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Mortgage Jargon Buster

Arranging a mortgage and moving home can be a confusing experience. So, you’ll need expert mortgage advice from a mortgage broker who have access to the best mortgage deals and insurance products on the market, in plain English. Here we have produced a plain English guide to mortgage jargon – a glossary of mortgage phrases used by many lenders, estate agents and solicitors.




A mortgage loan secured by way of a first charge on your property.

Adverse Credit

This term is used to apply to a borrower or application that has past problems with credit, for instance late payment, bankruptcy or County Court Judgement.

APR (Annual Percentage Rate)

The total cost of a loan, including interest charges and product fees, shown as a percentage rate. The calculation assumes that you maintain the mortgage for the full term. APR is an industry standard calculation and enables direct comparison of mortgages from all lenders.

Arrangement fee

See Product Fee


The transfer of ownership of an insurance policy or a lease.


Balance Outstanding

The amount of loan owed at a particular time.

Bank of England Base Rate

The Bank of England set a rate each month known as the ‘Base Rate’. Banks and Building Societies use the Base Rate to set the interest rates they pay on deposits, or charge on debts.

Bridging Loan / Bridging Finance

A temporary loan advanced to help somebody buy a property.

Buildings Insurance

Insurance against the cost of rebuilding/fixing a property following structural damage, for example by flood, fire or storm.

Building Regulations

The health and safety requirements that any new construction must meet.

Building Society

A mutual institution owned by its investors and borrowers that provides a range of savings and mortgages.


Capital and Interest Mortgage

See Repayment Mortgage

Cashback Mortgage

You receive a lump sum or a percentage of your mortgage in cash when you complete your mortgage.


An interest in the ownership of a property; usually a mortgage or some other debt secured against the property.

Completion (Date of Entry in Scotland)

End of the purchase process. The seller moves out, the buyer moves in and ownership is transferred.

Conclusion of Missives

Final part of the purchase process in Scotland.

Consumer Buy to Let

A buy to let property that is purchased NOT for business purposes.

Contents Insurance

Insurance against accidental damage or theft of all moveable contents, including furniture, appliances and soft furnishings.


A document that describes the agreement under which the property will change hands.


A person other than a solicitor who may conduct the conveyancing.


The process of transferring property from one party to another, usually managed by a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer.


A condition, contained within the Title Deeds or lease, that the buyer must comply with, which is usually applied to all future owners of the property. A restrictive covenant is one that prohibits the owner from doing something.

Credit Scoring

Lenders often use a system called credit scoring to help them decide whether to lend to you. They ask a series of questions about you, your finances and credit history and score your answers. Depending on your score you will be accepted or declined.


Debt Consolidation

The process of combining outstanding debts e.g. loans, credit cards etc, into one loan.


Legal documents that show who owns a property or piece of land.


Sum of money which the buyer puts down as their share of the purchase price. Minimum is 5% or more.

Direct Debit

A Direct Debit is an instruction from a customer to their bank or building society to make regular payments direct from their account.


All the various costs for carrying out the legal work in relation to buying or remortgaging your home. For example; land registry, local authority search and other searches.


Paying off a mortgage loan.

Discount Mortgage

A discount offered by mortgage lenders to borrowers, reducing monthly mortgage repayments often for the first two or three years of the loan period.


Early Repayment Charge

A charge payable on some mortgages if they are repaid early (during an Early Repayment Charge period). The amount depends on the mortgage outstanding and the percentage charge.


A legal right over land, for example the right to access a specified area of land, such as a right of way.


The difference between the value of a property and the amount of mortgage and / or secured loans owed on it.

Exchange of contracts

The point at which both buying and selling parties sign their copies of the contract which are exchanged by their respective legal representatives and are legally binding. The buyer usually pays a deposit at this point and the date of completion is agreed.


Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The new regulatory authority for the UK financial services industry. The FCA has taken over the regulation of mortgages and all lenders and mortgage intermediaries must be directly authorised and regulated by the FCA, or must be an appointed representative of an authorised firm. The FCA replaced the Financial Services Authority (FSA) on the 1st April 2013.

Fixed rate mortgage

A mortgage where the interest rate payment is fixed for a specific time.

Fixtures and Fittings

All non-structural items included in the purchase of a property.

Flexible Mortgage

An arrangement enabling the mortgage borrower to overpay, and with the overpayments that have been built up, borrow money back, take payment holidays or pay less in some months.


Legal title that gives you absolute ownership of the land your property is on.

Full Structural Survey

A full structural survey looks at all the main features of the property, including walls, roof, foundations, plumbing, joinery, electrical wiring, drains, and garden.

Further Advance

An additional loan to your existing mortgage taken after the main mortgage has completed which is also secured against the property.



When a seller pulls out of your purchase offer after accepting a higher offer.


A tactic whereby the buyer offers less than the agreed price just before exchange of contracts.

Ground Rent

The annual fee which a leaseholder pays to a freeholder.


A guarantor is someone who guarantees to pay your mortgage if you can’t or won’t for any reason.


Higher Lending Charge

This charge is payable (usually added on to your loan) if you borrow more, for example, than 90% of the valuation or purchase price of your property.

Home Buyers Report

This is an intermediate-level survey which is usually offered by the mortgage lender and prepared by their own surveyor. The homebuyer’s report comments on the structural condition of most parts of the property that are readily accessible, but it does not involve in-depth investigation or the testing of water, drainage or heating systems.

Home Contents Insurance

A policy insuring household contents against theft and damage.

Home Envirosearch

A report on detailed flood, subsidence and land contamination history for each UK neighbourhood.



Independent Financial Advisor.

IDD / Initial Disclosure Document

This is a document designed to assist you in comparing the services provided and the fees and charges made by lenders and intermediaries.

Interest Only Mortgage

This is where you only repay the interest on your mortgage debt each month. Alongside this you will need to put money into a separate investment vehicle which is designed to grow sufficiently to pay off your loan when your mortgage comes to an end. You are responsible for the repayment of the capital when the mortgage reaches the end of its term. You may want to seek professional advice on the investment vehicle.


Joint Mortgage

A mortgage where there is more than one named individual on the mortgage contract.

Joint Tenants

A form of ownership frequently used by couples which ensures that when one dies, the property passes automatically to the other. The alternative is Tenancy in Common.


Key Facts Illustration (KFI)

This document contains key mortgage information which is designed to help you compare the costs and features of different mortgages from one or more lenders. It is designed to make it easy to compare mortgages at a glance.


Land Certificate

A Land Registry certificate proving ownership of a property.

Land Registry

A government organisation that holds records of all registered properties in England and Wales.

Land Registry Fee

A fee paid to the Land Registry to register your details if you have bought a property or changed mortgage lenders.


To be given ownership of a property but not the land it is built on. This normally requires payment of ground rent to the landlord.

Life Assurance

Insurance which pays out on the death of the policy holder. Policies can run alongside your mortgage and will pay off all or part of the outstanding debt in the event of your death.

Local Authority Search

A search of the local area to highlight anything that may impact on the property or surrounding area, e.g. planned road building, planning permissions etc

Loan to Value (LTV)

The amount of mortgage expressed as a percentage of the property value. For example, if your mortgage amount was £80,000 and your property is valued at £100,000 your loan to value, or LTV, is 80%.


Monthly Interest

A method of calculating mortgage interest on a monthly basis.

Mortgage Deed

A legal document relating to the mortgage lender’s interest in the property.

Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee

See Higher Lending Charge

Mortgage Offer

Sum of money that the lender offers to lend you to pay for a property.

Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance (MPPI)

This is insurance designed to pay your monthly mortgage payment for a limited period, usually a year, if you are unable to work through illness, accident or redundancy.

Mortgage Term

The length of time over which the mortgage is to be repaid. Often this is 25 years – but it can be shorter, or in some cases for longer periods of time.


Negative Equity

When the value of the mortgage which is outstanding on the property, is more than the value of the property.


National House Building Council. A warranty scheme for new properties providing cover against major structural defects for 10 years.



An independent professional body which is set up by law to help settle individual disputes between consumers and firms, for example, estate agents, solicitors and insurance companies.


Planning Permission

The permission granted by the local planning authority (usually the local council) for any new building or engineering operations or change of use of a building if it meets the public’s interest.


The amount you pay regularly, monthly or annually, to an insurer for an insurance policy.

Private Sale

Sale of a property without the use of an estate agent.

Product Fee

There may be a fee involved when you apply for a mortgage. This is to reserve the mortgage and to cover administration costs. Also known as an arrangement fee.



The process of moving your mortgage from one lender to another without moving home.

Repayment Mortgage

Also known as a Capital and Interest mortgage. Your monthly payments pay off the interest and some of the capital borrowed. By the end of the  your mortgage term and assuming you have made all your payments, you will have paid off your mortgage loan.

Repayment Type

How you pay back your mortgage. See Repayment Mortgage or Interest Only Mortgage.


Holding back part of a mortgage loan until any repairs to the property are satisfactorily completed.


Sole Agency

The choice of a single estate agent to act on the seller’s behalf.


Legal expert handling all documentation for the sale and purchase of a property.

Stamp Duty

A tax you must pay on a property when you buy it. The duty must be paid at the point of completion.

Subject to Contract

Words to indicate that an agreement is not yet legally binding.


A thorough report on the property you are planning to buy


Person who conducts the survey.



People living in a property on a non-ownership basis.

Tenancy in Common

A form of ownership by two or more people in which, if one dies, their share of the property forms part of their estate and does not automatically pass to the other(s).


The record of ownership of a property, the evidence of which is found in the title deeds.

Total Amount Payable

The total cost of repaying a mortgage.

Tracker Mortgages

A mortgage loan that typically tracks the base rate set by the Bank of England. The interest rate is set at a constant level above or below the base rate and therefore may rise or fall in line with the base rate.

Transfer Deeds

The Land Registry document that transfers legal ownership from seller to buyer.

Transfer of Equity

Adding or removing a party to / from a mortgage.


Under Offer

A term applied to a property for which the seller has provisionally accepted the buyer’s offer.



A valuation of the property for mortgage purposes to ensure that the property is worth the amount requested for a mortgage

Valuation Fee

The charge for the valuation of the property.

Variable Interest Rate

Rate of interest payment that fluctuates over time with general interest rates.


The seller of a property or piece of land.