Glossary Of Real Estate Terms

AGENT
A registered person contracted to act for another in the selling, buying, renting or management of property.
 
AGREEMENT OF SALE
A legal document outlining details of a property sale.  It is usually prepared on the seller’s behalf by an agent, solicitor or conveyancer.
 
AUCTION
A public sale of a property to the highest bidder.
 
BODY CORPORATE
The collective ownership of common property such as a block of apartments or multi-dwelling complexes.  It is responsible for the administration and upkeep of common areas.
 
BUYER’S ADVOCATE
An agent who acts on behalf of a buyer by sourcing suitable properties and representing the buyer during the buying process.
 
CERTIFICATE OF TITLE
A document stating who owns the property, the size of the land and whether there are any limitations on the title such as mortgages, easements or encumbrances.
 
COMMISSION
A negotiable percentage of the selling price of a property, paid by the seller to the property agent, normally after the property is sold.
 
COMMUNITY TITLE
Similar to Strata Title but applicable to development combining a variety of dwelling styles and communal facilities where an overall style and theme must be adhered to.
 
COMPANY TITLE
The title system that apportions space within multi-apartment buildings, pre-dating Strata Title, based upon ownership of parcels of shares within an unlisted company.  Not all banks will provide finance.  Seek legal advice prior to purchase.
 
CONTRACT
A legal document outlining details of a property sale.  It is usually prepared on the seller’s behalf by an agent, solicitor or conveyancer.
 
CONVEYANCER
A person (not a legal practitioner) who, for a fee, handles the process of transferring property.
 
CONVEYANCING
Transferring ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer.
 
COOLING-OFF PERIOD
A period of time during which a buyer can withdraw from the sale of a home (if not purchased at auction).  Duration varies from state to state.  The duration must be outlined in the Agreement of Sale.
 
DEPOSIT
A non-refundable percentage of the purchase price paid by the buyer to secure the purchase of the property.
 
DISBURSEMENTS
Charges payable to solicitors or conveyancers such as postage, phone calls, stamp duty, registration fees and government charges.
 
DISCHARGE FEES
An administration fee charged by a bank to cover the costs in finalizing a loan account.
 
FIRST HOME OWNER GRANT
A scheme providing first home owners with a non-means tested, one off payment as contribution towards deposit, fees and charges.
 
FIXED INTEREST RATE
An interest rate that will remain unchanged for a set period of time.
 
FIXTURES OR FITTINGS
Items which are attached to a property and cannot be removed without causing damage; they are usually included in the sale unless expressly excluded.
 
GOODS & SERVICES TAX
A tax of 10% levied on the final price of some goods or services.
 
INTEREST
The lending body’s charge on paying back a loan.
 
JOINT TENANTS
Where two or more people purchase a property in equal shares.
 
LOAN
Money borrowed that is usually repaid with interest.
 
MORTGAGE
A written contract giving a lender security over a property.
 
OFF THE PLAN
Buying a property based on architect’s plans, before it has been built.
 
PROPERTY INSURANCE
Insurance policies that may cover properties, house contents, landlord, etc.
 
RESERVE PRICE
A seller’s minimum sale price for property sale.  It may be recorded on the Authority to Sell.
 
SALE BY PRIVATE TREATY
Sale of property through private negotiation and contract.
 
SETTLEMENT
The occasion when ownership of a property passes from the vendor to the buyer and the balance of the sale price is paid to the vendor.
 
SOLICITOR
A legally qualified professional who undertakes legal work for a fee.
 
STAMP DUTY
A government tax based on the sale price of a property.
 
STRATA TITLE
Applies to more than one property on a single piece of land, such as an apartment block.  Each unit will have a separate strata title, organized under a ‘strata plan’.
 
TENANTS IN COMMON
A form of joint ownership in a property in which each person owns a share of the property.
 
TITLE SEARCH
A check of public records to make sure that the vendor has the right to sell and transfer ownership of a property.
 
TORRENS TITLE
Is the standard certificate recognizing land owned by the person registered on that document.
 
VALUATION
An estimate of the value of a property by a qualified and registered valuer.
 
VARIABLE INTEREST RATE
A rate that varies in accordance with the money market rates.
 
VENDOR
A person selling a property.
 
VENDOR’S STATEMENT
Information which the seller must provide to the buyer setting out any restrictions such as covenants and easements, outgoings such as rates and other relevant notices.
 
ZONING
The permissible uses of an area of land as defined by a council.