Property Lingo You Need to Know if You’re Buying or Selling

Selling a house and buying a new one is a complicated and often frustrating process. If you’re new to the property market, you’re probably wondering what all the jargon means, but even experienced property owners will stumble across new and confusing terms.

You can rely on your solicitor, estate agent, family members, friends and even Google to some extent, but it helps to have all the information in one place. That’s why we’ve compiled this handy jargon buster to help you through the process!


Auction is one of the many ways you can sell your house fast to potential buyers who bid for your property. When the hammer falls, the person with the highest bid wins and is contractually liable to buy your house. This is a great choice for those looking for a fast house sale, but bear in mind auction houses charge considerable fees.

Breach of Contract

Anyone with experience of the property market will know that chains are notorious for breaking apart, but if someone pulls out after contracts have been exchanged, this can cause chaos! It’s very costly for everyone involved and parties will be liable to sue the person responsible for damages.

If you’re selling your house and find yourself in this situation, rather than lose your house sale, you can give us a call and arrange a fast house sale for cash.

Buy To Let

This is a phrase that refers to a property that has been bought specifically with the intention of letting it out to tenants.

Capital Gains Tax

This is a type of tax that applies to any profit you make from the sale of a house that isn’t your primary residence. If you are selling an inherited property or you are selling a house in the UK whilst living abroad, you will need to check if you are liable to pay Capital Gains Tax.

Caveat Emptor

This is a Latin phrase that means ‘buyer beware’ or ‘sold as is’. This nearly always implies that the property has something substantially wrong with it, so it’s best to do thorough research before buying.


Imagine you are selling your house and buying a new one. Your buyer is probably selling their house too and their buyer is selling theirs. Now think ahead. The owner of your new house is likely buying another property who is buying another property. All of these sales and purchases are interlinked and one can’t happen without the others.

An estate agent and solicitor will play a big part in managing the chain and its legal and financial links. However, chains can become very long and volatile. Selling to a fast house buyer is a great way to avoid dealing with risky chains.


Conveyancing is all the legal work and paperwork involved with selling a property. Usually, it is advised that you contact a solicitor or licenced conveyancer to help you out with this.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

If you are selling or renting your house, you will need to obtain an energy performance certificate (EPC). An EPC is valid for ten years and rates your property from A (efficient) to G (not efficient) in terms of energy efficiency and energy costs.


Equity is the amount of money you have tied up in the property that belongs to you. If you don’t have a mortgage, you will have 100% equity. If you have a mortgage, your equity will be the amount that you have paid for, not the amount borrowed.

Downsizing property – something that many people choose to do later in life – is a great way to release equity.


If your property is freehold, it means you own it and the land it is built on outright.

There’s a difference between leasehold and freehold properties.

Land Registry

HM Land Registry is a non-ministerial government department that keeps a record of ownership for all the land and property in England and Wales. If you’re selling a house and don’t have access to the title deeds, these are the people you should contact. Also, using Land Registry data is a great way to research house prices.


Leasehold means that you own the property, but not the land it is built on. This differs from freehold where you own the property and the land.

Most flat ownership is leasehold, where you own the flat but someone else owns the building. This is only a temporary arrangement, so you will only own the leasehold for a fixed period of time. When the leasehold period is over, the property is returned to the freeholder.

Local authority search

Local authority searches are carried out as part of the sale process and can reveal important information about the property you intend to buy and the surrounding area.

If you want to take out a mortgage, you will need to have a local authority search completed on your new house. It’s not unusual for a buyer to stop the purchase altogether or renegotiate the price based on information revealed by a local authority search.


Probate is a legal process that gives someone authority to deal with a deceased person’s estate. If you want to sell inherited property, you will need to apply for probate before you can move forward with the sale.


If you want to borrow more money against your property, perhaps to pay off some debt, remortgaging your house could give you the cash you need. Bear in mind that remortgaging your home will typically result in higher repayments.

Stamp Duty

If you are buying a house in England or Wales, you may need to pay stamp duty land tax (SDLT) on the property. You only pay tax on the value of your property above the stamp duty threshold which is typically £125,000.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has raised the stamp duty threshold to £500,000 until 1st April 2021. This means that now is a great time to sell your house fast and buy a new one paying less stamp duty or none at all.

Title Deeds

Title deeds are the documents that prove you are the owner of a property. They set out important information about the land or house including boundaries and limitations.


This is another name for someone who is selling a property.


Sell your house in a flash to Zoom Property Buyer. We are a specialist cash property buyer who buys houses all over the UK for cash.

If you want to sell your house fast and have the cash in your bank in as little as 7 days, give us a call on 0333 880 4362 or complete our online form today.


Picture of Bobby Turner

Bobby Turner

Market research, writer & property specilaist for Zoom Property Buyer. Over 10 years in property sector. Previously at WhatHouse?