Estate Agents Jargon Buster

29 January 2021 in Latest Information

If you are confused about buying or selling a property, our estate agents jargon buster may help to explain some of the terminology used.

Buying or selling a property can be confusing. In addition, there may be factors specifically relating to the purchase of waterside property. We’re here to help you through the process.

Here’s our jargon buster for estate agents (and solicitors) terms. These relate to the sale of property in England.


If you are selling your home and buying another, you may find yourself in a chain. The purchaser buying your property may also have someone buying theirs.


Completion takes place when the buyer has moved funds, and contracts have been exchanged. Sometimes contracts can be exchanged and completed simultaneously.

Completion Date

The completion date is agreed between the buyer and seller. This is the date that the buyer can move into their new property.

Completion Statement

A completion statement will be produced by your solicitor. This outlines all the costs involved with your transaction.



A conveyancing solicitor is qualified to manage the legal process of buying or selling a property.


The deeds of a property outline all documents associated with the title and ownership of the property.


Disbursements are the additional costs carried out by your solicitor. These expenses include searches, stamp duty, land registry etc.

EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)

An Energy Performance Certificate is legally required for most properties. This certificate details the energy efficiency and carbon emissions. Each rating is graded from A to G.


If you are buying a leasehold document, you will be charged an engrossment fee by your solicitor. This fee covers the production of the legal lease or conveyancing documents which will be signed by the purchaser.


Equity is the difference between your property’s value and how much of your mortgage is still outstanding. If you owe more to the lender than the property’s sale price, this is known as negative equity.

Exchange of contracts

Once contracts have been exchanged, this is a binding agreement, and both parties are committed. Both buyer and purchaser sign the contract, which is then exchanged by the two solicitors.

Fixtures and Fittings

The fixtures and fittings list outlines all items that will be included as part of the sale. It also details any items that may not be included, such as personal effects.


An owner of a freehold property owns both the land and property.


If an offer has been accepted by a buyer, and the buyer later accepts a higher offer from another purchaser, this is known as gazumping.

Indemnity Insurance

Sometimes indemnity insurance is taken out to cover potential losses that may occur from errors.

Land Registry

The Land Registry is a government body holding records of property ownership. This includes boundary titles. Fees may be paid to register the property.


An owner of a leasehold property does not own the land, but has the right to live in the property and use the land for a set period of time. The lease period can vary from property to property. Apartments and flats are usually leasehold.

Licence to Assign

The Licence to Assign is used during the purchase of a leasehold property. This is the landlord’s permission to assign to a new tenant.

Mortgage Deed

The mortgage deed transfers your property title to the mortgage lender. If you do not repay the mortgage, the lender can repossess your property.

Offers in excess of

Also Offers Over – the vendor is looking for a purchase price higher than that asked.

Property Questionnaire

A vendor will be asked to fill out a detailed property questionnaire. Information such as council tax, repairs, parking, maintenance etc will be covered.


Your solicitor will carry out searches during the conveyancing process. They will be required to carry out a Local Authority Search before you are able to exchange contracts.

Stamp Duty

Stamp duty is a tax on every property, and varies for second homes, and the price of the property.


A qualified building surveyor will carry out a survey to determine the structure and valuation of your property.

Subject to Contract

Until contracts are exchanged, the property is Sold Subject to Contract.

Transfer Document

The transfer document is the full ownership document. This outlines the land and rights to the land and property.


An estate agents estimation of the market value of your property. Waterside Estate Agents will normally carry out a free no obligation valuation of your property.  Contact us for more information.


The name given to the seller of the property.

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