Jargon Buster



(A unit of measurement of an area of land)

1 Acre = 0.404686 Hectares
1 Hectare = 2.471 Acres

3 Acres = 1.214 Hectares (i.e. 3 X 0.404686)
2.5 Hectares = 6.18 Acres (i.e. 2.5 X 2.471)

Advised Market Value (AMV)

"advised market value", in relation to property valued for sale by a licensee (estate agent), means the licensee's reasonable estimate, at the time of such valuation-
(a) of the amount that would be paid by a willing buyer in an arm's length transaction after proper marketing where both parties act knowledgeably, prudently and without compulsion, or 
(b) of the relevant price range within which would fall the amount that would be paid by a willing buyer in an arm's length transaction after proper marketing where both parties act knowledgeably, prudently and without compulsion.

Annual returns

This usually relates to one's tax returns to the Revenue Commissioners.


Fixed payments paid at regular intervals over a specified period. These are usually made after a period of investment which has helped create or purchase the annuity.


An estimate of the price achievable for a property for marketing purposes, which is not a Valuation.


An increase in value in a property.

Approval in principle

This is the first document you will receive from your mortgage lender and it will outline how much you can borrow. The approval will last from four to six months depending on the lender.

APR (annual percentage rate)

This is the effective interest rate that would be paid on a loan, taking into account one time fees and standardising the way the rate is expressed. It amounts to the total cost of credit to the consumer expressed as an annual percentage of the amount of credit granted and is likely to differ from the rate advertised by the lender to give a rate which is a truer reflection on the actual cost to the consumer.

Arrangement fee

A fee sometimes charged by a lender on the drawdown of a mortgage.

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This is the total of late or overdue payments for a mortgage or any other regular payment.

Asking price

The initial starting price at which a vendor is looking to sell their property.


The procedure by which a property is purchased through competitive bidding on the open market.
Remember that if you bid at auction and are successful you are legally bound to buy the property.

Auctioneer / Estate Agent

Is an individual or an organisation who on their own behalf or on behalf of their organisation holds a license to practice as same under the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011. They are also referred to as a Property Service Provider.

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Banker’s draft

This is an unreturnable cheque guaranteed by your financial institution to use as a form of guaranteed payment.

Best and Final Offer Procedure

This is usually a process used by estate agents to create an event that crystalises all interested parties highest offers for a property to be submitted by a particular time, on a particular day.


An offer of a specific amount of money in exchange for a property, as in an auction.


A purchasing process where offers from different parties are communicated to the vendor for their consideration.

Booking deposit

A deposit, paid usually to the vendors estate agent, or in the case of the purchase of a home in a new development it could also be paid to the developer. This is to demonstrate good faith on behalf of the purchaser in an intended purchase of a property. The deposit remains refundable to the purchaser until such time as legal relations arise when and if the contracts are signed but if this should not happen then the deposit is refundable.

Bridging loan

This is a short term loan sometime given by a lender to cover the period before a mortgage is drawn down. A bridging loan is often used to facilitate the purchase of a new property pending the sale of an existing property.


The word Broker in property is usually associated with mortgage intermediaries who advise purchasers on which products they should choose to help finance a property or protect their borrowings through life assurance. The Broker usually receives a commission from the product provider.


When you itemise all your outgoings to ensure that they are not greater than your income.

Buy to let

Usually an investment property one buys to rent out to a tenant.

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In the context of property you own it is the value you hold in the property net of the mortgage or alternatively, when purchasing a property, it is the equity you put into the property which when combined with the mortgage pays for the property.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

This is a tax charged on the capital gain (profit) made on the disposal of any asset. The current standard rate of CGT is 30%, which is normally applicable having adjusted the gain for an annual individual Capital Gains Tax allowance and indexation, if appropriate. It is payable by the person making the disposal. The gain/profit (the difference between the price you paid for the asset and the price you sold it for) is considered taxable income. Gains on the disposal of a property owned by you (house or apartment), which was occupied by you or by a dependent relative as a sole or main residence is specifically exempt from CGT. Restrictions may apply where the property was not fully occupied as a main residence throughout the period of ownership or where the sale price reflects development value.

In Budget 2012, a new incentive relief from CGT was introduced for the first seven years of ownership for properties bought between Budget night and the end of 2013, where the property is held for more than seven years. The relief will apply to all property, whether residential or non-residential. The relief will not apply if a property is sold within 7 years of its acquisition. If it is sold more than 7 years after acquisition and a gain is made on the sale, relief will be given for the initial 7-year holding period. For example, if the property was bought in January 2012 and sold in January 2022, the property would have been held for 10 years, so 7/10 of any gain will be relieved from CGT and 3/10 is taxable.

We advise that Tax Advice be sought from an appropriate professional Tax Advisor or Accountant in regard to matters of Tax.


A warning or caution; also, a cautionary qualification or explanation to prevent misunderstanding.

Caveat Emptor

This is the Latin for 'let the buyer beware'.

When buying a property the prospective purchaser should be aware that the law does not offer them blanket protection as to the faults of the property, and therefore the purchaser needs to satisfy themselves, as to what if any the faults might be.

One's solicitor is best to advise you as to what the precise law in this area is and any measures you might wish to take in order to protect your interests.

Sherry FitzGerald Group companies and its employees, and hopefully the vast majority of estate agents in Ireland, operate the highest ethical standards at all times in dealing with customers. However, prospective purchasers should be aware that an estate agent is legally bound to secure the best price for their client, the vendor, but is limited by the law in terms of the degree of disclosure they can offer a prospective purchaser.

An estate agent is therefore not a "broker" between the parties, and any agent who breaches the restrictions placed on them by the law in protecting their client interest under the Caveat Emptor rule could be found legally liable for any loss arising to the vendor by failing to protect their client's interests. Therefore, the law in relation to consumer protection regarding property purchase is not necessarily what a modern consumer might expect it to be.

Client Account

Means a current or deposit account in the name of an estate agent in the title of which the word client appears and which is kept with a Bank.

Client Monies

Means moneys received by a licensee (estate agent), in the course of the provision of a property service, from, for or on the account of a client other than moneys owed to the licensee (estate agent) by the client in respect of the provision of such property service.

Closing Date

This is the date specified in the contract for the sale or purchase of property in which both the vendor and purchaser are obliged to complete the sale by paying the balance of the monies due and handing over ownership and possession of the property.


Property or other assets which are acceptable to a financial institution as security for a loan.

Client includes (a) the vendor or landlord of a property; (b) the personal representative of a client and a beneficiary under a will, intestacy or trust, (c) a person who contracts and estate agent to provide a property service, (d) a person to whom a refund of a deposit is due.


This is when all the legal documents between purchaser and vendor have been signed and full ownership and occupation has been legally transferred to the purchaser.

Conditions of Sale

This is a term interchangeable with the contract for sale and having the same meaning being namely the contract prepared by the vendor's solicitor setting out a legal description of the property to be sold, an indication as to how the vendor has come to own the property, and any special conditions relating to the sale.

Contents insurance

Insurance which protects you against the loss or damage of the contents of your property.


This is an agreement between the buyer and seller of a property.

Contract Deposit

Money paid when contracts are exchanged, usually 10% of the purchase price. In the event of a Booking Deposit having been already paid it is normal that a balancing payment is made to increase the sum to 10%.


This describes the legal process whereby the title in property is transferred from the vendor to the purchaser so as to ensure that the purchaser obtains a good and marketable title together with all the rights that he needs to own and occupy the property.


means a person who through an estate agent:
(a) is purchasing, or renting property from a client of an estate agent;
(b) has purchased, or rented property from a client of an estate agent, or
(c) has expressed an interest in purchasing, or renting a property from a client of an estate agent.

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Data Protection

Data Protection refers to your fundamental right to privacy, under relevant legislation, and gives you access to data held about yourself and an entitlement to correct any inaccuracies. It imposes obligations on those who keep that data about you and requires them to comply with the data protection principles.


A legal document that shows who owns the property.

Deferred Payment

This is what it states - but in the context of property, it can often mean taking an agreed short break from paying your mortgage often at a time of high or one off expenditure.


These are expenses usually incurred by your solicitor while handling a conveyance on your behalf.

Discounted Variable Interest Rate

This is an introductory interest rate that is lower than the normal variable rate and is for a set period of time. Financial institutions use Discounted Variable Rates to encourage purchasers to borrow with their particular institution.

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Endowment Mortgage

A mortgage that has a parallel term assurance product. This means you pay interest monthly on the capital borrowed from the building society as well as a monthly premium to a life assurance company that they invest on your behalf which is designed to give you a lump sum at the end of a given period (say 20 years) which is intended to then pay off the capital sum to the mortgage provider. With an endowment policy there are usually no guarantees given and one therefore takes a risk on the performance of how the money is invested by the life assurance company for the period.

Energy Rating Certificate (BER)

You are now required by law to have a Buildings Energy Rating (BER) Certificate for your property when it comes to the market.  The aim is to make the energy performance of a building transparent and available to potential purchasers or tenants.  This process will involve a BER assessor completing an appraisal of the property. The assessor will then submit all the relevant data to Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) who issue a certificate similar to the energy ratings on domestic electrical appliances, i.e. The range is from A to G depending on energy efficiency.


In the context of property you own it is the value you hold in the property net of the mortgage or alternatively, when purchasing a property, it is the capital you put into the property which when combined with the mortgage pays for the property.

Exchange contracts

This phrase is used to describe the moment when legal relations arise between the seller and the buyer of property and defines the crystallisation of legal relations between them. The contracts are signed by the purchaser in duplicate, then passed over to be counter signed by the vendor. The "exchange" takes place when the vendor returns back a signed contract back to the purchaser creating a binding situation between them.

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Fixed Rate

This is an interest rate charged at a fixed rate for a specified period of time (e.g., two or three years). This is something like an insurance policy protecting a borrower during the period from fluctuation in interest rates. It is important when taking out a fixed rate mortgage that the borrower reads the small print and is aware if there are any penalties charged in the event of early repayment of the mortgage.

Fixtures and Fittings

This describes items of contents which a vendor may include with the sale of the property. Usually, items which are fastened to the property are regarded as going with the property. It is important for the vendor to state precisely what is or is not included. Any doubt will usually be determined by whether or not the particular fixtures are regarded as being securely attached to the property.

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Gazumping is when the vendor of a property accepts an offer from one prospective purchaser, only to change their mind and then accept a higher offer from an alternative prospective purchaser.

Sherry FitzGerald's policy is to advise their clients to honour the spirit of the transaction that they have freely entered into. It should be noted however, that Sherry FitzGerald is obliged legally to communicate all offers we receive to our client for their perusal.

The Auctioneering Estate Agency Review Group which was set up by the Minister for Justice in 2005, had in its final report the following to say about gazumping - "Much of the comment in the media concerning gazumping misunderstands the cause of the problem. Many buyers wrongly believe they have secured a one way option, to buy the property once their offer has been accepted i.e. they believe they can withdraw, but not accept that the same right attaches to the seller".

The Report also advised that auctioneers are legally obliged to pass on all reasonable offers to the seller regardless of when the offer is received provided contracts have not been signed by both parties and exchanged. The Group also said it was aware of various calls for government action to outlaw or prohibit gazumping and gazundering (see below). It reported that barring any change to the law of contract any such ideas were unrealistic.

In a separate report on the issue the Law Reform Commission did not advise that the law should be changed, and after extensive examination concluded the only practical steps should be to inform the public about what the law is and in that way protect them.


Gazundering is the opposite of gazumping. It is when the buyer after agreeing a price with a vendor, then reduces their offer at a later point, when they perceive that the market may have moved or the vendor of the property is under some pressure to sell. The same principles that are outlined above apply to both gazumping and gazundering.

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(see Acreage)


This is a guarantee scheme offered to purchasers of new homes by the construction industry federation. It lasts for ten years and covers major structural defects but expressly excludes wear and tear and any damage caused to the property by the negligence of the occupier.

Housing Index

This is an indices that measures house price movement. The Department of Environment were historically the only organisation either public or private in Ireland, that published any data on house prices up to 1992, when Sherry FitzGerald launched a Dublin housing price index.

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Interest Only

This usually applies to a mortgage where the borrower simply pays interest on the outstanding capital amount outstanding on the mortgage.

Interest Rate on a Contract

This is the rate described at the front of the contract which a vendor will seek to impose on a purchaser who does not complete the purchase by the closing date specified. It can only be charged in circumstances where the vendor himself is "ready, able and willing" to complete. It is meant to be "penal" and is calculated on the balance of the purchase monies remaining unpaid for the period between the closing date (as specified) and the date of actual completion of the sale running from day to day.


In connection with property - insurance policies help protect one's property against fire, flood damage, theft etc. One must have an insurance policy in place before a mortgage is drawn down. Equally, it is normal policy for the lender to have their interest noted on the policy.

Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers

This is a national body representing many Auctioneers and Valuers throughout Ireland.


This is taken to refer to a list of contents provided to a tenant who is renting a residential property. It is usually verified by the tenant who gives a signed copy to the landlord. Some agents go as far as to include photographs of the contents of a property to illustrate the condition of furniture, rooms etc. It can help to avoid disputes where items go missing or are damaged in due course.

Investment Property

This is normally used to describe a building that is let out to a tenant / tenants.

Irish Auctioneers and Valuers Institute

A national professional body representing Auctioneers and Estate Agents in Ireland and they have merged with the Society of Chartered Surveyors (SCS) and are known as the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.

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Land Registry

This is the state authority which used to be responsible for the registration of certain types of title in Ireland. It has recently been replaced by the Property Registration Authority which is now the registration authority in relation to all property registration in Ireland and covers the two types of title in this country namely "registered" title and "unregistered" title.


Refers to a written contract between a landlord and a tenant, which sets out the conditions by which both parties agree to the renting of a property. It sets out the names of the parties, the premises being rented, the duration of the lease, the rent and how it is to be paid, the deposit arrangements, and any special conditions that may apply e.g. no smoking rule, no pets, etc.


This is the term used to describe a person who takes a lease from a lessor or landlord for a term of years subject to certain covenants and conditions.


This is the term used to describe a land owner who leases out his land to a lessee for a term of years subject to certain covenants and conditions.

Life Assurance

Is a policy that one puts in place with an assurance company that in the event of one's death, the company will pay out a lump sum. In the area of property these policies are normally put in place to clear an outstanding mortgage in the event of one's death during the period of the mortgage.

Loan Offer

This is the formal letter one receives from a lender outlining the terms and conditions attached to their loan / mortgage offer.

Loan to Value Rate

Banks now offer loan to value variable and fixed rates to borrowers. These rates are determined by the loan as a value of the percentage of your property. The lower the loan to value the lower the rate.

Loan To Value Ratio (LTV)

A calculation which compares the size of your mortgage to the value of your house.

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Maintenance/Service Charge

Annual charge payable to a Management Company to administer, maintain and repair the communal areas of an apartment complex or a housing development that has not been taken in charge by a Local Authority.

Measurement of Properties

The standard to be followed for the measurement of properties is set by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland in the report "Measuring Practice Guidance Notes". This report sets out the measurement Application for different types of property.

It is important that before purchasing your property you read the small print at the end of the estate agent's brochure. It would be our strong advice that having purchased and then ordering say floor coverings like carpets, one should request the carpet supplier to measure the property themselves before placing the order for such carpets, rather than relying on a property brochure's measurements, which by definition tend to be approximate. It is Sherry FitzGerald Group standard policy to advise all intending prospective purchasers to verify floor / site areas in advance, by undertaking their own due diligence if they so wish.

Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing

Since the 8th March 2005 Auctioneers and Estate Agents are officially "designated bodies". In effect this means that individuals and companies engaged in providing such services must comply with the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) 2010.

Mortgage Protection

An insurance policy which covers your mortgage repayments if you can't repay same, due to illness or redundancy or any other specified circumstances.

Mortgage Term

The agreed duration in terms of years for the repayment of a mortgage.


Refers to the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011. This is an Act to amend the law relating to the ownership and management of the common areas of multi-unit developments and to facilitate the fair, efficient and effection management of bodies responsible for the management of such common areas, and to provide for related matters.

Multi-Unit Development

A "multi-unit development" means a building or buildings comprising a unit or units and that -
(a) as respects such units it is intended that amenities, facilities and services are to be shared, and
(b) the development contains not less than 5 residential units

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This is the amount that one submits in terms of a price that one is prepared to pay for a property. If there are any conditions attaching to your offer, you should make them crystal clear to the estate agent acting for the vendor.


An OMC refers to an "owners' management company" means, a company established for the purposes of becoming the owner of the common areas of a multi-unit development and the management, maintenance and repair of such areas and which is a company registered under the Companies Acts.

Open Viewing

A period of time during which a property for sale or rent is held open for public viewing.

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In terms of property, a penalty might be used to define an additional charge on your mortgage if you for instance break a fixed interest rate.

Pre '63

This is a term used to describe residential investment properties let in multiple units and converted into such prior to the operation of the Local Government Planning and Development Act 1963. This term "Pre 63" is slightly misleading as the operational date of the Act was actually in October 1964. One's solicitor can advise one more fully as to the detail concerning the legal status of a Pre '63 property which is normally evidenced by a statutory declaration in writing by the vendor, or other informed party who own the property at the operative date of thisAct.


In terms of property this is the total amount of money one borrows on a mortgage to purchase a property.

Private Residential Tenancies Board

It was established as a statutory body in 2004 with the responsibility for the overseeing of all residential tenancies in the future to include registration of all leases and the first port of call for the resolution of all disputes between landlords and tenants. By law all tenancies must be registered with the PRTB and failure to do so leaves the landlord liable to penalties as well the forfeiture of the certain tax allowances that can be claimed against the rent.

Private Treaty Sale

This is the most commonly used property sale type. It is where an Asking Price is quoted for the property for sale by the agent. Potential purchasers then place offers on that property. Once all offers are received the property is sale agreed to the preferred purchaser on payment of a fully refundable deposit. This deposit is refundable until such a time as contracts are then signed. Under the Property Services (Regulation) Act, 2011 this is now referred to as “the Sale of Land other than by Auction”.

Property Services Regulatory Authority

The Minister for Justice and Equality, by order under the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011, established the Property Services Regulatory Authority on a statutory basis on 3 April 2012.

The main function of the Authority is to control and regulate Property Services Providers (i.e. Auctioneers/Estate Agents, Letting Agents and management Agents) this includes the licensing of all such services providers, the establishment of a complaints investigation and redress system for consumers, the setting and enforcement of standards in the provision of property services, the administration of client accounts, the establishment and maintenance of a compensation fund and the creation of a residential and commercial property registers.

On 6th July 2012 the Authority introduced a new licensing system for all Property Services Providers and the new Residential Property Prices Register on the 30th September 2012.

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Redemption Figure

In terms of property this is the capital amount outstanding that has to be paid back to a financial institution in order to clear an outstanding mortgage.

Registered Title

This is the term used to describe title which was formerly registered in the Land Registry but is now registered with the Property Registration Authority following the merger of the Land Registry with the Registry of Deeds. In simple terms agricultural land will generally speaking be registered title. Most urban properties and in particular older properties will generally be "unregistered" title. The essential difference between the two is that with the registered title one essentially is dealing with one document of title - namely the Land Certificate. One does not have to look behind the Land Certificate to trace the previous owners. With an "unregistered" title a vendor's solicitor offers a number of documents of title tracing back the ownership of the particular property for up to forty years so that a chain of ownership is disclosed and a purchasers solicitor is entitled to be satisfied as to it's completeness.

Reserve Price

This is the minimum price at an auction that a vendor has decided to sell at having consulted with their estate agent. For understandable tactical reasons, this decision by the vendor is not made public until the auctioneer at the auction decides to declare that the property is "on the market".

Residential Property Price Register

The Residential Property Price Register is produced by the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) pursuant to section 86 of the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011. It includes Date of Sale, Price and Address of all residential properties purchased in Ireland since the 1st January 2010, as declared to the Revenue Commissioners for stamp duty purposes.

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Sale Agreed

The status of a property for sale, when the vendor has verbally accepted an offer from a buyer and the buyer has paid a deposit, but contracts have not yet been exchanged.

Section 23

Section 23 relief is a tax relief that applies to rented residential property in a tax incentive area or for certain types of buildings. It is available to a person who has incurred expenditure in the purchase, construction, conversion or refurbishment of a qualifying property and who lets the property, having complied with certain conditions. Relief for expenditure incurred can be set against the rent received from that property and other Irish rental income so that one's taxable income is reduced.

Section 50

Section 50 relief acts in a similar manner to section 23 above, but specifically relates to expenditure on qualifying student accommodation. As with section 23 relief above, qualifying expenditure had to take place before 31 July 2006.

Snag List

In purchasing a new home this is a list of any defects or items that require finishing that is prepared by a purchaser's surveyor in advance of closing.

Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland

The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland is the leading professional body for construction, land and property professionals in Ireland.

With over 4,000 members, the Society is committed to enhancing, advancing and enforcing professional standards in the construction, land and property sectors in Ireland.

The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland was established as a result of a merger between the Society of Chartered Surveyors (SCS) and the Irish Auctioneers & Valuers Institute (IAVI).

Square Footage

To convert square feet to square metres - multiply the sq. feet by 0.0929 to get the square metres e.g., 2,000 sq. feet = 186 sq. m. approximately.

Square Metres

To convert square metres to square feet - multiply the sq. metres by 10.76 to get the square footage e.g., 188 sq. metres approximately = 2,025 sq. ft.

Stamp Duty

A government tax you add to the purchasing price when you buy a residential or commercial property.

Residential property

The following rates of stamp duty apply to all residential property: 
Property Value Rate
Up to €1,000,000 1%
Balance 2%

Non-residential property

Since 7 December 2011 there is a single rate of 2% on all non-residential property.

Standard Variable Rate

A rate of interest that can go up or down at the financial institution's discretion not necessarily shadowing the movement in the European Central Bank (ECB) interest rates.

Sub Letting

Refers to the situation where an existing tenant agrees to sublet some of the property to a third party. It is normally a requirement that the landlord has to give their permission to the creation of a subletting agreement and in any event the subletting agreement would always be subject to the conditions of the master lease agreement for the property.

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A person who rents a property. An alternative description for a tenant is a lessee.


A sale or letting process usually conducted formally i.e. publicly that requires a prospective purchaser or prospective lessee to submit a bid for the subject property in accordance with parameters that have been set down by the vendor's or lessor's solicitor in the tender document. When submitting a tender the party is required to enclose a deposit cheque. Usually, there is a period after the receipt of tenders, which is often 14 days for the vendor or lessor to consider the tenders submitted. In the event the vendor or lessor decides to accept a particular tender, the bidder whose tender is accepted is bound by the law of contract and cannot change their mind.

Tracker Mortgage

A tracker mortgage is a form of the mortgage tied to the base interest rate as set by the European Central Bank (ECB) with an additional specified margin (often 0.75% to 1.0%) to cover the risk and administration costs that the lending institution incur. This product is currently no longer available on the market.

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Under offer

The status of a property for sale, when the vendor has verbally accepted an offer from a buyer but contracts have not yet been exchanged.

Unregistered Title

This the term used to describe property which is not registered title. The essential difference is that with registered title the vendor's name is recorded in a Land Certificate and a purchaser does not have to trace back the previous owners as the persons whose name appears as owner is regarded as being conclusive proof of his ownership. With an unregistered title however, a chain of ownership going back to as far as forty years is produced giving a "root" of title.

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An independent valuation of a property is usually required by a financial institution, to give them comfort as to the security being offered for the mortgage they are granting.

Variable Rate

A rate of interest that can go up or down at the financial institution's discretion not necessarily shadowing the movement in the European Central Bank (ECB) interest rates.


The vendor is a description to describe the person selling a property.


A period of time during which a property for sale or rent is held open for public viewing.

Virtual Tours

A virtual tour is a 360 degree photographic journey through a property on a website.

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A reserve price is agreed by a seller and their auctioneer before their property goes to auction. The property will only be sold if the reserve price is reached. If the agreed reserve price is not achieved then the property is usually withdrawn from auction. Afterwards the auctioneer usually approaches the highest bidder to see if they can agree a purchase price.

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Income from a property calculated as a percentage of its value i.e. it is one's return on the value of one's investment usually net of purchasing costs i.e. net yield. There are various terms applied in relation to yields, each with their own underlying assumptions which should be understood if relying upon a quoted yield.

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