Your guide to property trading terms

Jump To Section:


Chain refers to the line of buyers and sellers involved in each house move. For example, first time buyers have no chain as they have nothing to sell but other house moves usually involve a number of people as the property you’re buying will likely be from a vendor who is buying from someone else etc. In these instances everyone has to wait for everyone else’s deals to go through.

Completion Date

This is the date that ownership of the property passes from the seller to the buyer.

The seller and buyer agree a suitable date and notify their solicitors. You should always bear in mind unforeseen delays such as searches being returned late. Only when contracts are exchanged and a completion date is fixed can you guarantee a completion date will be met. Leave arranging removals and time off work until you have a fixed date.


This is the legally binding agreement between the buyer and seller. It sets out the main terms of what has been agreed such as property, price and ownership terms. Two copies of the contract are drawn up and each signs their own copy. When both parties are ready to commit, the contracts will be exchanged and become legally binding.


Performed by a solicitor or qualified conveyancer, this is the legal process where the ownership of a property is transferred from the seller to the buyer.


This forms part of the purchase price and should not be confused with the deposit towards a mortgage.

There is often confusion around the deposit with most people assuming it is the part of the price the buyer is putting down themselves (the difference between the mortgage amount and purchase price). Rather it is the amount of money handed over to the sellers’ solicitor upon exchange of contracts.

This can be anything up to 10% of the selling price and should be negotiated in advance. You should be aware that if you pay a reduced deposit and fail to complete through no fault of the seller, you will be liable to make the deposit up to the full 10%. You could also be liable to pay further compensation to the seller through your failure to complete.


These are all the payments that solicitors make to other people on your behalf. They are standard costs and include local authority searches, official searches and stamp duty.

Exchange Contracts

This is probably one of the most important moments in the property buying process as you are now legally bound. The seller must sell and the buyer must buy at the price stated on the contract. Before contracts are exchanged, either party can walk away at any time.

Home Contents Form

This is the list of what in the property is included in the sale. The form is completed by the seller and sent to all legal parties and a copy sent to the buyer.


This term means you own both the property and the land the property stands on.

Indemnity Contribution

This is insurance taken out by all solicitors to cover losses to clients arising from errors or negligence in dealing with their matters.

Land Registry

This is a register of property, established in 1925 that retains records of who owns land and under what conditions.


This refers to a property, usually a flat or apartment that is of temporary ownership and stands on land owned by the freeholder. When the lease expires, ownership of the property returns to the freeholder.

This is the fixed cost that covers the time spent working on your conveyancing account.

Carried out on behalf of the buyer, this is a list of questions about the property, which is sent to the local authority. It covers any proposed planning applications and any proposals for new roads or traffic schemes which could affect the property. It does not cover any planning applications made or in progress against nearby properties.


This is the loan to help you pay for your property. The mortgage company will hold your deeds until you have paid off the mortgage or sold the property and paid off any outstanding monies.

Contracts will not be exchanged until solicitors have received written confirmation of the mortgage from the mortgage company.

Mortgage Deed

This gives the mortgage company a legal right over the property until the loan is repaid.

Mortgage Fees

This is an amount charged to cover the costs of arranging your mortgage.


This is the final payment of a mortgage loan.

Redemption Fee

A penalty that can be incurred for paying off a mortgage early.

Seller’s Property Information Form

Completed by the seller, this is a questionnaire about the property. It covers such things as guarantees, neighbour disputes and boundaries and usually just requires yes/no answers. If there is a question you do not want to answer you must discuss it with your solicitor. Failure to disclose information could give the buyer grounds for legal action against you.

Buyers have the opportunity to ask any specific questions about the property now.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

This is a tax paid by the buyer for a property valued at over £125,000.

Property purchase price SDLT rate
Up to £125,000 Zero
The next £125,000 (the portion from £125,001 to £250,000) 2%
The next £675,000 (the portion from £250,001 to £925,000) 5%
The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million) 10%
The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million) 12%


This is a report into the physical state of the property you are looking to buy. Properties are ‘sold as seen’ and it is the buyer’s responsibility to discover any physical defects through a survey.

If you are buying a property by means of a mortgage you will be required to have a mortgage valuation undertaken. This is not a survey but satisfies the lender that the property is worth the amount of the loan.

It is advisable to undertake a basic survey from a RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) qualified surveyor. This should identify any basic faults, and for older properties a full structural survey is advisable. These surveys will cost you money so shop around, but we recommend you take out the necessary surveys prior to exchanging contracts.

Title Deeds

These documents act as legal proof that the person selling the property owns it to sell. Secondly it sets out any rights or obligations that affect the property.

Selling time can be saved by obtaining your deeds as early as possible. Most deeds are held by the mortgage company who may charge a fee to release them.

Transfer Deed (TR1)

This is the documentation that officially confirms transfer of ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer.

It is dated with the completion date and is forwarded to the Land Registry for filing.

Even if you’re not thinking of buying or selling at the moment, you may need to re-mortgage. Whilst not as complicated, it still involves conveyancers and paperwork


  • Very impressed with the service. Sharon Wareham works tirelessly, very professionally and is always there for advice. 

    Miss Matthews Kipling Avenue

  • A completely painless experience from start to finish. Thank you.

    Mr Woolven & Mrs Bessant-Woolven Lewes Road

  • Good team. Straightforward. No nonsense.

    Mr Standing Newmarket Road

  • Sharon was amazing! She kept us up to date the whole way through the process. We cannot fault Sharon or the rest of her team. 

    Mr & Mrs Ashley Woodingdean

  • I was new to the area and viewed a lot of properties with a lot of different agents. Maslens were by far the best I came in contact with, so when i...

    Mr & Mrs Heer Lewes Road

  • First class service from a first class team.

    Mr & Mrs English The Ridgway

  • Many thanks to Nick. It was an easy process thanks to you! I'm extremely satisfied with how the sale went, great job.

    Ms Mayanobe Aymer Road

  • A very committed team who made the sale process very easy.

    Ms Rees Ticehurst Road

  • Very happy with the service we got from you guys, everyone we dealt with was extremely friendly, professional and helpful. Thanks!

    Mr Brown Titian Road

  • Excellent service from the Lewes Road branch. Martin Timms secured a quick sale & at a good price & Paula Carter worked really hard to secure...

    Ms Schulte Bear Road

  • The team worked very hard over a long period to ensure my sale went through - excellent service!

    Mr Patrick Gladstone Terrace

  • We were very pleased with services provided by the Fiveways office.

    Mr & Mrs Sawyer Shaftesbury Road

  • Very impressed with all dealings with Maslen. Paula Carter was in particular very knowledgeable and helpful. 

    Mr McBlane Hove

  • Ben was particularly enthusiastic and helpful. Martin, Paula, Sam and Will are all hard workers.

    Ms Goodey Franklin Road

  • Excellent Service from start to finish.

    Mr T Mole Cromwell Road

  • The whole team were very committed from start to finish.

    Mr Pilgrim Lewes Road

  • Excellent service as always

    Mr Field Ringmer Road

  • We were very impressed with the Nick from start to finish. 

    Mr & Mrs Smith Lewes Road

  • Very impressed with the efficient and friendly service, the staff were a pleasure to deal with. 

    Mr & Mrs Gill Lewes Road

  • Thanks for an excellent service. 

    Mr King Hove

  • Superb service as usual, I would always recommend you.

    Ms S Hike Blackthorn Close

  • I wish we had used you to sell our property! Nice to meet honest people, who are genuinely interested in helping. Very pleased.

    Mrs Porter Taunton Road

  • Ben and Paula were calm and reassuring throughout a very difficult process!

    Ms Easterbrook Bear Road

  • Thank you. We found all the staff knowledgeable and really pleasant to deal with. 

    Ms Ansloos Lewes Road

  • The whole team were excellent, each one of them felt like family. Sharon had a lot of sorting to do at times but coped very well, a true profession...

    Mr Vernon Woodingdean

  • Excellent customer service throughout. I will definitely recommend you, and use you again. Thank you.

    Ms Longley Kingsbury Street

  • We were delighted with the service received from all the staff with whom we had contact,

    Dr Crichton The Ridgway

  • Thank you for everything!

    Ms Tucker Willow Close

  • It was an amazing experience, everyone involved were fantastic. 

    Mr & Mrs Knight Woodingdean

  • Nick and Paula are total stars! They were incredibly supportive and present throughout. Thank you!

    Miss O'Haire Hove

  • I would recommend Maslen to anyone. 

    Mrs Tripp Woodingdean

  • First class service. Friendly and professional.

    Mr Thorne The Avenue

  • All very professional, kept updated throughout. Very pleased - Would recommend. 

    Mrs Hammond Hove

  • Already recommended you! Thank you.

    Mr Edwards The Ridgway

  • Very comprehensive and professional. Nice people to work with and highly recommended. 

    Mr Alderton Ladysmith Road

  • The staff were very helpful, an excellent service. I would recommend you to others.

    Miss Hockly Fiveways

  • I have bought and sold 7 properties, and this was the best experience of an estate agents services I have found.

    Mrs Shepherd Hertford Road

  • Best Agents in Brighton.

    Mrs Field Tarner Road

  • Sharon was excellent - kept us well informed, thank you so much!

    Ms Waters Cowley Drive

  • Very impressive - professional and friendly, both Martin Timms and Paula Carter were excellent at keeping in contact with sensible advice based on...

    Mrs O'Connor Hove

  • Exceptional service throughout the process - should we decide to sell in the future we wouldn't hesitate to use your agency. You're a cut above the...

    Ms Windels & Mr Barham Fiveways

  • The sale was dealt with swiftly, professionally and successfully. Thank you Maslen!

    Mrs Lincoln Hove

  • An efficient, professional and friendly service. Helpful and a pleasure to do business with.

    Mr Beddington Brading Road

  • Sharon and her team could not have done more in what was a difficult sale. 

    Ms Daly Woodingdean

  • Paula's role was brilliant. Having someone office based and available was so appreciated and her promptness an impressive service - every Estate Agent...

    Ms Wynn-Jones Baxter Street

  • Great service, always polite and friendly. Excellent contact and info all the way.

    Mr Wells Bishops Road

  • Compared to your rivals, your service was excellent

    Ms McGrigor Milner Road

  • From start to finish the sale was dealt with in a thoroughly professional manner.  

    Mr Gibbs Lewes Road

  • Extremely efficient. Nick and Paula are excellent. The weekly phone calls were much appreciated. 

    Ms Gray Lewes Road

  • You were amazingly helpful throughout - a real pillar of strength with a very difficult sale.

    Mrs Parkin Fiveways

  • Very pleased with the service. Many thanks to Sharon and the boys!

    Mr Flynn Woodingdean

  • We cannot recommend Maslen's estate agents enough.

    Many thanks to Paul, Donna, Janette and the...

    Linda & Les Wigmore Close

  • I found the service to be courteous, friendly and efficient.

    Mr Upton Buller Road

  • Best Estate Agents ever experienced - professional, approachable, competent and exemplary. 

    Mr & Mrs Guest Riley Road

  • Fantastic service. By far the best agents we have ever used, I cannot recommend you highly enough.

    Mr Field Mafeking Road

  • All agents at Maslen were extremely helpful and polite from the beginning to the completion of sale. 

    Mr Johnson Fiveways

  • Paul was absolutely brilliant. 

    Mrs Tasker Fiveways

  • Please thank Paula at Lewes Road - Excellent service. 

    Mr & Mrs Nuthall Lewes Road

  • Sharon was excellent, she kept us informed at all stages and was a really calming objective influence in the process.

    Ms Frederick Channel View Road

  • Paula was fabulous and we felt really informed and supported. 

    Mr & Mrs Walker Lewes Road

  • Very, very happy we chose you, felt right from the start! Thank you!

    Miss Blackadder Coniston Court, Holland Road

  • Thank you Paul and Archie, you gave an excellent service, as well as Kelly. I look forward to working with you again. 

    Mr White Fiveways

  • As always, an excellent service. 

    Mr & Mrs Field Lewes Road

  • Maslens as a whole were really friendly and professional. I have to thank and congratulate Paula Carter for being superb at her job and exceeding m...

    Ms Warren Hove

  • A really good experience.

    Mr Tibble Lewes Road

  • Our local office manager, Sharon Wareham was warm and friendly and kept us up to date at all times.

    Mr Hope The Brow

  • Quality advice about when and how to sell, which was spot on. Thank you.

    Miss Coleman Buller Road

  • It was a long, drawn out process that the people at Maslen helped me through, without the impression that it was a chore. So extremely professional...

    Mr McLagan Lewes Road

  • Paula is amazing!

    Ms Aspnall Gladstone Place

  • Very helpful and patient team.

    Mrs Shea Selborne Place

  • The Woodingdean team were very friendly and approachable.

    Mrs Palmer Pitt Gardens

  • All the staff I dealt with were excellent. Sharon worked really hard to complete the sale.

    Mrs Bent Falmer Gardens

  • Service exceeded my expectations overall at all stages of the process - I wouldn't hesitate to recommend you. Thanks. 

    Ms Greene Lewes Road

  • Very good service and communication. Paula was excellent.

    Mr & Mrs Scarboro 1 Pevensey Road

  • Very pleased with the experience. I would definitely recommend you and use you again.

    Ms D Edmonds Horton Road

  • Thank you Maslens, you were all excellent!

    Miss Jasper Taunton Road

  • Paula was absolutely amazing!

    Mr & Mrs MacKay Lewes Road

  • Sold within 2 weeks for asking price "excellent!"

    Mr Grundy Bishops Road

  • Very thorough & very informative.

    Mr Michnowicz Waldegrave Road

  • Hugely impressed with Ben & his team.

    Mrs Mead Upper Lewes Road

  • Very pleased with the excellent service throughout. Professional, friendly, efficient and no hard sell. Achieved above asking price. Thank you!

    Mr Witten Lewes Road

  • Sharon, Harvey and James were all excellent - very professional. Totally opposite to what I have experienced with other agents. Maslen have restore...

    Ms Lyons Woodingdean

  • Very professional service. Thank you!

    Miss New & Mr Jackson Buller Road

  • Graham Griffin provided us, and continues to provide us, will all-round excellent advice. We trust his knowledge and expertise.

    Mr Blackmore & Ms O'Sullivan Financial Services

  • Brilliant. Well done to Sharon and the Woodingdean team.

    Ms Curtis The Ridgway

  • Outstanding service from Sharon. James is an asset to Maslens & Harvey was so helpful and polite.

    Ms Cianchetta Selhurst Road

  • Paul Wilkinson was extremely helpful and efficient. The only problem was the vendors solicitor and Paul warned me of this. A good transaction all r...

    Mr Lavender Fiveways

  • In February 2016 I was looking to buy and sell very rapidly. Competition among buyers at the time was very high. Sharon @ the Woodingdean branch sh...

    Ms Helen Lyons Woodingdean

  • Thanks David, all very professional.

    Mrs Flowers Foxdown Road

  • A very positive experience - I had most contact with the Fiveways office and they were so friendly and helpful.

    Ms A King Balfour Road

  • Cannot express our appreciation enough of all the efforts made by the Woodingdean team - they were fantastic.

    Mr John Mogridge Woodingdean

  • A good team at Woodingdean helped us through a stressful time.

    Mr & Mrs Penton Sycamore Close

  • Harvey was helpful and easily reachable at the beginning of the process and Sharon kept us informed and was always happy to help.

    Ms Murch & Ms Mapa Ticehurst Road

  • Excellent communication and advice throughout. It felt very reassuring to be in good hands.

    Mrs Brooker Buller Road

See All »