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A to Z of moving house

Read our A to Z guide of common moving home terms that will help you prepare for moving house.

A is for Agreement

This is the document that fixes the price and the completion date of the sale. Two copies are issued, one for the seller and one for the buyer. The contract is finalised at the time of exchange.

B is for Building Regulations

The rules that homeowners follow when making structural changes to their building. Consent must be obtained from the council for these changes. Once the works are complete, a Building Regulation Completion Certificate should be obtained from the council.

C is for Completion

The finish line, AKA the day you get the keys! Solicitors can’t guarantee a time for completion, but the day cannot be changed once contracts have exchanged. The time depends on the banks and the length of the Chain.

D is for Disbursement

These are fees that are payable to a third party, via your solicitor, as part of the conveyancing process. These fees include fees for your Searches or fees payable to the Land Registry to download Title Deeds or register your ownership.

E is for Equity

This is the amount of money that comes out of your pocket when buying. This is worked out by deducting the outstanding mortgage from the house value. The amount left, if you have no other loans secured against your house, will belong to you. This is the Equity.

F is for Freehold

Your property will either be Freehold or Leasehold. If it is freehold, you own the house, the land it is built on and the airspace above it. Most houses are freehold. Very rarely will a flat be freehold.

...and we have another F for First Time Buyers. Buying your first home can be a daunting experience. Click here to read a guide for first time buyers from the Legal Ombudsman.

G is for Ground Rent

If you are buying a flat or your house is Leasehold, then you may have to pay an annual fee to the Freeholder (aka the Landlord). This fee can vary depending on how old the property is or where in the country it is. It can range from £100 to £500. The fee can be higher, but it is unusual.

H is for Home Buyers Survey

A report produced by a building surveyor that assesses the condition of a property. The seller does not have to disclose any details about the condition of the property, so you should have a survey carried out to check for potential issues. A Structural Survey is a more advanced report.

I is for Indemnity Insurance

If there is a crack in your wall, you will put filler in to smooth over the gap. This is what indemnity insurance does when there is a problem with the property. If it is not possible or financially viable to fix the problem (known as a 'defect') then insurance is often a popular and quick way to deal with it.

J is for Joint Tenants

One of two ways that two people can own a property. If you are joint tenants, as opposed to Tenants in Common, then you own 100% of the property together. If one person dies, the other will retain 100% of the property as the surviving owner.

K is for Knowledge

Ramsdens Solicitors have been around for over 140 years, so we have gathered a lot of knowledge within one company!

L is for Local Search

This search is property specific and is to check the council records for things like, whether the road is public or private, whether there are any plans to make changes to the road, whether any planning permission has been applied for (or not been applied for as the case may be).

M is for Mortgage

A loan taken out to buy a house. You will sign a Mortgage Deed before Completion, which is recorded at the Land Registry. You cannot sell your house without repaying the mortgage from the sale proceeds.

N is for Negative Equity

The unfortunate position of when your house is worth less than the amount you owe for your mortgage.

O is for Office Copies

The print out, from the Land Registry showing the records of an individual property, including who owns it; what price was paid for it; whether there is a mortgage and any Covenants or Rights affecting it. The modern day title deeds.

P is for Property Information Form

A questionnaire to be completed by the seller which provides essential information about the property.

Q if for EnQuiries

(OK, we cheated a bit) EnQuiries are raised by the buyer’s solicitors after the contract papers have been checked. Enquiries may ask the seller for additional documents or to check that the seller has complied with the Covenants.

R is for Ramsdens

We are the Law Society Excellence in Conveyancing Award Winners and #CQS accredited! You are in safe hands with us!

S is for Stamp Duty Land Tax

('SDLT') Is a land tax payable, by a buyer, on all land sales over £125k. You will pay this to your solicitor before completion & they will pay it to HMRC for you.

T is for Transfer Deed

The form that transfers the property from the seller to the buyer. This is registered at the Land Registry.

U is for Unregistered Land

This is land that has not been registered at the Land Registry yet. To prove ownership, you must have the Title Deeds that name you as the current owner along with the historic bundle of documents relating to the property.

V is for Valuation

This is the professional assessment of how much the property is worth. Mortgage lender's will carry out their own independent valuation whilst assessing whether to give you a mortgage.

W is for Water and Drainage Search

This is a search at the water authority to establish whether the property is connected to the mains, surface & foul water drainage and water systems. It will also determine whether there are any public sewers running under the property, that the water authority may need to access. If you have a mortgage, this search is compulsory.

X is for eXchange

Yippee, from this stage the completion date is fixed. It is the point of no return. If you exchange contracts and change your mind or can't complete, you may be sued for breach of contract. As a buyer, you could lose your Deposit!

Y is for You

Buying or selling a property is a big deal and a big investment. You need to make sure you are comfortable with the process and are happy to proceed. At Ramdens we put you first!

Z is for Zebra

OK, so Zebra is not a conveyancing term. There is no Z in conveyancing, so we challenge you to tweet us a picture of anything Zebra related that you encounter during your conveyancing process with us - say hi @ramsdensconvey.