Mortgage Dictionary: B

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Please view the glossary definitions from our list below. Some terms have a dedicated page with a longer definition. This is available by clicking on the "more about " link.



A court official, who may repossess goods or property belonging to any person or business which fails to maintain their credit payments, and who does not come to any agreement to pay with their creditors.


The process of declaring an individual bankrupt. Bankruptcy remains on your credit rating for seven years and limits a person's ability to borrow.

Bankruptcy: Discharge

A debtor is discharged from bankruptcy after a period of approximately three years and his debt is treated as paid, however credit referencing agencies normally identify former bankrupts for up to 15 years after their discharge.

Base Rate

The minimum lending rate was abolished in 1981, and so the banks introduced the base rate, used to refer to the mortgage lender's standard variable rate.

Basic Annual Income

The annual income earned that is guaranteed regardless of the individual's or his or her company's performance. This is important when establishing a borrower's ability to pay, especially for sales people, or other employees where a significant part of their salary package is made up of commissions, bonuses or share options.

Basis Point

A basis point is 1/100th of 1%. For example the difference between a loan at 9.00% and a mortgage at 9.12% is 12 basis points.

Before-Tax Income

An individual's total (gross) income before taxes are deducted.

Benefit Period

Time frame in which the interest rate of a mortgage is discounted. (See fixed or capped).

Biweekly Loan

A loan that requires payment every two weeks, therefore reducing the term and cost.

Black Listed

Colloquial term for someone with a poor credit score, originating from Gentlemen's clubs, which used to "black ball" people they did not want as members. Technically, there is no such thing as being "blacklisted", although some people clearly have better credit scores than others. Simply being declined for a credit application does not mean that someone is blacklisted, it just means that they do not meet the criteria for that particular institution at that time.

Booking Fee

A fee charged by a lender to secure mortgage funds, payable at the time the loan application is submitted and normally applies only to special offer loans, such as fixed or capped rates. See fee, arrangement fee, fees added to loan, conveyancing fee and valuation fee.

Breach Of Contract

Failure to fulfil the term and conditions of a contract.

Breach Of Covenant

Failure to obey a legal agreement.

Bridging Loan

Short term loan used as coverage when buying a new property before selling an existing one.


A third party individual who attempts to find the best available financial or other package. Brokers could be affiliated with a larger network in finance, or they may be independent.

Broker Fee

A fee charged by an intermediary to the applicant for negotiating a loan. If a loan has not completed within 6 months of the date of introduction to a lender, the maximum fee that a broker may retain is £300, under the Consumer Credit Act.


Term used to describe the act of a broker.


Trade organisation for building societies - the Building Societies Association.

Building Society

Building societies are mutual organisations owned by their members and regulated by the Buildings Societies Act. The Building Societies Commission lays down restrictions on their lending criteria, so they are less able to help with certain categories of loans.

Buildings Insurance

An essential insurance policy which covers the structure of the building. Where the property is leasehold the buildings insurance will normally be arranged by the freeholder and the cost charged on to the leaseholder within the service charges payable. See uninsurable, contents insurance.

Buy To Let Mortgage

A mortgage for a property which the owner intends to let out to students or other tenants. See commercial mortgages.


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