This basic survey is carried out by the mortgage lender and assesses whether the property is good security for the proposed mortgage loan. The buyer usually pays for this and receives a copy. Some lenders do not charge. This survey is suitable for a new house, but for any other property it is recommended you commission your own survey, such as the Homebuyer's survey & valuation

Homebuyer's Survey and Valuation

This survey is more detailed than a basic Valuation and includes significant matters such as subsidence or settlement and urgent repairs for which the client should obtain quotations prior to exchange of contracts. This is usually recommended for conventional, unmodified properties and generally those built after 1960's.

Building Survey

Also known as a Full Structural survey - recommended for older buildings built before 1960 and unusual properties such as those with a thatched roof or timber frame, and should reveal most defects. Each visible element of the property is inspected and any necessary repairs and costs are identified.

Full Structural survey

An extensive property survey - known as a Building Survey – this is recommended for older buildings built before 1960, and should reveal most defects. Each visible element of the property is inspected and any necessary repairs and costs are identified.


The legal work involved in the transfer of ownership of a property or land, usually carried out by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer.


If you buy the freehold of a property you own it and the land it stands on.


This gives you the right of possession of a property, but not the ownership for an agreed period of time. Many flats in the UK are leasehold.

Stamp Duty

This tax imposes a percentage charge on the price of a property over £175,000 : up to £250,000 - 1%, up to £500,000 - 3%, £500,000 + - 4%.  You pay the tax at the given percentage rate on the whole price of the property, not just the amount over the limit.  So a house bought for £275,000 would incur a Stamp Duty charge of 3% of the full amount, therefore £8250.


This is usually carried out by the solicitor as part of the conveyancing process on your proposed property. The search checks for any plans with the Local authorities which might affect the property, such as: new roads, proposed building developments or public rights of way. Most searches take around a fortnight, but they can take up to six weeks. It is usually possible if you need to act quickly to pay extra for a faster 'personal search'.


The signed contracts from the buyer and seller are exchanged and a completion date set. The buyer pays the deposit on the property. The exchange makes a binding contract.

Property Chain

This is when a number of property transactions are dependent on others - when a seller needs the sale of their house before they can complete the purchase of another property. The chain can break if one buyer is unable to sell their home and a link breaks. A first-time buyer has no chain which is an attractive prospect for a seller.


See Home Information Packs

Home Information Packs (HIPS)

Home Information Packs, including Energy Performance Certificates, are being introduced on a phased basis from 1st August 2007. Initially only sellers of properties with four or more bedrooms in England and Wales are required to order a HIP pack although three bedroom houses are included after September 10th. The house can be placed on the market before receiving the HIP documents, as long as the seller can prove the HIPs have been ordered and will arrive within 28 days. HIPs are intended to improve the house buying and selling process. The packs are paid for by the property vendor and contain information and documents about the property, including a rating of the home's energy efficiency. They are likely to increase the cost of selling a house by around £300 to £600. more on HIPs

Joint Tenancy

This is the owning of land or property by two or more people. The joint tenants both pay the mortgage and get an equal share when the property is sold. If one of the joint tenants dies, the ownership of the property passes to the survivor/s, in contrast to property held by 'tenants in common'.

Tenants in Common

This is where two or more people own a property, but if one of the owners dies their share of the property passes to their next of kin not the other owner/s, unless there is a will stipulating otherwise. The terms are defined by the percentage of the property that each person owns.

Key Worker Living Programme

A government-led initiative helping key workers - including such professions as: nurses, teachers, firefighters, police officers, social workers, prison staff, probations staff, to buy a home, upgrade to a larger family property or rent a home at an affordable price. The scheme offers eligible key workers interest-free loans of up to £50,000. The Housing Corporation gets back paid when you sell the property, and if you cease your job as a key worker you'll be required to pay the money back within two years. This programme is mainly aimed at first- time buyers.

Land Registry

The government body responsible for maintaining and updating the register of all properties in England and Wales – records and transfers land ownership. Since February 2005 for just a £2 fee online you can discover : who owns a specific property, how much it cost them, the name of their mortgage provider and the length of any lease on it.

NHBC Warranty

if you are buying a new house you should receive a NHBC (The National House Building Council) warranty. Providing the builder is registered and the property meets standards the NHBC will issue a Buildmark Warranty. This offers insurance protection against any structural or building faults for 10 years.

Title Deeds

The legal documents for a property that detail the owner, any restrictions on the use and rights of way.


The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is an independent non-governmental body that regulates the UK financial services industry, including: mortgage lending, mortgage advice and general insurance advice. If the required standards are not met, then the FCA can take action against firms.

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