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Property Jargon Buster

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If you're new to the property buying or renting world, you may be unfamiliar with the terminology. Our property jargon buster is here to help you sail through the process & get familiar with the A-Z of property terms in no time! 

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This is a term used to describe housing provided outside of the general market to those with a housing need.

Affordable housing is mainly subsidised by the Government and examples of affordable housing include social rented housing, intermediate housing for sale and intermediate housing for rent.

This is an eligibility and affordability check to ensure the property is both affordable and sustainable for you to purchase.


Back Snagging is the follow-up to any initial 'snagging' that takes place within a property. It occurs just before the handover process and ensures that all parties involved are happy with the condition of the property, including the work that was raised during the initial snagging process.

BACS/BT - This is another term for an electronic transfer between two banks. The two common forms of a BACS transfer are 'direct debit' and 'direct credit'. BACS is incredibly common across the UK. 

Bank Rate - The 'bank rate' is the interest rate set by the Bank of England. This is sometimes called the 'base rate' or simply referred to as 'interest rate'. It's the most important interest rate and banks across the country use this number to decide how much they individually charge customers to borrow money (such as mortgages) or pay on their savings. 



Conveyancing is the name for any legal work involved in transferring property ownership from one party to another. It is carried out by a conveyancer. Conveyancing work may include contract exchanges, completions and other legal work.

If you purchase with Platform Home Ownership, for example, conveyancing is the transfer of ownership from us to you - carried out by solicitors with support from your personal sales consultant.

This is a statement that shows the amount of money a buyer owes the seller of a property when the sale is complete. This is typically sent several days several prior to the completion date to show the balance of monies required from the buyers solicitor in order to send those funds to the seller’s solicitor and complete the transaction. 


Disbursement - A disbursement is a fee that the solicitor or conveyancer pays on behalf of the buyer. Common disbursements include stamp duty, local authority searches, registry details and money transfer fees. Solicitors generally ask for an upfront fee that covers any disbursements.

Defect - A defect is an element of a property that is not performing its intended use. A defect may be uncovered during 'snagging' or raised following completion. 

Deeds - this is a legal document that is signed and delivered to the buyer and acts as an official record and proof of ownership of a property.





Exchange of Contracts (Exchange) - This is a term that describes the point of the purchase process where signed contracts are physically exchanged between buyer and seller. These contracts confirm the intention of transferring ownership and are legally binding. At this point, you'll typically have to pay your deposit and if you pull out of the deal after the exchange, your money is forfeited.

Equity - This is a term that describes the part of a property value without a mortgage against it. Equity is comprised of any increases in the overall price of the property, the deposit paid and any capital that has been paid off on the mortgage. 


Freehold - If you own the freehold of a property, it means you own both the property and the land it's on. Freehold is essentially outright ownership of a property. Platform owns the freehold on the majority of the properties we let or sell. Depending on how you purchase a property, you may have the option of acquiring the freehold.

Fixtures (and Fittings) - A fixture or fitting is a non-structural, fixed asset that is part of a property. An example of fixtures are lights, kitchen units, sockets and plumbing such as taps. Fixtures are typically included in the sale but this may be a part of negotiations.


Handover - Once a property reaches build completion stage, a handover takes place between the delivery team and sales.

Around this time, you're usually invited to view your home. Handover is not your completion date, this will follow shortly afterwards. Handover dates are indicative and may be subject to change. 

Home Demonstration - This is a practical demonstration of the appliances, fixtures and systems within your home. This demonstration is usually performed by your sales consultant and will be accompanied by manuals.

Help to Buy Agent - A Help to Buy agent was previously a government-appointed professional that supported buyers utilising the Help to Buy scheme. The three Help to Buy agents are no longer in operation. 


Interest Only Mortgage - This is a specialist mortgage type where you only pay the interest charges each month, not any of the loan capital. The full mortgage is paid off at the end of the term.

Interest - This is a fee - usually expressed as either a monthly or annual fee - that is charged by a lender to the borrower as compensation for the potential loss of an asset. Interest is calculated as a percentage of either the total borrowed amount or the outstanding amount.

Platform include Buildings Insurance within your rent of all our homes under shared ownership – your home is protected via our Group Policy until you purchase the freehold of your property, if your property is within a Protected Area Lease – we will continue to cover your Building.


Leasehold - If you own the leasehold, you own (or hold) the lease on a property for a set term, although you have no ownership of the land the property is on. An example of a leaseholder is all of the shared owners that we have here at Platform.

Local Connection: This is a term used to describe the qualifying criteria for purchasing some of our Shared Ownership homes. They’re typically found in rural and smaller village locations to ensure affordable housing meets the needs of local residents as a priority. 

Lease - This is a contract where one party conveys property or services to another party for a specific amount of time in return for payment. In property, this is the deal with a landlord and specifies how many years you'll own the property. Ownership returns to the landlord when the lease ends. 

In the case of Shared Ownership, the lease will be for the remaining share you are paying rent on.

Legal Completion - This is the final step in the legal process of transferring property ownership from the seller to the buyer.


Mortgage - This is a long-term loan provided by a bank or building society that is used to fund the purchase of a property, wherein the property is held as security. Successfully applying for a mortgage requires proof of income and a good credit score. 


Mandatory Buyback Clause - This is a clause present in a protected area lease. Once staircased to 81% or higher, Platform must buy the property back when the owner comes to sell - with a view of remarketing as a shared ownership property. This ensures the level of affordable housing in the local area is maintained.



A new programme has been introduced for new homes delivered under the Affordable Homes Programme 2021-2026.

More information on the New Shared Ownership Model, 


Protected Area Lease - This is a shared ownership lease of a property inside a 'protected area' - predominantly in rural areas where social housing needs to be retained. The lease will require permit resales up to 80% and a mandatory buyback clause will be applicable on reselling after staircasing to 81% or higher.

Probate - When a property owner dies and leaves the property in their will, probate is the process of proving the will is valid. The property is also valued, typically for inheritance tax purposes. Contracts cannot be exchanged on a property until probate is granted.



Reserving Off Plan - Off Plan is the process of purchasing a new home before the building is completed or, potentially, before construction has even started. You can work with one of our sales consultants to choose your ideal plot and then you'll receive regular updates as your plot is completed. 

Reserving off plan is very common with new build developments and can provide a number of key benefits you wouldn't find with a traditional property purchase.

Restricted Staircasing Lease - This is a specialist shared ownership lease on a property based in a 'protected area' - predominantly rural areas where social housing needs to be retained. With a restricted staircasing lease, it's not possible for a shared owner to staircase higher than 80%.

RICS Valuation - An independent valuation by a surveyor registered with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor (RICS) to determine the market value of the property. This valuation determines the full market value of Shared ownership properties prior to their release for sale. Most mortgage lenders conduct their own RICS survey. And a RICS valuation is also required if you staircase on your own property. 

Reservation Fee - This is a deposit you pay to secure the plot you want - typically when you buy off plan. This is a standard fee of £250 when you buy with Platform. 


Shared Ownership - A concept you can utilise to buy your own home. You buy a share of the property - from 10% or 25% depending on the Shared Ownership model you purchase your home through, up to a maximum of 75% of the total value of your home - then pay a subsidised rent on the remaining share.

Platform specialises in Shared Ownership and you can learn more here. 

Snagging - A step in the process of constructing a new-build property that checks for any defects or minor issues that need correcting prior to handover. Snags may be a cosmetic or functional problem that the builder can then resolve.

SSTC - Sold Subject to Contract is when the seller has accepted an offer from the buyer but no legally binding paperwork or reservation fee has been provided. The property is labelled SSTC during this period. 

Staircasing - This is the process of buying more shares in your shared ownership property. The more shares you have in your home, the less rent you pay. Eventually, you can staircase until you own your home outright, which means you no longer pay rent to the housing association. 

Subsidised Rent - This is a form of rent that is lower than the standard market rent you'd find in a local area. The rent you pay on a shared ownership property is subsidised because you only pay rent based on the share amount you own. 

Searches - During the early stages of contract drafting, your solicitor will make enquiries to both the Land Registry and the local authority to ensure there are no issues that may negatively affect the property or surrounding area.


Section Agreements - These are specific agreements made between a developer and a local authority: 

Section 106 - An agreement between the developer and local authority, under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. This usually includes the provision of public open space and contributions to local infrastructure to aid the sustainability of the community.

Section 104 - A legal agreement in which the developer completes the adoption of the sewers by the water authority.

Section 38 - A legal agreement in which the developer completes the adoption of the roads and footpaths by the local highways authority.

Service Charge - These are charges paid on a monthly/yearly basis for services arranged by Platform, or an external management company e.g. buildings insurance, communal area cleaning or grounds maintenance.

Service Charge Budget - A yearly estimate of the above service charges, published by Platform or the Management Company at the beginning of their accounting year.

Service Charge Accounts - A yearly summary of actual expenditure by Platform or the Management Company for the year (may differ from the budget). 

Specified Rent - This is the rent you will pay on the portion of the house you do not own yet, which is made payable to Platform.


Transfer Deed - This document officially finalises a sale and transfers the title of the property from seller to buyer. The transfer deed is signed at the same time as the contract documents and is sent to the Land Registry. 

Title - This is the formal, legal ownership of a property in a document format. The document proves ownership and is stored electronically by the Land Registry. 


Valuation - An official assessment of a property that determines its value. There are a number of factors taken into consideration, including location and condition. The valuation is carried out by the mortgage lender and is used to confirm the value of the property is what is being claimed. This usually incurs a valuation fee from your mortgage lender. 

Vendor - The person who is selling a property, sometimes referred to as a seller.



Your new home will benefit from a new build warranty, typically for 10 years and begins from the property build completion date, not your legal completion date. The warranty covers an initial defects period and structural insurance. Our warranties are often provided through NHBC, LABC, Premier Guarantee and other providers offering similar levels of cover.