The only A-Z glossary of property jargon you need

The home buying journey is already confusing enough. It doesn’t help that there seems to be an entire language to learn to make sure you understand all the documents you are reviewing and the conversations you are having along the way. Here is a beginner-friendly glossary to help guide you and clear up some of the question marks hanging over your head!

We suggest bookmarking this page and keeping it handy the next time you speak with the seller, broker or estate agent so you can become your own expert. 

A

appreciation

When your property increases in value over time—this is a sign of a good investment! Many factors affect your property’s value like location, surrounding amenities and infrastructure. How do you determine whether your property will be a good investment? Our technology takes these factors into consideration and lets you know whether the property you are interested in is undervalued or overvalued.

B

broker

A broker or a mortgage advisor is a specialist in the property market and will help you find the best mortgage lender that is right for you. We work with a team of friendly and trusted brokers who make the process smooth and hassle-free.

C

chain

Not the jewellery around your neck. This is a situation when the buyer and seller are mutually dependent on one another. The ‘chain’ is created when the person buying a home is dependent on when they are able to sell their home. You may come across ‘chain-free’ when you’re browsing for homes to buy, and this means the seller isn’t dependent on the purchase of a new property in order to sell their current property. 

As a first-time buyer, you are ‘chain-free’, which makes you a more attractive candidate for sellers.

completion

Music to your ears! This is the finish line, the light at the end of the tunnel. This is the final step in the home buying journey. A completion date is agreed upon between the buyer and the seller and this is when the transfer in documents and ownership is made. You are officially the homeowner of the new property!

conveyancer

An expert in property law who will help you with the legal process of buying a home. They will organise searches for the property, review legal documentation, and register your ownership with the land registry. 

You can use either a conveyancer or solicitor when buying a property. The key difference is conveyancers specialise in property law, whereas solicitors offer a wider legal service that could be handy if the transaction is more complex.

credit score

Maintaining a good credit score is one of the key factors that determine whether or not you will be able to obtain a mortgage and buy a home. The score determines how “creditworthy” you are to the lender, and provides an insight into how good (or bad) you are with your money. You can achieve a healthy credit score by paying bills on time, paying off any debts, and registering to vote.

Check your credit score for free here.

D

deposit 

This is how much you need to save in order to qualify for a mortgage. It is common to require a deposit of 10% or more to secure a mortgage, but with the Proportunity Loan, you only need a 5% deposit, which helps with stretching your budget a little further.

E

equity loan

A percentage loan where the amount is determined by the value of the property. For example, if you borrow 10%, you pay back 10% of the new value regardless of whether the value goes up or down.

ESIS

A document that outlines everything you need to know to help you decide if a mortgage product is suitable for your needs. If you’re really curious, it stands for European Standardised Information Sheet—what a mouthful!

exchange

Refers to the exchange of contracts between the buyer and seller and the point where the purchase is legally binding. The exchange occurs before the completion.

F

first charge mortgage

The primary or main mortgage that the buyer has applied for. This is typically from a high street bank like Halifax.

first-time buyer

You are considered a first-time buyer if you have never owned or had any interest in residential property within the UK or abroad. So if you’ve got an apartment elsewhere, sorry, you can’t join the first-time buyers’ club! 

fixed rate interest

An interest rate that stays the same, so you don’t have to worry about it fluctuating or changing.

freehold

You own the property and the land it is built on indefinitely. (Fun fact, you actually also own the ‘airspace’ above your property about 500 feet!)

G

gazumping

A funny word to describe when a seller accepts a higher offer on their property, despite having already verbally agreed to another offer. Good negotiation tips can help avoid this potentially stressful situation.

gazundering

…We swear we’re not making these words up! This is when a buyer reduces their offer in the final stages of the transaction just before the exchange of contracts.

ground rent

Leasehold properties may also be subject to monthly ground rent payable to the landlord or freeholder. We know what you’re thinking, “I thought owning means the end to paying rent!” Don’t worry, ground rent is usually a low annual sum.

H

Help-to-Buy

The government scheme offered to First-Time Buyers available only for new-build properties. New-builds are usually more expensive for the amount of living space and it will go down in value from the day you move in. With Proportunity, we give you the flexibility to purchase from both new-builds and refurbished homes.

I

interest

The amount paid to the mortgage lender in return for the loan borrowed. This is generally expressed as a percentage.

L

leasehold

You own the property, but not the land it’s built on. The land is owned by the freeholder, and leaseholder ownership rights are set for a number of years. It all makes sense now, doesn’t it? Read more about the difference between Freehold vs Leasehold. Leaseholders can also be subject to ground rent.

Loan-to-Value (LTV)

The ratio of mortgage to the property value. This is generally expressed as a percentage. For example, if the property is £300,000 with a £30,000 (10%) deposit, this means the LTV mortgage you are looking for is 90%. 

M

mortgage advisor

Same as a mortgage broker.

mortgage

What everyone dreads, but almost always needs to achieve home ownership. The higher the deposit, the lower the mortgage required and LTV rate which can result in a lower monthly mortgage payment. Products like the Proportunity Loan can help you boost your overall home budget and unlock lower interest rates on the main mortgage. 

mortgage lender

Hey, that’s us! 👋 As a mortgage lender, we offer a mortgage loan that helps you financially on your home buying journey. This is different from a mortgage advisor or broker who offers mortgage advice.

N

new-build

Properties that are newly constructed as opposed to one that has been renovated or refurbished. New-builds are attractive, but they also come with a hefty price tag for a smaller space. They also go down in value from the moment you move in.

P

Proportunity

A great value property that maximises your budget. You can find your Proportunity using our machine-learning technology that forecasts house prices by area and property specific features to seek out hidden gems. 

property ladder

Refers to the sequence in which a home buyer purchases their first home, resells and purchases a larger home using the profits generated from their initial property investment. As you repeat this process, your equity grows and the nicer home you will be able to afford. For many, getting on that first rung of the ladder is tough for many reasons like not having enough to meet the minimum deposit or not being able to secure a decent mortgage. That’s why we’re here to help you get on it sooner!

R

rent

Cancelled. No explanation needed.

S

second charge

After the first charge mortgage, home buyers can apply for a second charge mortgage like the Proportunity Loan to help them over the line.

solicitor

While a conveyancer’s expertise lies specifically in conveyancing (legal transfer of property ownership), a solicitor has a broader knowledge of the law meaning they are better equipped to advise on more complex cases. They are typically more expensive, but they can be a more suitable option for higher risk transactions.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

A cost that can put a damper on your home buying budget, but if you factor this in from the beginning and know exactly what to expect, you can be better prepared for it to avoid unwelcome surprises. All property owners in England and Northern Ireland must pay the Stamp Duty Land Tax. First-Time Buyers don’t need to pay Stamp Duty on properties less than £300,000. 


Currently the threshold to pay SDLT is £250,000 until 30 September 2021 and then will revert to £125,000 from 1 October 2021. The rate can range anywhere from 2% to 12% depending on the value of the property. 

U

under offer

When a property is under offer, this means that a buyer has made an offer (usually negotiated under the asking price) and it is currently under consideration by the owner whether or not to accept. During this time, other offers can be made as long as the property is still available.

Z

zest

We can’t have an A-Z glossary without a Z… so this is the zest for life you’ll have once you take your first steps into your new home that is 100% your own!


Visit the Proportunity website to start your home-buying journey today.

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