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Estate Agent Jargon & Buzzwords Explained

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When buying or selling a house there is a lot to consider, reams of paperwork, scary financial decisions and legal binding contracts. It can be overwhelming. Add to this the plethora of estate agent lingo clients are expected to absorb and it can be information overload for many.

Understanding the verbiage used by estate agents can help you make better decisions when buying or selling a property. Here is a list of some common terms and phrases that will help you get a grip on the property market.

No onward chain

When you buy or sell a property you can become part of a chain. If you’re selling your home, the buyers of your home will have somebody buying their home, and so the chain continues. Property chains are not a bad thing, but they can become problematic as the more people involved the higher the chance of a sale falling through. If you are selling a property but not buying another yourself the agent will market it as not having an onward chain, a perk for buyers.


Most people have heard of a solicitor but what is a conveyancer? In a nutshell, a conveyancer is a type of solicitor who specialises in the transfer of home ownership. They oversee all the legal aspects of buying or selling a house.

In need of modernisation

Properties in need of modernisation need some money spent on them internally and externally to bring them up to modern standards. A bonus of houses marketed in this way is that they often have a lower asking price compared to a similar property finished to a good standard.

Energy Performance Certificate

It is law for every home to have an EPC, especially if the property is being sold. EPCs are easily obtained and help prospective buyers understand how energy efficient a property is and a rough ideal of energy bill costs. The EPC rating of a property is displayed in graph form and available on all marketing collateral for a home up for sale.

Blank canvas

If you hear an estate agent describe a house as a blank canvas, see this as an opportunity to put your mark on property. Sometimes the property is an empty shell to decorate as you please, whereas some agents use the terminology to describe a home that needs some TLC.

Viewing recommended

Properties up for sale with ‘viewing recommended’ in the description tend to mean either:

  • The property isn’t much to look at from the outside but is something special internally
  • The photographs of the house do not do it any justice or show off its full potential

Some of the houses advertised in this way can often be hidden gems that are uninspiring at first glance.


Translated from French, pied-a-terre means in a literal sense ‘foot on the ground’. This explains why estate agents use it to describe apartments or flats that are typically located in cities and used as a second residence. They are often smaller than the usual single-person living space and marketed at professionals and students who need to reside in the city Monday to Friday, but head home at the weekends.

If you want to sell your property  in a hassle-free way with a nationwide  online estate agent, you can get in touch with SOLD.CO.UK today. Our complete selling service offers different routes to sale, suiting a different type of seller. You can even get a free valuation today to get the ball rolling.

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