Jargon Busting: The Buyers and Sellers Edition

In the market for a property? Read on for our lingo low-down.

Property is a big investment, whether you’re a first-time buyer searching for your dream starter home, upsizing (or downsizing) from another property, or a veteran buy-to-let investor. We all want to know what we’re talking about when dealing with something new or complicated, so here’s our attempt at busting some of the jargon that you are likely to encounter when buying or selling a property.

Advance: Mortgage loan.

APR: Annual Percentage Rate – the method specified by government legislation to show as a percentage rate the total cost of a loan including interest charges and charges such as arrangement fees.

Buildings insurance: Insurance against the cost of repairing a property following damage by insured perils, such as fire or water damage. The sum insured is the amount to build the property from scratch.

Building survey: A survey that looks at all the parts of a property, including walls, roof, services, finishes, etc (but only those parts that are accessible and can be viewed).

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

Completion date: Date by which the purchaser’s solicitor will pay all monies over to the vendor’s solicitor and the date the purchaser will be given the keys and can move into the property.

Conveyancer: Person who conducts the legal aspects of buying and selling property. A conveyancer may be a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer.

Covenant: A condition, contained within the title deeds or lease, that the owner must comply with. A restrictive covenant is one that prohibits the owner from doing something.

Deeds: Legal documents showing ownership of property, and show the title plan, lease (if any) and mortgage (if any).

Disbursements: Costs, such as stamp duty, Land Registry and search fees which you normally pay via your conveyancer. May also cover items such as postage, copying and bank charges. These are separate to your conveyancer’s fee.

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. It is usual to pay a 10% deposit at this stage.

Freehold: The highest type of legal ownership of a property. Houses are usually freehold. Flats are usually leasehold, but may be sold with a share of the freehold.

Ground rent: The annual rent which a leaseholder pays to a freeholder. It’s usually about £50 to £400 a year.

Home Buyers Report: A surveyor’s report on a property. This type of survey is less extensive than a building survey but more extensive than the lender’s valuation.

IFA: Independent Financial Adviser. A good IFA will get the best mortgage deals for their client and help to resolve problems or delays.

Joint tenancy: An equally divided ownership of property by two or more persons. Upon the death of any owner, the survivors take the deceased’s interest. Also see tenants in common.

Lease: A legal agreement which gives the ownership of a leasehold property for a fixed period, upon payment of an annual ground rent to the freeholder. It can also be called a tenancy.

Leaseholder: Someone who owns a leasehold property, also known as a lessee and sometimes as a tenant.

Leasehold reform: Law enabling owners of leasehold flats to extend their lease or purchase the freehold jointly with the other flat owners in the building.

Market value: Effectively a price somewhere between the highest that a buyer would pay, and the lowest price a seller would accept.

Mortgage valuation: The lender’s inspection of the property to assess whether it is suitable for a mortgage and the amount of loan required. It will also often indicate if any essential repairs are required.

Redemption: The paying off of a mortgage loan.

Retention: When the lender holds back some of the mortgage money until certain specified repairs have been done.

Search: A local search relates to factors affecting the property and the local area. A title search relates to the ownership of the property.

Service charges: Communal charges for owners of flats to pay for the cost of maintaining, repairing and insuring the common parts and structure of the building, and will usually include fees to agents managing this.

Sinking fund: A fund set up to collect money on a regular basis over time to cover the cost of future major repairs. An example would be for a replacement roof. This type of fund is sometimes used for flats.

Stamp duty: A government tax on buying property. The tax is banded, starting at nil for the first £125,000 of the purchase price, from £125,001 to £250,000 2% is payable, from £250,001 to £925,000 5% is payable, from £925,001 to £1.5 million 10% is payable and over £1.5 million 12% is payable. At each band, an extra 3% is payable for non-main occupation homes, such as second homes and residential investments.

Structural repairs: Repair works that are essential to maintain the basic functions of stability and weather resistance in the main structural elements of a dwelling.

Subject to contract: Wording that should be included in any agreement before the exchange of contracts.

Tenants in common: Joint ownership of a property, where if one joint owner dies their estate will own their share. A suitable deed should be drawn up specifying rights, such as what to do if one person wishes to sell, and this should be done before purchase. Also see joint tenancy.

Title insurance: Protects lenders and home owners against loss of their interest in property due to legal defects in title.

If you’re looking to buy or sell through a market leading, award-winning estate agents (that’s us!) contact our Sales Manager Mark here:

020 7272 0986
Davies & Davies Estate Agents, 85 Stroud Green Road, London, N4 3EG

Photography by Odera Okoye at Barefaced Studios

Back to Insights
Our fun, or at least useful, self-assessment guide for Landlords

We know, sorting out your tax affairs is a potent mix of fear and tedium, but it’s also entirely necessary. Particularly so if you are a landlord in need of a self-assessment. I know what you’re thinking, but we can get to your intimate health checks later… We’re talking about your tax return, divided here into small manageable chunks of boringness. Fun police assemble! 

What can a property management company bring to the table?

Single handedly managing a property portfolio can be enough to bring on an early onset of greys. As well as screening tenants, chasing rent and sorting repairs, there’s a tonne of admin and legal stuff you need to keep on top of. Enlisting the help of a lettings agent means you get to bump up the ‘I love my job’ moments while minimising the stressful ones. 

The more you know: find out your rights as a tenant

We know how important it is to know your rights as a tenant; whether you’re currently facing a tenancy issue, or simply want to avoid any renting related concerns in the future.   

Porch stories: Is your property Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian?

“Gotta love a Georgian townhouse, eh?” you shout, slapping the brick entranceway and attempting a stride towards your friend’s promise of housewarming nibbles inside. “It’s actually Victorian” mumbles your friend, squeezing along the narrow hallway to take your coat. The next thirty minutes you eat your way through their salmon puffs and your words. 

Part 2: How to stop renting and start nesting, a First-Time Buyers Guide 

Mortgage in the bag? Give yourself a pat on the back, you’ve officially entered the adulting world of variable rates, credit scores and laughable curtain prices. Now it’s onto what is arguably the fun bit. Choosing your home sweet home. Here’s what you need to consider when it comes to securing your dream abode. 

Part 1: I’m a first-time buyer, get me out of here

By the time you’ve finished reading you’ll have stamp duty sussed and will be well on your way to retiring your renting days. So, before you start Googling obscure German hair thickening shampoo brands, read our handy guide to securing your starter home. It all begins with the stuff that makes the world go round: money.

Landlords: How to not Kill Anyone or end up in Jail

There’s a lot more to letting out a property than just handing over the keys. As your local property nerds, we’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know to make the process of renting out your property as easy and stress-free as possible. 

To sell or not to sell, that is the question…

We’ve looked at the pros and cons of each decision to help you begin with this exciting new chapter in your life. Every situation is unique and we know the importance of this decision, so Davies and Davies are are here to help you make the right choice.

What can you get for £400,000 in North London?

We don’t think you should have to compromise on space and style to save money in your new home search. At Davies and Davies we have a wealth of affordable properties boasting private gardens, Victorian architecture and original fireplaces all nestled comfortably in the heart of leafy and buzzing North London.

Home Automation – How to Bring Your Home Into The 21st Century

Upgrading your home isn’t just about not wanting to appear out of touch when your neighbours pop round. Smart tech can put you in control of your bills, reduce your property’s environmental footprint and provide a talking point at dull dinner parties.

How to make your property work for the planet and your pocket

With many of us switching up our shopping habits to include more ethical choices, adopting a sustainable mindset could just be the selling point your property needs. But it’s ‘gonna take more than a few LED light bulbs to create that green dream. From upping your recycling game to investing in smart tech, here are eight ways you can shrink your home’s environmental footprint while increasing your profitability.

Davies & Davies voted the 7th Best Estate Agent in the UK

We’re pleased as punch to announce we’ve been awarded “Gold Exceptional” (the highest score you can get) in both sales & lettings, ranked 7th Best Estate Agent in the UK, by the Best Estate Agent Guide awards 2019.

Taking the inside out: making the most of your outside space

If you’re lucky enough to have access to outside space, you may be itching to make the most of it now the weather is finally beginning to turn. Perhaps you can plant that herb garden you’ve been meaning to cultivate and really transform your basil pesto once and for all!

The Tenant Fees Ban Explained

Our comprehensive but jargon free guide to the new tenant fees ban. As of June 1st 2019, letting fees for renters will be banned and tenancy deposits will be capped for all tenancies signed after this date.

Women who Run North London: Alina from Davies & Davies

For the final piece in our series, today we’re spotlighting our very own Alina, who has been with D&D for the last 11 years. After starting out as a bookkeeper for the company, she has worked her way up through the business to become one of the two female directors at Davies & Davies. 

Women who Run North London: Esther at Crisis

Everything you see when you step into Crisis has been tailored to Esther’s design and created with help from the charity’s volunteers. There’s a story behind it all- from the coffee bag dress in the window, to the coffee stained wooden units themselves.

Women who Run North London: Claire from Barefaced Studios

The culture that Claire has created at Barefaced: of collaboration, attention to detail, and client care, is evident the moment you step through Barefaced’s doors. Though the agency’s reach stretches worldwide, they have deep roots within the local area, and know it inside out (especially anywhere serving food).

Women who Run North London: Yvonne from Aquarius Beauty

Yvonne, and her sister, Sharon, are well and truly “Finsbury Parkers”. The salon is right at the heart of Finsbury Park, and with the trio of Aquarius Hair, Aquarius Beauty, and Mento, the family own this corner of Stroud Green Road.

Women who Run North London: Bridget from The Deli at 80

The Deli at 80 is positively full to the brim with some of the best food produced both in the local area, and further afield (the cheeses, charcuteries, and mustards come direct from Paris!). 

Women who Run North London: Mary from MoseyHome

Mary’s background at the V&A shines through the moment you step through the door- the store is beautifully curated and expertly arranged.

Women who run North London: Georgina from Pretty Shiny Shop

Pretty Shiny Shop is aptly named- an eclectic treasure trove of gifts, cards, and jewellery, it is filled to the brim with things to tempt your magpie sensibilities.

Women who run North London: Sharon from Mento

Mento is nestled just opposite Finsbury Park station, but bursting with vibrancy the moment you step through the door. We spoke to self-proclaimed Finbury-Parker, Sharon, over some Jamaican iced coffee. Part of our International Women’s Day 2019 series.

Women who run North London: Kat from Salt the Radish

Salt the Radish is a mere five minute walk from Finsbury Park station, but it’s the area’s own little slice of calm, cafe culture. We sat down for a chat with Salt the Radish’s owner, Kat. Part of our International Women’s Day 2019 series.

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day has now been running since 1911, and this year’s theme is #BalanceForBetter. We thought this was a cracking opportunity to celebrate some of the incredible female-led businesses right on our doorstep.


Get In Touch



020 7272 0986


Finsbury Park Office,

85 Stroud Green Road,

London, N4 3EG

Opening Times

Mon – Thurs 0845 – 1815
Fri 0845 – 1800
Sat 1000 – 1600
Sun: Appointments by Request


Closing from 1:00pm on Friday 20th December and will re-open at 08:30am on Thursday 2nd January.

Sales newsletter

* indicates required

By submitting your details you are consenting to Davies & Davies sending you their sales newsletter. You can request to have your data changed or removed at any time - please see our Privacy Policy.

Rentals Newsletter

* indicates required

By submitting your details you are consenting to Davies & Davies sending you their rentals newsletter. You can request to have your data changed or removed at any time - please see our Privacy Policy.