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Land & New Homes Jargon Buster

A

Auction

The sale of a property to the highest bidder.

B

Buildings Insurance

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

C

Chain

A number of linked property sales where exchange of contracts must take place simultaneously.

Closing Date

The date set for submission of offers when more than one party show interest in the property.

Completion Date

Completion of the legal transaction with all monies and documents having been distributed. This is also when the seller's solicitor will instruct the estate agent to release the keys.

Conclusion

See under 'Subject to contracts exchanged'

Contents Insurance

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

Contract

A formal agreement between the buyer and the seller, usually prepared by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer, detailing the terms and conditions of the sale.

Conveyancer

Person other than and similar to a solicitor who may conduct the conveyancing.

Conveyancing

The legal work involved in buying and selling properties.

Council Tax

Levied by local councils to cover the cost of local amenities and services.

Covenant

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.

D

Deeds

Legal documents assigning ownership of a property and/or land.

Deposit

Sum of money that represents the personal capital that the buyer is putting toward the purchase of the property.

Draft Contract

Unconfirmed version of the contract.

E

Equity

The difference between the value of a property and the amount of mortgage owed.

Exchange of Contracts

The point at which the sale becomes legally binding from which neither party can withdraw without financial penalties - In Scotland see 'Missives Concluded'.