Glossary Of Real Estate Terms & Property Jargon

We’re often asked to explain various real estate terms and jargon associated with the settlement process. Below you’ll find the most common terms. If you want to know the meaning of a real estate term that isn’t listed below, send us a message or call us on 1300 001 358.

Refers to any key or security device which enables access to the property – including garage remotes and codes for security alarms. At least one key should be provided to each lock on the premise. This includes any door locks, deadbolts, window locks, padlocks, meter box locks, garage and shed locks. If all access devices are ‘keyed the same’, only one key is required. In the case of automatic garage doors and gates, at least one remote must be provided for each device. In the case of a security system, the access code must be provided.

A licensed professional who represents buyers or sellers in a real estate transaction.

An evaluation of a property's value by a professional appraiser.

A public sale where a property is sold to the highest bidder.

A professional body for property professionals in Australia.

On strata title properties the control and administration of common property is vested in a statutory Body Corporate, which comes into existence automatically on the registration of the strata plan. The registered proprietors of each of the units are the only members of the Body Corporate. The rights and obligations of the Body Corporate are fixed by scheduled by-laws. The term also applies to share holders in units under Company Title, but this is rare in Western Australia.

Regular fees paid by owners of strata-titled properties to cover common expenses.

A professional examination of a property’s structure and systems.

A permit required to construct or renovate a property.

An agent who represents the interests of a property buyer.

A tax on the profit made from selling an investment property.

An increase in the value of a property over time.

A notification on a title that warns prospective purchasers, mortgagees and others who propose to deal in the land that a third person (normally the person lodging the caveat) has some right or interest in the land.

A legal document that proves ownership of a property. Duplicate deeds stating the fact and extent of the interest of a person (the registered proprietor) in land held under the Torrens title system. The deeds are individually designated with both a Volume and Folio number. One is kept in the Titles Office and the other is held by the registered proprietor. When the land is dealt with, a note of the dealing is made on both copies by the Titles Office.

A chattel is any piece of property other than real estate, including above-ground pools, swingsets, barbecues, light fittings, and dishwashers.

A fee paid to an agent for their services in a property transaction.

That part of a strata-titled property owned and used in common by all the unit owners or occupiers and which is maintained by the Body Corporate.

A professional who oversees the legal aspects of a property sale or purchase.

The legal process of transferring ownership of a property from one party to another.

A tax levied by local councils on property owners.

Land owned by the state or federal government.

A portion of the purchase price paid by a buyer to secure a property.

The decrease in value of a property or its assets over time.

A person or company that builds and sells property.

A proposal to develop a property, submitted to local council for approval.

Expenses paid out of a trust account on behalf of a client as expenditures. Examples include advertising expenses, rates and taxes and agent’s commission.

When an agent represents both the buyer and the seller in a transaction.

A property that can accommodate two separate living units.

An easement is the right for a person or company to use part of a property that they don’t own. Easements are often granted to local councils and utility corporations to allow for gas, water, sewerage, etc to flow through a property. Any easements attached to a property will be listed under ‘Limitations, Interests, Encumbrances and Notifications’ on that property’s Certificate of Title.

Read our blog post, 3 common encumbrances and how they can trip you up, for information on a few of the most common types of encumbrances.

Settlement agents submit an EAS to advise the Water Corporation, Office of State Revenue and Local Government Authorities of an impending settlement and obtain information needed for the settlement. The EAS is submitted once a contract becomes unconditional.

An encumbrance is a registered interest in land by a person who is not the land owner. Any encumbrances on a property can usually be found listed on the Certificate of Title.

The value of a property minus any outstanding mortgage or liens.

The process of accessing the equity in a property to obtain funds.

A property listing that is exclusive to one agent or agency.

The price that a property would fetch in the open market.

An inspection conducted shortly before settlement in which a buyer ensures the property is in the condition outlined in the Offer & Acceptance. This may include checking that all gas, electrical and plumbing appliances are in working order and that chattels have remained.

A government grant for first-time home buyers.

A mortgage with an interest rate that does not change over the life of the loan.

An item that is permanently attached to a property, such as a built-in appliance.

A government agency that oversees foreign investment in Australian property.

A type of property ownership that includes both the land and any structures on it.

A tax on the capital gains made by foreign residents on Australian property.

The general conditions that form part of REIWA Contract of Sale of Land or Strata Title by offer and acceptance. Also referred to as the Joint Form and General Conditions, and JFGC.

The common name given to title for land that is not a strata title. It’s the most popular form of title in Western Australia.

The total income generated by a property as a percentage of its value.

A property that is protected by law due to its cultural or historical significance.

A loan used to purchase a property, typically with a fixed or adjustable interest rate.

Insurance that protects against damage to a property.

A combined purchase of both a new home and the land it sits on.

The rate at which a borrower is charged for a loan.

A mortgage where the borrower only pays interest for a set period before beginning to pay off the principal.

A category of legal documents including, but not limited to, transfers, easements, leases, and mortgages under any Act which affects the registration of land dealings.

The general conditions that form part of the REIWA Contract for sale of land or strata title by offer and acceptance. Also referred to as the Joint Form, General Conditions, and JFGC.

Ownership of land in which the interest of each joint tenant is not separate or distinct from the other. Each is entitled to an undivided interest in the whole property – that is, they each own the whole. There can be more than 2 owners as joint tenants. All joint tenants are entitled to physical possession of the whole property. In dealing with third parties joint tenants must act as a single owner. Joint tenants must acquire the property at the same time from the same person. The most distinguishing feature of this form of co-ownership is the right of survivorship.

A partnership between two or more parties for the purpose of investing in and developing a property.

Landgate is the statutory authority responsible for Western Australia’s property and land information. All property transfers must be registered with Landgate.

The owner of a property that is leased to a tenant.

A tax levied by state governments on landowners.

A legal agreement between a landlord and tenant outlining the terms of a rental.

Insurance required by some lenders for borrowers with a low deposit or high-risk loan.

A property that is available for sale or lease.

A contract between a seller and their real estate agent outlining the terms of the sale.

The ratio of a loan amount to the value of the property being purchased.

The estimated value of a property based on current market conditions.

A loan used to secure a property, typically with a fixed or adjustable interest rate, with the property serving as collateral.

When the cost of owning a property is greater than the income generated by it, resulting in a tax deduction.

A proposal to purchase a property at a specific price and under certain conditions.

Usually an offer to buy property is made using both the Contract for Sale of Land or Strata Title by Offer and Acceptance form, commonly called the O&A; and the Joint Form of General Conditions for the Sale of Land, commonly referred to as the General Conditions. Together, the O&A and the General Conditions constitute the standard contract for the sale of real estate in Western Australia.

A property purchased before it has been built, based on architectural plans and drawings.

A scheduled time for prospective buyers to view a property without an appointment.

A legal agreement between a buyer and seller giving the buyer the option to purchase the property later.

A person who builds their own home.

A property owner who lives in the property themselves.

A national register of security interests in personal property.

Penalty interest is a fee that a buyer or seller can charge another party for delaying settlement, as compensation.

An inspection of a property to identify any pests, such as termites.

A property that generates more rental income than its expenses.

Power of Attorneys, or POAs, are an agreement enabling a person (or people) to act on behalf of another person. Read our post on What you need to know about Power of Attorneys to find out how a Power of Attorney might impact your settlement.

Pre-approval is a written assessment of your worthiness for a loan. When you seek pre-approval, your lender will assess your ability to pay, as well as your credit history, to decide how much they are willing to lend you. It’s a great idea to get pre-approval before you make an offer on a property.

A method of selling a property through negotiations between the buyer and seller, rather than through an auction.

The management of a property on behalf of the owner, including leasing, maintenance, and financial management.

A detailed report on a property’s history, value, and potential issues.

The finalization of a property sale or purchase, including the transfer of ownership and payment of funds.

A licensed professional who facilitates property transactions between buyers and sellers.

A professional body for real estate agents in Australia.

The process of replacing an existing mortgage with a new one.

The process of improving or updating a property.

The annual income generated by a property as a percentage of its value.

The minimum price a seller is willing to accept at an auction.

A list of formal questions about the title submitted to the seller. Information revealed in requisitions on title include that which may not have been previously disclosed or discovered during inspection of the property (for example, disputes with neighbours relating to fences).

A legally binding agreement between the buyer and seller outlining the terms of a property sale.

The completion of the process of transferring property free of any encumbrances such as mortgages or caveats.

The purchaser’s settlement agent  hands a cheque to the vendors bank to discharge the mortgage and the vendor nominates where the remaining balance should go. The purchaser then becomes the owner of the property once the transaction is registered at Landgate and their bank can now lodge their mortgage.

A professional who oversees the transfer of ownership and funds during a property sale.

A tax levied by state governments on property purchases. Also called Transfer Duty, Stamp Duty is a significant tax payable by all home buyers. Eligible first home buyers can apply for this to be waived.

A Strata Plan contains a detailed pictorial description of lots within a strata complex. It includes lot dimensions, building outlines, certificate of title numbers for each lot, details of unit entitlement and common property, and notifications of encumbrances affecting the strata plan.

Property title typically associated with duplexes, villas, townhouses and units. In a strata plan, individuals each own a small portion of a strata building such as a unit – which is identified as ‘lot’ on the title. On many strata plans owners share common property such as external walls, driveways and garden areas.

The process of dividing a larger parcel of land into smaller lots.

A professional examination of a property’s boundaries and features.

Survey-strata plans define the lots in a survey-strata scheme, which are the areas in the scheme owned individually. Common property areas owned jointly by all lot owners may, or may not exist in survey-strata schemes and are defined as “common property lots”. Survey-strata lots may be limited in height and depth but generally are not. No buildings are shown on Survey-Strata Plans.

Upon the death of one joint tenant, the remaining interest in the land is transmitted to the surviving joint tenant. For example, if A and B own land as joint tenants and A dies, then B will become the sole registered proprietor.

A person who rents a property from a landlord.

Shared ownership of land in which each owner’s share is separate and distinct from the other. There can be several owners as tenants in common all with different shares. Ownership can be shared in any proportion acceptable to all common owners. All tenants in common are entitled to physical possession of the whole property. Tenants in common can each deal with third parties as to their share as a separate owner, generally without the need for other co-owner’s consent (unless they have a co-ownership agreement in place). Tenants in common can acquire their interests at different times and from different people. Each tenant in common is free to sell or otherwise deal with their interest in a property at anytime (subject to any agreements reached between tenants in common).

Insurance that protects against any defects or issues with a property’s title.

A search of the property’s title to ensure there are no encumbrances or legal issues.

A type of property ownership that guarantees the owner’s title and boundaries.

A multi-level residential property that shares one or more walls with other properties.

The document used to transfer the interests of a registered proprietor to a purchaser by means of registration at Landgate.

A property that has received an offer but has not yet finalized the sale.

The percentage of properties in a certain area that are currently unoccupied.

An estimate of a property’s value by a professional valuer.

The seller of a property.

The designation of a specific area for a particular land use, such as residential or commercial.

Rezzi. The edge you need.

Buying a home can either set you up or set you back. I know from firsthand experience the financial gains that come from a smart property purchase. Get it right, and you’re on the path to early retirement. But get it wrong and it will set you back for years.

The stakes are high. And they’re especially high for home buyers because the real estate industry stacks the odds in favour of the seller.

And that’s why I started Rezzi; to give you a real chance of making a winning property move.

My goal is simple: to provide you with the strategies, information and support you need to make bold, confident property decisions.

And, if that’s what you want, let’s talk.

Peter Signature

Peter Fletcher

Managing Director
Peter Fletcher Rezzi