Glossary

Completion 

The finalising of the sale when all monies and keys are handed over.

Completion Statement 

An example is a statement sent by either the buyer’s/seller’s solicitors to their client on completion accounting for all the money which has passed through their hands in the course of the transaction.

Contract

The document setting out the parties, the property, any covenants attached to the property, conditions of sale, eg price, etc.

Conveyance/Transfer

The legal document transferring ownership from seller to buyer.

Covenant

A legal requirement incorporated in the title requiring either seller or buyer to do or not to do something in relation to the property.

Deeds

All the legal documents relating to the property for as long as the property has existed.

Deposit

Monies paid by the buyer on exchange of contracts.

Disbursement

An out-of-pocket expense which is normally recouped on the payment of a bill.  Search fees paid by solicitors on behalf of a client are an example of a disbursement.

Easement

A right to pass over or under land – granted to someone who is not the owner, eg right to lay and maintain pipes for service media, ie telephone, gas, electricity, water, sewage.  Rights of way and rights to light and air.

Engrossment

The true copy of the conveyance/transfer.

Exchange of Contracts

The physical exchange of contracts which must take place in order to bring a legally binding contract for the sale and purchase of land into existence. The seller’s solicitor hands the copy of the contract signed by the seller to the buyer’s solicitor, in return for the buyer’s signed part.  This can be done in person or through the post or by fax, but is more often done by telephone.

Freehold

Absolute ownership.

Full Structural Survey

A detailed examination of the structure of the property.

Land Registry

Who owns what and where with a brief description of the boundaries.

Leasehold

An interest in/ownership of land subject to an annual payment of ground rent to the owner (freeholder/landlord) of the land for a specified term.

Local Search

Buyers solicitor’s search for local land charges with the local council to confirm whether the property is affected by any proposals, restrictions, or rights of way which could materially affect the enjoyment of the property.

Memorandum of Sale

A written note of the terms upon which a sale and purchase is to proceed, also confirming the names and addresses of the legal representatives appointed by the parties.  Also known as estate agents instructions.

Mortgage

A legal charge over land/property executed by deed and granted in return for a loan to assist in the purchase of the property.  The lender is entitled to hold the deeds as security against the loan to ensure that the loan is repaid in full before the property is sold.  On completion the mortgage deed is normally executed at the same time as the conveyance/transfer.

Mortgage Offer

The formal offer of mortgage issued by a mortgage lender to the borrower, once the mortgage lender is satisfied that the borrower is creditworthy and that the property is question offers sufficient security for the loan requested by the borrower, ie following receipt of satisfactory references, confirmation of income and a mortgage valuation report.

Mortgage Valuation

A report by the mortgagee to decide how much to lend on the security of the property and on what terms.

Office Copy Entries

An official copy from the Land Registry of property in question

Registered Land

The title of property which is registered at one of the Government Land Registries.

Retention

A sum of money held back from a mortgage advance until certain works specified by the mortgagee have been carried out.

Roll Number

The mortgage account number allocated to the borrower by the mortgage lender.

Stamp Duty

The tax, currently payable properties over £125,000, payable to the Inland Revenue by the buyer on completion. Look at our Stamp duty page in "Helpful links" or visit HMRC regarding stamp duty.

Subject to Contract

A negotiated sale that is not binding on either party to the transaction.

Telegraphic Transfer

Transfer of funds via a bank

Title Deeds

The deeds and documents which provide evidence of a person’s right or title to an interest in property.

Unregistered Title

Where property/land is not registered therefore ownership or title must be proved by the title deeds which must date back for at least 15 years.