Jargon Buster

At a loss to understand arrears, affidavits or air bricks? Bamboozled by balloon payments and back-to-back escrow? Confused by conveyancing, cash-flow and closing costs?

If so, our Jargon Buster will be just what you need.It's a glossary of terms packed full of property phrases, estate agent slang, financial words and other terms you may come across in your real estate or personal finance activities.

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Jargon Buster: A

Our glossary results: 84 matches!

ABI

This is the regulatory body for the British insurance industry.

Absolute title

The highest and best form of title. If you have absolute tiltle on a property, this means that you have full rights and ownership.

AC

Abrreviation for air conditioning. Used to regulate the temperature of a room or building and is often now found in upmarket residences.

Acceleration clause

A provision that gives the lender the right to collect the balance of a loan if a borrower misses a payment

Acceptance

A positive response to an offer or a counteroffer. Acceptances may be 'conditional', 'express', 'implied' or 'qualified', depeding on the circumstances of the deal and whether there are any further mitigations, conditions or requirements.

Access

Any means by which a person can enter property.

Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Insurance

A form of income protection incorporating cover for loss of earnings arising from accident, sickness or unemployment. Is usually paid out in the form of a monthly tax-free income to cover a portion of lost earnings and is usually restricted to two years from the date of the first payment.

Actual age

The number of years a structure has been standing.

Addendum

An addition or change to a contract.

Additional principal payment

Extra money included in the monthly payment to help reduce the principal and shorten the term of the loan.

Additional security fee

An up-front, one-off fee paid to the lender to protect against the borrower defaulting on the loan. This is usually charged on mortgages of more than 75% of the property value. Also known as Indemnity Guarantee Premium and Mortgage Indemnity Premium.

Add-on interest

The interest a borrower pays on the principal for the duration of the loan.

Adjustment date

This is the date on which the interest rate changes for a variable rate mortgage.

Administration fee

An administration fee often charged for not taking a building and contents insurance policy, or some other product offered by the lender in conjunction with a mortgage. These fees are usually less than £50.

Administrator

A person given authority to manage and distribute the estate of someone who died without leaving a will.

Administrator's deed

A legal document an administrator of an estate uses to transfer property.

Advance

Loan from a bank or building society in the form of a mortgage.

Adverse possession

The acquisition of title to property through possession without the owner's consent for a certain period of time.

Adverse possessory title

If a piece of land is occupied without permission for at least 12 years, the occupier can become the legal owner

Adverse use

The access and use of property without the consent of the owner.

Affiant

A person who makes a sworn statement.

Affidavit swear fee

A fee charged when a mortgage lender is required to swear an affidavit (written legal statement) to a solicitor in connection with mortgage arrears. Cost £30 - £40.

Affiliate tradesmen

Your insurance provider may insist that any repair work on your home is carried out by a tradesmen with whom they have negotiated favourable rates and who have been approved as meeting certain standards of workmanship.

A-frame design

An interior style that features a steeply peaked roofline and a ceiling that is open to the top rafters.

Agency closing

The process in which a lender uses a title company or other firm as an agent to complete a loan.

Agency sales fee

A fixed amount or percentage of the value of your home paid to an estate agent when they sell your home.

Agent

Someone who acts on behalf of another for a fee, such as an estate agent. No formal qualification is required to set up as an estate agent in the UK.

Agent recommendation

A product or service provider recommended by estate agents, mortgage brokers or building societies with whom they have often negotiated favourable terms and so can offer a special deal as part of the package. It should never be a mandatory requirement that you must use their selected firm or product, and if they do insist, then it might be worth complaining. Companies often receive financial incentives to recommend one particular firm, product or service - whilst this is perfectly legal, it means they don't necessarily have your best interests at heart.

Aggregate

Pebbles, shingle, gravel and sand used in the manufacture of concrete. Also means the sum total of things on an ongoing basis.

AGM

Annual General Meeting. The meeting of a company shareholders to reappoint directors and approve accounts. It usually takes place 21 days after publication of the annual reports but must take within 18 moths of the previous AGM and is often the only opportunity to question directors regarding performance and prospects.

Agreement in principle

The first document provided by an mortgage lender which shows any prospective seller that you can actually get a mortgage to cover the purchase price. It also provides a handy reference for some of the key features of your mortgage, and what your repayments will be for the introductory offer period, if there is one.

Agricultural covenant

A planning condition which permits the construction of a residential dwelling providing it is occupied by a person employed or associated with working on the land. Properties like this are subject to low value as they can only be sold to another person in similar circumstance unless the covenant is lifted.

Aim

An acronym for the Alternative Investment Market and is an official stock market for trading in the shares of small and medium sized enterprises. Many technology and Internet companies start life on the AIM.

Airbrick

A special type of brick which possesses perforations. They are often used for ventilation, especially to spaces beneath timber floors and roof spaces.

Alienation clause

A provision that requires the borrower to pay the balance of the loan in a lump sum after the property is sold or transferred.

Amortisation term

Expressed in months, this term states how long it will take to pay off a mortgage.

Amortization

The process through which the mortgage debt is altered, usually declining, as payments are made to the lender. "Negative amortization" occurs when monthly payments are too small to cover either the principal or interest reductions.

Amortization schedule

A schedule of how mortgage debt is changed over time.

Amortization tables

Mathematical tables lenders use to calculate a borrower's monthly payment.

Annual bonus

A bonus paid annually on an endowment mortgage which is dependent on the performance of the investment fund you are using to repay your mortgage.

Annual mortgagor statement

A yearly statement to borrowers that details the remaining principal and amounts paid for taxes and interest.

Annual Percentage Rate

This is an indicator used to compare interest rates. It takes into account the costs involved in setting up the mortgage, any discount periods, how often interest is calculated and calculates what the average rate of interest will be over the life of the loan. All lenders that comply with the consumer credit act must ensure that the the borrower is informed of the APR.

Annual reports & accounts

A financial and text report produced on behalf of the directors of a company detailing the company's performance over the year and the state of its assets and finances.

Annualised payment scheme

Although the borrower pays interest at a variable rate, which can change from month to month, the lender charges a set amount of interest each month and then adjusts the balance at the end of the year.

Application

A document detailing a potential borrower's income, debt and other obligations to determine credit worthiness.

Application fee

The fee a lender charges to process a loan application.

Applied or nominal interest rate

The rate used to calculate the interest due.

Appointed representative

Salesperson, company or organisation that advises on the investment products specific to one life assurance or investment company.

Appointing

This is when you employ the services of an estate agent, solicitor or surveyor to act on your behalf.

Appraisal

An estimate of the value of a property as determined by an independent agent familiar with local property values.

Appraisal fee

The fee an appraiser charges for an estimate of the market value of the property.

Appraisal report

A detailed written report on the value of a property based on recent sales of comparable sites in the area.

Appraised value

A surveyor’s estimate of the value of the property.

Appreciation

An increase in the value of a home or other property.

Approved tradesmen

Your insurance provider may insist that any repair work on your home is carried out by a tradesmen with whom they have negotiated favourable rates and who have been approved as meeting certain standards of workmanship.

APR

This is an indicator used to compare interest rates. It takes into account the costs involved in setting up the mortgage, any discount periods, how often interest is calculated and calculates what the average rate of interest will be over the life of the loan. All lenders that comply with the consumer credit act must ensure that the the borrower is informed of the APR.

Arbitration

This is a means by which complaints over work or services provided to you can be resolved with the professional governing body of that particular industry. Occassionally the arbitration is carried out by an entirely separate body such as the OSS which mediates disputes between solicitors and their clients. Arbitration works very much like a court case with both sides having the oppirtunity to put their side of the story forward. You may be required to pay a fee to have your complaint heard but this will usually be refunded by the subject of the complaint if your complaint is upheld.

Architect

A person who designs or plans buildings and extensions.

Architect's certificate

Obtainable when NHBC guarantee is not available for a new home

Architrave

A type of joinery moulding around window or doorway.

Arrangement fee

It is quite common for an arrangement fee to be charged by the lender when applying for a mortgage. Arrangement fees are usually paid on completion of the mortgage and anything from £100 to £350 is fairly common. They are most likely to be charged in conjunction with particularly competitive rates such as discounted, fixed and sometimes capped rate mortgage products. It could be the case that the lender is trying to offset some of the long-term cost of offering you such a competitive mortgage rate and you must weigh up which is most important to you, especially if you must pay the fee upfront.

Arrears

These are the sum total of late or overdue payments for a mortgage, ground rent and maintenance charges, or any other regular payment. Some insurance policies will automatically be voided if you fall into arrears.

Arrears breakdown

A month-by-month breakdown of any arrear balance and charges for your mortgage. A fee for this service is often added to your account once you have been sent the breakdown. Costs £10 - £30

Arrears fee

This is charged on a monthly basis to cover additional administrative costs where your mortgage account is one or more monthly payments in arrears. Costs £15 - £45. You may well be charged arrears fees in connection with other products.

Art deco

A popular design style of the 1920s and '30s characterised by bold outlines, geometric and zigzag forms.

Art nouveau

A style of architecture and interior decor dating from the late 1800s marked by the overly ornate use of undulation, such as waves, flames, flower stalks and flowing hair.

Asbestos

A dangerous mineral used in the past for insulation purposes. Specialist advice should be sought if asbestos is found.

Ashlar

A very high grade of masonry dressed in natural stone.

As-is' agreement

When a buyer accepts whatever physical condition a property is in at the time the contract is signed.

Asking price

This is the initial starting price for which a homeowner is looking to sell their property. It is rare for the asking price to get paid, as the price has some flexibility built into it. Estate agents deliberately mark the property value up since they know that negotiation will take place. They are usually on a commission that is a percentage of the sale value, so the higher the sale price the better for them.

Asphalt

A water resistant material which is like tar and strongly adhesive, used to cover flat roofs.

Assessed value

A determination by a tax assessor of the value of a home in order to calculate a tax base.

Association of British Insurers

This is the regulatory body for the British insurance industry.

Assumable mortgage

A mortgage that can be transferred to another borrower.

Assumption

When a buyer assumes the loan payments and obligations of the seller. If the purchaser defaults on the loan both the buyer and seller are responsible for the debt.

Assumption clause

A clause stating that the seller has passed to the buyer full responsibility for the mortgage on the property. Often, an assumption fee must be paid to the mortgage lender.

Assumption fee

A fee the lender charges for processing new records for a buyer assuming an existing loan.

ASU

A form of income protection incorporating cover for loss of earnings arising from accident, sickness or unemployment. Is usually paid out in the form of a monthly tax-free income to cover a portion of lost earnings and is usually restricted to two years from the date of the first payment.

Atrium

An inner courtyard of a home or other building that is open to the sky .

Attic

The space in between the ceiling an the roof of a property. Is sometimes converted into an extra room.

Auction

A process whereby something is bought at a price that arises from a process of bidding. If you bid for and win a home at an auction you will be legally bound to buy the property. Most buyers have a survey carried out on the property before the auction. Often buyers/bidders will be in a cash-ready position, meaning that they can complete the sale without having to first sell their existing property.

Auctioneer

The person who controls an auction.

Audited figures

These are a set of business accounts that have been ratified by an accountant. Self employed people may need to provide 3 years worth of figures checked by an auditor to be able to get a mortgage

Available funds

The difference between the initial amount you wish to borrow (initial mortgage balance) and up to 90% of the value of your home (Loan Limit). This is the amount you can take as extra borrowing throughout the term of your loan.
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