Estate Agent Jargon Buster - S to Z


Sale Agreed
A verbal agreement from the seller.

Schedule of Condition
An inventory of the condition of the fabric of a commercial premises taken at the outset of a lease.

Schedule of Dilapidations
An inventory of works that require rectification by a commercial tenant prior to the cessation of a tenancy.

A request or enquiry for information concerning the property held by a local authority or by the Land Registry

Security Deposit
A sum of money taken from the tenant at the beginning of the tenancy held against non-payment of the rent and any damage to the property (above and beyond reasonable wear and tear).

A property which is joined to one other house.

Service charge
Service charges are paid by the owner and cover the cost of providing various services (i.e. maintenance and repair of the building and common parts, provision of heating, lighting and security).

Set up fee
A charge for setting up a new tenancy. The cost covers referencing the tenant, drafting the tenancy agreement and registering the deposit with a Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

Share of freehold
Where the freehold on which the property stands is owned by a limited company and the shareholders of that limited company are the owners of the property.

Sinking Fund
An amount of money held on account for a premises or estate occupied by more than one tenant and is used when any unexpected charges arise.

Sole agent
When a seller chooses only one estate agent to sell their property.

Sole Agency
The choice of a single estate agent to act on the seller's behalf, incurring a lower fee than multi-agency.

Sole occupancy
A property that is occupied (lived in) only by the mortgage applicant(s) and their direct family.

A legal expert handling all documentation for the sale or purchase of a property.

Stamp Duty
A government tax paid by the buyer of a property, which ranges between 0% and 12% depending on the value of the property.

Standard variable rate
Mortgage lender's standard rate of interest, which may be increased or decreased periodically by the lender depending on prevailing economic conditions.

Structural survey
This is based on a detailed inspection of the property and reports on the general structural condition.

Studio flat
A flat consisting of one main room or open-plan living area incorporating cooking and sleeping facilities and a separate bathroom/shower room.

Subject to contract
Legal terminology that indicates an agreement is not yet legally binding and depends upon the terms yet to be agreed within the contract.

Sum assured
The amount of money you are insured for from outset of a policy.

An inspection made by a qualified surveyor. There are three main types of survey. Valuation report (for mortgage purposes), Homebuyers report (also comments on general condition) and Full Structural survey (examines structural detail).

A professional person qualified to estimate the value and condition of land and property


Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
A landlord is legally required to register the tenant’s security deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme which protects the money for the tenant and will assist with any disputes at the end of the tenancy.

Tenancy Schedule
The list of occupiers of an Industrial Estate such as names, length of lease and rent passing.

A person who lives in a property owned by a landlord in exchange for a monthly rent.

Tenant Find
A service level offered to landlords. We find you a tenant and organise a tenancy agreement, leaving you with the day to day running of the let.

Tenants in common
A form of ownership by two or more people in which if one of them dies, their share of the property forms part of their estate and does not automatically pass to the other(s).

The process whereby the seller asks for written offers on a property usually with a set closing date.

Conditions on which a property is held (i.e. length of lease).

Terminal illness benefit
The sum assured from a life assurance plan becomes payable if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness where life expectancy is considered to be less than 12 months

Terraced house
A property that forms part of a connected row of houses.

The Property Ombudsman (TPO)
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) is a free, fair and independent arbitration service which provides sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants with an assurance that they will receive the highest level of customer service.

The ultimate record of ownership of a property, the evidence of which is found in the title deeds.

Title Deeds
Documents showing the legal ownership of a property.

Title insurance
An insurance policy which a buyer can take out to allow a sale to complete where there is a potential problem with the documentation in proving legal ownership of some part of the land they are buying.

Title search
An investigation carried out by a conveyancer or solicitor into the history of ownership of a property. The search will check for liens, unpaid claims, restrictions or any other problems that may affect ownership.

Tracker mortgage
A type of mortgage whereby any changes in the rate of interest charged follow exactly ('track') another, specified, interest rate or index. Typically a tracker mortgage will track the Bank of England base rate.

Transfer Deeds
The Land Registry document that transfers legal ownership from seller to buyer.

By placing the benefits of a policy “in trust” you can ensure that the correct person receives the proceeds. Assets owned in a trust do not form part of an estate of a deceased person.


Under Offer
When the seller has accepted an offer on the property but contracts have not yet been exchanged.

A person who assesses and classifies the degree of risk that a proposed insurance represents.

A property let with no furnishings.


A basic survey of a property to estimate its value for mortgage purposes. Mortgage lenders will insist on this before lending.

The price of a property under normal conditions, i.e. when the buyer is not forced to buy and the seller not forced to sell.

Variable Interest Rate
The basic rate of interest charged on a mortgage. This may change in reaction to market conditions so monthly payments can go up or down.

The legal name sometimes used to describe the seller of the property.

Verbal Offer
Offer from prospective purchaser, not legally binding on either party.

An empty area or space.


Waiver of premium
Covers the cost of policy premiums during periods of unemployment due to illness or injury. Also known as Premium Protection

Mode of commencing legal proceedings.


Income from a property calculated as a percentage of its value