A-Z property investment jargon

  • A. Agreement in principle

    The mortgage amount that a lender would “in principle” be able to offer a buyer. Decision made based on a credit search and basic personal information.

  • C. Capital gain

    An increase in the value of a capital asset (in this case, property), that gives it a higher value than the original purchase price.

  • E. Equity

    The value of a property, minus the amount of money owed for said property. If you owe £100,000 for a property that’s valued at £500,000, you have £400,000 equity.

  • G. Ground rent

    Most leasehold properties will be required to pay ground rent to the freeholder, the amount of which can vary widely and is either fixed or can rise incrementally over time.

  • I. Interest-only mortgage

    A mortgage in which the borrower only pays interest on the amount borrowed, meaning the original amount borrowed must then be paid off at the end of the term. A popular choice among buy-to-let investors.

  • K. Know your customer

    The process of a company verifying the identity of its customers and clients to assess suitability as well as risks from a legal standpoint.

  • M. Mortgage redemption figure

    The figure required to repay the outstanding capital and interest of a mortgage.

  • O. Off-plan property

    To buy off-plan is to secure a property before it has been built, sometimes during the planning stage. It allows investors to secure a property with a relatively small deposit.

  • Q. Quantity surveyor

    Professional who manages all costs relating to building projects. They aim to minimise the costs of a project and increase value for money, while still achieving the required standards and quality.

  • S. Stamp duty land tax (SDLT)

    The tax payable when purchasing a property above a set threshold (with an additional 3% surcharge for second properties). There are currently a number of exceptions and limitations in place, notably for first-time buyers.

  • U. Under offer

    The term used when a sale is agreed or sold subject to contract but contracts haven’t been exchanged yet.

  • W. Withdrawal

    Term used when the buyer the withdraws their offer. Usually occurs before searches have taken place to limit money lost.

  • Y. Yield

    The annual return you are going to make on an investment. Calculated by dividing the annual rental income by the value of the property, expressed as a percentage

  • B. Below market value

    All properties must be valued by a surveyor when a purchase is going through, and where a property is cheaper than comparable ones nearby it is considered below market value.

  • D. Diversification

    An investment strategy involving mixing the amount, values and types of investments within a portfolio. This spreads the risks and minimises losses.

  • F. Flipping property

    This is when a property is bought and sold within a relatively short space of time for a profit, a strategy sometimes used by off-plan investors who sell before construction is completed.

  • H. HMO – House in multiple occupation

    A house being occupied by more than two persons, not of the same family, with shared facilities. This property investment type typically generates high yields and low void periods.

  • J. Joint ownership

    Term used when more than one person owns a property. There are lots of different ways to jointly purchase including joint tenants and tenants in common.

  • L. Land registry

    Government department that records the owners of land and under what conditions, with information on title registers, title plans, leases and deeds.

  • N. Net return

    Income from your investment once all expenses from the gross income are deducted.

  • P. Property portfolio

    A collection of property investments owned by an individual, group or company, normally referred to as portfolio landlords.

  • R. Reservation fee

    The payment made to secure a property and take it off the market. Often required when investing in a new or off-plan property. This can be non-refundable, but forms part of the purchase price.

  • T. Tenant type

    Students, young professionals, families, The Silver Generation. Segments of potential tenants with varying requirements, that offer different benefits and drawbacks to the investor.

  • V. Valuation

    Valuations can be carried out by estate agents, mortgage lenders and surveying companies such as RICS, to determine how much a property is worth.

  • X. Generation X

    Generation X is the population born after baby boomers and before Generation Y, typically considered as those born between mid 1960s and early 1980s.

  • Z. Zero ownership fees

    Hotel investment opportunities are typically free of ownership fees such as service charge, ground rent, management fees or stamp duty. However, terms such ‘zero ownership fees’ may vary in definition depending on the developer, so always confirm fees before going through with an investment.