Conveyancing Jargon Buster

Conveyancing can seem like a confusing process for the uninitiated, particularly when confronted with all sorts of impenetrable industry jargon.

This quick jargon busting guide will give you some insight into the wonderful world of conveyancing.


Chain: This covers all of the people who are buying and selling their homes. If there is any delay in one part of the chain this will slow the process for everyone. If one part of the chain pulls out then the chain may collapse.

Completion Date: This is the date when matters are finalised and the keys released. The seller moves out of the property and the buyer moves in.

Contract: This is written and legally binding agreement specifying details of the house sale or house purchase. Only when the contracts have been signed and exchanged do they become legally binding.

Conveyancer: This is the professional person who manages all of the legal issues surrounding transferring ownership of the properties.

Covenants – These are restrictions that are placed on a property that oblige the buyer to do certain things such as maintaining areas or limit the potential uses of the property e.g. not using the property as a business.

Deeds: This is a legal document that provides historical information about the property. Digital records of deeds are held by the Land Registry.

Deposit: This is usually 10% of the purchase price and is handed over with the contract.

Disbursements: These are the fees that must be paid by the conveyancer on the buyer’s behalf such as land registry fees and search fees.

Equity: This is the difference between the property value and the outstanding amount owed on any mortgages.

Exchange of Contract: The buyer and seller’s conveyancers formally exchange signed contracts. At this point the deal becomes legally binding and if either party pulls out after this point they will be in breach of contract.

Fixtures and Fittings: This is an agreement of what will and will not be included within a purchased property.

Freehold: Owning the freehold means that you own the building and its land outright.

Land Registry Fees: These are paid on behalf of the buyer to the Land Registry so that they can carry out searches and register the property.

Leasehold: This means that you have a lease from the freeholder to live in or use the property for a certain length of time. Leaseholders normally pay maintenance fees, service charges and ground rent to the freeholder.

Mortgage Deed: The legal agreement that gives the lender a legal right to property.

Redemption Fee: An Early Repayment Charge which can be charged by your existing mortgage lender if you pay off your mortgage early or you move to a different mortgage.

Searches: A method of checking matters that may affect the value of the property. Not all of these are obligatory.

Stamp Duty: A tax payable by every home buyer who purchases a property.

Survey: A report produced by a building surveyor for the purpose of determining the value of the property and if it is structurally sound.

Subject to Contract: An agreement between the house buyer and the house seller that is not legally binding.

Transfer Document: The final document that transfers the property from the house seller to the house buyer.

Valuation Survey: A survey to allow a property value to be determined for a mortgage.
For a step-by-step guide to the conveyancing process take a look at our conveyancing flowchart below (click to expand).

conveyancing infographic

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