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Understanding First-Time Property Buying Jargon

First-time property jargon refers to terms and expressions that frequently pop up in real estate and home-buying conversations. Learning these can help understand what real estate professionals mean, which can, in turn, maximize your chances of having a successful home-buying experience.

Here’s a List of Some of the Most Common Terms you will Encounter while House Hunting:


A buy-to-let property is where you buy the property and then rent it out. There are different types of buy-to-let properties, including holiday homes, buy-to-let apartments, and terraced properties.

Common Areas

Common area maintenance (CAM) is the money collected for the upkeep of common areas in a building.

Agreement in Principle

The “Agreement in Principle,” or AIP, is the first step to buying a house or apartment. It is a document that shows the lender that you’re making a serious commitment to purchasing a piece of property.

Building Survey

It is an inspection of the property’s structures. It is required by law only if the property you are purchasing was built before 1978.

Completion Statement

A completion statement is a crucial document that helps you understand what exactly is happening with your home purchase.

Equity and Negative Equity

Equity is the difference between what you owe on a mortgage and what the property is worth. Negative equity occurs when you owe more on the property than it is worth.

Exchange of Contracts

Exchange of Contracts is the point at which you become legally bound to exchange contracts on purchasing a new home.


This process involves signing up for a mortgage and buying or selling real estate.


A deed is a document that is filed with the county recorder’s office when a property is sold. It helps prove ownership of the property.


A third party (usually a title company or attorney) holds a property’s funds and distributes them according to the terms of the contract.

Final inspection

A final walk-through and inspection of your home before the sale is complete.


Gazumping is when a seller (gazumper) agrees to sell the property but then immediately changes their mind.


A property interest is granted to another property, usually for a specific purpose, such as building a road.

Interest-Only Mortgage

With this loan option, the borrower pays only monthly interest, not principal.

Land Registry

The Land Registry is the government department in Wales and England responsible for registering the sale and purchase of land and property.


A ‘block’ of land is a single parcel of land of more than one acre.

Home Buyers

The buyer of the property is also known as the owner.


The transfer of ownership of a property to the buyer.

Lease And Leaseholder

A lease is a written agreement that conveys the obligations of a landlord to a tenant. A lease may be written or oral. The good part is that courts generally consider an oral lease to be binding.

Local Authority Search

A Local Authority Search will provide you with information about the surrounding area and any planning permissions that may be in place. This will allow you to see local issues such as flooding or environmental problems.

Listed Building

A Listed Building is a property that has been recognized by the government as being of historical or architectural significance.

House and Land

A house and land package is a package where the land, house, or both, are built and sold together.


A mortgage is an amount of money that is borrowed to buy or build a property.

Loan To Value (LTV Mortgage)

A loan you take out to buy a home.

Subject To Contract

It is a helpful label, which is commonly used to refer that the parties might still be negotiating and might not have reached a final, binding agreement. 

Valuation Survey

Also called a property valuation or mortgage valuation survey, a house valuation survey can be defined as the method of deciding a property’s value. It is a crucial step while taking out a mortgage to buy a new home because the lender will require it.

Owner’s title insurance

Insurance that protects you from financial loss if a title search reveals any defects in your property title.

Repayment Mortgage

A repayment mortgage pays off the principal debt of a property over time, typically over 25 years.

Title insurance

An insurance policy protects you from financial loss if a covered claim arises due to a title defect.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

Stamp duty in the UK is a kind of tax generally charged on legal instruments. Earlier it used to require a physical stamp to be attached to the document in question. However, the modern version of the tax no longer requires a physical stamp.

First-time property buyers should learn more about their options before making a purchase. They have many options available to them, including buying a newly built home. Additionally, the builder can offer a helping hand to first-time home buyers in finding designs, floor plans, and financing options. While all these might sound easy, first-time buyers are often concerned by property jargon and phrases as they could be confusing. But keep in mind that it is these complex terms that give them an edge.