Glossary of Terms

The following are legal and technical terms you may come across when buying your home:

Advance: The amount of your borrowing.

APR: An abbreviation for Annual Percentage Rate. An APR is an interest rate calculation designed to reflect the total cost of credit over the whole term of the mortgage.

Caveat Emptor: [Let the buyer beware]. At common law, a buyer was expected to look after his own interest and take the property as he found it. However, statute law now imposes implied conditions and warranties.

Collateral: Title deeds of your new property given as security against the repayment of the mortgage.

Closing Date: The date arranged for the final legal transfer of the property where the remaining balance is paid to the seller, the buyer receives the keys of the property and all legal formalities are completed.

Contract of Sale: The written legal agreement between the seller, known as the vendor, and the buyer, known as the purchaser, with regard to the property.

Conveyance: The transfer of ownership of property; the instrument effecting the transfer.

Conveyancing: The legal work done by the solicitors for the vendor and purchaser.

Deeds: Legal documents which confirm the owner’s legal entitlement to the property.

Deposit: This is normally paid in two parts. A booking deposit to the estate agent, which is refundable, and a contract deposit, both usually making up a total of 10% of the contract price.

Equity of redemption: The sum total of the mortgagor’s rights in equity; it is an equitable estate which can be assigned or mortgaged again. It exists from the moment the mortgage is made.

Exchange of Contracts: When both the purchaser and the vendor sign the contract and the deposit has been paid. It is at this moment that both parties are legally bound by the transaction.

Freehold: An interest in land being either a fee simple, a fee tail or a life estate. A fee simple is the largest estate in land where ownership is absolute.

Ground Rent: Annual rent, if demanded, paid on a leasehold title.

Indemnity Bond: An insurance bond taken out by the lender as additional security, depending on the size of the loan.

Land Registry: A government department which keeps records of ownership of most land and property in the State. The Registry of Deeds is a similar government body where unregistered properties are registered, normally in cities.

Leasehold: The interest created by a lease.

Lessee: The person to whom a lease is granted.

Lessor: The person who grants a lease.

Mortgage: A loan against the security of a property.

Mortgagee: The financial institution which lends the money secured by mortgage.

Mortgagor: The person who borrows money and whose property secures the loan.

Mortgage Protection: Life assurance cover.

Principal: The amount of the mortgage on which interest is calculated.

Redemption: Repayment of the mortgage in full.

Search: A legal investigation to establish what mortgages or judgements attach to the property being bought and/or vendor and purchaser.

Spouse: Husband or wife.

Stamp Duty: A government tax. Revenue raised by means of stamps affixed to written instruments e.g. Deed of Transfer.

Subject to Contract: Generally, an offer or acceptance made subject to contract means that no legally binding agreement or contract will exist until the formal contract has been completed by the parties. There may be a binding contract if the court can conclude that all the terms of a bargain have been agreed and set down in writing.

Transfer: A deed which transfers ownership of a property.

Private Treaty Contract: A contract that is negotiated outside an auction.

Useful Information: