DimosonsReal Estate Jargon

Real Estate Agents / Property Management


Real Estate Jargon

Understand Property Related Jargon



  1. Administration/Application Fee

    This is a charge levied by the lender to cover the costs of processing a mortgage application. If an application is not completed, the fee may not be refunded.

  2. Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    The APR is a compound interest rate figure used to compare different mortgages. Defined by law, it includes repayments on the loan plus any mortgage related fees such as booking, arrangement or basic valuation fees. The APR shows the true cost of borrowing over the entire term and should appear on all mortgage illustrations.

  3. Applicant

    The person or party applying for a property to buy.

  4. Appraised Value

    The value of a property, as estimated by a surveyor.

  5. Appreciation

    The increase in the value of a property as a result of changes in market conditions.

  6. Arrangement Fees

    Fees charged to arrange a loan on certain products. Usually applied to loans where a special interest rate applies e.g. fixed or capped rates.

  7. Asset

    Any form of property owned by a person, including currency, stocks and enforceable claims against others.

  8. Assignment

    The transfer of ownership of an insurance policy or lease.

  9. Auction

    The sale of a property to the highest bidder.


  1. Bridging Loan

    A short term loan commonly used to cover or ‘bridge’ the overlap between the purchase of a new property and the sale of an old one.

  2. Building & Pest Report

    A full inspection of the property, conducted by a chartered surveyor, who will write a detailed report setting out the soundness of a property and any property defects. Suitable for any house, particularly older properties and those that have been poorly maintained as well as properties that have been extensively altered or extended, or any property due to be altered or extended.

  3. Buildings Insurance

    An insurance policy that pays the cost of repair or rebuilding in the event your property is damaged or destroyed. Most mortgage lenders will require buildings insurance to be taken out as a condition of their loan.


  1. Capital

    The amount of money either put into buying a property or the deposit placed on a property. Also known as equity.

  2. Capped-Rate Mortgage

    A capped-rate mortgage sets a maximum rate of interest that the lender can charge, but only for a specified period.

  3. Charge To Fee

    A charge levied by the lender as a penalty if a mortgage is paid off within a specified period.

  4. Cooling Off Period

    A period of time after a sale contract is agreed during which the buyer can cancel the contract by paying the vendor 0.25% of the purchase price.

  5. Commission

    The estate agent’s fee for selling the property.

  6. Common Areas

    Areas of land or buildings, such as gardens, hallways, recreational facilities and parking areas, where more than one resident shares access.

  7. Comparative Search

    A search that looks at the actual sale values of similar properties in the same area as your property. This search is normally carried out by a valuer and should give an indicative sale price for a property.

  8. Completion Date

    The completion date is the day on which money is transferred from the buyer’s to the seller’s solicitor. It is the date that the
    buyer becomes the legal owner of the new property.

  9. Conditions Of Sale

    The details that determine the rights and duties of the seller and buyer. These may be national, statutory or the Law Society’s conditions.

  10. Contents Insurance

    Insurance that covers the contents of a home, including electrical goods, carpets, furniture and curtains.

  11. Contract

    A legal agreement between the seller and buyer of a property, which binds both parties to complete the transaction.

  12. Contract Race

    When two parties have made offers on the same property, the vendor will sell to the first party to exchange contracts.

  13. Conveyancer

    A qualified individual such as a solicitor or licensed conveyancer who deals with the legal aspects of buying or selling a property.

  14. Conveyancing

    The legal process surrounding the transfer of ownership of a property from seller to buyer.

  15. Conveyancing Fee

    The charge made by a solicitor or conveyancer for undertaking the legal process necessary for the transfer of ownership of a property.

  16. Covenants

    Rules and regulations governing the property, contained in its Title Deeds or Lease.

  17. Credit Check

    The procedure by which a check is made on the credit history of an applicant, usually conducted by one of the large dedicated credit rating agencies. The check will reveal history of credit card repayments, outstanding debts, arrears and County Court Judgements.

  18. Credit History

    A history of an individual’s open and fully repaid debts. Checking a credit history helps a lender to assess the likelihood that a prospective borrower will maintain their mortgage repayments.


  1. Deeds

    Legal documents proving ownership, generally held by the mortgage lender.

  2. Deeds Release Or Discharge Fee

    The fee charged by lenders at the end of a mortgage term to cover the administrative costs of transferring the property ownership documents to the borrower.

  3. Deflation

    A situation in which prices are falling (the opposite situation to inflation).

  4. Deposit

    A sum of money paid by the buyer on exchange of contracts.

  5. Depreciation

    The decline or reduction in the value of a property caused by changes in market conditions (the opposite of appreciation).

  6. Detached

    Term used to describe a property that stands alone and is separated from all others.

  7. Development

    A newly built residence or an older property that has been refurbished and modernised.

  8. Disbursements

    Fees paid by the buyer’s solicitor on the buyer’s behalf such as stamp duty, land registry and search fees.

  9. Discharge

    Paying off a mortgage.

  10. Discount Mortgage

    Mortgages charged at a rate discounted from the published bank standard variable rate for a set period of time. The rates are variable and are subject to go up or down in line with any changes to the Reserve Bank of Australia base rate.

  11. Down Valuation

    When the lender restricts the amount you can borrow after the valuer’s valuation report indicates the property is not worth the sum sought.

  12. Draft Contract

    Preliminary version of the contract.


  1. Equity

    The amount of money either put into buying a property or the deposit placed on a property which exceeds the amount of any money borrowed against the property. Also known as capital.

  2. Excess

    The initial sum paid on an insurance claim.

  3. Exchange Of Contracts

    The point at which signed contracts are physically exchanged, legally binding the seller and buyer to the sale and purchase of a
    property at the agreed price.


  1. Fixed Rate Mortgage

    A mortgage in which the interest rate is set for an agreed period of time.

  2. Fixtures And Fittings

    All non-structural items included in the purchase of a property.

  3. Flexible Mortgage

    An arrangement whereby you can increase or decrease your mortgage.

  4. Freehold

    Where the owner of the property also owns the land on which it is built.


  1. Gazumping

    When a seller accepts a higher offer from a third party on a property that they have already agreed to sell to someone else prior
    to exchange of contracts.

  2. Gazundering

    When a buyer reduces their agreed offer prior to exchange of contracts.

  3. Guarantor

    The lender may sometimes require a borrower to appoint a guarantor. This is someone who promises to pay the borrower’s debt if the borrower defaults.


  1. Household Insurance

    An insurance policy that protects against loss or damage to the property caused by fire, some natural causes and acts of vandalism. Also see Buildings insurance and Contents insurance.


  1. IFA

    Independent Financial Advisor.

  2. Inflation

    The general rise in prices over time.

  3. Interest Charges

    The charges that banks make on a loan, calculated as a percentage of the amount borrowed.

  4. Interest-Only Mortgage

    A type of mortgage in which the borrower only repays the interest on the loan for the duration of its term and repays the full loan amount at the end of the mortgage period.


  1. Joint Income

    The total gross income of the two borrowers in a joint mortgage.

  2. Joint Tenants

    A form of ownership for two parties whereby if one of them dies, their share of the property will automatically transfer to the remaining party, giving them full ownership.


  1. Land Registration

    The process of registering the legal title of an area of land with the Land Registry, typically handled by a solicitor.

  2. Land Registry Fee

    The fee payable for the above.

  3. Lease

    A legal document by which the Freehold (or Leasehold) owner of a property lets the premises or a part of it to another party for
    a specified length of time, after the expiry of which, ownership may revert to the Freeholder or superior Leaseholder.

  4. Leasehold

    A type of ownership in which a person owns a property, but not the land on which it is built. The owner of the Freehold will grant a lease on the property for a specified length of time.

  5. Legal Charge

    A mortgage on the property.

  6. Lender

    The party, typically a bank, building society or mortgage company, offering the loan.

  7. Lender’s Arrangement Fees

    Charge passed on to the buyer by the lender for arranging a loan.

  8. Listed Building

    A building officially listed as being of special architectural or historic interest, which cannot be demolished or altered without prior local government approval.

  9. Loan To Value (LTV)

    The proportion of the value of the property on which the lender is prepared to loan.

  10. Local Authority Search

    Procedure whereby a buyer’s solicitor checks with the local council regarding any outstanding enforcement or future development issues that might affect the property or immediate area.


  1. Maintenance Charge (Or Service Charge)

    The cost of repairing and maintaining external or internal communal parts of a building charged to the tenant or leaseholder.

  2. Mortgage

    An amount of money advanced by a lender such as a bank or building society on the security of a property and repayable over a long period of time.

  3. Mortgage Payment Protection (MPP)

    This is an insurance designed to pay your monthly mortgage for a limited period, usually a year if you are unable to work through illness, disability or redundancy.

  4. Mortgage Broker

    Someone who advises buyers on the types of loans available and helps to process any subsequent application.

  5. Mortgage Deed

    The legal document that confers ownership or title to a property.

  6. Mortgage Rate

    The standard variable interest rate quoted by all mortgage lenders which normally varies in line with the Reserve Bank of Australia base rate. All discounted rates are based on this mortgage rate.

  7. Mortgage Term

    The period of time over which a mortgage loan must be repaid.

  8. Mortgage Type

    This may be a fixed, variable, capped, discount, tracker or another type of mortgage.

  9. Mortgagee

    The lender of a mortgage (i.e. bank or building society).


  1. Negative Equity

    A situation in which the value of a property has fallen to below the level of the loan secured on it.

  2. NSW Fair Trading

    Safeguards the rights of all consumers and advises business and traders on fair and ethical practice.


  1. Offer

    A sum of money that the buyer offers to pay for a property.

  2. Offer Of A Loan

    A formal document approving the mortgage you have requested and detailing the Terms and Conditions that will apply.

  3. Open Market Value

    The price a property should achieve where there is a willing buyer and willing seller.

  4. Open Market Value

    The price a property should achieve where there is a willing buyer and willing seller.

  5. Order On the Agent

    Written instruction from the vendor’s solicitor to authorise payment to the agent for services rendered. Usually taken out of the 10% deposit held by the agent.


  1. Penalties

    A specified charge that is levied by the lender under certain circumstances, usually for full or part repayment within a specific period linked to a discount, tracker, fixed or other product type.

  2. Preliminary Enquiries

    The initial enquiries about a property put forward to a seller, which the seller must answer before the exchange of contracts.

  3. Premium

    The monthly amount payable for an insurance policy.

  4. Principal

    The amount of debt outstanding (excluding interest).

  5. Photographer

    Dimosons Photographers are trained specifically to collect property information including interactive floorplans, 360° tours and multiple photographs, all in just one visit.

  6. Public Liability Insurance

    Insurance that covers injury or death to anyone on or around a property.

  7. Purchaser

    A person who is buying a property.


  1. Re-Mortgage

    Refinancing a property by either switching a mortgage from one lender to another or by taking out a second mortgage to take advantage of any equity gained by a rise in value.

  2. Redemption

    When a mortgage is fully repaid.

  3. Repayment Mortgage

    A mortgage in which monthly charges are used to repay the interest and reduce the outstanding capital.

  4. Repossession

    When the mortgage lender takes possession of a property due to non-payment of the mortgage.

  5. Retention

    The ability of a lender to hold back (retain) part of a mortgage until certain conditions are met.


  1. Sales Advice

    Written instruction from the agent to your solicitor detailing the names you intend to purchase the property in, agreed sale price, any special terms or conditions negotiated between you and the seller and a list of items included in the sale.

  2. SMS

    Short Message Service. Commonly known as text messages.

  3. Search

    A request or enquiry for information concerning the property held by a local authority or by the Land Registry

  4. Semi-Detached

    A property which is joined to one other house.

  5. Service Charge

    Service charges are paid by the owner and cover the cost of providing various services (i.e. maintenance and repair of the building and common parts, provision of heating, lighting and security).

  6. Settlement Date

    The date on which a contract of sale is finalised and the balance of money is paid for an asset.

  7. Sole Agent

    When a seller chooses only one estate agent to sell their property.

  8. Solicitor

    A legal expert handling all documentation for the sale or purchase of a property.

  9. Stamp Duty

    A government tax paid by the buyer of a property.

  10. Standard Variable Rate

    Mortgage lender’s standard rate of interest, which may be increased or decreased periodically by the lender depending on prevailing economic conditions.

  11. Structural Survey

    This is based on a detailed inspection of the property and reports on the general structural condition.

  12. Studio Flat

    A flat consisting of one main room or open-plan living area incorporating cooking and sleeping facilities and a separate bathroom/shower room.

  13. Subject To Contract

    Legal terminology that indicates an agreement is not yet legally binding and depends upon the terms yet to be agreed within the contract.


  1. Tenants In Common

    A form of ownership by two or more people in which if one of them dies, their share of the property forms part of their estate and does not automatically pass to the other(s).

  2. Tenure

    Conditions on which a property is held (i.e. length of lease).

  3. Terraced House

    A property that forms part of a connected row of houses.

  4. Title Deeds

    Documents showing the legal ownership of a property.

  5. Title Search

    An investigation carried out by a conveyancer or solicitor into the history of ownership of a property. The search will
    check for liens, unpaid claims, restrictions or any other problems that may affect ownership.

  6. Transfer Deeds

    The Land Registry document that transfers legal ownership from seller to buyer.


  1. Under Offer

    The status of a property for sale when a seller has accepted an offer from a buyer, prior to exchange of contracts.


  1. Valuation

    A basic survey of a property to estimate its value for mortgage purposes. Mortgage lenders will insist on this before lending.

  2. Value

    The price of a property under normal conditions, i.e. when the buyer is not forced to buy and the seller not forced to sell.

  3. Variable Base Rate

    The basic rate of interest charged on a mortgage. This may change in reaction to market conditions so monthly payments can go up or down.

  4. Vendor

    The person selling a property.

  5. Void

    An empty area or space.


  1. Yield

    Income from a property calculated as a percentage of its value.

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