A handy Glossary of legal terms used or associated with the residential conveyancing process. Available to browse on this page or download a copy here.

Allowance – this is the term used to describe a contribution made by the Seller to the Buyer on completion in respect of terms agreed prior to the Exchange of Contract (e.g. a contribution towards the cost of remedial works needed to the property, or to cover the cost of the Buyer obtaining missing paperwork etc.) and avoids the need to change the purchase price on the Contract or Transfer Deed.

Chattels – this is the legal term for ‘Fittings & Contents’ that the Buyer is to pay a separate price for, in addition to the purchase price, and is written into the Contract.

Completion Date  –  this is the “moving day” and the day on which the Buyer pays the balance of the purchase price to the Seller and the Buyer can pick up the keys to the Property.

Contract – this is the document that is signed in duplicate by the Buyer and the Seller and will make the transaction legally binding on both parties when the Exchange of Contracts has taken place.

Deposit – this is the amount paid by a Buyer to the Seller when the Exchange of Contracts takes place, and is a maximum of 10% of the purchase price and is not to be confused with the amount being put down by the Buyer towards the purchase price in addition to their mortgage borrowing which can often be much higher than the 10% Contract amount.

Exchange of Contracts – when the Solicitors acting for each Buyer and Seller agree the final terms (i.e. the amount of deposit being paid, the Completion Date, and amount being paid for any fittings & contents separate to the purchase price.)

Mortgage Offer – this is the written confirmation of the amount being lent to a Buyer, and a copy will be sent to the Buyer, their mortgage adviser, and a Solicitor’s copy will also be sent to the Buyer’s conveyancer with the mortgage paperwork that the Buyer will need to sign.

Searches –  these are the searches carried out by the Buyer’s Conveyancer prior to the exchange of contracts and typically include a Local Authority Search, a Drainage & Water Search, and an Environmental Search, as well as any other specific search for the area in which the property is situated (e.g. Coal Mining, or Tin Mining etc.).

Survey – this is carried out by a qualified Chartered Surveyor at the Buyer’s expense and request, and is not to be confused with a mortgage Valuation Report (see below) and covers areas such as the property’s general condition, testing of walls for signs dampness, highlighting any apparent defects in the property, which may affect value and identifying urgent matters that need assessing prior to the exchange of contracts.

Transfer Report – this is the Deed that is signed in duplicate by the Buyer and the Seller and will transfer legal ownership of the property to the Buyer once their conveyancer has paid over the balance of the purchase price to the Seller’s conveyancer. Once the Deed has been dated it is then sent to the Land Registry to register the change of ownership.

Valuation Report – a Valuation Report is carried out on behalf of a mortgage lender when they are assessing whether a property is suitable for them to lend the mortgage against. This type of property survey is usually very basic and often consists of just one or two pages of confirmed information about the property, such as the type of property, number of bedrooms, and insurance rebuild figure. It is designed to be purely an assessment of value and condition from a lending perspective and cannot be relied upon by a Buyer.

We hope you have found this Glossary of Terms useful. For individual advice and assistance please contact a member of our Residential Property team.

The Team

Victoria Faulkner
Sarah Worrall
Olivia Tait

Olivia Tait

Arvin Bhamra

Tracey Preston

Kate McNamara

Jade Dooley


Niki Papworth

Paul Hewerdine


Rani Bola

Sarah Avern