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Mortgage Jargon Buster.

Adverse Credit

This describes a borrower or applicant who has had credit problems in the past, such as late payment, bankruptcy or County Court Judgements.

Agreement in principle

The agreement in principle gives you an indication of the likely outcome of a loan application. It is not a formal offer, but includes a credit check with a credit reference agency and an assessment of your ability to repay the loan amount requested.
Once you have been given an agreement in principle, the lender will make further checks to validate the information you have provided. The lender will also check that the house you have chosen is suitable for it to lend against. At that stage, they will then offer you a formal offer of loan.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) or Overall Cost for Comparison

The APR shows the true, total cost of borrowing and allows you to compare offers from different lenders. The APR takes into consideration all payments, such as interest payments, repayments of capital, all costs and any fees based on projections for the payments applicable during the term of a mortgage.


The increase in the value of a property resulting from changes in market conditions.

Arrangement Fee

Most mortgage products have an Arrangement Fee. This is a fee payable on the product you've chosen to the lender and is for arranging the mortgage. The arrangement fee can often be added to the amount you want to borrow if you wish, although if it is added you will pay interest on this additional amount throughout the life of your mortgage.


The amount, usually in either months or pounds, that mortgage or other loan payments have fallen behind schedule.


Any form of property owned by a person, including currency, stocks, and enforceable claims against others.

Building Society

A mutual organisation whose purpose or principal purpose is to provide mortgages and savings accounts.

Buildings Insurance

An insurance policy which pays the cost of repair or rebuilding in the event your property is damaged or destroyed. Most mortgage lenders will require you to take out buildings insurance as a condition of their loan.

Buy To Let

A mortgage used to buy property which is to be used solely for the purposes of renting out to a third party.

Bank of England Base Rate

The Bank of England base rate is the rate of interest set by the Bank of England and is officially called the Bank of England repo rate.

Capital Repayments

A lump sum payment to reduce the loan which has the effect of reducing either the term of your mortgage or your monthly repayments.

Cap and Collar Mortgage

A capped mortgage has a maximum rate of interest that can be charged for a specified period. A collar mortgage has a minimum rate of interest that can be charged for a specified period.

Capped Rate Mortgage

A capped rate mortgage sets a maximum rate of interest that the lender can charge, but only for a specified period.

Cashback Mortgage

These are generally variable rate mortgages where the benefit of lower payments given in discounted rate mortgages are converted into a single lump sum, which you receive when you take out the mortgage. Other mortgages such as fixed or discounted can also offer a cashback.

County Court Judgment (CCJ)

The judgment will be recorded and the record will show up during any credit checks and may count against you in your mortgage application.


The completion date is the date on which your solicitor forwards the money from your lender to the solicitor of the vendor. It is the date that you become the legal owner of your new property.

Contents Insurance

Insurance that covers the contents of your home, including electrical goods, carpets, furniture and curtains.


This is the legal process of transferring ownership of a property. It includes negotiating and agreeing the contract for buying and selling your home.

Discounted Rate Mortgage

This interest rate is discounted from the lender's Standard Variable Rate for an agreed period from the start of the mortgage.

Early Repayment Charge

A charge levied on the customer in the event the amount of the loan is repaid in full or in part before a date specified in the contract.


This is the difference between the mortgage balance and value of the property.

Exchange of Contracts

This is the stage in England and Wales at which buyer and seller have legally committed themselves to the purchase deal.

Fixed Rate Mortgage

A fixed rate means that no matter what happens to interest rates, your mortgage interest rate stays the same until an agreed date. However, you should note that your monthly financial commitment could change as a result of other factors, such as changes in insurance premiums.

When the fixed rate ends, your mortgage will change to a different interest rate. This will usually be either the lenders Standard Variable Rate, or a rate which is linked to the Bank of England Base Rate. The follow-on interest rate may be higher or lower than the interest rate you've been paying. If the interest rate is higher, your payments will increase.

Flexible Mortgage

A mortgage that allows the borrower to make over or under payments, or take a payment holiday.


A term which means that you own the property and the land it is situated on.

Further Advance

A situation whereby the lender makes available another loan and under which both loans are included within first charge on the property. A further advance can be used to consolidate debt or pay for improvements to the property.


This is when another potential buyer puts in a higher offer for the property after your offer on the same property has been accepted.


A person, other than the borrower, who guarantees the mortgage repayments in the event the borrower defaults. Typically, the guarantor will be a parent or relative.

Higher Lending Charge (HLC)

A Higher Lending Charge is a premium charge which you may have to pay if you are borrowing more than 90% of the purchase price or property valuation, whichever is the lower. This charge may either be added to the loan or deducted from the advance on completion.

Homeowners' Loan

A further loan secured on your existing property for any purpose.

Household Insurance

An insurance policy that protects against loss or damage to the property caused by fire, some natural causes and acts of vandalism.

Income Multiplier

The formula used by lenders to calculate how much a prospective borrower can borrow.

Initial Disclosure Document

A document giving information about the scope and nature of the services offered by a lender in relation to its required objectives. These have now been replaced by bespoke "terms of service" documents issued by individual firms, which lay out the broker's regulated permissions, fee structure etc.

Interest Only Mortgage

A type of mortgage in which the borrower only repays the interest on the loan for the duration of its term, and repays the full loan amount at the end of the mortgage period.

Investment Vehicle

An investment vehicle is needed if taking out an interest-only mortgage. This could be an endowment policy, personal pension, or ISA.

Joint Income

The total gross income of the two borrowers in a joint mortgage.

KFI (Key Facts Illustration)

The KFI summarises all the important features of the mortgage and must be clear, fair and not misleading. It must be presented in a standard way, so you can check the cost and terms of the mortgage and compare it with other similar mortgages. The KFI is now gradually being phased out and replaced by an "ESIS" document (European Standardised Information Sheet).

Landlord's Reference

A reference given by a previous landlord, which confirms an applicant's history of payment of rent and previous conduct as a tenant.

Loan to Value (LTV)

This refers to the amount you are borrowing as a percentage of either the property value or the purchase price, whichever is the lower.


A loan made against the security of a property.


The lender in a mortgage.


The borrower in a mortgage.

Negative Equity

Where a mortgage is greater than the value of the property.

Offer of Advance

Once your mortgage application has been assessed, the lender will send you an offer of advance which will show how much they are prepared to lend and on what terms. A copy of this document will also be sent to your solicitor.


Situation where repayments are increased so that the mortgage is repaid before the end of the agreed term. Some mortgages (flexible mortgages) allow for overpayment, but others may impose early repayment charges for overpayment.

Payment Holiday

A payment holiday is an agreed period of time when you can take a break from making payments. You can take a payment holiday up to the extent of any previously accrued overpayment (when not used to reduce the mortgage term). Payment holidays require one month's notice and the lender's approval.

Payment Method

The method by which an interest-only mortgage is to be repaid at the end of its term. Typically this will be either an endowment, an ISA, or some other investment product.


In relation to a mortgage, this refers to a mortgage that can be transferred between properties when the policyholder moves home.


Moving mortgage from one lender to another without moving house.

Re-inspection Fees

A fee levied if the lender needs to re-inspect the property after the original valuation, usually to check if you've made agreed repairs.

Repayment Mortgage

Mortgage repayments on these loans represent both interest and a portion of the capital owed each month. This means that your outstanding mortgage balance will reduce year on year over the term of the loan.


The ability of a lender to hold back (retain) part of a mortgage until certain conditions are met.

Right-to-Buy mortgages

Mortgages for public sector tenants who qualify to buy their home under the Government's Right-to-Buy scheme.

Self Certification

A mortgage whereby the borrower provides confirmation themselves of their income, rather than from an employer or company accounts. Typically, the lender will charge higher rates of interest, or require a larger deposit.

Self build scheme

A package for customers who are looking to build their new home themselves.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

You currently have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax if you are moving home and your new home costs more than *£125,000*. The amount is calculated on the whole purchase price and rises as the price of your home increases. *Please be aware that if you are purchasing a second property you will be liable to pay an additional stamp duty loading* Speak to your conveyancing solicitor to find out more.*

Standard Construction

A building that has been constructed using conventional techniques and materials, for instance bricks and stone with a tiled or slate roof.

Standard Variable Rate (SVR)

This is the standard variable mortgage interest rate that is offered by the lender. It is usually the rate that accounts revert to after a fixed, capped or discount product ends.


The period of time between the start and finish of the mortgage loan.

Tracker mortgage

A Tracker mortgage is a variable rate mortgage where the interest rate is linked directly to the Bank of England Base Rate. So whenever the Bank of England Base Rate changes, the rate on the tracker mortgage are guaranteed to change by the same amount, within an agreed period.


A property that has no loans or borrowings secured on it.

Valuation Fee

Whether you are purchasing or re-mortgaging, a valuation of the property will have to be undertaken, to ensure it provides adequate security for the lender. There is a charge for this valuation and it increases with the valuation/purchase price.
There are varying levels of survey ranging from the basic one required by the lender, up to more detailed "Homebuyer" , "Building Surveys", and Structural Engineers Reports, depending on how much detail you require and the condition/age/construction type of the property.

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