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Have you sought to buy a new home and spoken to a solicitor without understanding a single word they said? Conveyancing terms can be completely foreign jargon, especially for homebuyers who are just engaging in the process for the first time.

Understandably, you won’t have to have some insight so that you can avoid any conveyancers who may trick you or take advantage of your limited knowledge. This article will give you a rundown of standard terms mentioned when conveyancing, along with the definition so that you can learn what the jargon actually means.

The Definition of Conveyancing

Conveyancing is a process homebuyers have to undergo when property ownership is transferred from one person to another. This legal process is monitored by a conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor. They are assigned to assist one party of the transfer in filling out their legal forms and submitting all the documents in order to smoothly process the property sale.

To keep it simple, conveyancing is the legal term for selling and purchasing different properties. There are conveyancers who specialise in the sales aspect, so find a solicitor who will be able to give you a reasonable price and a clear picture of the services they offer.

Types of Property in Conveyancing

Two important terms that you need to differentiate when it comes to conveyancing are freehold property and leasehold property. A property is defined as real estate or possessions that a person has.

  • Freehold - A freehold property entails complete ownership of a particular area of land. Although there can be some restrictions in certain areas, having a freehold property means you own that property and have the right to transfer ownership through a sale.

  • Leasehold - A leasehold property entails taking out a lease from a freehold property owner. This lease may be considered as partial ownership as you are allowed to use the home for a specific number of years, but you have less authority, and you’re entitled to pay maintenance and ground rent. This lease can span from 40 years to more than 500 years, depending on the contract.

Deeds in the Conveyancing Process

After going through the main properties involved in conveyancing, you will also benefit from learning the distinction between a mortgage deed and a transfer deed. A deed is defined as a legal document that acts as proof of transferring property ownership and property title.

  • Mortgage - A mortgage deed constitutes the document that holds a mortgage lender’s terms, conditions and loan amounts. It also includes their desire to be a provider for the property and other relevant elements. A mortgage lender usually has possession of the transfer deed or and property itself in this scenario. They may assume ownership and withhold the deed if a client is unable to pay the mortgage by their deadline.

  • Transfer - A transfer deed is created when a property owner has agreed to the sale of their ownership. This is completed and signed upon completion of the sale as the title is delegated to either a mortgage lender or a new property owner.

Elements in the Conveyancing Process

Now that we’ve gotten through the main terminologies, here are some of the elements that you may encounter or hear while conveyancing.

  • Chain - A chain is a series of transactions that need one another to take place to be fulfilled. These sales and purchases are linked to one another, making it tough to deal with each one if there’s even an issue with a single one. Most people may opt to have a direct transaction and abstain from selling to someone involved in a chain.

  • Completion - A completion date is a scheduled day for transferring keys and funds. This is typically done after signing the legal documents and finalising the property sale. A completion date is often settled by the property seller, buyer and conveyancers. However, people who are in a chain will also need some say in when the completion date will be.

  • Contract - A contract is a legally binding document that reiterates the terms and conditions of a property sale and purchase agreement. The conveyancer of both parties handles the exchange of the contracts. Upon that event and the signing of the document, you are now legally obligated to complete the sale.

  • Deposit - A deposit is considered an initial payment for your mortgage to secure the property in the transaction. Typically, the deposit is just a low percentage of the actual purchase price. It’s needed as a precautionary measure in case a buyer may pull out of the transaction after contracts have been exchanged and signed.

  • Disbursement - Disbursement is a payment that is separate from the deposit, mortgage and conveyancing fees. These expenses are often for third-party engagements while in the conveyancing process.

  • Equity - Equity is the total amount of capital a property owner has in their home. If that owner is still paying for the mortgage, the sum of their previous payments constitutes their equity over a property.

  • Mortgage Offer - A mortgage offer is an initial set of terms and conditions about a mortgage for a particular property. This document should still contain a lot of information and details, such as the overall amount of the mortgage loan and your possible payment plan.

  • Mortgage Provider Valuation - A mortgage provider valuation is a survey that will check and screen the current condition of a property. This survey will help a mortgage provider be aware of any issues or problems that may affect their transaction with a property buyer.

  • Mortgage Redemption Statement - A mortgage redemption statement is requested from a mortgage provider if a party decides to cancel the mortgage or find another provider instead. This statement should include the remaining mortgage and redemption fees.

  • Searches - A search is a property inspection carried out by a conveyancer on behalf of a party. This isn’t to be confused with a mortgage provider valuation, which is carried out by the mortgage provider, despite them having the same goal of highlighting any issues.

  • Title - A title refers to the legal ownership of a property. The Land Registry, a property registry under the government, holds these titles as a record of ownership for different England and Wales properties.


Having more awareness and knowledge of these terminologies can make your experience in conveyancing a little clearer. Work with people who you can trust and be transparent when you need further explanation for other terms.

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