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A to Z moving home glossary

Read our detailed A-Z guide of moving home terms designed to help everyone from the moving novice to the seasoned mover.

A to Z moving home glossary

A – Z Glossary of moving home terms


Advance – the sum of money you borrow from your mortgage lender.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – shown as a percentage, this is the total charge for the money lent to you for the loan.  It includes fees and interest.


Bank of England Base Rate – The Bank of England sets a rate of interest which the high street banks use to calculate the interest rate they charge for some loans.

Buildings Insurance – this is the insurance needed for the fabric of your property, against fire, theft and flood. Your mortgage normally requires this insurance.  However, it is usually covered by the freeholder if you are purchasing a leasehold property.

Building Survey -  an examination of a property by a surveyor (which may include specific tests by the surveyor or other experts) in order to produce a report on the structural integrity of a building and its state of repair.


Chartered SurveyorChartered Surveyors are highly trained and experienced property professionals. They offer impartial, specialist advice on a variety of property related issues. Their duties include valuing property and looking for structural defects in buildings. They also provide expert consultancy advice in property, construction and related environmental issues. Chartered Surveyors are represented by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Complete – the end of the process of buying and/or selling a property. Once you have ‘completed’ the transaction has ended.

Conservation Area - A tract of land that has been awarded protected status usually of architectural or historic interest.

Conveyancing - the legal process for the transferral of ownership of real property.

Council Tax Band - A letter code in the range A – I, each representing a specific range (or band) of property market values. In England the value is as at 1 April 1991; in Wales it is as at 1 April 2003. All domestic property is given one of these bands for the administration of council tax bills. There are different valuation bands in England and in Wales.


Deeds - Also referred to as ‘Title Deeds’. Title deeds are documents showing ownership, as well as rights, obligations, or mortgages on the property. Since around 2000, compulsory registration in England and Wales has been required for all properties mortgaged or transferred. The details of rights, obligations, and covenants referred to in deeds are entered on the property register.

Domestic Energy Assessor – also known as the DEA, is a qualified individual who visits the property prior to it being marketed for sale or to let and checks the property’s energy efficiency by examining its dimensions, construction, heating and hot water provision. The DEA will also provide cost effective recommendations for improving energy use.


Energy Performance Certificate – also known as an EPC. The Energy Performance Certificate is the document provided by the Domestic Energy Assessor. It provides information on the property’s energy use, energy efficiency and recommendations for improved energy efficiency. It rates each property with a performance scale A to G, where A is very efficient and G is the least energy efficient.

EPC – abbreviation for Energy Performance Certificate. See above.

Exchange (of contracts) - Both you and the seller sign the contract. You also agree a completion date that suits both of you. You also need to agree to pay a deposit to the seller at this point, typically around 10% of purchase price. This is paid via your solicitor. Once you have exchanged contracts, you are legally required to proceed.


Freehold – describes the dwelling and the land on which it stands which is owned by the possessor indefinitely.


Gazumping - Gazumping is when the seller, having accepted your offer, then accepts a higher offer from someone else.

Ground rent – you will be charged this if you have purchased a leasehold property.  It is often a token 'peppercorn' rent charged annually.


HIP – Abbreviation for Home Information Pack, see below. No longer required.

HomeBuyer Report - The HomeBuyer Report is appropriate for modern properties that are conventionally built, and older properties in reasonable condition. On 1st April 2010, it replaced by the Homebuyer Survey and Valuation. The report details important problems that could make a difference to the value of the property and gives an opinion on its valuation. It is worth remembering that if you employ the surveyor directly, you will own the details of the survey and you can negotiate accordingly.

Home Condition Report – type of survey no longer promoted by the Government for Home Information Packs. A HCR tells you about the construction and condition of the home on the date it was inspected and whether more enquiries or investigations are needed. Only available from qualified Home Inspectors.

Home Information Pack – also known as a HIP, this was a set of documents that had to be available before you or an agent marketed your home for sale in England or Wales. It was suspended by the coalition government in May 2010.  They are no longer required. 

Home Report – The Home Report is mandatory for residential properties being sold in Scotland. This is a pack of three documents: a Single Survey, an Energy Report and a Property Questionnaire. The Home Report must be made available on request to prospective buyers of the home. The Single Survey contains an assessment by a surveyor of the condition of the home, a valuation and an accessibility audit for people with particular needs. The Energy Report contains an assessment by a surveyor of the energy efficiency of the home and its environmental impact. It also recommends ways to improve its energy efficiency. The Property Questionnaire is completed by the seller of the home. It contains additional information about the home, such as Council Tax banding and factoring costs that will be useful to buyers.


Islamic Mortgage – alternative to a traditional mortgage. Islamic law forbids both the payment and receipt of interest. Rather than lending money to a customer to buy a property, the bank buys a home for the customer, who then pays the purchase price in monthly instalments. Ensures the mortgage is compliant with sharia law.

Inventory - a list of all your possessions.


Land Registry – the central body holding the register of title to land in England and Wales and records dealings (for example, sales and mortgages) with registered land.

Leasehold - is a property term where one party buys the right to occupy land or a building for a specified length of time.

Letting – an arrangement where a payment is made for the temporary use of a property owned by another person or company.

Licensed Conveyancer - is a legal professional specialising in property law. The role of a licensed conveyancer is similar to that of a solicitor dealing with a property transaction. They will have been trained by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers.

Listed - A building considered to be of architectural or historic significance and therefore given special protection. Listed properties are subject to planning limitations.

Loan-to-value – Also 'LTV', this represents the size of the mortgage as a percentage of the valuation of the property.


Mortgage - A loan that is secured over a property.


New Build – property that has just been built and is usually sold by the building company.


Planning permissions - or planning consent - is the authorization required in the United Kingdom in order to be allowed to build on land, extend a building, or change the use of land or buildings. 

Property Ombudsman - The Property Ombudsman has powers that allow him to make awards of compensation for financial loss and/or aggravation, distress and inconvenience, where he feels appropriate. The service is free of charge for the public.  He is not a regulator or consumer guardian.

Property Questionnaire – Document essential for property sellers in Scotland. To be completed by the seller, the PQ gives prospective buyers useful information about the property. It includes information such as parking arrangements, council tax bands, and any local authority notices or notes of alterations that have been made to the home.  Included in the Home Report.


Quotes – Indicative prices for a service. reallymoving.com provides instant quotes for removals, conveyancing, surveys, Home Reports and EPCs.


Remortgage – repaying your mortgage by taking out an alternative mortgage the usually replaces the first, but still secured on the same property.

Repossessed - The legal term relating to a property in which a borrower has fallen short of repayments on the loan for that property. A repossessed property is usually sold at a public auction.


Searches – these involve a search of files relating to a certain property or area which are held by the Local Authority. Other searches are also carried out such as the Water Drainage Search and Environmental Search. They inform the purchaser of any potential municipal or private building work or potential issues that can affect the property.

Solicitor - is a lawyer who traditionally offers legal services outside of the courts. A Conveyancing Solicitor handles legal documentation involved in buying or selling a property.

Stamp Duty - A government tax which is added to the purchase price of a property. Different percentages are charged for different values of property from 0% to 12%.

Survey - a house survey for buyers is essential. By having it surveyed or examined by a RICS surveyor, you will know the structural state of the property. Different types of surveys go into different depths of detail.


Tenancy Deposit Scheme - Deposits paid by tenants are put into a secure account so they are available - all or in part – to get back when the tenant leaves the premises, depending on the condition in which the property is left. 


Valuation – the worth of your home. Mortgage lenders usually send a qualified valuer to confirm the value of your property before they will confirm the mortgage. This is not a structural survey.

Vendor – The person selling the home.


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