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VMH’s Property Jargon Buster

Solicitors and Estate Agents can easily get carried away with “shop talk”, leaving buyers and sellers confused.   VMH’s Property Jargon Buster breaks down the waffle, making it clear and simple for everyone.  



Here are 10 common phrases used day-to-day in the property industry and what they really mean.

Conveyancing Solicitor

You must appoint a Scottish based solicitor to act on your behalf when buying or selling a property in Scotland. This is where a conveyancing solicitor steps in. So what is a conveyancing solicitor?

A conveyancing solicitor is a qualified residential solicitor (or paralegal) who deals with the legal aspects of buying and selling a property. They will offer advice on the current market and guide you on how to pursue a property. They’ll tie up the legal odds & ends including reviewing title deeds, preparing offers and transferring ownership of the property.

Home Report Survey

Carried out by a qualified, chartered surveyor on behalf of the seller, the report includes:

  1. A Single Survey: An assessment of the overall condition of the property plus the valuation.
  2. Energy Performance Certificate:  A report on the property’s energy efficiency including ways in which it could be improved.
  3. Property Questionnaire: Completed by the seller, it provides details such as Council Tax Band, parking arrangements and utility suppliers.

Many surveyors will also provide a Mortgage Valuation Report (MVR) for a buyer’s lender.

Mortgage Agreement in Principal

Prepared by your lender or independent financial advisor (IFA), this report provides you with the amount, in principal, you can likely borrow. We advise you have this in place prior to offering on a property, to ensure you have sufficient funds to proceed with your purchase.

Formal Notes of Interest

It is always advisable that you ask your solicitor to formally Note Interest in a property you are keen on. This informs the seller you are considering their property and also ensures you are kept up to date with developments.

A Note of Interest does not obligate you to submit an offer, nor is the seller obligated to accept any offer.

Closing Date

When a seller has received 2 or more notes of interest in their property, they may choose to set a closing date.  All interested parties will be asked to submit their offer on a specified date & time.  You can only submit one offer at the closing date. If your offer is unsuccessful you won’t get the chance to submit a higher offer.


Your conveyancer will prepare and sign an offer on your behalf.  Included in the offer will be your full name and address, the amount you would like to offer and a suggested date of entry.  You can also include additional conditions such as the offer being subject to a specialist report.

Date of Entry

Also known as the Settlement Date or Date of Completion.  This is the date the new buyer takes ownership of the property. The buyer’s solicitor will also pay the purchase price to the seller’s solicitor on this day.

Scottish Standard Clauses

A number of conditions (or clauses) submitted with an offer to buy a property. Designed to represent a Scotland wide approach to a residential transaction, they assist a more straightforward conclusion of missives.

Missives & Concluded Missives

Missives are the contract between a buyer and seller.  They include the offer, qualified acceptance and any other formal letters exchanged by the solicitors.  Once all points have been agreed, a legally binding contract will be firmed – this is known as Concluded Missives. Neither the buyer nor seller will sign the Missives themselves, this is all handled by the solicitors.

Land & Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT)

A tax payable to Revenue Scotland when you buy a property.  Replacing Stamp Duty in Scotland, LBTT  is payable on entry date.

*At the moment, buyers do not need to pay LBTT on purchases under £145,000.  If you are a first time buyer you can receive a discount of up to £600 on a purchase over £145,000.