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Paid PostAug 16, 2018

You've Finally Saved A Deposit, But Do You Actually Know What These House-Buying Terms Mean?

Can you tell your gazumping from your gazundering? Buying a house can feel like speaking a foreign language sometimes – let Halifax's Jargon Buster translate for you.

  1. First things first: What's a mortgage agreement in principle?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    It's an estimate of how much money you could borrow!

    When you apply to uni, you need your predicted grades, right? It's the same for mortgages. Your bank will give you a prediction of how much you can expect to borrow that you can show to potential sellers to get them to take you more seriously...but obvs the amount isn't guaranteed until you ACTUALLY go through the mortgage application process! Find out more here.

  2. OK, you've found a great house! But you might need a survey before you can make an offer. What's that?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    A survey gives you more information about the house!

    Before you shout "shut up and take my money", you need to make sure you're not getting a bad deal – a survey includes a valuation of the property, an assessment of its condition, plus any issues they find. It's like having a repairman round to look at your TV, who'll tell you what's wrong and how much it will cost to fix it – without trying to scam you. Find out more here.

  3. Your friend keeps talking about gazumping. Do you know what that is?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Gazumping is when the seller takes a higher offer!

    We've all been there. Your friend said they'd give you their spare ticket to that concert you've been dying to see...but then changed their mind and gave it to Susan because Susan offered to set them up with her hot brother. Bloody Susan. Find out more here.

  4. You've just gotten a call from a potential conveyancer. Who's that?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    You need a conveyancer!

    Meet your new best friend: your conveyancer. Also known as a conveyancing solicitor, this is basically someone who’s going to make your life SO MUCH EASIER. Settlement and title transfers? Sorted. Legal obligations? They’ll make sure you’re covered. Paperwork? IT’S DONE, BABES. Get yourself a good one and buying a house will go from hellish to heavenly. Find out more here.

  5. It’s mortgage time. What’s a fixed rate mortgage?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    It’s a mortgage with an interest rate that’s set at an agreed level!

    Interest rates go up; they go down. They’re like a younger sibling who said they’d be at your birthday party, but it’s midnight now and they’re nowhere to be seen. A fixed rate mortgage means that your interest rate will be kept the same for an agreed amount of time, so the amount your paying won’t change if interest rates as a whole go up (or down.) Find out more here.

  6. And what's an offset mortgage?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    An offset mortgage could save you money!

    Let's say Uncle Bob lends you a big chunk of money and decides to charge you interest. But you give ol' Uncle Bob your very expensive shoes to look after, so they decide to charge you less interest. That’s how offset mortgages work. You open a savings account with the bank you’re borrowing from, link it to an offset mortgage, and – Bob’s your uncle – they’ll help your money work harder for you by giving you a reduced interest rate based on how much you save with them. Find out more here.

  7. Uh-oh, you've gotten a message about Stamp Duty! What's that?!

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Stamp Duty is a government tax on property transactions in the UK!

    Imagine you've bought flights for a holiday abroad, but when you arrive, you ALSO have to pay a fee for a visa. And the visa fee changes depending on the size and ~fanciness~ of each country – so for instance, you pay more to go to a remote island with glamorous beaches, and if you're a first-time buyer, you might not have to pay anything at all! Find out more here.

  8. You’re sorted on Stamp Duty. But what's a Land Registry Fee?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    It's the fee you pay for changing your property's records!

    Don’t freak out; this fee isn't actually that much! A Land Registry fee is what you pay to the government to update your name as the owner of the property. Like a birth certificate you have to pay an admin fee for, before becoming an exhausted but proud homeowner. Find out more.

  9. Your lawyer’s
    called about “completion”. What does that mean?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    YOU'RE DONE!

    Completion is the end. It’s the day you exchange contracts and get the keys. It’s the popping of champagne. It’s the long sigh of relief and putting your feet up for the first time in forever. It’s moving boxes and having your friends and family round to help you unpack. Congratulations – you’ve done it! You’ve bought a house! Find out more here.

Feel like you need to brush up on your house-buying speak? Use Halifax's Jargon Buster to make things clear!

All imagery courtesy of Getty / iStock