Whether you are buying, selling or renting a property one thing is for sure; there are an awful lot of terms, phrases and names that will be used throughout the process and it is unlikely that you will know what each one actually means.

Here at The Manchester Estate Agent we have put together our guide to property jargon in order to help you make sense of this sometimes complicated world!


If you are buying a property from someone who is also buying a property then you are part of a chain. Chains are incredibly common in the modern market and can vary in length.


When you complete a property it is the date that you officially become its owner. You will receive the keys and are free to move in.

Conditions of sale

Some sales of property will have a set of special terms between the buyer and seller, these are referred to as the conditions of sale and is a legal agreement between the two.


A conveyance is a property lawyer who manages all of the legal aspects of the sale or purchase of a property.


The deeds of a property is a legal document that provides you with a history of the ownership.


The Energy Performance Certificate or EPC as it is known is an indication of the energy efficiency of a property and the level of utility bills that you can expect to pay. It is graded between A to G with A being the best and includes two different graphs; one that covers efficiency and the other that shows environmental impact.


Equity is the difference between your outstanding mortgage amount and the current value of your property. Essentially it is the amount that you can expect to receive after the sale of your property and can be both positive (making money) or negative (losing money).

Exchanging contracts

When you buy or sell a property then your lawyer will handle a part of the process called exchanging contracts. This legally binding agreement shows that both parties are committed to the purchase. Some sellers may also ask for a holding deposit at this time.

Fixtures and Fittings

This is a list of all the items within the property that will be included with the sale or the rental agreement.


A freehold property is one that you own the outright, both property and land. If you own a freehold property then you will be responsible for maintaining both the land and the property.


In comparison a Leasehold property means that you do not own the land outright and rather you are leasing it for a fixed period of time. This time can vary but it is often set to be 99, 125 or 999 years.

Legal Fee

A legal fee will be charged by your conveyancer in order to carry out all the legal related work related to the sale or purchase of the property.

Mortgage Deposit

If you are buying a property then it is likely that you will need ot arrange a mortgage to cover the costs. The deposit is a percentage of your overall borrowing that you will need to have upfront before making a purchase. It is usually around the 20% mark but this can vary between lenders.

Open house or open viewing

Some properties up for rent or sale will have an open viewing schedule. This means that rather than separate viewings the property will be opened for a few hours in order for a number of people to view it. 


A search is something that your lawyer will carry out in order to ensure that there is nothing that will affect the value of your property. It is a requirement to have a local authority search before you exchange contracts on a property.

Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty is a tax that applies to any property costing more than £125,000. It starts at 1% and rises up to 7% for those homes that are above the £2million mark.


 A survey on the property will be carried out by a qualified surveyor in order to check the structure for any faults or issues. There are a variety of different levels of survey that you can request on your property and each one varies in detail and price.

Subject to contract

This term is used when a sale has yet to be made legally binding with a contract being exchanged and agreed.