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    Bank of England warns of tougher curbs on mortgage lending

    The Bank of England has warned that obtaining a mortgage is about to become even more difficult.

    by Myra Butterworth

Jargon Buster

A glossary of commonly used consumer finance terms

Within all aspects of consumer finance: Mortgages, Loans, Credit Cards or Savings the use of jargon and accepted industry terms is widespread. Our comprehensive jargon buster explains what those terms mean in an effort to demystify consumer finance.

Search Fee

Before you buy your property you have to check with your local authority that there are no plans that will affect the value of your property.

Second Charge

A second charge is a legal charge that ranks behind a first charge, possibly to secure a second mortgage, or a guarantee given to secure other borrowings.

Second Home

An alternative to your main residence which is subject to capital gains tax! See also: holiday home.

Second Mortgage

A second mortgage is a further loan on a property which ranks after the first charge mortgage.

Secured Loan

A loan that is secured against a property.


When a secured loan or mortgage is taken out the lender takes a legal charge over the property involved. In the event of the borrower not making payments to the loan or mortgage the lender has the right to sell the property to recover the outstanding debt.

Self Build

A property whereby the construction is controlled by the borrower.

Self Certification

A mortgage loan where the borrower makes a statement regarding his or her income and the lender lends on trust.

Self Employed

An individual working for themselves.

Settlement Figure

The sum quoted in order for a loan, mortgage or secured loan to be repaid before the end of the agreed contract.

Shared Ownership

A method of property purchase in partnership with a housing association. The borrower purchases part of the property and rents the remainder from the housing association. Also known as co-ownership, this arrangement is designed for people who could not otherwise become homeowners.

Simple Valuation

This just tells you the value of the property, it does not tell you if it is structurally sound.

Sitting Tenant

A person living in a rented property has a legal right of occupation, even if the property changes ownership.

Sole Occupancy

A property that is occupied by the borrower and his or her immediate family only. No paying tenants are in residence.

Special Conditions

Specific terms, usually outlined on the mortgage offer document, that apply to a particular loan offer.

Stamp Duty

A tax payable on property purchase, charged at 1% on properties costing £125,000 to £249,999; 3% on properties from £250,000 to £499,999, and 4% on properties over £500,000.

Standard Variable Rate Mortgages (SVR's)

After the discounted period, unless you switch onto another deal, your rate will revert to your lender's SVR. A mortgage lender can increase or decrease its SVR whenever it wants.

Stepped discount mortgage

This type of product works in a similar way to a discount mortgage except the percentage discount changes at several points during the deal period.

Structural Survey

The most comprehensive form of inspection that can be undertaken by a chartered surveyor.

Sub-Prime Mortgage

A mortgage product designed for individuals with a less than perfect credit history. If an individual has mortgage arrears or county court judgements against them they may not be able to get a mortgage from most lenders.


An inspection carried out for the benefit of the mortgage lender to make sure that the property forms a good security for a loan.