Jargon Buster

At a loss to understand arrears, affidavits or air bricks? Bamboozled by balloon payments and back-to-back escrow? Confused by conveyancing, cash-flow and closing costs?

If so, our Jargon Buster will be just what you need.It's a glossary of terms packed full of property phrases, estate agent slang, financial words and other terms you may come across in your real estate or personal finance activities.

Search for a Term

You have two choices if you want to find the meaning of words used on this site:
  • Click the letters below to see the meaning of terms beginning with that letter.
  • Search the jargon buster for terms containing the letters, word or phrase that you type.

Jargon Buster: D

Our glossary results: 51 matches!

Dado rail

Small piece of moulded wood affixed to a wall, usually about a third of the way up.

Daily interest

Interest on the home loan is calculated and applied on a daily rather than a monthly or yearly basis. Can lead to big savings.


A structural problem often caused by poor ventilation in a building.

Damp proof course

A layer of impervious material (such as mineral felt, PVC etc.) incorporated into a wall to prevent dampness rising up the wall or lateral dampness around windows, doors etc.

Deadbolt lock

Locks that require a key to open from the outside and a turn button from the inside.

Deathwatch Beetle

Pest which affects structural timbers especially hardwoods and those with fungal decay. Also known as Xestobium Refovillosum to those in the know.


Money owed to a lender.


Money owed to a company which includes the value of sales made where settlement from the customer is still awaited.

Debt-to-income ratio

A ratio used by lending institutions to determine whether a person is qualified for a mortgage. Debt-to-income is the total amount of debt, including credit cards and other loans, divided by total gross monthly income.

Decreasing term assurance

A life insurance policy that pays out a lump sum in the event of death. The amount paid out can be calculated so that it falls in line with your outstanding mortgage debt – meaning that over time the borrowers’ premiums also fall. This type of policy is well suited to providing cover on a repayment mortgage.

Deed of covenant

This is a document which confirms that the buyer of a property will comply with the rules and conditions affecting the property which can be found in the Title Deed or Lease.

Deed of trust

A document that gives a lender the right to foreclose on a piece of property if the borrower defaults on the loan.


These are the documents which contain all the information about a property such as the owner and the rules affecting the property. These are often held by the mortgage lender to ensure they can take possession of the property should you default on the repayments. Take note of the deed number to speed up your solicitor or conveyancer when buying or selling the property as it can take a lender several weeks to find the correct one.

Deeds release fee

When you are selling the house, your solicitor will need to inspect the deeds. You will be charged a fee of between £25 - £45 for this.


Particular features that may affect either the present value, or the ability to resell the property at a later date. It will be up to the surveyor to judge what the urgent and significant matters are that could affect the market value of the property. Identified in homebuyers report/ full survey

Deferral period

Applies to payment protection policies and is the length of time after you are unable to work or make the claim before you can start to receive insurance pay-outs. Typically, this ranges from 30 to 60 days, though for non-mortgage related products, the deferral period can be as long as 90 or even 120 days.

Deferred completion

This is when completion takes place more than 28 days after the exchange of contracts.

Deferred interest mortgage

Interest is not paid during the deferral period. When the period is over, the accumulated interest is added to the original loan. Some lenders add this interest to the total of your loan to give a new loan figure and new interest payments. Others calculate your interest payments on the original loan as normal and then spread the repayment of the deferred interest over a set period of time. The latter method is better for you, as adding the deferred interest to the loan means you end up paying interest on the deferred interest!


Being late with loan payments.

Delinquent mortgage

A mortgage that involves a borrower who is behind on payments. If the borrower cannot bring the payments up to date within a specified number of days, the lender may begin foreclosure proceedings.


Person(s) who depends on another for financial support.


A lump sum paid when contracts are exchanged. It can also refer to the down payment made on a new property in order to reserve it for you.


The decline in value of a piece of property.


Refers to a property which is not attached to another on either side and is therefore free standing.


Designers and builders of new homes.

Direct debits

A payment made from your account automatically to pay bills etc, usually amounts that vary, e.g. A gas bills.

Direct lenders

Provide financial services over the telephone and through the internet. Lower overheads resulting from a lack of high street premises and centrally streamlined processes mean that the overall costs are much lower, and part of this saving is used to deliver cheaper products. Add to this the convenience of arranging a mortgage outside working hours from your own home, and it is easy to see why these new operations are finding favour.

Disability insurance

An insurance policy which covers an individual's ability to produce income.


Disbursements are expenses that the solicitor incurs on your behalf in association with the legal work (conveyancing) they are performing for you. This will normally include local authority searches, land registry fees and various other fees and searches. Expect to pay around £400 including VAT.


Paying of the remainder of a mortgage.

Discharge fee

Covers the administration costs of transferring the property ownership documents from the mortgage lender to the borrower.

Discount period

The time at the beginning of a mortgage life span when you are offered reduced repayments. Can be useful to help you overcome the often-significant outlay involved with buying a property.

Discount term

Time or specific date a discounted rate applies to a variable-rate mortgage.

Discounted mortgages

With a discounted rate mortgage, the Standard Variable Rate is temporarily reduced by a set amount for a specified period. This usually ranges from one to five years. Once the discounted period is over, you then revert to paying the prevailing Standard Variable Rate. With this type of mortgage, it is the discount that is fixed and not the actual rate.


The Disposition is a document which legally transfers the property to your name. This is the culmination of the settlement process and means that you are now free to move into your new home.

Distressed property

Property that is in poor physical or financial condition.


The reward paid to shareholders for investing and holding shares in a company.

Dividend cover

Is an indicator of the rate a company may be paying dividends to its shareholders out of its earnings, and its ability to keep doing so?

Dividend per share

This is the income a registered shareholder receives on each share invested in a company.

Document needs list

A list of documents a lender requires when a potential submits a loan application. The required documents range from pay-check stubs to credit card statements.

Double glazed

A method of thermally insulating your windows using either a sealed unit comprising two panes of glass fixed and hermetically sealed together; in effect a second "window" placed inside the original window.

Down payment

A lump sum paid when contracts are exchanged. It can also refer to the down payment made on a new property in order to reserve it for you.

Draft contract

The first stage of the conveyancing process, it is a legal document that sets out the terms of the sale. It is drawn up by the seller's solicitor using information from the deeds of the property. However, it is not a standard contract and is likely to change or clarify in detail quite considerably. The contract has two parts: Particulars of Sale and Conditions of Sale. The Particulars describe the property, what is included and details of the lease or freehold. The Conditions have information about the proposed completion date and any deposit required when contracts are exchanged.

Draft contract approved

Once both parties are satisfied that all the details of the draft contract are accurate, and your solicitor has made sure that there is nothing that should reasonably either preclude the seller from buying, or warrant your withdrawal from the sale, then the draft contract is approved and sent to both parties for signature.

Drawdown date

The date when the loan should be made.

Driving Vehicles Licensing Centre

The DVLC keep a register of which cars belong to which people and where they live. You will need to tell them when you move.


This is a fungus which attacks structural and joinery timbers and flourishes in moist, unventilated conditions. Can cause serious problems.

Due dilligence

This is a process that will be undertaken by a mortgage lender to assure themselves that the risk of lending you the substantial amount of money required to purchase a house is minimised. Involves checking your personal details/ status and that of the property you wish to buy. The term is used in other industries to, to indicate a period of research, or checks to ensure the suitability of an undertaking of some sort.

Due-on-sale clause

Standard language in a mortgage which states that the loan must be paid when a house is sold.


A duplex house is one that contains two separate dwelling units, side by side or one above the other.


The DVLC keep a register of which cars belong to which people and where they live. You will need to tell them when you move.
Welcome! Register or Login for the best international property experience.
Welcome Back ! Access your profile, saved searches, property shortlist, and more! Logout