Skip to main

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the definition of Conveyancing? The transfer of the legal title to land and property from one owner to another.

What are Conveyancing Fees? The money that you pay for conveyancing work.

What is a Conveyancing solicitor? Someone who has knowledge and expertise in property law, and also in a variety of other legal fields.

What is the purpose of a Conveyancing Quote? To estimate the price of conveyancing services.

What is a Covenant? Its an agreement, contract, or written promise between two individuals that frequently constitutes a pledge to do or refrain from doing something.

What is a Completion date? This date is when the purchaser becomes the legal owner of the property and all transactions relating to the sale / purchase of the property are fully completed.

What is a Deposit? It is a sum of money paid by the buyer to the seller on exchange of contracts. The standard amount is 10% of the total purchase price but this can be varied by agreement between the parties.

What is an Environmental Search? This search consists of enquiries relating to past and current land uses of the property and its surroundings that may indicate the likelihood of contamination or pollution.

What is Residential Abortive Transaction Insurance (RATI)? The RAT Insurance is available to pay for your Conveyancing and disbursement costs uncured by you should your transaction fail to complete for reasons outside your control. Please go to our RATI page for more information.

What is a Redemption Figure? This is the amount required to be paid to a mortgage lender to repay the mortgage loan in full.

What is Registered land? Details of the property held by the Land Registry.

What does ‘Subject to contract’ mean? This is a provisional sale agreement between the buyer and the seller which is not legally binding because contracts have not yet been exchanged.

What are Solicitors fees for buying a house? These are the costs that you pay to your solicitor when you buy a house.

What is Stamp Duty? Stamp Duty Land Tax is a tax payable to H M Revenue & Customs on transactions over £125,000.00 and is calculated in price banding.(click here to see the scale on the HMRC website)

What is a Survey?  It is an inspection of the property which is carried out by a chartered surveyor in order to ascertain whether or not there are any defects in the property of which a buyer should be aware.

What is a Property Title? The owner’s right to a property.

What is a Transfer? It is a legal document which transfers legal ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer.

What is Transfer of Equity? It is a document transferring ownership of a share or interest in a property from one person to another.

What is Property Valuation? This is a simple form of survey designed to establish the market value of the property.

Who is the Vendor ? Someone who sells a property.


What is the Abstract of Title? It is a list of documents which set out the history of ownership of a property.

What is an Advance? An Advance is the original amount of a mortgage loan on a property.

What is the purpose of a Bankruptcy Search?  A Bankruptcy Search is carried out by the buyer’s solicitors in the period between exchange of contracts and completion to check, on behalf of the buyer’s lenders, that the buyer(s) is/are not bankrupt.

What is Building Regulation Consent? The approval by the local authority on the design and materials of construction.

What is the Chain in terms of property? This is the situation where there are a number of sales and purchases linked together, such that if there is a problem or delay in one part of the chain, this may cause problems or failure of other dependent transactions.

What does CHAPS Transfer stand for? It stands for Clearing Houses Automated Payment System and is used to pay the balance of the purchase price on the day of completion.

What is the purpose of a Charge Certificate? Formerly the principal ownership document of a property where the title is registered and a mortgage is involved, Charge Certificates are now no longer of legal effect.

What makes up a Completion Statement? It is a breakdown of the finances of the transaction – it will detail the monies due in from the buyer, how those monies have been spent and any monies due back.

What constitutes Contaminated Land? This is land affected by contamination which could arise from a past use of a property or by things stored on the property in the past. The land could be classified as requiring some form of remediation, which importantly could be at the current owner’s cost.

What is the definition of a Deed of Guarantee? This document is used where one person agrees to be responsible for someone else’s debt or mortgage obligations if that person fails to carry out their own obligations.

What are the purpose of Deeds? They are the official documents confirming who owns a property, which are in the possession of the owner or mortgagees if the property is mortgaged.

What is a Drainage Search? It involves enquiries to the local Drainage Company regarding mains sewers and water pipes.

What is Equity? It usually means the difference between the value of a property and the amount owned to the mortgagee.

What is the definition Exchange of Contracts? This is the point when a sale becomes legally binding and the completion date and price are fixed. No party can now pull out of the transaction without a financial penalty.

What is Fixed Price Conveyancing? This is Conveyancing provided at a fixed fee.

What is included in a Fixtures and Fittings Form? A list of items at the property which are confirmed as included in the sale, excluded in the sale, can be bought by the purchaser for an amount of money that the seller states, or whether there is no such item at the property.

What is the explanation of a Full Title Guarantee? It is the standard guarantee given by a property owner to the buyer.

What does Gazumping mean? This term is used to refer to when a seller accepts an offer from one potential buyer, but then accepts a higher offer from someone else.

What is a Deed of Gift ? As a document transferring the ownership of property from one person to another without any payment being made for it.

What constitutes Ground Rent? The annual payment to Landlord in the case of Leasehold properties.

What is Indemnity Contribution?  Indemnity insurance is taken out by solicitors to cover losses to clients arising from errors or fraud in dealing with their matters

What is the purpose of a Land Registry Fee? These are fees paid to the Land Registry, the official organisation responsible for recording information relating to the ownership of land, in order to register a transaction.

What is a Lessee/lessor? Where a property is leasehold the lessee means the current owner of the leasehold property. Lessor is the landlord of the leasehold property.

What is a Licensed Conveyancer? Someone who specializes and is certified in property law.

What is a Mining Search? It is a search to check whether the property may be affected by coal mining activity which may result in subsidence.

What is the definition of a Mortgage? A loan to buy a property where the mortgagee lends the mortgagor money in return for a legal charge being registered against the property, to ensure that the loan must be repaid before the property can be sold.

What is the meaning of a Mortgage Deed? A legal document evidencing the mortgage lender as owner of a charge on the property.

What are Official Copies? They are certified copies from the Land Registry of the entries on a registered title.

What is the purpose of a Property Information Form? This form provides a buyer with additional information about a property e.g. boundaries, neighbour disputes, guarantees covered, any work carried out to alter the property and any building regulation or planning consents which were necessary.

What is a Reservation Fee? An administration fee charged by some mortgagees to cover the cost of reserving a mortgagor’s entitlement to a loan on certain terms. It may also refer to a fee paid to a builder to reserve a particular new property.

What is a Tin Search? This search is in place to establish whether the property may be affected by tin mining activity which may result in subsidence.

What is a Wayleave Agreement? It is a formal agreement entered into with a property owner to give a service provided a right for their pipe or cable to pass through or over the property.

Who is the Buyer in a property transaction? The person who is purchasing a property.

Who is a Landlord? Someone who owns property and rents it to others whether on long or short leases or tenancies.

Who is a Mortgagee? Somebody who gives someone a mortgage (e.g. a bank or building society)

Who is a Mortgagor? Somebody who takes out a mortgage (a borrower).

What is  a Service Charge? It is payment required by a lessor or managing agent to cover the costs of maintaining and running a development.

How is an Assent defined relating to Conveyancing? It is a specific form of deed used in conveyancing of a deceased’s property to the beneficiary entitled to the property.

How does a Brine Search work? It is a search to find out if a property might be affected by old brine (salt) workings near the property.

How does a Commons Registration Search work? It is a search at the local authority to check the property is not registered as common land or part of a village green resulting in third party rights over the property (e.g grazing).

How does a Contract work in a property transaction? The agreement between the seller and the buyer, a Contract contains a description of the property, the price, the full names of the seller and the buyer, and what is included in the sale. It also includes paragraphs that set out the position between the buyer and the seller just in case there is a problem after exchange of contracts. It is not legally binding until it has been signed and the seller’s Solicitors and the buyer’s Solicitors have exchanged Contracts.

How do Covenants work? They are a legally binding agreement or promise either to do something or to refrain from doing something. Typical applications for property law are restrictive covenants on land  which prohibit the use or access to land and which generally bind subsequent owners.

How can Disbursement be defined? 
These fees are paid to third parties during the course of the transaction, for example search fees and application fees to the Land Registry.

How would one describe Freehold? It is the outright ownership of the property and land on which it stands.

How can Leasehold be defined? The method of owning property for a fixed term, but not the land on which it stands.

How does a Local Authority Search work? This is information about the property held by the local authority. This includes planning consents and building regulation approvals, ‘road adoption’ and any proposed new roads.

How does one define a Mortgage Term? It is the length of time agreed for the repayment of the loan.

How is Remortgage defined? This is the process of paying off one mortgage with the proceeds from a new mortgage using the same property as security.

I have used Buchanan & Co to finalise my divorce, they are very helpful & professional. I must make a special mention about Julia Gibbons, who has provided me with expert help & has always been on hand to answer any questions I had. I can't recommend Buchanans enough!

Tom P