Property Jargon Explained

APR
Stands for 'Annual Percentage Rate' which helps you compare the cost of different mortgage deals. It takes into account the amount of interest you will pay, the length of the term of the mortgage, and certain other charges such as any arrangement fee.

Arrangement Fee
Lenders sometimes charge a fee to cover the work involved in setting up your mortgage or for certain mortgage rates.

Bank of England Base Rate
This is also known as the Bank of England's repo rate. This is announced from time to time by the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee.

Buildings Insurance
What you must have to protect your property against hazards such as fire, flood and subsidence.

Buildings Survey
This is a technical report following an inspection of the property. It will give you a comprehensive account of the condition of the property, describing any structural or other defects.

Capital and Interest Mortgage
Also known as a repayment mortgage. Your monthly payments gradually pay off the money (capital) you've borrowed, and also cover interest on the amount outstanding.

Capped Rate
Your interest rate won't go above a certain level - the 'cap' - during the capped rate period. This means that you can enjoy any rate reductions, yet have the comfort of knowing that your rate won't go above the cap.

Cashback
Certain mortgage products offer cashback, which means you get a cash lump sum when you enter into the mortgage to spend on anything you want.

CAT Standard Mortgages
The Government has laid down CAT standards - fair Charges, easy Access and decent Terms - to help people identify mortgages which meet minimum standards. If a mortgage is described as meeting the CAT standards it doesn't mean that it is 'Government approved' or necessarily right for you.

CML
The Council of Mortgage Lenders, which has devised the Mortgage Code to ensure lenders treat customers fairly.

Completion
The day on which a property becomes legally yours.

Conclusion of Missives
The Scottish equivalent of exchanging contracts.

Contents Insurance
Protection for items in your home, including furniture and personal possessions - in case they're stolen, lost or damaged.

Conveyancer
A legal practitioner who deals with the conveyancing of land.

Conveyancing
The legal process involved in buying and selling a property.

Credit Scoring
We may use the information you provide to assess the suitability of your application using a technique known as credit scoring. You agree that when considering an application for credit, we may use the information supplied to us to offer additional products.

Daily Interest
With this method of calculating mortgage interest, it is charged on the amount of mortgage outstanding from day to day. This means lenders take into account any changes in the amount you owe on a day-to-day basis.

Deposit
The money you pay on exchange of contracts as part of your initial contribution to the purchase of your home.

Disbursements
All the various costs itemised on your conveyancer's invoice for carrying out your home buying legal work.

Discharge Fee
You have to pay this to some lenders for releasing their hold over a property once you've paid off your loan.

Discounted Rate
This means interest is charged at the variable base rate that applies to the mortgage, less a discount for a set period.
This means the rate, and your monthly payment, will vary - up or down - whenever the variable base rate changes, but will remain below the variable base rate during the discounted rate period.

Equity
The difference between the amount you owe on your mortgage and the current value of your property.

Exchange of Contracts
The swapping of contracts between a buyer's conveyancer and a seller's conveyancer. Once you have exchanged contracts you are both legally bound to the transaction.

Feuhold
A form of legal title applicable only in Scotland.

First Charge
Most mortgage lenders lending money to enable someone to buy their home would require a first charge. This means the lender has first call on any funds available from the sale of the property to clear the outstanding mortgage debt.

Fixed Rate
A rate of interest guaranteed not to change over a fixed period of time.

Freehold
A form of legal title to land which means you are the absolute owner of the property and the land it's on.

Ground Rent
The annual fee a leasehold pays a freeholder (usually pretty low). Ground rent generally applies to flats.

Guarantor
Someone who guarantees to repay your mortgage if you can't borrow enough to buy the home you want. Parents, for instance, may act as guarantors for their children when they buy their first home.

Household Insurance
A way of referring to both buildings and contents insurance.

Income Multiplier
The way lenders work out how much you can borrow, usually by multiplying your gross annual salary.

Interest Only Mortgage
You only pay interest to your lender throughout the mortgage term and your mortgage balance doesn't reduce. At the same time, you put money into a separate investment which should grow and pay off the mortgage as scheduled. You must make sure you keep premiums up to date on any mortgage investment products.

Land Registry Free
Your conveyancer pays this on your behalf to register your details in the Land Registry records once you've bought a property or changed your mortgage lender.

Leasehold
This means you own a property for a set number of years. When the lease expires, the property returns to the freeholder. Flats are commonly sold as leasehold.

Local Authority Search
Part of the conveyancing process when you buy a property. It gives details of any matters which, from the local council's point of view, affect the property. It reveals any proposed changes to the local area, such as road improvements, and details any planning permission given for the property. Most properties now have a Home Information Pack available ( HIP) and this will include the search along with an energy performance rating.

LTV
Loan to value is the proportion of the value or price of the property (whichever is the lower), that you borrow on a mortgage. For example, a £63,000 mortgage on a house valued at £70,000 would mean a LTV of 90%.

Mortgage Deed
A legal document establishing a mortgage on a property.

Mortgage Term
The length of time over which you agree to pay back your mortgage - usually 25 years, but it can be longer or shorter.

Negative Equity
This is when the amount you owe on your mortgage is greater than the value of your property. It particularly becomes a problem if you want to move house.

Overpayments
When you're allowed to pay more than your normal monthly payment, so you can pay off your mortgage earlier if you want and save on interest charges.

Payment Break
Sometimes called payment holiday, you can stop making payments altogether for a limited period agreed with the lender.

Premium
Amount you pay on a regular basis, usually for an insurance policy.

Remortgaging
When you arrange a new mortgage on your home, with a different lender and use the new mortgage to pay off the old one.

Repayment Fees
With some mortgages you have to pay a repayment fee if certain things happen. For example, if you pay off some or all of your mortgage, or you transfer to a different mortgage rate, before the end of the special rate.

Repayment Mortgage
Your monthly payments gradually pay off your mortgage as well as the interest.

Sealing Fee
A fee charged by the lender for sealing your deeds.

Stamp Duty
Government tax you have to pay on the purchase price of a property worth £125,000 or more.

Structural Survey
A specialist report from a structural engineer on the condition of a property.

Sum Assured
The amount paid out on the death of a policy holder.

Total Amount Payable (TAP)
The total cost of repaying a mortgage over the loan period, including the initial money borrowed, interest charges, etc.

Tracker Rate
Tracker rates vary in line with changes to the Bank of England base rate. During the tracker rate period, any changes to the Bank of England base rate are passed on to you in full.

Tracker Base Rate
The tracker base rate is directly linked to the Bank of England's repo rate of interest. This is announced from time to time by the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee.

Underpayments
You can under pay up to any previous over payments. You can pay less than your normal monthly mortgage payments for a limited period, but you have to build up a fund of overpayments first.

Valuation
Arranged by your lender to find out if the property is worth the amount you've agreed to pay, and therefore suitable to lend a mortgage on.

Variable Base Rate
A variable base rate is the basic rate of interest charged on a mortgage. This may change in reaction to market conditions, so your monthly payments can go up or down.