NatWest Mortgage Guides

Mortgage Jargon Buster

Our guide to mortgage jargon

Here’s a list of mortgage terms and phrases you might come across and an explanation of what they mean.



Agreement in Principle
An Agreement in Principle (AIP), also known as a mortgage in principle or decision in principle, gives you an understanding of how much you may be able to borrow towards the purchase or remortgage of a property. It's a document that you can use with an estate agent, or those selling a property, to show that you may be in a financial position to purchase it.

The annual percentage rate of charge (APRC) is the total cost of the loan expressed as an annual percentage.  The APRC is provided to help you compare different offers.

If you fall behind on your mortgage payments you are "in arrears".


Base Rate
A rate of interest set by the Bank of England, which tracker mortgage rates and lenders' standard variable rates usually follow.

An independent adviser who can help you with mortgages and other financial matters.


Capital and Interest Payment
Your monthly payment covers the interest and also reduces the total balance outstanding.

A fee to cover the cost of electronically transferring the mortgage funds to the borrower.

Is the legal process of buying and selling property. This can be done by a solicitor or specialist-licensed conveyancer.

Cost of Credit
The difference between the amount you borrow and the amount you’ll end up paying back taking into account interest and other charges.


Decision in Principle
A Decision in Principle is another term used for what we refer to as an 'Agreement in Principle'.


Title deeds are the legal documents which record the ownership of a property and any accompanying land. 

Mortgage Deposit

The amount you need to pay towards the total purchase price of the property. This varies depending on the product and lender. Some lenders offer an as little as 5% deposit mortgage for first time buyers.


Early Repayment Charge (ERC)
Some mortgages, such as a fixed rate mortgage, charge a fee if you pay back the loan early. This can vary, so check your original letter of approval or terms and conditions for the amount.  This is known as an Early Repayment Charge (ERC).

Is the difference between the current value of your home and the amount outstanding on your mortgage.

Exit Fee
This is an administration fee payable to service providers when you fully repay your mortgage.


Fixed Rate mortgage
A mortgage where the interest rate stays the same for a specific period (e.g two or five years) even if the base rate changes in the meantime.

You own both the property and the land it stands on.

Learn more about freehold vs leasehold.


Gazumping occurs when a seller accepts an oral offer (a promise to purchase) on the property from one potential buyer, but then accepts a higher offer from someone else. It can also refer to the seller raising the asking price or asking for more money at the last minute, after previously orally agreeing to a lower one. In either case, the original buyer is left in a bad situation, and either has to offer a higher price or lose the purchase.

Gifted deposit
A gifted deposit is when someone else, perhaps a family member, provides the funds for some of, or all, your mortgage deposit.

A third party who agrees to meet the monthly mortgage repayment if you are unable to. This is more common with first-time buyers, with the guarantor likely to be their parent or guardian.


Help to Buy
Help to Buy is the name given to several UK Government schemes generally designed to help first time buyers attain home ownership.

You can learn more about Help to Buy and other home ownership schemes

Higher lending charge (HLC)
This is sometimes charged by your mortgage lender if you are borrowing more than 75% of the property’s value. It protects the lender against you defaulting on your mortgage.


Joint Applicants / Joint Mortgages
This is where you hold property ownership rights equally with another person or persons. If one person dies, ownership reverts entirely to the surviving person or persons. This legal agreement supersedes any Will the deceased may have made.


Land Registry
The official body that holds the details of property ownership.

You own the property but not the land it is built on for a specific number of years. Flats are usually owned on a leasehold basis. You may find it hard to get a mortgage if there are fewer than 70 years left on the lease of the property you want to buy. Leases are renegotiable, but the shorter remaining terms, the more expensive it will usually be.

Learn more about freehold vs leasehold.

LTV (Loan to Value)
LTV means Loan to Value. The size of your mortgage as a percentage of the value of your property. for instance, if you have £50,000 mortgage and your home is worth £100,000, your LTV is 50%.


Maturity Date
The date the mortgage must be repaid in full, or by which a new agreement needs to be taken out.

Monthly Repayment
The amount you pay to your lender for your mortgage each month.

Mortgage Illustration
A Mortgage Illustration should be given to you before you make a mortgage application. It describes the key things you need to know about your mortgage such as payments and fees.

Mortgage in Principle
A Mortgage in Principle is another term used for what we refer to as an 'Agreement in Principle'.

Mortgage Offer
This is your guaranteed offer. Once your mortgage is approved you'll get a formal offer setting out the terms and conditions.

Mortgage Term
The amount of time you are repaying your mortgage over (e.g. 25 years).


Negative Equity
When the value of your home falls below the amount of your mortgage.


This is when you pay extra, over and above your monthly mortgage payment. You could choose to make a one-off lump sum overpayment or overpay a regular amount with your normal mortgage payment. Overpayments save you interest and will shorten your mortgage term.


Where an existing mortgage can be transferred between properties when you move house.

Payment Holiday
This is a period during which you make no payments on your mortgage. While you make no payments interest will continue to be charged. This feature is usually only available on a flexible mortgage.

Product Fee
This is a set-up fee for your mortgage. Lenders will charge different product fees so do shop around.


Rebuild costs
The amount it would cost to rebuild your home if it is destroyed (by fire for instance). this is needed for insurance purposes.

When a person transfers their mortgage from another lender.


Stamp Duty
This is a tax you pay when you buy a property. You don't have to pay stamp duty on a property purchase of up to £125,000 but any amount over this you will have to pay a percentage of the price. As the price you pay for a new property increases, so do the rates of stamp duty, ranging from 1% to 4% for properties up to £1million.

Standard Variable Rate
The default mortgage interest rate your lender will charge you after your initial mortgage deal ends.

Service fee
The fee charged by a lender who, with the customer's written consent, requests details from their existing mortgage lender.


Tracker Rate Mortgage
The mortgage interest rate is set at a fixed percentage above the Bank of England (BoE) base rate. The interest rate payable will rise and fall in line with changes to the BoE base rate.


Mortgage lenders require a valuation to prove that the property is worth the amount you want to borrow.

Variable rate
This means the interest rate can go up or down if your mortgage lender decides to change their standard variable rate.

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