Conveyancing - Explaining the Jargon

Moving House

Buying a house can be a daunting process. For many people it will be the first times they've had to instruct a solicitor too.

At Nelson Myatt we pride ourselves on using plain, easy-to-understand language to communicate with our clients. But, when you are buying a house you might come across all sorts of words you haven’t seen before.

Here’s our handy guide to a few of the most common: -

Caveat Emptor

This means “buyer beware”. It is a principle which means that a buyer must raise all queries before exchange of contracts.


These are the legal documents which set out how and when the house or land will be transferred. The deal is confirmed once contracts have “been exchanged”.


This describes the process of transferring a house or land from one person to another.


These are costs which a Solicitor pays on your behalf. In a house sale or purchase this might be a Land Registry fee, search fees or paying for an insurance policy.


An easement is a right of way over one piece of land for the benefit of another. For example, this could be a driveway or path over land your neighbour owns to give you access to your house.


If a property is freehold it means that the house or land is owned completely outright.

Help to Buy Equity Loan

A loan provided by the government of up to 20% of the price of a newbuilt property.

Help to Buy ISA

A tax-free savings account into which the government grant a cash bonus towards your deposit.


Indemnity is usually an insurance policy which covers a legal issue with a property that can’t be resolved in another way. This is sometimes used if there are missing documents.

Land Registry

This is the central office which holds records of ownership of all property in England and Wales. Some properties aren’t registered there and then the owners still need to produce a bundle of deeds to prove that they own a house or land.

Land Transaction Tax (LTT)

A tax paid to the Welsh Revenue Authority when you purchase property or land in Wales. The amount payable depends on the purchase price, whether you already own land and/or property and various other factors.

You can ascertain the amount of Land Transaction Tax due on your purchase by using our Conveyancing Calculator.

Lawyer Checker

A company which allows us to check the bank account of the solicitor/conveyancer acting for the seller of the property you are buying. It’s a fraud prevention tool which helps to ensure that we don’t unknowingly send your money to a bogus firm.


If a property is Leasehold it means that the ownership is time limited and that there might be restrictions on how it can be used.

Office Copy Entries

These are the Land Registry documents which show the boundaries of a piece of land, who owns it and whether there is a mortgage on it, amongst other things.

Search Pack

A group of searches which reveal additional information about the property you are buying.

Unregistered Land

This is land which hasn’t been registered at the Land Registry. If a property isn’t registered then the owners still need to produce a bundle of deeds to prove that they own the land. When it is sold now it will be registered with the Land Registry. Since 2002 registration has been compulsory and therefore unregistered land is becoming less common.

Stacy Oliver-Harris

Nelson Myatt LLP

01492 588200

#conveyancing #jargon #legalphrases

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