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New Build Terminology: A Guide

New builds are an increasingly attractive option for those who are looking to relocate or invest in their first property. To help you prepare for this important purchase, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the terminology that you’re likely to come across when buying a new build home.

General Terms


Often used as a more formal alternative to ‘seller’ to describe the individual who has put the property up for sale.


A legal document that will set out the main terms of agreement between the vendor and the purchaser. It will typically contain details such as the names and addresses of each party, and the price of the transaction. Both the vendor and the purchaser will be required to sign their own copy of the contract ready for exchange.


This refers to a new build property that has not been built yet.


An abbreviation used to describe an Independent Financial Advisor.


This refers to an independent professional body (or bodies) who are tasked with investigating grievances on behalf of customers. They may take on cases involving estate agents, solicitors or insurance companies.

The Process

Reservation Fee

This is a payment that is made at the point that the property is taken off the market. It will then be deducted from the exchange balance.


This is the part of the purchase price – the lump sum – that is paid by the buyer on exchange of contracts.

Memorandum of Sale/Sales Letters

Sometimes referred to as a Notification of Sale, this is a document which records the transaction between the buyer and the vendor. It will contain information on the price of the property, the personal details of both parties, and contact details for their separate lawyers. It may also specify any special conditions of sale which have been negotiated – for example, some buyers or vendors may request that they are ready to exchange by a certain date). The Memorandum of Sale is not a legally-binding agreement.


This refers to the process whereby checks will be carried out on local council records to obtain information on any relevant planning applications and restrictions that may affect the property.

Subject to Contract

This term is often used to suggest that the property is in the process of being sold, but agreements are not yet legally binding.

Exchange of Contracts

This refers to the point at which copies of signed contracts from both parties are swapped by solicitors. The buyer’s deposit will also be handed over. Once the vendor and the buyer have exchanged, the contract is binding by law and neither of these individuals can back out of the agreement without facing financial consequences.

Completion Date

On this day, the legal transaction will be finalised and all documents and funds will have been distributed. Normally, the vendor’s solicitor will ask the estate agent to release the keys to the buyer at this time, too. In the case of new builds, ‘short stop’ and ‘long stop’ dates may also be specified; the developer will expect to have finished all building works by the short stop date, but MUST have completed the build by the long stop date.

Requisition on Title

This refers to any enquiry that relates to the completion agreements.

The Property

Land Registry

This refers to the government department which records ownership of the land and any conditions pertaining to it.


This is an initial inspection of the property that is carried out by a professional, qualified surveyor. Depending on the type and condition of the property, the buyer may instruct the surveyor to carry out either:
  • A valuation report – this is mainly completed for the benefit of the mortgage company.
  • A Homebuyers’ report – this provides the buyer with important information on the overall condition of the property.
  • A full structural survey – this is a more in-depth report that examines structural detail and provides more comprehensive recommendations.

Property Information Form/Fixtures, Fittings and Contents Form

Both forms need to be completed by the seller to determine what will be left behind in the property at the point of sale. They will also include details on guarantees.

Seller’s Pack

This is typically made up of a Property Information Form and a Fixtures, Fittings and Contents Form, along with the title deeds and a copy of the draft contract.


This involves the developer touching up paintwork, adjusting appliances and making good any other minor issues within the property prior to the buyer entering the property.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

This important document will contain comprehensive information on energy use and performance at the property, along with its estimated carbon dioxide emissions and fuel costs.


Mortgage Offer

A formal written offer made by a bank or building society to lend an approved amount to purchase a property.

Mortgage Redemption Figure

The amount required to repay the outstanding capital/interest of a mortgage.

Repayment Mortgage

Your monthly repayment includes part interest and part capital repayment. So long as you meet all of the payments required by the lender on time, your mortgage will gradually reduce until it is repaid in full.

Ownership and Charges

Title Deeds

Legal documents that prove ownership of land/buildings and the terms on which they are owned.

Transfer of Title

This is the document that effectively passes ownership of the property from the vendor to the buyer.

Stamp Duty or LBTT (Scotland)

This tax, which is paid by the buyer, is calculated by analysing the percentage rate that is applicable to each portion of the property’s sale price.


This will grant the buyer with ownership of the property itself, but not the land it is built on. If a property is leasehold, the owner will normally need to pay ground rent to whoever owns the freehold. Please note that leasehold terms are offered on terms of between 125-999 years.

Ground Rent

The annual fee which the leaseholder will pay to the freeholder.

Maintenance/Service Charge

A charge paid towards a freehold or leasehold property. It normally applies to apartments/flats.

Estate Charge

This is a charge which is made the upkeep of the overall site.

How to keep your best tenants

How to keep your best tenants

By Surrenden Invest | [post_published]
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Traditionally, tenants start to think about renewing their agreement around three months before it is due to expire. This always used to provide the tenant with plenty of time to find alternative accommodation if their landlord wanted to increase their rent. However, the due to the current market, which has a surplus of rental properties, some tenants are now planning their exit up to 12 months in advance. If you have long-term tenants who appear to be satisfied with their living arrangements, do not get complacent – they may be on the lookout for their next great home.

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Most tenants move to get better value, and this is especially true when they have been living in the same place for around three to five years. Many will closely follow the rate of rental inflation, and keep an eye on prices. In the least competitive areas, for every tenant looking for a new apartment or house, there are 10 to 15 suitable properties on the market. The combination of increasingly savvy tenants and a more competitive market makes it challenging for landlord agents to keep their best customers. Here are some tips to help you ensure that your tenants renew their contract with you.
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Never Neglect Your Tenants

Throughout the tenancy, be sure to reply to every concern. Most tenants leave a property because simple maintenance issues are not resolved by their landlord or agent. If they always wait four weeks to get a tap fixed, or a boiler repaired, they will soon start to look for a modern property with new fixtures and fittings. This is why a good property manager is essential for busy landlords – they’ll be able to deal with these day-to-day queries much faster.

Be Ready to Negotiate on Price

If a tenant asks for a lower rent before renewal time, think carefully before rejecting it. The chances are they have either seen something better for the same price, or something similar for less. People only move if they have good reason to, and it’s usually either down to money or the quality of the accommodation. Dropping the rent for 12 months is less costly than risking a void period.

Keep a Close Eye on the Local Market

Monitor all new properties coming to the market and consider how your tenants will view them. Invest in your property every couple of years to match current trends – be sure to update fixtures and fittings, replace flooring and ensure everything is maintained to a high standard. Because tenants rarely have permission to change anything within an apartment, many resort to moving to a new build when their accommodation gets a little tired, rather than approaching the landlord and asking them to update the property.

Trust Professional Guidance and Discuss Feedback

Market conditions can change rapidly, so always trust the advice given by your agency. Sometimes an agent will tell you to drop your rental price to attract new tenants. As mentioned already, in some areas there are more properties on the market than tenants, so competition amongst property investors is high. Agents and landlords should discuss market conditions on a regular basis to ensure there are no surprises.

Constant Property Research

Before making any decisions, carry out extensive research so that you are fully aware of market conditions. Property investors hire agents for their knowledge of market conditions, as well as their marketing expertise. Ultimately, the key to retaining the best tenants is to ensure that the property is always offered at a fair price for its age and condition. If you decide not to update it every few years, be prepared to freeze or even drop your price if you wish to avoid that dreaded void period.
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Housing Manifesto Pledges of the Leading Political Parties

All three main political parties agree that we need to build more homes in England and Wales. However, there is no agreement on how this policy is carried out.

The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats each have alternative ideas on the number of houses required, how they will be built and how much tax payers’ money should be used to support this building work. We have examined the housing policies of each of the three dominant parties in the run up to the 2017 General Election.

What are the parties promising on housing?

Because housing is a devolved issue, Westminster is only responsible for policy in England and Wales. Here we share the most important points to highlight how parties agree, and where they differ, on the delivery of housing.
Each of the main political parties have published their housing policy within their manifestos, and we encourage our readers to review each one carefully before the election, so read the ConservativeLabour and the Liberal Democrat manifestos.
The Conservative Party has pledged to enact all the reforms suggested in the Housing White Paper, which contains vital information on the private rental sector, including the construction of more affordable housing for rent, as well as an update on the ban on lettings agents’ fees and minimum tenancies.
If the latest polls are anything to go by, the result of the election is unpredictable at present. While the Conservatives are still favourites to win, there is a chance of a hung parliament, and a coalition is not an impossible outcome, although the Liberal Democrats have already said they will not form another coalition with either party.