Glossary of Terms

When buying your new home you may come across some terms that you are not familiar with.

To assist you with this matter we have provided explanations for some of the keys words and phrases that you will often hear throughout the buying process:

Adverse Credit

A term to describe a person with a poor credit history.

Bridging Loan

A loan that ‘bridges the gap’ between the sale of your current property and the purchase of your new property if the dates for completion do not coincide.


Finalising of the sale, when all the monies are sent to the seller and the buyer has a legal right to the property.


Entered into between the seller and the buyer of the property. This only becomes binding upon exchange of contracts.


Legal transfer of the property from the seller to the buyer.


A partial payment (usually 10%) towards the purchase of your new home, this is paid upon exchange of contracts (or conclusion of missives in Scotland).

Disposition or Feu Disposition (Scotland only)

Legal document transferring ownership of the property to the buyer.

Exchange of contracts

This is the point that both parties commit to the transaction and the contract becomes legally binding. The deposit funds will be transferred at this point from the buyer’s solicitor to the seller’s solicitor.


This is a legal term meaning that you are the sole owner of the property and the land on which it stands.

Ground Rent

Applicable only to leasehold properties. It is a payment that is paid, usually annually, to the freeholder of the building and the land.

Land Registry

A process carried out by the legal representative to register the new owner of the property.


When the property is built on land owned by somebody else, the freeholder, you will be required to pay them ground rent. When you buy the property you are paying for a lease that provides you with the rights over the property for a specified term.

Loan to Value

The size of the mortgage loan compared to the value of the property.

Local Authority Search

A search in order to determine if there are any local authority notices regarding the property or any of the surrounding area.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

A government tax on the purchase price of a property.