Glossary of Conveyancing Terms
Chain - A series of buyers and sellers involved in related transactions.
Certificate of Title - The form submitted to the mortgage lender requesting mortgage funds once all checks have been carried out against the property.
Completion - The date the transaction of buying/selling a house is legally completed and the property passes to the buyer. This is the day that you will actually move. This date will be agreed between the parties in advance and will be fixed once Contracts are exchanged.
Covenant - A promise contained in a deed that imposes an obligation to do something. Covenants can be positive i.e. things that must be done or restrictive / negative i.e. things that you must not do. Covenants bind the property not the owners and will run with the property.
Completion statement - A statement attached to our invoice detailing the financial transactions involved in your move.
Conditions of sale - The terms attached to the Contract upon which the buyer and seller agree to buy/sell the property. Standard Conditions of Sale are set by the Law Society and these may be amended by the solicitors by including special conditions.
Contract - The written legally binding agreement made between the seller and the buyer containing all information relating to the house sale/purchase transaction. The sellers' solicitor prepares two identical copies of the Contract and each party signs their own. When completion dates are agreed and each party is ready to commit, Contracts are exchanged.
Conveyance/Transfer - A legally binding document transferring ownership of the property from the sellers to the buyers. This can also contain other information such as rights and burdens affecting the land.
Deposit - A sum paid to the sellers on exchange of Contracts
Disbursements - Expenses incurred during the conveyancing process such as obtaining Land Registry copy documents and searches
Early repayment charge - A charge included in the mortgage redemption figure as a penalty for repayment of the mortgage before an agreed date. This usually applies where the mortgage interest rate is fixed for a period of time and the mortgage is repaid during that period.
Easement - A right given to a property over an adjoining property such as a right of way.
Environmental Search - A search designed to reveal environmental matters that may affect the property such as the presence of landfill sites, flooding and whether the land may be contaminated.
Exchange of Contracts - The point at which all parties to the transaction are committed and the date agreed for completion is fixed.
Fixtures and fittings - A list of items to remain at property (included in the purchase price) or to be removed from the property on completion. The list gives an opportunity to offer any items not included in the purchase price for sale.
Freehold - One of two interests in land recognised in English law. Freehold includes the whole parcel of land, not just a building and ownership is forever.
Freeholder - The person who owns the freehold title.
FCA - The Financial Conduct Authority is an independent governing body to protect consumers in the financial market.
Gazumping - Acceptance of a higher offer by the seller once a sale has been agreed.
Gazundering - Reduction of an offer by the buyer once a sale has been agreed.
Ground Rent - A charge payable to the freeholder on leasehold properties. This is in addition to service charges.
Guarantor - A person who provides assurance that if the borrowers in a mortgage fail to make their payments the guarantor will pay the borrowers' debt.
Indemnity insurance - An insurance policy taken out to cover any losses to clients arising from any title defects or errors.
Joint tenants - One of the ways in which property can be held jointly. The owners own the property in equal shares. When the first owner dies their share passes automatically to the survivor and the whole property will then belong to the survivor.
Land Registry fee - A fee payable to the Land Registry for services such as obtaining copy documents or registering a change of ownership of a property.
Land Registry - The official body responsible for recording ownership of land.
Lease - A document whereby a landlord lets a premises to a tenant at a rent for a set period of time.
Leasehold - The second interest in land recognised by English law. This usually relates to a flat/apartment. Ownership of the property is for a term of years, not forever. Leasehold only recognises the property and not the land. The land will be owned by the freeholder who will be the landlord. The Lease will set out the ground rent and service charges payable as well as what you can and cannot do at the property.
Leaseholder - The person who owns the leasehold interest, also known as a tenant.
Lenders valuation - A valuation of the property carried out by the lender for valuation purposes only. This will not give any information regarding the state and condition of the property. This type of valuation will be carried out before the lender agrees to give a mortgage.
Local authority search - A search carried out with the local authority to establish information regarding the property such as whether the property lies within an area which may restrict its use for example a smoke control or conservation area, whether there are any proposals for new roads or railways in the area, whether the property lies within a compulsory purchase area, designated contaminated land area or radon affected area. The search will also reveal any planning permissions or building regulation approvals for works carried out to the property.
Management Company - In leasehold properties a company responsible for management and maintenance of the common areas and main structure of the development.
Managing Agents - A company appointed on behalf of the management company to deal with maintenance arrangements and collection of ground rent and service charge payments.
Mortgage Deed - The document which secures the money borrowed from the lender under the mortgage against the legal title of the property.
Mortgage fees - Fees charged by your mortgage lender for setting up and dealing with administration of your new mortgage.
Redemption figure - A figure showing the current amount needed to fully repay your mortgage.
Registration - The process of applying to the Land Registry for changes to the title such as change of names or change of lender.
Search - Checks carried out against the property to reveal any matters which may affect the title, use and value of the property.
Service Charges - In leasehold properties charges made by the Management Company in dealing with their duties such as insuring the property, maintenance and repairs. These are shared out between the flat owners.
Stamp Duty Land Tax (aka Stamp Duty or SDLT) - A government charge payable on completion of a purchase.
Structural survey - A survey giving information regarding the property and its integrity.
Subject to Contract - A provisional agreement between the seller and buyer but not legally binding
Tenants in Common - The second way in which property can be held jointly. The owners own the property in shares distinct from each other (although these can still be equal shares). Upon the death of the first owner their share passes in accordance with the terms of their Will and not automatically to the survivor.
Title Deeds - Legal title documents which provide historical information relating to the property's ownership.
Transfer deed - A document transferring the property out of the name of the seller and into the name of the buyer.
Transfer of Equity - Transfer of one owner's share in property (sometimes subject to mortgage). This can be from a sole name into joint names in the case of marriage or joint names into a sole name in the case of a divorce.
Valuation survey - A survey to determine the value of the property but does not give any information regarding the condition of the property