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Mortgage Glossary

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Additional Security Fee

An Additional Security Fee (Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee policy) is paid to take out an insurance policy designed to indemnify the mortgagee (lender) against loss in the event of default on the mortgage repayment. It is normally taken out by the lender at the start of the mortgage and the mortgagor (borrower) is made to pay the premium! The premium is normally calculated as a percentage (5.8% is typical) of that part of the loan above a certain percentage of the property value, normally 70 - 75%. It is charged as a lump sum to the borrower and can usually be added to the mortgage advance. It should be understood that such policies are for the protection of the lender and NOT the borrower.

Adverse Credit

This is the term used if the borrower has suffered a poor credit history. This could include previous mortgage or loan arrears, CCJ's or bankruptcy. Other terms used to describe an adverse credit mortgage include:          

  • Non status mortgage
  • Credit impaired mortgage
  • Bad credit mortgage
  • Poor credit mortgage
  • No credit check mortgage
  • No credit mortgage
  • Low credit score mortgage


Agricultural Restriction

A Freehold covenant restricting the occupancy of a property to those engaged in agriculture.


Dividing the liability for property tax, water charges etc between the seller and buyer of a property.


An interest rate reflecting the cost of a mortgage as a yearly rate. This rate is likely to be higher than the stated note rate or advertised rate on the mortgage, because it takes into account point and other credit cost. The APR allows home buyers to compare different types of mortgages based on the annual cost for each loan.

Arrangement Fee

This is a fee you pay to your Lender in return for providing you with a mortgage. Usually paid on completion or with application , these fees usually apply when you take out a fixed rate, discount or cashback mortgage.


Document transferring rights of ownership from one person to another, such as an endowment policy to the building society in connection with a mortgage. Can also be the document transferring the lease on a property.


Accident, Sickness and Unemployment insurance (See also MPPI). This insurance is designed to cover the borrowers mortgage payments in case of accident, sickness or involuntary unemployment.


Public sale of a property to the highest bidder. The purchaser must immediately sign a binding contract and should ensure that all valuations, searches etc are carried out prior to the sale.

Authority to Inspect The Register

Document from registered proprietor of land allowing another party, such as the purchasers' solicitor, to be given information from the register of a property.    

Bankers Draft

A method of payment of funds which has all the appearances of a cheque, but in effect is a cash payment.  

Base Rate Tracker

The newest type of mortgage. The interest rate is variable but set at a premium (above) the Bank of England Base Rate for a period or even the term of the mortgage. The biggest advantage of this type of mortgage is that, usually there is little or no redemption penalty. This also means that interest can be saved on the mortgage without penalty, by overpayments, and these savings can be quite significant.  

Booking Fee

Arrangement fees, are charged in connection with some mortgages, often they are charged in connection with a fixed or capped rate loans. The fee is normally non-refundable if charged upfront, some times it is added to the mortgage debt on completion.  

Bridging Loan

Short term loan to facilitate the purchase of one property prior to the sale of another releasing funds that are required for the purchase. Professional advice should always be taken prior to considering any bridging finance as it can be a solution which is worse than the problem.  

Brokers Fee

A fee charged by an intermediary or advisor for locating the most appropriate mortgage for the borrower.  


Building Societies Association. Represents interests of member societies. Address 3 Savile Row, London W1X 1AF.  

Building Societies Commission

Regulatory organisation for Building Societies. Reporting to Treasury Ministers.  

Building Society

Mutual organisation specialising in lending money to individuals to purchase or remortgage residential properties. Most of this money comes from individual saving members who are paid interest. A proportion of building society funds is also raised on the commercial money markets. Since the early eighties there has been a progressive relaxation of the rules governing the allowable sources of building society funds for lending to allow societies to compete more effectively with banks and there is now no restrictions as between the allowable proportions of 'retail' and 'wholesale funding'.  


This is a mortgage designed for people who wish to purchase a property to rent out to others. The ability to repay this type of mortgage is often based on the projected rental income from the property as opposed to the personal income of the borrowers.  

Capital and Interest

Your monthly payments are partly to pay the interest on the amount you borrowed and partly to pay the outstanding mortgage and ongoing costs involved in a mortgage.  

Capped Rate

An interest rate charged on a mortgage where there is a guarantee from the mortgagee that the rate will not exceed a certain amount usually for a set period of 1 - 5 years but which will reduce if the standard variable rate falls below the capped rate.  


A payment you receive when you take out a mortgage. It may be a fixed amount, or a percentage of the amount of the mortgage.  


County Court Judgment. A decision reached in the County Court which can be for not paying debts. If you pay off the debt, the CCJ is satisfied and a note is put on your records to say this.  

Centralised Lender

"Term used to describe a mortgage lender who does not rely on a branch network for distribution. Originally applied to specialist lenders who entered the mortgage market in the mid-late eighties (National Home Loans, The Mortgage Corporation, First Mortgage Securities, Mortgage Express and many others). This followed some de-regulation, which made the securitisation of mortgage loans a viable and potentially profitable option for lenders. (See SECURITISATION). Several building societies now have ""centralised lending"" operations which operate quite separately from their branch networks and rely exclusively on mortgages from intermediary sources."  


Any right or interest, especially a mortgage, to which a freehold or leasehold property may be held.  

Charge Certificate

The certificate issued by HM Land Registry to the mortgagee of a property with registered title. Contains three parts - charges register, property register and proprietorship register. Contains details of restrictions, mortgages and other interests. Where there is no mortgage it is called the Land Certificate and issued to the registered proprietor.  


Moveable items such as furniture or personal possessions.  

Chief Rent

A rent payable by the owner of a freehold property similar to the ground rent payable by a leaseholder. Normally only found in the North of England. Can be bought out by freeholder.  


Council of Mortgage Lenders  


When the sale and purchase of the property are finalised and you become the owner of your new house.  


Legally binding agreement for sale. In two identical parts, one signed by seller and one by purchaser. When the two parts are exchanged (exchange of contracts) both parties are committed to the transaction.  


The deed by which freehold, unregistered title changes hands. If the property is leasehold and unregistered it is called an assignment. If the title is registered the deed is called a transfer.  


The legal process involved in buying and selling property.  


A promise contained in a deed.  

Credit Scoring

This is a way in which a lenders assess whether you are a good risk to offer a mortgage to.  

Credit Search

A check the lender makes with a specialist company to find out whether you have any CCJs or a bad credit record.      

Debt Consolidation

This is a means to repay high interest debts (such as credit cards and personal loans) by incorporating them into a new mortgage to benefit from lower interest rates and lower monthly payments.  


A legal document which is 'signed, sealed and delivered' not just signed. This has special significance in law. Title to both freehold and leasehold property can only be transferred by deed.  


The amount of money you put towards buying your property.  


A solicitors expenses for example: land registry fees, searches, faxes etc.  

Discount Rate

An interest rate which is set at a set margin below standard variable rate usually for a period of 1 - 5 years. Used as an incentive to attract potential new borrowers.  

Early Redemption Charges

This a fee charged by a lender if you pay off part or all of your mortgage before the agreed date, or you move your mortgage to another lender. These charges mainly apply to fixed rate, discounted rate and cashback mortgages.  


A right, such as a right of way, which the owner of one property has over an adjoining property.  


A life assurance policy that is designed to produce a lump sum to pay off an interest-only mortgage. There are different types of endowments.  


The amount of value in a property that isn't covered by a mortgage - simply take the amount of the mortgage from the valuation to work out the equity.  

Equity release

You take a new, larger mortgage, or increase a mortgage you already have and use some or all of the extra money you have raised for home improvements, holidays and so on.  

Exchange of Contracts

This is the point at which you and the person selling the property sign and swap identical contracts that show the price and which fixtures and fittings are being sold, as well as the date on which everything is to be completed. When contracts are signed, everything becomes legally binding and if you or the seller pull out before completion you or they will have to pay compensation.  

Fixed Rate

The interest charged on a mortgage is set for an agreed period.  


Any item that is attached to a property and so legally is part of the property.  

Flexible Mortgage

This type of mortgage is relatively new. The interest rate is variable but has the big advantage that it is calculated daily instead of annually. This means that any capital repayment of the loan will affect the interest charged on the outstanding balance immediately. By making regular overpayments, the interest saved on the mortgage over the term can be quite significant. Also, most lenders will allow funds to be drawn from the account up to the original mortgage balance or even allow payment holidays.  


This is where you own the property and the land that it is on.  


This is when the person selling the property accepts an offer and then accepts a new, higher offer from another buyer before exchange of contracts.  

Gross monthly repayment

This is the amount you must repay to the lender before tax relief (see MIRAS) had been applied to the interest Charges. MIRAS was abolished in April 2000 and so there is now no tax relief applied to mortgages.  

Ground rent

A fee that a leaseholder has to pay the freeholder every year.  


This is the person liable for the repayment of a mortgage if a borrower fails to maintain their mortgage payments. This is usually a parent or close family relative.  

Home Buyers Report

This is a property survey which lies between a mortgage valuation and a full survey. It is a multi-page report which gives the buyer some piece of mind about the property they are purchasing.  

Income Multiples/multipliers

The size of the mortgage that the lender will offer is usually worked out by multiplying your income by a set figure. Most lenders will take 3 times the gross salary of the first applicant plus 1 times the income of the second applicant or 2.5 times the joint salaries. Some lenders will allow you to borrow more than this.  

Income protection insurance

This covers accident,sickness and unemployment. It provides a monthly payment if you cannot work for an extended period due to an accident,sickness or unemployment.  

Income reference

This is confirmation from your employer that you earn the amount you stated when you made your mortgage application. If you are self employed, the lender may require confirmation from your accountant.  

Interest Only Mortgage

With this type of mortgage, the borrower is only required to pay inerest on the amount borrowed during the mortgage term. It is the borrowers responsibility to ensure that enough funds will exist (either through an investment policy or other means) to repay the mortgage at the end of the term.  


  A mortgage broker or advisor who locates the most appropriate mortgage for borrowers and arranges the mortgage on their behalf.

Land Registry Fee

This is the fee paid to the Land Registry to register ownership of an area of land.  


If you buy a leasehold property, you own the property for a set number of years but not the land on which the property is built, as opposed to freehold where you own both the property and the land indefinitely.  

Licensed conveyancer

An alternative to using a solicitor. This people specialise in the legal side of buying and selling property.  

Local Authority Search

A check carried out by the buyer's solicitor to check that there are no proposed developments in the area of the property such as roads, railways or other buildings. The check also includes details of the planning permission for the property and whether the council has served any enforcement notices on the property. A fee is charged for this service.  


Loan to Value. This refers to the size of the mortgage as a percentage of the value of the property i.e. A £45,000 mortgage on a house valued at £50,000 would mean that the LTV would be 90%.  


Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee. This is insurance that covers the lender in case your property is repossessed and the lender cannot get back their money. Although this insurance protects the lender, you have to foot the bill. Some lenders will add the MIG on completion of the mortgage, whilst others will deduct the relevant amount at completion. This usually applies to high percentage mortgages of over 75% loan to value.  


Mortgage interest relief at source. This was tax relief on your mortgage but was abolished by the government with effect from April 2000.  


A loan to buy a property where you put up the property as security against you paying back the loan.  


The Company or Organisation that lends you the money.  


The person taking out the mortgage.  


Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance (See also ASU). This insurance is designed to cover the borrowers mortgage payments in case of accident, sickness or involuntary unemployment.  


Mortgage Repayment Protection. This is insurance you take through the lender when you take out the loan.  

Negative Equity

This is where the money you owe on the mortgage is greater than the value of your property.  


This is where a lender may not require income details from you or may accept some previous poor credit history i.e. CCJs or previous mortgage arrears.  


When monthly payments to a mortgage are increased so that the mortgage is repaid before the end of the mortgage term. Flexible mortgages allow overpayments to be made without penalty allowing significant interest savings over the mortgage term.  

Payment Holiday

A period during which the borrower makes no mortgage payments. Normally only available to borrowers with a flexible mortgage who have previously overpaid their monthly repayments.  


Personal Equity Plan. This is a tax free way to own shares or unit trusts. You can also use PEPs as a way to repay an interest only mortgage with some lenders.  

Personal Pension

This is a structured savings and investment plan to provide for your financial needs after you retire. You can use some or all of the proceed from a personal pension to pay of an interest only mortgage.  


A term used to describe a mortgage that can be transferred between properties when you move house.  


The process of paying off your mortgage either when moving house, remortgaging or at the end of the mortgage term.  

Redemption Penalties

Penalties levied by the lender when a borrower pays off the mortgage before the end of the agreed redemption period. These are often charged on fixed, capped or discounted rate mortgages.  

Remittance Fee

A charge made by the lender for sending mortgage funds to your solicitor just before the purchase is completed.  


The process of paying off one mortgage with the proceeds from a new mortgage using the same property as security.  


Your monthly payments are partly to repay the amount you borrowed and partly to pay the interest on the outstanding mortgage. This is also known as a capital and interest mortgage.  


The legal process by which a borrower in default under a mortgage is deprived of his or her interest in the mortgaged property. This usually involves a forced sale of the property at public auction with the proceeds of the sale being applied to the mortgage debt.  

Right to Buy

A tenant in a council owned property may purchase the property at a discount depending on length of their tenancy.  

Sealing Fee

This is a charge made by lenders when you repay a mortgage.  


These are checks carried out during the conveyancing process. These checks are made with local authorities and other official organisations to check planning proposals and other matters that may affect the value of the property and it's saleability in the future before making a loan.  

Self Certified

Normally when a borrower applies for a mortgage he or she will be asked to provide pay slips or company accounts to prove their income. If it is difficult or extremely inconvenient for you to provide this documentation, you can choose to self-certify your income. This involves signing a declaration which states your income sources and amounts. Lenders will charge you higher rates than average and offer you a more limited range of mortgages if you choose to self-certify your income, so it's not a good idea to self-certify just to avoid some paperwork.  

Shared Equity

A scheme operated by a developer where the developer retains a percentage equity of around 10% in the property. Thus the developer holds a second charge over the property. The 10% owing may be interest free or may incur interest and be added to the total amount owing on the property.  

Shared Ownership

A scheme operated by a housing association where a person owns part of the property and pays a mortgage on this, while the housing association owns the rest of the property and the person pays rent on this.  

Stamp Duty

This is a tax payable on the purchase of a property by the purchaser. For properties with a purchase price of up to £60,000, no stamp duty is charged. For properties between £60,000 and £250,000, 1% stamp duty is payable on the purchase price. For properties between £250,000 and £500,000 it is 3% and for properties over £500,000 it is 4%.  

Structural survey

This is the most wide ranging check of the outside and inside of a property. This is carried out by professional surveyor and it should pick up all but the most hidden faults.  


Standard Variable Rate. This is the interest rate that the lender charges. The rate goes up and down and your repayments are adjusted accordingly.  


The period of years over which you take the mortgage and when you have to repay it.  

Term Assurance

This is an insurance policy designed to repay the mortgage on the death of the insured person. Level Term Assurance covers a principal sum throughout the policy term and pays out the full amount on death. Reducing Term Assurance is designed to repay the balance outstanding on a repayment type mortgage upon death. Term Assurance may also pay out early on the diagnosis of a terminal illness.  

Tie-in period

As a condition of a special mortgage deal, you may have to agree to stay with the lender for a period of months or years after the deal has ended. If you move your mortgage elsewhere during this period, you may have to pay an early redemption charge.  

Title Deeds

Documents that show proof of who owns the freehold and leasehold property.  

Transfer deed

This is a document that, once you sign it, transfers the ownership of a property to you.  


This is where the property is owned outright and no mortgages or loans are secured against it.  


A simple check of the property in order to find out how much it is worth and whether it is suitable to lend a mortgage on.  

Valuation Fee

A fee paid by a borrower to cover the cost of the lender checking that the property is suitable security for the mortgage loan.  

Variable Rate

The interest rate the lender charges. it goes up and down and your repayments change accordingly.  


The person selling the property.


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For mortgages regulated by the Financial Services Authority a fee of up to 1% of the loan arranged on your behalf will be charged upon completion. Please think carefully before securing other debts against your home.

When consolidating debts the new mortgage may have a longer repayment term and therefore increase the total amount payable.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage