Glossary of Terms
Often there is a line of people who are selling and buying property at the same time and this is called a chain. The number of people involved in a chain can vary, and can sometimes affect the length of time a house sale or purchase takes to go through.
This is the point at which the sale and/or purchase is completed and keys to the property are released to the new owner.
The contract is the agreement to buy and sell a property. There are two copies of the contract, one that is signed by the buyer and the other that is signed by the seller. Once the contracts have been exchanged there is a legally binding agreement.
This is term for the legal work that is undertaken in the sale and/or purchase of a property.
The title deed is a legal document which sets out who owns the property.
When you own a freehold property, it means you own the whole of the property and the land upon which it is built outright. Most houses tend to be owned on a freehold basis, whereas flats tend to be leasehold.
This usually applies to flats. Leasehold is where the Freeholder grants the exclusive right to occupy a property for a fixed period of time and normally charges a ground rent. At the end of the lease the freeholder is entitled to recover possession.
If you have a communal area surrounding your property, e.g. a common drive or garden, then you may have to pay a maintenance charge for its up keep.
The Land Registry is where all Freehold deeds and all Leasehold deeds where the Lease has more than seven years to run have been registered. There are several offices across England and Wales, which serve particular areas
There are various searches that need to be done when you are purchasing a property. These include local searches from the Local Authority, the land registry search, environment search and a water board search. There may be other searches depending on where the property you want to buy is situated. Your solicitor will advise you if any special searches are required.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
An Energy Performance Certificate assesses the energy efficiency of your home and has to be completed before the house is put onto the market.
If you own your home as joint tenants then both of you own the whole of the property. If one owner dies, the other automatically becomes the sole owner of the home.
Tenants in Common
If you have purchased a house with your spouse or partner, you each own a share of the property. That share is determined at the time of purchase although it can be varied at a later date. If one owner should die, then that share will pass via the deceased’s will rather than automatically passing to the co-owner.
This is given to the person/persons who have the right to and owns the property.
Land Tax Stamp Duty is an amount that is payable to the Inland Revenue on the whole of the purchase price of a property.
This is a basic assessment on the general condition of the property carried out by the mortgage lender and helps to assess if the property is worth the price you may be paying for it. You can carry out a more detailed structural survey at your discretion.