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Glossary of terms

Below is a list of the terms commonly used in the sales process

Completion: Final legal stage when the property ownership passes to the buyer

Conveyancing: Legal work to transfer property ownership from seller to buyer

Conveyancer or solicitor: Someone qualified to manage the conveyancing process

Deposit: Money paid by the buyer on exchange of contracts, usually 10% of the purchase price

Draft contract: First version of contract of sale issued by the seller’s conveyancer to the buyer’s conveyancer.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC): This assesses your property’s energy efficiency and environmental impact. Graded from A for the most efficient to G being the least.

Enquiries: Questions from the buyer’s conveyancer, often about survey

Exchange of contracts: Signed contracts are exchanged to legally commit the buyer and the seller to the transaction

Fittings and contents form: Part of the conveyancing process, this form is provided by the seller’s conveyancer and is completed by the seller to confirm which items are included in the sale, eg carpet and curtains

Freehold: When a property belongs entirely to the owner

Ground rent: Charge made by a freeholder to a leaseholder as a right to occupy the property

Lease: Legal document issued by a freeholder granting tenure for a given period of time and setting out the obligations of each party

Leasehold information: Detailed information about the property being sold, provided by the managing agent or the freeholder. Includes details of service charges, ground rent, general expenditure, insurance, maintenance etc

Maintenance/service charge: Costs incurred by the freeholder for repairing and maintaining common parts of the building occupied by leaseholder

Property Information Form (PIF): Part of the conveyancing process. This form is provided by the seller’s conveyancer and is completed by the seller. It covers such matter as boundaries, services, guarantees of work carried out and planning consent.

Purchaser: Another term for buyer

Searches: Enquiries raised by the buyer’s conveyancer to various authorities to establish any issues likely to affect the property now or in the new future.

Subject to contract: Term confirming the transaction is not yet legally binding. A property sale is always agreed “subject to contract”

Title deeds: Documents proving legal ownership of the property generally held by the Land Registry

Transfer deed: Legal document that transfers ownership of the property from seller to buyer

Vendor: Another term for the seller

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