Conveyancing Terms

Our conveyancers try not to talk jargon or baffle you with legal documentation. Our focus is purely on delivering sound advice, pragmatic solutions and clear communication with flexibility, efficiency and transparency at all times.

But there are times when certain terms are unavoidable. Here’s a list of conveyancing terms with a brief definition.

Assent –  Formal document that will be needed in order to transfer a property’s ownership to another person in the event of the owner’s death.

Bank Transfer Fee – A fee which is charged for transferring funds by same day CHAPS transfer.

Boundaries – The dividing line, marking the extent of the land.

Buy to Let – Purchasing a property specifically to let out.

Caveat Emptor – Caveat emptor is a Latin term that means “let the buyer beware.” Under the principle of Caveat Emptor, the buyer of a property cannot recover damages from the seller simply because the seller fails to disclose defects to the buyer.

Chain – A linked list of property transactions which depend on each other.

Completion Date – When property ownership changes hands.

Contract – The terms and conditions of the property sale or purchase. This document is legally binding.

Conveyancing – The legal process that surrounds the buying or selling of a property.

Declaration of Trust – A declaration of trust is a legal agreement between the joint owners of a property. It may include several pieces of information, such as the amount each owner contributed towards the purchase price, their respective ownership shares, and what happens if someone dies.

Deeds – A legal document which deals with the transfer of mortgage of the property.

Deposit – The initial funds (percentage of the purchase price) used as an up-front payment in the purchase of a house.

Disbursements –  A payment that has to be made to a third party for a service provided or for a statutory required action (e.g. searches or land registry fees).

Easement – Legal rights which one property enjoys over another. Common examples are rights of way, rights of drainage, and rights of light.

Encumbrance –  Any burden, interest, right or claim which adversely affects the use of, or the ability to transfer, property.

Exchange of Contracts – The conveyancing solicitors for both parties exchange contracts, the deposit is paid and the purchase of the property on a fixed date becomes legally binding.

Freehold – Absolute ownership of the property and the ground it’s built on.

Gazumping – When another party makes a higher offer on the house you are in the process of buying and has that offer accepted, thus pushing you out of the purchase.

Gazanging – The seller decides to pull out, even though an offer has been accepted.

Ground Rent – Regular payments made by a holder of a leasehold property to the freeholder as required under the lease.

Joint Tenancy – Each owner is called a “joint tenant” and each owns the whole of the asset, rather than a distinct fractional share. Possession passes automatically to the remaining owners(s) when a joint tenant dies.

Land Registry – A government department which registers the ownership of land and property in England and Wales.

Land Registry Fees – Fee for recording ownership when you buy a property.

Leasehold – This is contrast to a Freehold. You buy the right to live on the property for a specific number of years. You don’t own the ground it’s built on. Most flats are Leasehold.

Local Authority Search  – The provision of specific information about a particular property and the surrounding area for buyers and sellers (planning breaches, financial charges, etc).

Negative Equity – When the market value of a property falls below the outstanding amount of a mortgage secured on it.

Property Information Form -.  This form contains a number of questions about the property, the answers to which will be reviewed by the buyer’s solicitor as part of their investigation of the property.

Redemption Fee – The penalty charged by a mortgage lender in the event of paying off the mortgage earlier than agreed.

Reservation Fee –  A payment made by a buyer to provide exclusive rights to buy a property, under certain conditions and at an agreed price.

Searches – Undertaken to discover any issues you need to be aware of before you take ownership of your new home.

Stamp Duty (England & Northern Ireland) Land Transaction Tax (Wales) – The tax which must be paid following a purchase of a property.

Subject to Contract – A non-binding agreement between parties who had carried on negotiations and agreed heads of terms on a subject to contract basis.

Subsidence – The downward movement of a surface, causing the ground beneath the foundations of a building to become unstable.

Survey – Assesses the condition of the property, this will be carried out by qualified surveyors and engineers.

Tenants in Common – The joint owners hold separate shares of the property, these shares don’t have to be equally sized.

Transfer Deed – A document used to transfer property from its legal owner to another party.

Valuation – Carried out by and for the benefit of a mortgage lender, to gauge whether a property is worth the amount being asked.

We can advise on any aspect of the process and are happy to discuss your case with you. 

Need a conveyancing quote? Call us on 02920 224433 or just fill in the form below.