22nd November 2018

Jargon Buster

Completion Date

The date when the property ownership legally transfers from seller to purchaser. The seller must move out of the property on this date allowing the buyer to move in.

Contract

A signed agreement between the purchaser and the vendor, providing all details of the property and any agreed terms and conditions of the transaction.

Conveyancing

Conveyancing is the complete process of formally transferring ownership of a property from buyer to seller – from initial instruction to completion and registering the name of the buyer at The Land Registry.

Deposit

During most property transactions, an amount of money will be paid by the buyer to the seller’s solicitor at the exchange of contracts.

The amount of deposit can vary but it is typically 10% of the agreed price of the property.

Disbursement

During the conveyancing process, there will be costs to the client that fall outside of the legal work carried out by the conveyancer, e.g. searches, documents from local authorities or The Land Registry, management packs, etc. Some of those costs will be covered by the conveyancer for payment later on by the client. Certain other costs may be applicable up-front.

If your sale or purchase does not complete we will not charge you any legal fees, however you will need to cover the cost of any disbursements we have incurred on your behalf.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

An EPC must be carried out by an accredited Energy Assessor to determine how energy efficient the home being sold is. The property will be rated from A to G, with A being the most efficient, and G being the least. An EPC is required for an agent to legally market your property.

Exchange of Contracts

This occurs when the solicitors for the buyer and seller swap signed contracts, and both parties are legally obliged to complete the sale.

Freehold

The outright purchase of a property and the land on which it stands. With no time limit on ownership.

The Land Registry

The government agency charged with registering the ownership of land and property in England and Wales.

Searches

‘Searches’ are checks carried out by the buyer’s conveyancer. They relate to the land that the property is built on and the immediate surrounding area.

The main aim of these is to uncover any potential issues that may have a negative effect on the property which the purchaser (and lender) should be made aware of.

There are a wide range of possible searches, depending on the property in question, but the main ones include the Local Authority search, Drainage and Water search, and the Environmental/Contaminated Land search.

Leasehold

If a property is classed as leasehold, you have a lease from the freeholder for a fixed number of years, but you do not ‘own’ the building or land.

It is highly recommended you speak to a conveyancer as soon as possible to understand the ramifications of purchasing leasehold. Especially if the lease has less than 85 years left to run.

Legal Fees

This is the fee paid to a conveyancer for their services, which is separate from any disbursement you will need to pay.

Local authority search

The local authority search (often referred to as a ‘local search’) refers to a standard request for information made by your conveyancer to the local authority who overseas the area of your property.

Form LLC1 (Local Land Charge Register search) includes any restrictions imposed on the property such as whether it is a listed building, or if it is located in a conservation area.

Form CON29 (R) (regarding public highways) includes required searches for any existing proposals for roads, rail projects, or planning decisions, which may affect the property in question.

Form CON 29(O) includes a range of optional searches, covering matters including pipelines, parks and gardens, and noise abatement (if the property is in the vicinity of an airport for example).

Water and drainage search

A search carried out by a conveyancer which checks if the property being purchased is connected to a public or private water supply, whether the property’s waste water is connected to a public or private sewer. The report also shows the location of water and drainage pipes and services.

Environmental Search

This is an online check for any environmental issues that may affect the property being purchased, including: pre-existing contamination, existence of landfill sites and flood risk.

In some cases, a more detailed specialist search will be required if the initial check reveals an issue of concern e.g. if there is a history of mining in the local area, checks may be required for existence of subsidence.

Mortgage Offer

Most sellers will only accept offers from buyers who have funding arranged – due to the chance of this falling through during the sale process.

Therefore, lenders who are happy to lend to you based on your current circumstances will provide a formal document outlining how much they will offer to lend you, known as a ‘mortgage offer’

Title Register

The title register, which is held by The Land Registry, holds details about property or land, including:

  • the title number
  • who owns the title and;
  • what they paid for it
  • any rights of way which apply

whether a mortgage on it has been ‘discharged’

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) or Land Transaction Tax (LTT)

Stamp duty or land Transaction Tax is a tax charged by the Government on the completion of the purchase of property or land. 

The amount you pay depends on a range of factors including the purchase price, if you are first time buyer, and if the property is a buy to let.

Stamp Duty is applicable on properties in England and Land Transaction Tax is applicable on properties in Wales.

Survey

There are a number of options with regards to the surveys carried out during the purchase process:
 
Mortgage valuation – a check requested by your chosen lender that the property is worth what you are paying for it.  This is not a proper house survey.
 
Condition Report – An overview of the condition of the property being purchased – this may highlight bigger problems but will not provide in depth analysis.
 
Homebuyer’s Report – A detailed report of the condition of a property, which explains any repairs and maintenance that is needed, damp or subsidence issues, and anything which does not comply with building regulations.
 
Sava Home Condition Survey – Similar to the Homebuyers report but without a valuation.
Building Survey (Full Structural Survey) – This is by far the most thorough survey you can get as it provides a comprehensive analysis of the structure and condition of the property. This is a great option if the property you are buying is old or in poor condition.
 
New-Build snagging survey – identifies any defects in a new-build property. If carried out, the report can be handed to the developer prior to moving in so any issues can be rectified straight away under warranty.

Title Deed

Title deeds are the formal document which confirms the ownership history of a property.  Although some people still have the original paper deeds to their property, in modern times these are held electronically by the Land Registry.

Transfer deed

A Transfer deed is a document that that formally passes legal ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer on the date of completion.
Following completion, the transfer deed will be sent to the Land Registry to update their records and confirm the buyer is the new owner.