Common words used by estate agents

A row of To Let signs from different estate agents

Estate agents use lots of special ways to describe property. Here are some of the most common:


  • PCM: Per calendar month
  • PW: Per week
  • Prof: Professional
  • C/tax: Council tax
  • WTR: water
  • Bedsit/ bedsitter: room used as bedroom and living room combined, within a shared house. Usually has own kitchen, but not own bathroom


  • SSTC or STC: Sold (subject to contract). The property owner has accepted an offer on the property, but no legal contracts have been exchanged
  • Shared ownership: government scheme that helps people buy a home
  • Leasehold: A long-term set of rights to property that someone else owns
  • Freehold: You own the property and the land
  • Service charges: Money you have to pay for services like lifts, gardens, porters (concierges) and general maintenance. Service charges can be very expensive!
  • Ground rent: Regular rental payment for leasehold property. Sometimes just £1 a month, sometimes very expensive.
  • EPC: energy performance certificate
  • POA: price on application
  • Neg.: negotiable
  • OIRO: Offers in the region of
  • OIEO: Offers in excess of


  • Detached: not joined to another building
  • Semi: joined to a building on 1 side
  • Terrace: joined to buildings on 2 sides
  • Staggered terrace: joined to buildings on 2 sides, at different levels
  • Link detached: a small part of the house (often the garage) is joined to another building
  • Townhouse: tall, thin building, usually 3 floors or more
  • Flat: apartment
  • Penthouse: apartment at top of the building
  • Maisonette: apartment across 2 levels, often with own door to the street
  • Duplex: apartment across 2 levels
  • Split-level: apartment or house with different levels
  • Mansion flat: apartment in old purpose-built brick building
  • Conversion: apartment created within an older building
  • Studio: apartment without separate bedroom
  • Pied-a-terre: very small city flat (aimed at people who have another home)
  • Bungalow: house with one level
  • Cul de sac: road you cannot drive through
  • Park home: static caravan on a site with other caravans


  • No chain: The person selling the property is not trying to buy another property. Sometimes called no upper chain/no onward chain
  • GCH or GFCH: gas central heating
  • OCH or OFCH: oil central heating
  • STPP: subject to planning permission
  • VGC: very good condition
  • WC: room with only a toilet and hand basin
  • Executive: modern, bigger than average
  • Double fronted: windows either side of the front door
  • Bay fronted: bay window at the front
  • Dual aspect: windows on two sides
  • Mezzanine: upper level within a big room
  • Cloakroom: downstairs toilet room
  • Reception room: dining/sitting room on ground floor
  • Lounge: sometimes called a sitting room or drawing room
  • Master: largest bedroom. Sometimes called the principal or primary bedroom
  • En suite: bedroom with private bathroom/shower room
  • Box room: very small room

Image: David Fowler/Dreamstime

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