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Negative equity – the term applied where the amount of your mortgage or other loan on the house is more than the house is currently worth on the property market.


NHBC – abbreviation of National House Builders Council. This is a ten-year guarantee and insurance protection on new build properties.


Office copies – this is the legal document which sets out ownership of your property. It is kept filed at the Land Registry. When conveyancing starts, your solicitor will order these from the Land Registry.


Property Information Form (PIF) – officially known as form TA6. This questionnaire is completed by the seller and covers issues such as boundaries, any existing guarantees and information about work completed at the property. It is a document which forms part of the contract pack, and the purchaser is entitled to reply on the information it contains, thus it is an offence to provide false information on this form.



Redemption – the act of paying off your mortgage.

Redemption Fee – a penalty charged by a mortgage lender in the event of you paying off your mortgage earlier than agreed.

Registered land – any piece of land for which the Land Registry holds details about its ownership.


Remortgaging – the process of clearing one mortgage with the proceeds from a fresh mortgage with the same or a different lender and using the same property as security.

Repossession – the process whereby a mortgage company will take over possession of your property if you fail to keep up with your mortgage payments. This can lead to eviction and the subsequent forced sale of the property by the mortgage company.

Reservation Fee – an administration fee charged to cover the cost of reserving a mortgagor’s entitlement to a loan on certain terms or a fee paid to a builder or property developer to reserve a new property.

Retention – any money which is held back when buying a new property until that property is fully completed.

Searches – undertaken by your conveyancing solicitor to discover any issues that might affect both the value of a property and your decision to buy it. These include Local Authority, Drainage, Mining and Environmental.

Service Charge – a charge paid to the landlord to cover any repairs, maintenance or improvements that need to be made to a property. 

Shared ownership – a unique type of home ownership where you own part of the property and rent the rest. The other party is normally a Housing Association, and there is usually the option to increase your ownership share or buy your property outright. It sometimes known as “shared equity”.

Stamp Duty – the tax you must pay to HMRC following the purchase of a property; the amount dependent upon its value. Late payment will incur financial penalties.

Structural survey – a report giving details about the essential structure of a property.

Subject to Contract – a term used during contract negotiations; nothing is legally binding until contracts are exchanged.

Subsidence – where a property moves due to inadequate foundations or significant change in underlying ground resulting in the instability of a building structure. Requires costly underpinning to rectify.

Survey – assessment of the condition of the Property carried out by qualified surveyors and engineers.


Tenants in Common – where the joint owners hold separate shares in a property and can pass them on to other parties in the event of their death.

Term – any specified period of time, such as the length of time a mortgage is held for.


Title – the ownership of a property.


Title deeds – the documents which prove your legal right or title to your property.

Transfer Deed – a document that legally transfers your property into the name of the buyer. It must be signed by you in the presence of a witness.

Unregistered land – land or property that is not yet been registered for the 1st time with the Land Registry. The title deeds (see above) will be required to prove ownership


Valuation – carried out by and for the benefit of a mortgage lender to assess the value of the property they are lending on.

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