will lend in order for you to purchase a property, it’s not a full loan agreement at this stage.
Mortgage valuation: an assessment undertaken by the mortgage lender to confirm a property’s value.
Mortgage broker: a person or company that arranges a mortgage between you (the borrower) and a mortgage lender.
Standard variable rate (SVR): an interest rate set by your lender. It is usually based on the Bank of England base rate and so can go up or down.
Early repayment charges (ERC): a fee payable to your mortgage lender for overpayment or leaving your deal early.
Fixed rate mortgage: means your interest rate is guaranteed for a fixed period, usually between 2 and 10 years, so your monthly repayments stay the same.
Interest only mortgage: each month you pay the interest owing, but nothing towards the loan itself. At the end of the period you owe the remaining balance in full.
Tracker mortgage: works on a variable rate by ‘tracking’ a base rate, set by the Bank of England. Your repayments may go up or down depending on current interest rates.
Sold subject to contract (SSTC): when an offer is accepted, a listing site will update the property to SSTC until completion.
Subject to planning permission (STPP): a property with potential to renovate or convert may have this tag included on its page.
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We could go on indefinitely, and it’s likely you’ll see this page being updated every now and then. If you think we’ve missed anything do let us know – we’re always happy to explain any confusing conveyancing terminology. In fact, it brings us joy!
Home move FAQ
If you’re looking for more advice on the home move process, and need help understanding the complex language you may encounter when buying or selling a property, our home move FAQ contains a ton of useful facts that you may find useful.
Please note that all information provided in this FAQ is for general reference only. It should not be used as a sole or definitive source, nor is it intended to be used for decision making in place of appropriate advice from a qualified legal professional. As such the information is provided as-is and Brevis cannot accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage resulting from any errors or omission in, or any reliance on, information contained in this guide.