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When you come to sell your property, you are likely to come across a term, phase or word that could confuse even the most knowledgeable home seller. Technical terms used by solicitors or estate agents could add layers of confusion and stress to an already convoluted process. 

We always recommend speaking to your solicitor to clarify any technical terms so that you fully understand the process and decisions you are making are right for you and your family. 

To save your time and expenses, we have set out below some of the most common property terms you might come across when you come to sell your property. 

Chain: is a series of connected property transactions. For instance, your buyers may be relying on the sale of their own property before they can proceed. 

Contract: a legal contract between you and the buyer for the sale of the property. It contains all the agreed terms regarding the property including the price, completion date and the legal consequences in the event of default.

Completion Date: the date you receive payment for the property and transfer the ownership to your buyer. You will then hand over the keys to your involved estate agents. 

Deposit: money paid by the buyer on exchange of contracts. A deposit is usually 10% of the purchase price, but less can be accepted through negotiations. 

Exchange of Contracts:  the point in the process when you become legally bound to sell the property at the agreed date (completion date) and can no longer change your mind without financial penalties. 

Enquiries: questions asked by the buyer’s conveyancer, following the review of title deeds and documents.

Freehold: when you are selling a property that you own outright including the land it is built on. Most houses are sold as freehold.

Fixtures and Fittings Form: is completed by you to tell your buyer exactly which non-structural items (carpet, curtains) are included in the sale.

Leasehold: a leaseholder owns the property and its land for a set number of years. Leasehold is commonplace when you are selling a flat or apartment as it sits within a larger building. 

Property Information Form: is completed by you and designed to give your buyer important information about the property regarding boundaries, disputes and complains, alterations, and building control. You should take care completing this form because if any misleading information about the property comes to light, the buyer may refuse to proceed.

Redemption Statement: is a document, provided by your existing lender, that tells you how much you need to pay to pay off your mortgage in full. 

Retention: where money is held back from the sales proceeds for an agreed time.  For instance, if you are selling a leasehold property, there may be uncertainty about the final service charge until the end of the financial year. An agreed sum will be held by your solicitor until the final figure is known. If there is no excess service charge due, the retention will be released to you, although bear in mind that this may be some months after completion.

Transfer Deed: a legal document used to record a change in ownership of a property. 

Title Deeds: documents proving legal ownership of the property, which can usually be obtained from the Land Registry.

For more information about buying and selling your home, please contact Lela Turkia in the residential property team at [email protected] 

Rebecca Procter 2

Contact Lela Turkia