Jargon Buster

Jargon Buster

Some of the terminology involved when selling or buying a home can be very confusing – for this reason, we’ve compiled a list to help.

At David James, we try to keep it as simple as possible for you. However, you may hear a word or two every now and again which might throw you off completely – especially if you’re a first time buyer.


‘Vendor’ is another term for ‘owner’ or ‘person managing the sale’. The terminology used tends to vary depending on the agent.


Sold Subject to Contract (or SSTC) is a state of sale where an offer has been made, the vendor has accepted but contracts have not been exchanged – meaning either party can drop out of the sale at any time.

Under Offer

An offer has been made but it hasn’t been accepted or rejected by the vendor yet. Estate Agents are obliged to advertise properties as under offer.


A document that describes the agreement under which the property will change hands.


Both the buying and selling parties sign contracts which are then exchanged by their solicitors. The buyer usually pays a deposit at this point and the date of completion is agreed.


A legal title that gives you complete ownership of the land the property is built on.


Ownership of the property but not the ground it is built on. You will usually have to pay a certain amount monthly/annually to the owner of the land (see Ground Rent below)

Ground Rent

Paid by the leaseholder to the freeholder. Usually in apartment blocks/flats.

Service Charge

Usually paid to a property management company to maintain the property. For example, blown light bulbs in communal hallways and keeping gardens presentable. This is common in apartment blocks.

Planning Permission

Permission granted by the local planning authority (usually the council) for new buildings or change of use of a building.


Usually used to identify if the owner of the property is also the landowner. If the owner of the property is a leaseholder, they only own the property and not the ground it is built on (usually flats/apartments). If freehold, the land is owned as well as the property.

Market Appraisal

A market appraisal is also known as a valuation. A valuation is used to find out the value of your home and allows the agent to present their marketing strategy. These are usually free varying by estate agent unless it is to be used for a solicitors report (a solicitor requires a written valuation in order to find the value of a property – usually used when assets are trying to be split for a deceased estate or for a divorce).

Stamp Duty

A tax having to be paid at the point of completion when buying a property. Rates below:

£0 – £125,000: 0% (No Stamp Duty)

£125,001 – £250,000: 1%

£250,001 – £500,000: 3%

£500,000 – £1,000,000: 4%

If you come across any terminology that you are not familiar with that is not in this list, call us on 0115 962 4213 or email mapperley@david-james.com