The other pages in the Conveyancing section of this website have some words and phrases in italics. This page attempts to provide translations for that legalese and jargon.
Conveyancing words and phrases
Acceptance – This can mean different things depending on the stage and nature of the transaction. After an offer has been received, the Estate Agent, or solicitor, will confirm that the basic points (price, etc.) are acceptable, usually by phone or email. This is known as verbal acceptance. At this stage, there is no binding contract. The written acceptance is usually a qualified acceptance. If a qualified acceptance is received at that stage, there is no binding contract between the purchaser and seller. More rarely, the offer could be accepted without any adjustment to the terms. This is fairly standard in a transaction for a commercial property but not usual in connection with a domestic property. This is called a de plano acceptance. If there is a de plano acceptance, it means that everything is agreed between the purchaser and seller and therefore there is a binding contract between them. The qualified acceptance and de plano acceptance are prepared by the solicitor and, in most circumstances, are signed by them.
Buy-to-Let – A type of mortgage used if you are buying a property to lease it or for someone else’s occupation other than your main home. It includes re-mortgages, so you do not necessarily need to be buying the property at the same time.
Concluded Missives (also conclusion of the missives or contract) – This indicates the stage where all points have been agreed between a seller and purchaser in writing and the contract is binding on both parties. The contract is usually made up by an exchange of letters between solicitors, known as missives.
Contract – The contract between a purchaser and a seller. Once the contract is in place, it is binding on both parties. The contract is often made up by an exchange of letters called missives, sent and signed by the solicitors acting for the purchaser and seller.
Missives – An exchange of letters, intending to have contractual effect, exchanged between the solicitors of the purchasers and sellers. The missives are the contract and are binding on the seller and purchaser.
Mortgage – A loan secured against the property. In Scotland, the technical term is Standard Security.
Mortgage Advisor – A person or organisation who will help find the most suitable mortgage for your circumstances. A mortgage advisor employed by the lender will be restricted to a lender’s own products.
Offer – The initial letter from usually a purchaser but, in some circumstances, from a seller, indicating to the other that they wish to buy the property and stating the principal terms of price, what is to be included in the price, the date on which they wish to purchase and any special conditions. The offer will usually incorporate standard clauses dealing with such matters as alterations, Legal Reports, etc. The offer itself is not binding on the parties and is the first stage of the contract or missives.
Property – Land including any buildings on that land. Also, a flat in a block. The word also includes any rights pertaining to it, such as right of access.
Qualified Acceptance – The letter that is sent in response to the offer, which is intended to have contractual effect. At this stage, the contract has not been finalised and the missives are not concluded, so there is no binding contract between the purchaser and seller. The qualified acceptance is sent by the solicitor. Once the contract is in place, (see Concluded Missives), it is binding on both the purchaser and seller.
Self-Build – If you have purchased a plot of ground and building a house either by yourself or using a contractor, this is classed as self-build.
Verbal Offer – The stage before putting in an offer in writing, although a ‘verbal’ offer could be by email. It is usually when a purchaser wishes to check that a price will be acceptable to a seller or possibly some unusual condition, such as the timescale for completing the purchase. A verbal offer is not binding on the parties but is an indication of what will be acceptable to both buyer and seller.
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We hope this conveyancing glossary is helpful – but is anything unclear or missing? Feel free to contact us and ask for clarification – at no charge!