Property auction glossary

The jargon made simple: To help you understand the new terms used around auction sales this is a simple glossary of common terms with an explanation behind each one.


Schedule Of Works

A list of what you plan to do to the property so that contractors are able to quote on the project. This makes it easy to compare and contrast builder's quotes and to identify any areas of unusual expense.

To help you in your search for a suitable property there are web services available where you can set up search alerts with your specific property search criteria

Selling Costs

If you intend to sell a property after refurbishing it then this expense needs to be added into the total costs.

Service Charge

Service charges are fees that most leaseholders pay to cover their share of the cost of maintaining the building they live in.

Sinking Funds

When you own a leasehold property you might have to pay into a fund to help cover any unexpected maintenance or repairs, like replacing the roof. There are rules about how landlords must manage these funds. You won’t usually be able to get back any money you pay into them, for example if you sell the property on.

Special Conditions Of Sale

Contractual terms that are specific to each lot offered. These are generally not printed in the catalogue but will be attached to the contract.


In addition to the auctioneer there will also be 'spotters' around the room who call attention to bids the auctioneer might not otherwise see because of the size of the audience or the layout of the room.

Stamp Duty And Land Tax (SDLT)

A tax charged on land and property transactions in the UK and is payable on completion.

Starting Price

Refers to the initial price at which the auctioneer offers an item for sale.


This refers to the properties that are for sale in an auction catalogue. Stock is the available property an auction house has listed for sale. Auction houses tend to specialise and become known for their type of stock.

Structural Soundness

An assessment of the condition of the original structure, checking that it has not substantially deteriorated or been modified so that it cannot perform as it did when originally built.


A survey for a property can be a condition report as the physical state of the subject property or it can be the process by which drawings and plans of the building or land are drawn up. If it is the former it could just be to ascertain the value of the property (valuation survey) or could be to give a detailed condition report of the property.