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.



A property that will not be occupied at the time of completion.

Valuation Of Property

An estimation of the current and potential worth of a property.


Value Added Tax, a tax levied on the sale of goods or services by UK businesses, currently at a standard rate of 20%.


The person or company offering the property for sale.

Viewing Slots

The dates and times that a property is available via the auction house for access and inspection.


The opportunity to gain access to and look at and inspect the property to be auctioned.

Virtual Freehold

‘Virtual Freehold’ is a generic term not a legal term and is used to describe a lease where the length of lease is far longer than the norm (which is typically 99 to 199 years). The length in a ‘virtual freehold’ will normally be 999 years and crucially the ground rent would be a ‘peppercorn’. To put this in perspective if William the Conquer had been granted a virtual freehold when he arrived in 1066 he would still have 48 years left to run!


The benefit of it is that because the tenure the owner has is leasehold and not freehold, the lessee is more easily bound to comply with obligations under the lease rather than relying on covenants in the title.