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 Glossary

Confused by property jargon? Try HouseWeb's comprehensive glossary of terms.

A B C D E F GH I JK L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Additional Security Fee
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. Also known as MIG, Indemnity Guarantee Premium and Mortgage Indemnity Premium.

Agents
(See Estate Agents)

APR
Annual Percentage Rate. The true cost of a loan.

Auctions
Property sale. If you win the bid, you are legally bound to buy the house.
Tip: Have a survey carried out before the auction.

B

Bailiff
Official who repossess your possessions or house if you cannot keep up on your mortgage repayments.

Banks
A place to go for Mortgages & Loans.

Bridging Loan
An expensive temporary loan to tide you over when having to buy your new house before selling your old home.

Broker
An intermediary who will give advice and offer a range of mortgages.

Building Society
Another place to go for Mortgages & Loans

Buildings Insurance
Insurance to cover any structural damage to your house.

C

Capital
The sum borrowed in a mortgage.

Chain
This occurs when the seller needs the sale of their house to occur before they can complete the purchase of another property. The same situation may exist for others in the chain. As a result, the whole chain can collapse if one link breaks.

Charge
The term used for the security that the lender relies on when granting a mortgage.

Completion
The point when contracts have been exchanged and ownership legally passes to the buyer.

Contents Insurance
Insurance to cover any loss or damage to your possessions.

Contract Race
When two parties have made an offer on the same house. The vendor will sell to the first party to exchange contracts.

Contracts
The legal documents needed to transfer the ownership of property.

Conveyancing
Legal work involved in buying and selling a house.

D

Direct Lenders
A new form of mortgage lender who deals solely over the telephone.

Disbursements
Expenses paid by the solicitor on behalf of the purchaser.

Discounted Rate
A reduced mortgage interest rate which is subtracted from the Standard Variable rate.

Double Agent
An Estate Agent who will reveal the seller's lowest asking price to the buyer in order to make a quick sale.

E

Endowment Mortgage
Type of mortgage where monthly payments are made into a endowment (life assurance) policy. The loan is paid off in one lump sum at the end of the loan period.

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

Excess
The initial sum you have to pay on an insurance claim.

Exchange of Contracts
The point at which buyer and seller are legally bound to the sale and purchase of the property.

F

Failed Valuation Survey
When the lender turns down your mortgage application after reading the surveyor's valuation report.

Freehold
Absolute ownership of property and land.

G

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

Gazundering
When the buyer blackmails the seller into accepting a lower offer just before contracts are about to be exchanged.

I

Indemnity Guarantee Premium
See Additional Security Fee.

J

Joint Agents
When the seller commissions two independent Estate Agents to sell their house

L

Land Registry
Carried out by the Solicitor to register buyer as the new owner of the house.

Lease
Document in which the owner of a freehold property lets out their premises to a named party at a certain price and for a specified time.

Leasehold
The ownership of a lease.

Lender's Arrangement Fees
Charge passed on to the buyer by lender for arranging a loan.

Lender's Legal Fees
The fees incurred by the lender when arranging a mortgage. These costs are passed on to the buyer.

Lender's Valuation
A valuation of the proposed property carried out by the lender before agreeing to give out a mortgage. This is only a valuation survey. A seperate full structural survey is needed by the buyer.

Life Assurance
An insurance policy which pays out a fixed lump sum on death of an individual. Life Assurance helps protect from financial difficulties. Guide.

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

Local Authority Search
A search carried out by the Solicitor to find out if there are any Local Authority Notices, with respect to the building itself (e.g. has it been condemned?), and the surrounding area (e.g. have plans gone through to build a motorway next to the house?).

M

MIG
Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee. See Additional Security Fee

MIRAS
M
ortgage Interest Relief At Source. Tax relief is deducted from interest payments on the first 30,000 of your mortgage. Phased out in April 2000.

Mortgage
A long term loan to fund the buying of a property.

Mortgagee
The lender of a mortgage.

Mortgagor
The house buyer who takes out a mortgage.

Mortgage Indemnity Premium
See Additional Security Fee.

Mortgage Term
Period over which mortgage is to be repaid.

N

Negative Equity
When the value of your house falls to less than your mortgage. Over 1.5 million home owners have experienced this during the recent recession.

P

Pension Mortgage
Monthly repayments made up of a) Interest on loan and b) contribution to a personal pension scheme. The loan on the house is paid off in one lump sum at the end of the loan period.

Premium
The monthly amount payable to an insurance policy.

Principle
The sum of the loan on which interest is calculated.

Public Liability Insurance
Insurance which covers injury or death to anyone on or around your property.

R

Redemption
When a mortgage if fully repaid.

Relocation Agents
Specialists in finding houses, raising finances, organising surveys and completing negotiations.

Repayment Mortgage
A basic mortgage capital and interest on the loan are paid off in monthly installments.

Repossession
When the mortgage lender takes away your home because you have fallen too far behind on your mortgage repayments.

S

Sole Agent
When a seller chooses only one Estate Agent to sell their home.

Solicitor
Legal Professional who acts on behalf of the buyer in the purchase of a house. The solicitor will check the legal position of the house, carry out a Local Authority Search, Land Registry and oversee the exchange of contracts between the two parties.

Stamp Duty
A government tax. Currently the tax is 1% of the property's value, 2.5% for properties valued between £250k - £500k and 3.5% over £500k. Imposed only on houses valued above 60,000.

Structural Survey
A report constructed by the surveyor detailing firstly, whether the house is structurally sound and secondly, listing the major/minor defects, (including the necessary work which needs to be done).

Surveyor
The person who carries out a structural survey of the property, examining the structure and general state of the house.

T

Tax Relief
See MIRAS

Term
The period in which a mortgage is taken out.

Title
The legal right to ownership of a property.

Title Deeds
The document which shows the ownership of a property.

V

Valuation Survey
A survey carried out by the lender to ensure that the house's value is not less than the proposed loan. Often the lender will arrange the survey and bill the buyer. This cannot be used as a structural survey.



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