Metis Homes Limited
The Old Barn,
Vicarage Farm Business Park,
Winchester Road, Fair Oak,
SO50 7HD

Customer Care:
01962 893 534

01962 893 545

01962 893 535

Jargon Buster

A document you sign and hand back to the mortgage lender to confirm you want to accept its offer and proceed with the mortgage process.

Affordable Housing
Affordable Housing is housing that is made available to parties that meet eligibility requirements for housing at either a below market rent or on an intermediate tenure basis (such as Shared Ownership). They are usually managed by Housing Associations, and subsidised by the government.

Agreement In Principle (AIP)
A letter or document from a mortgage lender that confirms it will lend you a certain amount based on your earnings and credit score, subject to a full application and supporting documents. An AIP will help prove to a seller you are in a position to buy.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
APR is the total percentage cost you would pay over the course of each year. It covers the interest on your loan and any additional charges or fees.  APRs are a legal requirement when advertising financial deals like credit cards and mortgages.

A term meaning an estimate of a property’s value according to an estate agent or surveyor. In terms of a residential dwelling it will be its current value, however with development and it may be its value with the benefit of planning consent.

Arboricultural Survey
A survey of the trees on a property, undertaken by an arborist. This is important from a development perspective as it indicates whether there are any issues with the trees on site and what constraint they have on development.

Arrangement Fee
A fee charged by mortgage lenders to cover the administration required in arranging a mortgage. One can normally agree to either pay the fee or have it added to the mortgage amount, although the latter can be more expensive as it will incur interest as part of the mortgage amount.

The amount of money that is overdue on a mortgage. If left unpaid it may result in the lender taking action, and this could lead to them repossessing the property.

Asking Price
The listed price of a property when brought to the market, as agreed by the seller and their agent. May also be called a guide price.

The transfer of a legal right, contract, claim or title in relation to a property from one party to another.

This is a method of sale for property - the basis of which is that the property is auctioned, with the highest bidder n on the day entering into a legally binding agreement there and then to purchase the property. It is common where the sale of the property is required within a short period of time. A seller may have a minimum price to prevent it from selling at a level that is unacceptable.

Authority To Exchange (ATE)
This is the permission from the buyer or and seller to their Solicitor that they can exchange contracts. In the case of Help to Buy this is the form issued by the Help to Buy Agent that authorises the legal exchange of contracts when you purchase a home.

Authority To Proceed (ATP)
This is the letter you will receive confirming you are eligible for Help to Buy and have authority to proceed to purchase. This letter should provide a financial breakdown of the terms of sale.

Base Rate
This is an interest rate that the Bank of England will charge to lend money to commercial banks and financial institutions. Each bank or mortgage lender is free to set their own interest rates for loans and mortgages but the rate tends to be derived from the base rate. If the rate on a mortgage is variable, it may be affected if the base rate changes. It is also known as the Bank Rate or Interest Rate.

Break Clause
Sets out the earliest point at which an agreement or contract may be terminated. The act of termination may begin a notice period or suchlike so is not necessarily the point at which the agreement/contract ceases.

Bridging Loan
A temporary/short-term loan that offers access to money commonly used to bridge the financial gap between transactions. For example to allow you to buy a property before selling your existing home. These tend to be high interest agreements and therefore can be expensive.

A broker is someone who gives you advice on your mortgage. Brokers are either independent or work for banks/lenders/financial institutions.

Building Survey
A building survey is a detailed report on the construction of a property. It’s the most comprehensive survey that can be commissioned on an existing property and is suitable for listed buildings, older or unusual homes or ones that require renovation. Not commonly required for new homes. Also known as a structural survey.

Buildings Insurance
An insurance policy that covers any structural damage to your property from events such as a fire or flooding. Building insurance will usually be a condition of any mortgage or loan in relation to a property.

The person who is buying a property (also known as the purchaser). In development agreements which do not involve a straight forward acquisition of the property they may also be referred to as the Developer or Promoter.

Buy-To-Let Mortgage
A mortgage or loan designed specifically for a property that will be rented out.

Call For Sites
This is a stage of the development plan process that a local authority goes through, and it involves landowners and developers putting forward sites for consideration for the next Local Plan housing allocations.

The amount of money put into either buying a property or paid as a deposit. Also known as equity or cash. May also refer to the portion of the property value without a loan secured against it - it comprises any increase in the value of the property, as well as the deposit and the capital paid off the loan.

A number of linked housing purchases/sales, each dependent on the next. For example your buyer needs to sell their house to be able to buy your house and so on. If one link pulls out, the whole chain can collapse.

The legal hold a lender has over the equity in your property - this charge is entered on the title of a property. Most mortgage lenders will hold a First Charge over a property on which they have lent money which means they are entitled to recover any outstanding monies before anyone else from a sale of the property. A lender of bridging finance may take a Second Charge, which exposes them to more risk and is why they tend to require a higher interest rate as compensation for this risk. As the owner of the property, your right to the equity is usually behind these charge holders in terms of priority in the event of a sale.

Chartered Surveyor
A surveyor accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). They are usually employed to carry out a survey on a property or a formal valuation for lending purposes by the mortgage lender. This valuation will sometimes be referred to as a Red Book Valuation, which refers to the guidance  their valuation must comply with.  A Chartered Surveyor may also undertake a Homebuyers Report/Survey.

CML Certificate
A CML Certificate is a single page document signed by a professional construction consultant, certifying that they have visited the building site and that the property has been constructed to a satisfactory standard and in compliance with the drawings.

The fee payable to an estate agent – usually paid by the vendor and is normally a percentage of the property price - although some agents now have a fixed fee instead.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a planning charge, introduced by the Planning Act 2008, as a tool for local authorities in England and Wales to help deliver infrastructure to support the development of their area. It has replaced a number of items that were previously included within the Section 106 agreements attached to planning consents. Unlike a Section 106 agreement, CIL is a non-negotiable charge applicable to new development in Local authorities where they have adopted the use of CIL.

When a sale is finalised, all of the money has been transferred to the seller and the purchaser becomes the legal owner of the property.

Completion Statement
A document from a solicitor or conveyancer that sets out what the purchaser will need to pay in order to complete the purchase.

Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO)
A Compulsory Purchase Order allows public authorities to purchase property regardless of whether the owner wants to sell. However, the CPO must demonstrate how the purchase would benefit the public and adequately compensate the homeowner.

Computer Generated Image (CGI)
An image produced on computer that provides an indicative illustration of a property or a development.

Condition Report
A basic report on the condition of a property. It is the most basic level of survey one can buy and is suitable for new-build homes and second hand properties that appear to be in good condition.

Conditional Contract
A contractual agreement between a purchaser and seller that obligates the purchaser to buy a property once the conditions of the contract have been satisfied. The most common type of conditional agreement in property is a subject to planning contract (STP), where the condition relates to grant f a planning permission.

Conditions Of Sale
Terms defined in the contract which set out the rights and duties of both purchaser and seller.

Conservation Area
An area of notable environmental or historical interest or importance which is protected by law against undesirable changes. Common in older settlements, it affects permitted development rights and planning applications as well as other matters.

Contents Insurance
An insurance policy designed to cover any loss or damage to your possessions. Usually separate to home insurance, and not normally a requirement of a mortgage.

A  legal agreement between the purchaser and seller regarding the purchase and sale of a property. Also referred to as an agreement.

Changing a property or part of a property from one use to another. For example, converting a barn into a home, converting an office into flats, or converting a loft into a room. Some conversions may require planning permission.

Either a solicitor or licenced professional who deals with the legal and administrative process of a property transaction.

Council Of Mortgage Lenders (CML)
The main trade body (but not regulator) that represents UK mortgage lenders. CML promotes good practice, collects and publishes data about the mortgage market and liaises with the government amongst other things. The Council of Mortgage Lenders is now part of the trade association, UK Finance. UK Finance represents around 300 companies in the UK that provide loans, credit and banking services.

An agreement or promise to do or provide something, or to refrain from doing or providing something, which is meant to be binding on the party giving the covenant (who may be referred to as the "covenantor"). These will usually be set out within the title of a property, or within the deeds relating to the property.

Credit Report
A record of a person's ongoing and repaid debts. Credit reports are held (but not determined) by a credit reference agency.

Declaration Of Trust
A Declaration of Trust, also known as a Deed of Trust, is a legally-binding document that records the financial arrangements between joint owners of a property, and/or anyone else who a financial interest in the property. It is commonly used by cohabiting couples/persons as it sets out who will receive what monies from a future sale, or what one person should receive if bought out by the other.

Legal documents proving ownership of a property or land. They may contain mortgages, leases, conveyances, contracts for sale and wills. Also referred to as Title Deeds.

When a borrower fails to meet the agreed payments within their loan agreement. Typically this applies to a mortgage, but can apply to any kind of loan.

A sum of money that is paid by the purchaser on exchange of contracts as part of the purchase of the property. It is usually a percentage of the purchase price of the property. This is usually funded from the purchasers personal capital and not from a loan or mortgage. May also be known as a down payment.

A property that stands alone and has no shared or connecting walls with an adjoining property.

This is the company or entity that builds the homes or properties. Also known as the housebuilder.

A scheme of properties that have been newly built or refurbished/converted.

These are extra costs incurred during the process of buying a home and include stamp duty, Land Registry charges and other fees. A conveyancer will make payment on behalf of the purchaser, but using funds provided by the purchaser.

Due Diligence
The research undertaken by a purchaser, developer or promoter before entering into an agreement or contract relating to a property. This may include items such as legal searches, surveys and reports on matters that may constrain the use of the property or its value.

A duplex is a flat that is split over two floors. A triplex, which is uncommon in the UK, is also a flat but split over three floors.

Early Repayment Charge (ERC)
This is an amount of money that you pay a lender if you decide to change mortgage providers or repay your mortgage earlier than expected - the details of which would be set out within the loan/mortgage agreement. It also might apply if you make a lump sum payment on your mortgage. Also known as an Early Redemption Charge.

Right granted over the property to someone other than the owner of a property, such as a right of way over land or a right to maintain services under land.

Describes properties built between 1901 and 1910 during the reign of King Edward VII. Typical features include red brickwork, wooden doors with stained glass windows, carved wooden porches, sash windows, dark wood floors, and decorative fireplaces.

End-Of-Terrace House
The house on the end of a row of similar houses that are all joined together.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Is a certificate that details a properties energy efficiency with a ranking between A-G (with A being the most efficient). An EPC is legally required for properties being marketed for sale as well as for rent.  It also provides an estimation of energy costs and offers suggestions on how to improve efficiency.

The final version of a legal document (usually a deed, contract or statute) prepared by a solicitor or conveyancer.  Legal documents go through a number of drafts and are reviewed by the solicitors of both the purchaser and the seller. Once the draft has been agreed, the solicitor who developed the original draft will have a fair copy written out (or ‘engrossed’) incorporating all the agreed amendments, so that it can be signed.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is the process by which information about the environmental effects of a project is collected, assessed and taken into account by the local authority or other government body in reaching a decision about whether a proposed development should be approved.

Equity Loan
This is the loan the purchaser receives from the Government under Help to Buy to help  purchase a property. The amount the purchaser will pay back on this loan is linked to the value of the property. The equity loan is registered as a second charge against the property.

Equity Release
A scheme which allows an owner of a property to release some of the equity in their property through a either a remortgage of their property or a scheme such as a lifetime mortgage or a home reversion plan (these schemes are usually only available to those over 55 years old however).

Estate Agent
The person who  acts on the instruction of the seller who advertises and arranges viewings of a property on their behalf, and who normally provides advice on the general terms of the sale of their property. Fees are usually charged as a percentage of the selling price, although some agents offer a fixed fee.

Exchange Of Contracts
The point at which signed contracts or agreements confirming the intention to transfer ownership between buyer and seller are physically exchanged. At this stage the parties become legally-bound by the terms. The deposit is usually paid at this point by the purchaser to the seller (via their respective conveyancers). Commonly shortened to exchange.

First Charge
This is the principle loan or mortgage on the property and the holder of the charge has first priority over any monies from a sale of the property.

First-Time Buyer
Usually refers to someone who is buying their first property.

Fixed Rate Mortgage
A mortgage that has a fixed interest rate for an initial defined period, typically for two, three or five years.

Fixtures And Fittings
Fixtures are generally items which are attached, or 'fixed,' to the property, while fittings are items which aren't attached to the property, other than by a nail or a screw (such as a picture or mirror, for example).

A drawing that establishes the dimensions of a property and the rooms therein (although it may not be done to scale).

Flying Freehold
When part of a freehold property protrudes into another freehold property or land, such as a  walkway between two apartment blocks.

Freehold ownership is outright ownership of the property and land on which it stands. A freehold estate in land (as opposed to a leasehold) is where the owner of the land has no time limit to their period of ownership.

A freeholder owns the freehold of the property and any land within its title.

Further Advance
Extra monies provided by a lender to a borrower and secured on the property as part of the mortgage debt. This may or may not be at the same interest rate.

When a seller has agreed an offer in principle on a property but later accepts a higher offer from a third party.

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a legal framework that sets guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information from individuals who live in the European Union (EU)

Homes built between the period 1714 and 1830 during the reigns of King George (I to IV). Typical features include stucco fronts, tall sash windows and ceilings with decorative plasterwork.

Ground Investigation Survey (GI or SI)
A ground investigation is a survey of the ground conditions of a property, reviewing items such as suitability for foundations, presence of contamination and ability to drain surface water. It may be either intrusive or non-intrusive (desktop).

Ground Rent
An annual fee paid by the leaseholder to the freeholder of the property.

Special mortgages require borrowers to appoint someone who will be responsible for their debt should they fail to pay. In some cases this may be parent, especially in relation to first time buyers. In some cases, tenants may also appoint a guarantor, so the landlord can be assured of receiving rent.

Heads of Terms (HOTs)
A document which sets out the terms of a commercial transaction agreed in principle between parties in the course of negotiations. Also referred to as a memorandum of sale.

Help To Buy (HTB)
A government scheme aimed to help people get on the property ladder. An equity loan is available to first-time buyers.

Home Demo
A demonstration on how things in your new home work, such as the appliances, boiler, lighting and heating system. Normally undertaken by a member of the sales or customer service team.

Homebuyer Report
A report carried out by a surveyor on behalf of a buyer to assess the value and condition of a property and highlight any major defects. It is a more comprehensive survey than a Condition Report, but not as extensive as a Building Survey.

Homes England
The Government agency that oversees Help to Buy, who produce all the standard documents and also control all funding for the scheme.

Houses In Multiple Occupation (HMO)
If a home has at least three tenants which form more than one household but share facilities such as toilet, kitchen and bathroom, it is classed as an HMO.

Housing Allocation
A housing allocation, in relation to property development, is the allocation of a site for development for housing, usually a specified amount (e.g. 20 units).

Improvement Grant
A grant given by a local authority towards the cost of repairing or improving a property.

Independent Financial Advisor (IFA)
A professional who offers independent advice on financial matters - meaning that they can offer products from across a range of institutions. An IFA assesses a persons  circumstances and income to make sure they are eligible for a financial scheme. They may also give advice on how to apply for a mortgage.

When a property owner asks an estate agent to market their property for sale or for someone to act  their behalf in relation to any other aspect for a property (such as conveyancing or surveys).

Money paid regularly at a particular rate for the use of money lent, or for delaying the repayment of a debt. Interest is usually calculated as a percentage of the amount borrowed or the amount outstanding. Its is normally expressed as a monthly fee or annually (see APR).

Interest-Only Mortgage
Mortgage where only the monthly interest charges are repaid during the mortgage term. The mortgage amount itself, the money that has been lent to the mortgagee, is not paid off during the term as part of the regular payments. The full mortgage must be repaid at the end of the term.

Joint Agents
Two estate agents jointly instructed by a seller to market a property.

Joint Tenants/ Joint Tenancy
A person who holds an estate or property jointly with one or more parties, the share of each passing to the other or others on death.

Judicial Review
The procedure by which a court can review an administrative action by a public body and (in England) secure a declaration, order, or award. Commonly referred to with regard to planning permissions, as the decision of the public body can be challenged if there is believed to have been an administrative error or abnormality in the process that lead to the decision being made. There is a period of 6 weeks following the issue of the decision notice for a challenge to be submitted.

Land Registry
The government office responsible for registering the ownership of land and property in England and Wales. It holds the records of land ownership and any charges against the property.

Land Registry Fees
A fee you have to pay to register your ownership of a property with the Land Registry, as well as receive documentation in relation to a property from Land Registry

The entity, be it a person, persons or a company, that lets out a property to a tenant.

A legal document by which one party conveys land, property, services, etc. to another for a specified time, usually in return for a periodic payment. Also known as a Tenancy Agreement or Lease Agreement.

Ownership and right to occupy a property by way of a lease agreement for a given period, usually subject to an annual payment of rent to the owner of the freehold. Leases, when referring to residential property ownership (as opposed to rental properties) are normally long term, often ranging from between 90 years and 999 years. Shorter leases are unattractive to mortgage lenders, with anything lower than 60 years likely to be difficult to mortgage. 

Institution that lends funds, normally for a specified purpose e.g. a mortgage for a property purchase.

Lender's Legal Fees
Fees incurred by the lender in arranging a loan that are passed on to the borrower.

Someone who holds the lease on a property. Also known as Tenant.

Someone who grants a Lease on a property. Also known as Landlord.

Listed Building
A building, object or structure that has been judged to be of national importance in terms of architectural or historic interest and included on a special register called the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. These buildings usually have different planning status and protection in terms of what works can be undertaken on them, and on the grounds that they occupy.

Listed Building Consent
A form of consent that is needed for any work to be carried out to a listed building that would affect its special character and/or appearance in any way. It is a criminal offence to carry out such works without consent.

Loan To Value (LTV)
This is the ratio between the amount of money being borrowed as a loan and the value of the property against which it is being borrowed.

Local Authority Search
Checks carried out by the solicitor with the local authority or authorities. It should include statutory designations or other designations that the property may be affected by (such as being in a conservation area, if its a listed building etc), information pertaining to highways, TPOs (should you say tree preservation orders (TPO)) or any future development issues that might affect a property and/or the surrounding area.  Also referred to as Searches.

Local Help To Buy Agent
They assess and process a Help to Buy application on behalf of Homes England.

Local Plan
The plan for the future development of the local area, drawn up by the local planning authority in consultation with the community.

Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) is the process of evaluating the effect of a proposal upon the landscape.

A property that is part of a larger building, but has its own private entrance. Typically over two floors, but can occasionally be one floor.

Market Value
Defined by the RICS as The estimated amount for which an asset or liability should exchange on the valuation date between a willing buyer and a willing seller in an arm’s length transaction, after proper marketing and where the parties had each acted knowledgeably, prudently and without compulsion

A legal agreement by which a financial institution (such as a bank) lends money at interest in exchange for taking title of the debtor's property, with the condition that the conveyance of title becomes void upon the payment of the debt. Mortgages tend to be long term loans in nature and the property is held as security until the mortgage is redeemed.

Mortgage Administrator
The Mortgage Administrator is  responsible for redeeming the outstanding mortgage when you sell your home. You must inform them when you are in a position to sell and they must approve the sale before allowing the second charge to be released.

Mortgage Deed
Document containing the terms and conditions of a mortgage secured on a property.

Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee (MIG)
Is an insurance policy that protects lenders if the mortgage repayments cease for some reason, perhaps due to death or a homeowner being made redundant at work. The MIG is NOT insurance protecting the borrower but is there to reduce the lender’s losses as a result of mortgage default. Tend to only apply to high LTV mortgages.

Mortgage Term
The mortgage term is the length of time in which the parameters of a mortgage have legal effect. After the expiration of the mortgage term, the remaining balance of the mortgage will need to be renewed, refinanced or paid in full. Usually expressed in years.

Mortgage Valuation
A form of valuation report commissioned by the lender to independently assess the value of the property.

Multiple Agency
Multiple Agency is where two or more estate agents are instructed by a seller to market a property. Normally, the agent who introduces a successful purchaser is paid.

National House Building Council (NHBC)
NHBC is the leading home construction warranty and insurance provider in the UK for New Homes. They provide a guarantee on some newly built homes for structural defects occurring within a specified time after construction.

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
The revised National Planning Policy Framework was updated on 19 February 2019 and sets out the government’s planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied.

Negative Equity
When the outstanding loan balance on a mortgage exceeds the market value of the property.

Neighbourhood Development Plan
Neighbourhood planning is a right for communities introduced through the Localism Act 2011. Communities can shape development in their areas through the production of Neighbourhood Development Plans (often referred to simply as Neighbourhood Plans), Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders.

A purchaser who doesn’t have to sell their home to proceed with the purchase of a property. Sometimes referred to as chain-free.

Indication from a potential buyer of a willingness to purchase a property at an indicated price. An offer is not legally binding in England and Wales and can be withdrawn or changed at any time prior to exchange of contracts.

Option Agreement
An option agreement is a contract between the owner of a property and a purchaser, giving the purchaser the right to serve notice upon the seller to sell the property to the purchaser either at an agreed price or at its market value (or a percentage of the market value). Commonly used for development land, particularly sites where they are more strategic in nature and at the point of contract it is difficult to ascertain future value with the benefit of planning consent.

Stands for Per Calendar Month.

Permitted Development
Permitted development rights (PDRs) are rights to make certain changes to a building without the need to apply for planning permission.

Personal Worked Example (PWE)
Applies to Help to Buy and is an estimate of what fees you will need to pay on your equity loan after the first five years.

Refers to property that is kept for temporary or occasional occupation. They are often used  as a secondary residence.

Planning Condition
A condition imposed on a grant of planning permission or a condition included in a Local Development Order or Neighbourhood Development Order. They usually require discharging as part of the development process, but may also restrict or control the use, permitted development rights, and other matters relating to a property.

Planning Permission
Planning permission is the legal process used to decide whether proposed developments should be allowed to go ahead. It can be detailed (or full) or outline. A detailed planning permission includes all of the required information to allow it to be implemented, subject to any planning conditions being discharged or satisfied, whereas an outline application may provide detail for only one or two matters, with all other reserved. In order for an outline permission to be implementable, a reserved matters application, dealing with all of the outstanding detail, will be required.

Preliminary Enquiries
A standard list of questions sent by the purchasers conveyancer to the sellers conveyancer which need to be answered ahead of exchange of contracts. They form part of the purchasers due diligence when buying a property.

Amount payable on an insurance policy, usually paid monthly.

When the owner of a property dies and leaves the property in their will, probate is the official process for proving the will is valid. For inheritance tax purposes the property may need to be valued and this is typically carried out by the district valuer who represents the Inland Revenue. Contracts cannot be exchanged on a property until probate has been granted.

Promotion Agreement
Agreement structure whereby the Seller and a Promoter enter into an agreement whereby the Promoter promotes the property through the planning process at their financial risk, normally to the point at which the property has a planning permission. At this point the Promoter and Seller will take the property to market and sell it with the benefit of planning. The monies received will then be divided between the Seller and Promoter according to the terms of the agreement. Most common with strategic development sites.

Property Information Form (PIF)
A form that is required to be submitted to the Help to Buy scheme, along with a reservation form, in order to apply for an equity loan.

The entity, whether a person(s) or company, buying a property. Also known as the buyer.

Completion of the full and final repayment of a mortgage.

Redemption Figure
Amount required to fully repay a mortgage including interest and any penalties. May include an early redemption charge.

Commonly a requirement of landlords and lenders seeking to make sure a prospective tenant or borrower is a suitable match. This can include doing a credit check, contacting their employer and getting in touch with past landlords.

Registered Land
Land (including buildings on it) the title to which is registered at the Land Registry and legal ownership of which is guaranteed.

Repayment Mortgage
Mortgage with monthly repayments consisting of capital (the amount you borrowed) combined with interest. This is the most common form of mortgage.

Where a borrower falls behind on their mortgage payments the lender normally has the right to take back the property on which the loan is secured, in order that they can sell it to recover the loan monies outstanding. If you live in your property you will be evicted.

Residential Dwelling
Property occupied for private or domestic purposes, falling under use class C3 of the Use Classes Order 1987.

Return On Investment (ROI)
ROI is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. ROI tries to directly measure the amount of return on a particular investment, relative to the investment’s cost. To calculate ROI, the benefit (or return) of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment. The result is expressed as a percentage or a ratio.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors - is a professional body promoting and enforcing the highest international standards in the valuation, management and development of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. People qualified with the RICS will usually have the letters MRICS, FRICS or AssocRICS after their name on their stationary.

Right To Buy
A government scheme that allows eligible council tenants in England to buy their home at a discounted price.

Royal Town Planning Institute - the principal body representing planning professionals in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It promotes and develops policy affecting planning and the built environment.

A term used to denote the physical and written procedure for determining any adverse effects in/on a particular property, whether already in effect or planned to take place.

The purchasers conveyancer will make enquiries to the local authority and Land Registry to ensure there aren’t any matters that will adversely affect the property or the surrounding area.

Second Charge
A second charge is a charge which is behind the first charge in priority but has the same effect, in that it will give the holder priority over recovery of their loan, after the first charge has been discharged. This is applicable to many finance mechanisms, such as bridging loans , a second charge mortgage or a equity loan where help to buy is utilised.

Section 106 (S106)
A Section 106 agreement is an agreement in relation to a planning application which ensure the developer undertakes, or pays, for certain things. This is a legal document. This will include items such as the provision of affordable housing, and payment of planning obligations. Community Infrastructure Levy is a separate item, and is not dealt with through the S106 process.

Section 278 (S278)
A S278 agreement is an agreement in relation to a development normally, which permits works to be undertaken on and/or to a public highway.

Property used to secure the mortgage loan.

The process of building your own home. If you are a builder then this can be taken literally, but for most people this involves choosing builders, architects and surveyors to undertake the work.

The person who is selling the property. Also known as the vendor.

A type of property where one side wall is shared with an adjoining property, but the adjoining property is not attached to another property (if it is then this would be a terrace).

Service Charge
Charge to a tenant or leaseholder made by a landlord to cover costs of maintaining a property. Usually pays for the upkeep of communal areas such as gardens and hallways, and will usually include a sinking fund or such like for large cost one-off items. Also known as Maintenance Charge.

Share Of Freehold
In some instances, a flat or leasehold property will be offered for sale with part of the freehold of the building. If you are buying a flat with a share of the freehold, you become part of the group of people or company that make decisions and organise the maintenance of the building. You will still have to follow the terms of your lease though.

Shared Ownership
This is a government scheme, and it gives the option to buy a share of a property (between 25% and 75%) from a UK housing association. You will then pay an ‘affordable rent’ on the share of the property you don’t own.

Strategic housing land availability assessment - a review by the local authority of all of the possible sites that could take housing in their area, usually pooled from a call for sites process. Sometimes also called a SHELAA (which includes economic - therefore employment sites as well).

Strategic Housing Market Area Assessment - set out estimates of the current and future housing needs of an area, which in turn can be used to inform planning policy.

The process of checking a building for defects and faults. Usually happens prior to completion, but can also happen after as well.

Sole Agency
Where a seller instructs one agent exclusively to market their property.

Sole Selling Rights
Where one estate agent has exclusive rights to market a property and is entitled to a fee regardless of how the property is sold.

A professionally qualified legal expert who will prepare the documents on behalf of the purchaser or seller, as well as undertaken pre purchase legal due diligence. Responsibilities include conducting searches, collecting funds and arranging and overseeing the exchanging and completion of contracts. Also referred to as a conveyancer in property transaction work.

Special Protection Area (SPA)
A Special Protection Area (SPA) is a designation under the European Union Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds. Under the Directive, Member States of the European Union (EU) have a duty to safeguard the habitats of migratory birds and certain particularly threatened birds.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (Sdlt)
A tax the government charges you when you buy a property. SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax) is usually charged as a percentage of the purchase price. SDLT rates change for different property types (residential or commercial) and for different purchase values. Your solicitor will automatically handle payment on your behalf.

Standard Variable Rate (SVR) Mortgage
A type of mortgage where interest rates vary at the discretion of the lender based on market conditions. If you have a mortgage deal with a discount rate, at the end of the discounted period it will normally revert to a standard variable rate.  

Structural Survey
See building survey

Studio Flat/Apartment
A flat with just one principle living area containing both cooking and sleeping facilities, normally with a separate bathroom or shower room.

Subject To Contract
A provisional agreement prior to exchange of contracts that is not yet legally binding as the paperwork is not yet complete, so either party can still pull out of the transaction or renegotiate.

Suitable Alternative Nature Greenspace (SANG)
SANG describes new green space provided or enhanced as part of a development in order to mitigate against the developments potential impact on a nearby Special Protection Area (SPA).

Qualified expert who carries out the survey of a property.

Telegraphic Transfer Fee
Telegraphic transfer fees are bank charges for the electronic transfer of money.

Tenancy Agreement
See lease.

Person (or entity) who is entitled to occupy a property under the terms of a Tenancy Agreement.

Tenants In Common
A structure of shared home ownership (not necessarily in equal shares). If an owner dies, the owner's stake in the property is passed to their heirs, rather than to the other owners of the property.

Conditions on which a property is held, usually whether it is freehold or leasehold.

Property where both side walls are shared with adjoining properties.

The rights and liabilities that attach to the property.

Title Deeds
Documents showing the legal rights and liabilities associated with a property, as well as proof of ownership of a property.

Title Report On
Solicitors' certificate confirming that the title to the property is acceptable. A Lender must have one before an advance cheque for the mortgage monies can be issued.

Tracker Mortgage
A tracker mortgage usually follows the Bank of England (BOE) base rate. As a result, your mortgage repayments can go up or down as the BOE base rate changes.

Transfer Document
The final legally binding document that transfers the property and all its rights from the seller to the purchaser.

Tree Preservation Order (TPO)
A TPO gives special protection to a tree, or group of trees, so that any works to them require approval before they can be undertaken, and the authority has the right to refuse these works.

Unconditional Purchase
The purchase of a property without any contractual conditions (such as the need be granted planning permission). Common for house purchases, or the sale of a property with the benefit of a planning permission.

Under Offer
Status of a property from the point at which a seller has accepted an offer until exchange of contracts.

Refers to services such as gas, electricity, water, sewage and telephone/broadband.

Vacant Possession
Means that the property (and grounds) is empty on the day of completion. Therefore the Seller or tenants have moved out and removed all of their belongings, only leaving behind items that have been agreed by the purchaser.  

A report produced by a qualified professional such as a Chartered Surveyor to establish an estimate of the market value of a property on the date that the valuation is undertaken.

Person who is selling a property. They may also be known as the seller.

In relation to property it describes a process of assessing whether a site is financially deliverable, by looking at whether the value generated by a development is more than the cost of developing it.

Homes built between 1837 and 1901 during the reign of Queen Victoria. They are one of the most common types of period property in the country as a result of the industrial revolution. Typical features including red brick façades, bay windows and fireplaces with cast iron hearths.

Visibility Splay
A visibility splay, or sight line, describes the area across which a driver needs to be able to have an unimpeded view of the highway when at a road junction. They are assessed for almost all planning applications for new development to ensure a safe access can be achieved to the development.

An insurance policy which protects buyers of new homes from structural defects, usually offering 10 years of cover. Common warranty providers are NHBC and Premier Guarantee amongst others.

A Will is a legal document that allows a person to make decisions on how his or her estate will be managed and distributed after his or her death. As a homeowner, it is advisable to make a will – or alter an existing one. Your solicitor can advise you.

The income generated from a property stated as a percentage of the property value. Normally used when assessing rental properties.