Meller Braggins glossary of terms below helps to explain some Estate Agency terminology.

Acceptance: A document you will need to sign when you accept a lender's mortgage offer.

Bridging Loan: Temporary finance ‘bridging’ the period between completion on the purchase of a property and the sale of an existing property, funds from which are intended to finance/part finance the new purchase.

Commission: A fee paid to your estate agent, usually following the exchange of contracts.

Conveyancing: Name given to the legal procedure required to transfer ownership of a property from one party to another.

Chief Rent
Annual payment made on freehold land to the original freeholder in perpetuity.

The point at which the balance of the purchase price is paid and the purchaser gains access to the property.

Legal documents relating to a property, usually held by the Building Society or Bank if the property is subject to a mortgage.

Right of access for a particular purpose, granted to someone who is not the owner of the land in question.

Exchange of Contracts
Point at which vendor and purchaser exchange binding contracts with the payment of a deposit, at the same time agreeing to a completion date.

Fixtures and Fittings
Non-removable items within the property. These are items that permanently fixed in position. e.g. the bath, toilet, light fittings, doors and radiators.

Legal ownership of land.

Popular term for the situation whereby a vendor has accepted an offer but subsequently goes on to accept a higher one from a different purchaser.

Ground Rent
Amount paid annually by a leaseholder to a freeholder.

Guide Price
An indication of the seller’s current minimum acceptable price at auction. The guide price or range of guide prices is given to assist consumers in deciding whether or not to pursue a purchase. It is usual, but not always the case, that a provisional reserve range is agreed between the seller and the auctioneer at the start of marketing. As the reserve is not fixed at this stage and can be adjusted by the seller at any time up to the day of the auction in the light of interest shown during the marketing period, a guide price is issued. This guide price can be shown in the form of a minimum and maximum price range within which an acceptable sale price (reserve) would fall, or as a single price figure within 10% of which the minimum acceptable price (reserve) would fall. A guide price is different to a reserve price (see separate definition). Both the guide price and the reserve price can be subject to change up to and including the day of the auction.

The owner of a property being let/rented to a tenant.

Person responsible for granting a lease – normally the landlord.

A lender of money, to be secured on the property in question.

The borrower, upon whose property the loan is secured.

Private Treaty
Formal name given to the method by which most estate agents will undertake the sale of residential property. This term covers the whole range of services normally associated with the sale process, culminating in ‘exchange of contracts’ and ‘completion’ between vendor and purchaser.

Legal term applied to the process of proving that a will is valid.

The buyer of a property.

Reserve Price
The seller’s minimum acceptable price at auction and the figure below which the auctioneer cannot sell. The reserve price is not disclosed and remains confidential between the seller and the auctioneer. Both the guide price and the reserve price can be subject to change up to and including the day of the auction.

Procedure undertaken by a solicitor or legal representative during the conveyancing process to establish whether any issues exist which may adversely affect the property which is to be purchased.

Stamp Duty
A Government tax levied on the purchaser of a property and calculated on the portion of a property price which falls within each band. For current stamp duty rates visit

Subject to Contract
Agreement between vendor and purchaser, subject to a contract normally prepared by the vendor’s solicitor.

The three main types are:

  1. Valuation - Prepared for house purchase, mortgage purposes, insurance or probate.

  2. Homebuyer survey and valuation - Carried out by a Chartered Surveyor and designed to focus on urgent or significant matters requiring attention.

  3. Building survey and valuation - A more detailed inspection suitable for large or older type buildings.

Person occupying a property, normally subject to the terms of a lease agreed with the landlord.

In the process known as ‘For Sale by Tender’ the asking price will not be stated. Instead, written offers will be invited and a closing date for such offers published. All offers are normally opened at the same time, usually with the vendor’s solicitor present. Generally, the vendor is not committed to accepting the highest or any offer.

Vacant Possession
The date by which the vendor agrees to give up possession of the property (see ‘Completion’).

The legal owner of a property which is being offered for sale.

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