Tuesday, May 28, 2024

A simple guide to legal jargon

If you’re buying or selling a home, you’ll need a conveyancer or property solicitor to deal with the paperwork involved. However, the process can be complicated and confusing and Lesley Price FCILEx of CGM Solicitors provides a quick guide to the steps that you will go through during your purchase and what some of the terms you will hear actually mean 

This is the stage at which the seller becomes legally bound to sell the property to the buyer and the buyer becomes legally bound to purchase the property from the seller. At any stage before this either party can withdraw from the transaction. To exchange contracts a buyer has to pay part of the purchase monies (the deposit) which is usually 10% of the cost and a completion date is agreed.

This is the date that the balance of the purchase monies is paid through the solicitors and the buyer can move into the property and the seller must leave the property. 

If you are obtaining a mortgage to purchase your property you will have to pay for a valuation. However, this is a limited report for the benefit of your lender. You would therefore be advised to have your own survey carried out. This can be a full structural survey or a lesser one known as a Homebuyer’s Report. 

This expression is used in two ways. First, as the amount of money that a purchaser is putting into the property, in other words the difference between the mortgage amount and the purchase price, and second the sum of money which is paid by the purchaser at exchange of contracts.

It is quite common nowadays, particularly with first time buyers, for parents to give their children some money to help them purchase a property. This is known as a gifted deposit. It has to be reported to the mortgage lender who has to approve the gift.

These are restrictions which affect some properties. If you are purchasing a freehold property there may be restrictions, which were put on the land when it was built or at a later time. They can include uses of the land such as restricting it to a private dwelling house among other restrictions. 

When you purchase a property, you have to pay out disbursements. These are simply payments to other people and include such things as search fees, Stamp Duty and land registry fees.

You may receive an agreement from your mortgage lender to lend you money at the beginning of the transaction. However, when a solicitor refers to a mortgage offer they mean a written offer of mortgage which sets out all the details and conditions.


  • Know your budget and bear in mind there will often be additional expenses that will arise during the process. 
  • Make sure you have saved up some money as a contingency for this. 
  • Pick a legal adviser you feel comfortable with and that you can communicate with clearly and effectively. 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the professionals involved. It is their job to make sure you understand what you are committing to. 
  • Be realistic on timescales. If you try to rush things, then you may add to your own stress levels if things don’t quite go to plan.  

Any questions? We are here to help. We specialise in a wide range of property matters and transactions so please contact us at enquiries@c-g-m.co.uk


First Time Buyer is an exciting bi-monthly glossy which takes a stylish and comprehensive look at all the options available, setting them out in an entertaining and informative way, and helping potential customers navigate their way through what is often a daunting and complex process. We dispel the myths, reinforce the facts and arm the reader with the tools necessary to make their homeownership dreams a reality.

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