Estate Agent Jargon Glossary


Estate Agent Jargon Glossary

When it comes to the words and expressions commonly used in the property and estate agents world, some of it can become incredibly confusing – especially to anyone who may be unfamiliar or inexperienced when it comes to buying, selling, letting or renting a home. There certainly can be a lot to get your head around when diving into the property market, from all the paperwork and contracts and people involved – not to mention the confusing jargon and language.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used words and expressions you may encounter (and not understand) when buying or selling a home.



Most often issued by lenders, acceptance is a document that buyers need to sign and send back to the lender in order to accept the lender’s mortgage offer.

Additional Mortgage Security Fee

This is most often used to describe a one off premium which is paid to a broker or lender upfront when securing a mortgage. This is a common occurrence when the load is in excess of 75% of the total property value.

Adjustable-rate Mortgage

To understand this, it’s important to understand that there are two main types of mortgage loans: fixed rate and adjustable rate. During an adjustable rate mortgage, the interest rate can change during the course of the loan at specific intervals.


If you are hoping to get a loan from a bank or building society in order to buy a new home, you will need to first have the home appraised. This appraisal allows the bank to confirm that they are lending the correct amount of money for the property purchase. The appraiser will examine the property to determine valuation.

Cash Reserves

This is the amount of money left over for a buyer once the down payment and closing costs have both been paid.


A chain is when several property sales and purchases become inter-dependent – forming a chain of sales that rely upon one another. A property chain can become incredibly complicated and frustrating to deal with – but your estate agent will help to keep the process running smoothly.

Closing Costs

In addition to the down payments and final price of a home, there are also payments known as closing costs. These often make up around two to five percent of the total value of the property and purchase price. These closing costs can include things such as title insurance, excise tax, loan processing costs and more.


This is a solicitor who specialises in the legal transferring of homeownership between businesses or people. If you are buying a home with a mortgage, the services of a conveyancer are a legal requirement. They will cover every legal aspect and part of the home buying and selling process.


This is the legal processes behind the transference of property between individuals or businesses. This is performed by a conveyancer.


An EPC (or energy performance certificate) shows the energy efficiency of a property – indicating just how much the energy bills will cost. EPCs show both the energy efficiency and environmental impact of a property with gradings from A to G.


Equity, otherwise known as capital, is the amount of money a homeowner has put into a property. This is the difference between the market value of the home and the amount still owed by the purchaser on their loan amount. This equity value builds up over time as the homeowner pays more money off their mortgage.

Exchange of contracts

The exchange of contracts is the time when a sale becomes legally binding – agreed upon by both the buyer and seller. At this point, the sale is legally binding and neither party can pull out without incurring financial penalties.


Gazumping is where a seller accepts one offer, only to then reject it in favour of a better offer made by someone else. Until contracts are exchanged, the offer is not legally binding – and estate agents are legally required to inform sellers of any and all offers received.


This is what it is called when a buyer chooses to lower the price of their offer – often at the last minute. This can force the seller into an awkward situation, in which they need to accept the lower price or face having to reject in order to risk finding a different buyer.


A leasehold arrangement is one in which you own the property – but not the actual land that it is built upon. A good example of this is purchasing a flat, where you do not own the building or the land it sits on.


Simply put, a listing is any home that is currently for sale. This term is used because when a property is put up for sale, it is often listed on websites and in other publications – making it commonly known as a ‘listing’.

Mortgage Deed

This is a document that details the exact conditions of a mortgage that is secured on any particular property.

Mortgage Offer

This is just what it sounds like. This will be the document you receive from a bank or building society when they offer you a mortgage and property loan, and it will detail the terms and conditions of the mortgage.


Snagging is the commonly used term for when the developer of new property builds touch up on the paintwork and applies fixes and repair to appliances and other faults before a sale. Before a buyer moves in, a snagging survey is often performed. This should flag up any cosmetic issues and is intended to check the quality of work performed.

Stamp Duty

Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) is a tax that is paid directly to the government by the buyer of a property. The rate of stamp duty land tax is variable on a range of different factors and is banded progressively much like other taxes like income tax. For example, if it is your first time buying a property, you will have nothing to pay on the first £125,000 of the total purchase price.


When it comes to the property market, a survey most often is a report that is prepared by a qualified building surveyor. The survey will check for any structural faults and other issues. There are three different levels of structural survey that can be performed, depending on how much information is wanted.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

The tenancy deposit scheme (TDS) is an insurance scheme run by the Dispute Service which protects tenancy deposits and aids the resolution of disputes between tenants and landlords.

Title Deeds

These are the official documents that detail and confirm who has legal ownership of a property.