Property Terms Explained

Just like many professional, estate agents use a number of industry terms that can initially sound meaningless. We have written below a few of the most common ones, which will be changed and updated whenever a new piece of lingo comes on the market.



Nice and simple, this is you…the person trying to sell a property.



The common misconception is that an estate agent is the portal. This isn’t the case.

A portal is the website estate agents use to advertise your property, such as Rightmove, Zoopla and PrimeLocation.


Sold Subject to Contract

It is highly likely you will see this term on portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla, and it simply means there is an accepted offer on the property and is effectively off the market.

Whilst the relevant paperwork has been completed there is a still a chance that the sale could fall through for various reasons. You are also still able to make an offer on the property, and legally the estate agent must put this offer forward to the vendor, although it is highly unlikely a they will accept a new offer and begin the entire sales process again.


Exchanging The Contracts

This is where the solicitors for the vendor and the buyer send over the final documentation to each other for signing. All searches have been completed, the funds are in place and the sale is ready to proceed.

This is a very exciting time as once the contracts are exchanged and signed, both parties are legally bound to the sale.


Completion Date

Your solicitor will arrange for the money to be transferred to the vendors solicitor.

This is the day you are allowed to move in to your new home. It is likely that you will collect the keys from the estate agent selling the property, and they will talk you through anything you may need to know (which key is for which door etc).

If you are in a chain, you may need to wait for the other vendors and buyers to complete before you are able to move in.

Finding out the position (buying another home, or moving to rented accommodation etc) of the vendor during the first viewing is a great idea, as it will give you an idea of how many people may be in the chain.



When the vendor has accepted an offer on their property, and began the sales process with a potential buyer, only to then be offered a higher price from another buyer which they accept.

This then cuts out the initial buyer and the progression of that sale stops.

This can be heart-breaking for the initial buyer, and although it is not the most pleasant thing to happen… it occurs frequently in areas with low stock levels.


A Chain

This term relates to how many people are involved in the successful completion of your purchase/sale. You may be buying from one person, who is in turn buying from another…thus creating a link in the chain.

There can be numerous people in the chain, each depending on the other to successfully complete. A good estate agent always knows just where each person is at in the sales process and chain to ensure completion on a specific date.


Cash Buyer

A nice easy one. This means the buyer doesn’t need a mortgage to buy your property, they have the funds ready in an account to make the transaction. This makes them very desirable to vendors as they can often complete faster than when they are relying on banks and mortgage confirmations.

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