Here to help: buying and selling homes jargon buster
Buying and selling homes is second nature to us and we sometimes take for granted that the whole world knows what we are referring to when we quote abbreviations, terminology and phrases during the residential buying and selling process.
Rather than assuming that we all speak the same language, we would like to share some of the most widely used terms within our industry and hope that this helps to decode some frequently used words and acronyms that property professionals regularly refer to.
For example, SSTC is a shortened version of Sold Subject to Contract.
This means the seller has accepted an offer from the buyer but the legal paperwork has not been completed.
Once an offer has been accepted (SSTC) the property will be taken off the market and no further viewings carried out. Details of any other interested parties will be retained and informed should the property come back onto the market.
What does SSTC mean for the buyer?
Once an offer has been accepted, the buyer will instruct their solicitor. The buyer will need to arrange finance or be approved for a mortgage, organise surveys and negotiate details of the sale before signing the contracts.
What does SSTC mean for the seller?
Once they have agreed an offer, similar to the buyer, the seller will instruct their solicitor, who will begin the transfer of ownership.
Here are a few examples of terms you may come across when you’re buying or selling your home:
If you are the potential buyer of a property, your estate agent or auctioneer may refer to you as an applicant
This is another term for a property valuation. An estate agent will visit your home and determine the price it should be marketed at
The transfer of the ownership of the property from one person to another
CHAIN FREE OR NO ONWARD CHAIN
Most houses on the market are part of a chain of other property sales and purchases. Chain free indicates a home with no such sequence.
Chain free or no onward chain can happen for a number of reasons:
If a buyer does not need to sell a property in order to complete the purchase of their next one, they are referred to as being ‘chain free’.
This can also apply to the status of a property if the seller is not dependent on buying another house in order for the sale to go through. Or it could be the property they have lined up has no chain that end, the property is a new build, or they can move in to rented accommodation.
This is when the ownership of the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer. This normally happens on the day of the actual move and when the buyer gets handed the keys to the property
This is the legal work needed when buying or selling a house
An Energy Performance Certificate is a UK requirement which provides information about how energy efficient the property is
EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS
This is the stage where both the buyer and seller are legally bound to the property sale
FIXTURES AND FITTINGS
These are items included, or not included, in the sale of the property, such as curtains and carpets
A freehold is outright ownership of not just the property but also the land it stands on. Most houses in the UK are freehold but flats tend to be leasehold
This is the price level around which offers are invited from purchasers
This is when you agree terms with the estate agent or auctioneer and give them the right to sell your property on your behalf
A mortgage where there is more than one individual named responsible for the mortgage
This is a government department that registers the ownership of land and property in England and Wales
LOCAL AUTHORITY SEARCH
This is normally carried out by your solicitor/conveyancer and it is specific information about that property in terms of planning history/consents and applications
Loan To Value is the ratio of the value of your mortgage to the value of your house. For example, if the house you are buying costs £500,000 and you are taking a mortgage of £350,000, then your LTV is 70%
Simply stands for Offers In Excess Of. It’s an indicator to buyers that the seller is unlikely to entertain offers below the quoted price.
This is when a mortgage is fully repaid
Stamp Duty Land Tax is a government tax you pay when you purchase a property or land over a certain price in England and Northern Ireland
The legal documents associated with a property
Similar to SSTC, this is when a seller has accepted an offer from the buyer but contracts have not yet been exchanged
This is the same as a property appraisal, and it is when an estate agent will visit your home and determine the price it should be marketed at
This is the seller of a property