A glossary of all the special terms you might come across on your Shared Ownership journey

We understand that some of the language that you’ll come across when buying a SO Resi home or any home can seem daunting at first, so we have put together a list of words and phrases that you might come across. 

If you are selling a property, your agent will charge commission, usually based on a percentage of the selling price.

A type of cheque that is supplied and guaranteed by a bank.

The sale of every property in England and Wales must legally be registered by the Land Registry.

A legally binding document between the buyer and seller, outlining the terms of the sale.

Once legal notice to complete is served, some lenders instruct a survey before making funds available. Not since new rules were introduced by the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

The bank or building society that lends the mortgage money. 

A restriction the seller of a property sets on future use of the land.

A section of the Highways Act that lets a developer arrange for roads and footpaths to be adopted by a highway authority.

Water, gas, electricity and drainage services connected to the property.

A section of the Water Act that lets a developer arrange for sewers to be adopted by a water authority.

A personal guarantee signed by a solicitor undertaking to do something.

This is a government tax that a buyer pays on completion. 

When a sale is agreed, but before contracts are exchanged. It is not legally binding for the buyer or the seller at this stage.

A promise in a legal document.

The government department responsible for listing all properties in England and Wales with registered titles. 

An agreement under the Town and Country Act 1990, usually between a developer and local authority.

A buyer’s solicitor asks the local council for information that could affect the enjoyment/resale of the property – for example, the planning of new roads, hypermarkets and other developments.

When just one estate agent is appointed to sell a property, they are called the sole agent. The property can stil be sold privately as long as another estate agent is not involved.

A development designed to help give people who live there a good quality of life, without compromising the quality of life of future generations.

A legal document transferring ownership of a property to the buyer. The title of the property is registered at the Land Registry.

The seller of a property.

Where a developer enters into an agreement with a highway or local authority to construct roads, footpaths, sewers and open spaces in line with the authority specification, so that the authority will eventually take them over and maintain them at no cost to the residents.

A company appointed by Metropolitan Thames Valley to manage the shared services and day-to-day running of a development. 

The land inside the boundaries of a property.

A secured loan taken out to buy a property and paid back within an agreed timescale.

A report by the mortgagee that values a property to help decide how much can be borrowed. 

When two identical documents confirming the terms of sale are signed by the seller and the buyer. 

Developers usually can’t give a confirmed date for finishing the building work when contracts are being exchanged, so Metropolitan Thames Valley exchanges with an agreement to give the buyer notice of when completion is due. The length of the notice period is set in the contract. 

Questions the buyer’s solicitor asks when they receive the draft contract. 

Outright and absolute ownership of land and the property that stands on it.

This is a new type of property ownership which allows freehold ownership of units in a building or estate. Those parts of land which are not held as units are held as common parts owned and managed jointly by the unit holders through a commonhold association. 

A detailed examination of a property’s structure.

Someone who is qualified to advised on a wide range of mortgages.

An amount of money held back by the building society or solicitors until certain works are done.

Issued by the Land Registry, this sets out what the property is, the name of the current owner and any other information affecting the property.

Where a property is built on land owned by someone other than the owner of the property on it. A leaseholder has the right to occupy the property for a fixed term set in the ease.

Residents of a development pay this for maintaining communal parts such as gardens and hallways.

The process of transferring ownership of a property.

This is the normal interest rate your mortgage lender charges homebuyers and it will last as long as your mortgage or until you take out another mortgage deal. Changes in the interest rate might occur after a rise or fall in the base rate set by the Bank of England.

A plan showing the legal boundaries of your property and the ownership of those boundaries. It also details easements and rights of way that may affect the property.

When a property is empty upon legal completion.

All legal documents relating to a property since the time it was built. 

A charge can be placed on a property when money is owed. The property is then used as security against the debt.

A percentage of the purchase price – usually 10% – which he buyer pays when contracts are exchanged.

The person borrowing money to buy a property.

A document issued by the Land Registry where there is a mortgage on the property. If there is no mortgage on the property, it is called a Land Certificate.

The proposed terms of the sale set out by the seller’s solicitor for the buyer’s solicitor to approve.

Money that is ready to be used. So your solicitor can exchange contracts, they must hold your funds in a way that they can use immediately, such as cash or a banker’s draft. 

The Estate’s Agents Act 1979 says that a solicitor has to hold your deposit in a special bank account until contracts have been exchanged. This kind of account is called a client account.

A Land Registry guarantee of ownership.

Also called shared areas, these are internal part of a building or external parts of the development, which are used by two or more of the residents.

The point at which the buyer becomes the legal owner of the property. Legal completion is handled by the solicitors of both the buyer and seller.

The seller’s solicitor prepares an account setting out how much money the buyer owes at completion. The deposit and any other money already paid is deducted from the amount.