Property Jargon-Buster

If you’re new to buying, or it’s been a while since you last sold, then sometimes the lingo used by estate agents and solicitors can seem a little confusing. With that in mind below are a list of words and phrases along with brief explanations to help you work out what on earth people are talking about.


A person who is looking for a property to buy.

Building Survey

A full inspection of the property which is conducted by a chartered surveyor. They then write a detailed report which highlights any structural defects and repairs that will be required.

Buy-to-let mortgage

Mortgages for those buying a property with the intention of letting it out.


These documents legally prove that you own a property. When you are buying and selling these deeds get transferred from the old owner to the new one.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

This is a legal requirement and is a European standard of energy efficiency, defined by a scale of A-G on the certificate.

Exchange of contracts

This is the legally binding agreement between the seller and buyer to the sale and purchase of a property at the price you have agreed upon.

Flying freehold

This occurs when part of a property extends over or under a neighbouring property. For example, your living room may be under a neighbours bedroom. 


This means you own both the property and the land and will be referred to as the ‘freeholder’.


This is when a seller has agreed a sale with an applicant and then another interested party comes along and offers more. Because estate agents are legally obliged to inform a seller of any offers made right up until the point of exchange or contracts it means the seller may choose to accept the new higher offer instead – the whole thing is very frowned upon.


Also poor etiquette, this is where a buyer reduces their offer prior to the exchange of contracts meaning a seller either loses their buyer at the last minute or sells at a price lower than they expected to. 

Ground Rent

A price set by the freeholder, which is then charged to the leaseholder.


As a leaseholder you have a legal agreement with the landlord called a ‘lease’. This tells you how many years you’ll own the property for. At the end of the lease the ownership of the property will return to the landlord

Legal Fees

Fees that you will be charged by your solicitor/conveyancer in relation to the purchase or sale of your property. It always advised that you get a few quotes from different solicitors before agreeing to go ahead with one for the transaction to ensure you get the best price and firm possible.

Under Offer

The is the time between a seller accepting an offer and the formal exchange of contracts then taking place.

Valuation/Market Appraisal

A valuation of a property to determine its value. Again it is always recommended that you get around 3 different local valuers out to determine the correct market value and to see which estate agent you get on best with and want to use. 


The person who is selling the property.


I would recommend researching further on any points if you still aren’t sure on what they mean or if you need clarification.


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