At Countrywide we try and keep things simple and in plain English. But because conveyancing is a legal process, you will naturally hear some legal terms along the way. The following guide should help if you come across some of these key legal terms:

Glossary of Conveyancing terms
Term Definition
transfer fees
The fee charged by a bank when money is sent electronically to an account.
Charge on the property When a property is used as security for a debt owed (for example, a mortgage).
Contract The agreement between the seller and the buyer. It 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.
Contract race When the seller instructs their lawyer to issue contracts to more than one buyer. The aim is to get the buyers to race each other to be the first to exchange.
Conveyancing The transfer of the legal title to land and property from one owner to another.
Deed of guarantee When one person guarantees the duties of another, usually in connection with a mortgage.
Deed of grant This gives specific benefits (for example, rights of way) to a property owner.
Deed of postponement When one party postpones their rights, usually to a mortgage, in favour of another party.
Deed of rectification This corrects an error in the original document.
Deed of variation This changes the original terms of a title document, usually a lease.

Deposit A buyer should pay the seller 10% of the purchase price at exchange of contracts, although sellers often accept less than 10%. The rest of the purchase price is due on completion.
Exchange of contractsWhen the 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.
Fixtures, fittings and contents A list of items at the property which covers: those which are being removed by the seller; those which are left behind as part of the sale; and those which are being offered for sale separately. It becomes part of the contract, to avoid disputes between the buyer and seller about what will be left at the property on completion.
Investigation of title When the buyer's lawyer checks the contract and title documents provided by the seller's lawyer, and may ask questions or ask for more information (this is also called 'raising enquiries').
Land Registry A government authority which registers the new ownership and transfer of all property in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. After registration, which may take some weeks, copies of the electronic register will be sent to the buyer.
Local authority searchInformation about the property held by the local authority. This will include planning consents and building regulation approvals, 'road adoption' and any proposed new roads. If a road is not 'adopted' by the local authority this means that all the owners of property on the road have to pay towards its upkeep.
Mortgage redemption Any mortgage secured on a property being sold must be paid off (or redeemed) at completion.
Property Information Form The questionnaire filled in by the seller to give the buyer more information about the property, including disputes with neighbours, and guarantees for work done and for alterations and extensions at the property.
Stamp Duty Land Tax A government tax due when property is transferred. It is worked out as a percentage of the value of the property transferred.
Statutory declaration A formal statement about a property witnessed by a lawyer. It is used to support a claim where there is no formal evidence (for example, about a right of way).
Transfer The document which transfers the legal title from the name of the seller to the name of the buyer. It is used by the Land Registry to register the new owner.
Transfer of equity and deed of gift A transfer of equity is the transfer of one owner's share of a property to the remaining owner, and which may be covered by an existing mortgage. A deed of gift is when no payment is made for the share.

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