Estate Agent Language Unpicked

Jan 16, 2020

When you’re buying or selling a home, the last  thing you want is to be bombarded with estate agent lingo. Unfortunately, agents can easily revert to type, dropping jargon on you with questions about whether you’re an FTB, if you’re after a freehold or leasehold, and so on.

Of course, here at emoov, we keep it classy with jargon-free language that is understandable and will help you sell your home or find the keys to a new one in no time at all. But enough about us. You came here for the jargon busters, and that’s what we’re going to do.

Grab a hot brew, put your feet up and read on as we unpick all the essential estate agent language.

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You are the vendor if you’re selling your home. Most people trying to sell their home are referred to as the “seller”, but the official term is “vendor”.Have you ever heard of Rightmove and Zoopla? They’re the two primary property portals – websites used by estate agents, both online and high street, to advertise the properties of their vendors sellers. An FTB might sound like some acronym reserved for the world of banking, but it actually stands for first-time buyers. And just in case you didn’t know, first-time buyers are people who are purchasing a property for, you guessed it, the first time. 

Property ladder

Under offer


The property ladder is a series of stages that reflects your position in the UK housing market. First-time buyers are getting on the property ladder, while those moving from a small home to a larger one are known to be moving up the property ladder. When a property is under offer, it means the vendor has accepted an offer which is currently being processed. Nothing is concrete at this stage, but the signs are good, and hopefully, everything runs smoothly for the buyer and seller. Unless…Gazumping is when a seller has accepted one offer on their property, only to then accept another offer of a higher price at the last minute. When this happens, it is understandably frustrating for the buyer. 

Property chain



A chain is the number of people involved in your sale. You could be buying from someone who is purchasing from another person, who is buying from another person, who is buying from another person, who is… ok, you get it. The whole thing is a bit like a, erm, chain. An energy performance certificate, otherwise known as an EPC, shows the efficiency of a property and provides a good estimation of how much utility bills will cost. It’s graded from A to G, with A being excellent and G representing a home that isn’t very cost-efficient.If you’re taking out a mortgage to buy your next home, you will first need an agreement in principle (AIP). It’s an estimate of how much the bank is willing to let you. An AIP is also known as a mortgage in principle.  



New build

With a leasehold, you own the property but not the land where it’s built. Leaseholds are very common with flats in the UK. A freehold represents ownership of the building and the land that it sits on. In other words, you own all the stuffNew build homes are actually pretty straightforward. It represents a brand-spanking new home that hasn’t been lived in yet. Fancy! 




The amount of money a homeowner puts into their property is known as equity or capital. This is the value built up over time as the owner pays off the mortgage and the property value increases. An individual savings account (ISA) is a scheme designed to help people get on the property ladder by offering tax-free savings accounts.  STC stands for subject to contract, which is when a property is off the market because an offer has been accepted but hasn’t been finalised.