There is a lot of ‘conveyancing jargon’ that sometimes may be difficult to understand.

If it is your first time buying a property you may struggle to understand the terms that can come up throughout the transaction.

Here at Ringrose Law, the team deal with this jargon every day. The team are here to help you understand the legal terms and guide you step by step, making the process as stress free as possible.  Hopefully this handy guide will help.

Affordable Housing

Housing built by Housing Associations usually sold as slightly cheaper than full price (with restrictions on who can buy the property) or as shared-ownership.

Agreement in Principle

Provided by your mortgage lender to prove that they will lend to you subject to the property being satisfactory to their valuer.  Estate agents will ask for this as proof that you can afford to buy the property.


 When a property is bought with the intention of it being let out to tenants rather than inhabited by the owner.


A chain is created when there are several transactions that all need to happen at the same time for each sale and purchase to complete. If you already own your property, you would usually need to sell your property to be able to purchase a new property, so all the transactions need to occur at the same time. First time buyers do not have a property to sale and so can be preferred to people in a chain.  Longer chains have a higher risk of falling through as it only takes one link in the chain to break and the chain would collapse.


The moving date.

Completion statement

The statement produced by your solicitor with all receipts and expenses shown.


The legal transaction transferring the ownership of the property from a seller to a buyer.


 The documents proving ownership of a property.


 Out of pocket expenses paid by your solicitors e.g. search fees, copy title documents.

Equity Loan (Help to Buy)

 An Equity Loan is loan borrowed from the Government and is  based on a percentage of the purchase value of your property, usually 20%.  The amount to be  paid back to them is based on the same percentage of the final value of your home when you pay it back. (See our separate page on Help to Buy – add link)

Exchange of Contracts

 The point of no return.  The seller’s solicitor and the buyer’s solicitor make a telephone call between them and confirm the details of both parts of the contracts (seller’s part and buyer’s part) and agree the completion date and deposit.  Once contracts are exchanged neither party can pull out of the transaction without incurring large penalties.

Fixtures and Fittings

The list provided by the seller of items that they will be taking and items that they will be leaving in the property on completion.

Ground Rent

The annual rent which a leaseholder pays to a freeholder.

Interest-only mortgage

 A mortgage where you only pay the interest on the amount borrowed every month.  At the end of the mortgage term you will still owe the amount that you borrowed at the outset.  The lender will need to know your plans for repaying the mortgage at the end of the mortgage term.

Joint Tenants

 The type of ownership of a property used when two or more people own a property. If one of the owners dies, their share of the property automatically passes to the other owner(s) , regardless of the what it says in that person’s will (also see Tenants in common).

Land Registry

The Government Department which registers the details of ownership each time a property is sold.


The document between the leaseholder and the freeholder laying out the right and responsibilities of each party.


 The person who has a lease from the freeholder to occupy/own the property for a fixed period of time.

Lifetime ISA

 ISA scheme allowing you to save up to buy a home where you can save up to £4,000 per year and the government will add 25% of the money you pay each year.

Local Authority Search

 Checks made with the local authority to see if there are any issues that may affect the property with planning permissions, tree preservation orders.


A loan secured against a property. The mortgage will be registered on the property so you can’t sell the property without paying off the mortgage first. If you don’t keep up the repayments the lender can repossess the property.

Mortgage Term

This is the amount of time over which the mortgage lender will lend you the mortgage advance i.e. 25 years


 10 year warranty on a new build property.

Repayment mortgage

 A mortgage where you pay the interest and part of the amount loaned to you each month so that at the end of the mortgage term the whole mortgage is paid off and the house is fully owned

Service charges

Payments made by a leaseholder to the freeholder to cover the costs of maintaining and insuring a building if the property is leasehold.  These also apply to houses which have a management company to look after any communal areas e.g. green spaces

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

 Is a Government tax paid on the purchase of properties where the price is more than £125,000.  Please see our separate page on Stamp Duty.

Subject to contract

Offers are accepted subject to contract meaning that they are finalised once contracts are signed and exchanged.


A surveyor will assess the property you wish to buy (see our separate page on surveys)

Tenants in common

 A form of ownership used when two or more people own a property.  When one of them dies, their share of the property forms part of their estate and does not automatically pass to the other owners in common. (see joint tenants above)


The check done by mortgage lender’s valuer to assess the value and condition of the property.  This is not a full survey and the lender may not provide you with a copy of this.

We can help

Looking to buy, sell or remortgage your property? The Ringrose Law Conveyancing Team can help. Contact us today at one of our offices in Boston, Grantham, Lincoln, Sleaford or Newark to find out more.

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