The Ultimate Glossary of Real Estate Terms and Abbreviations
Looking for real estate terms, abbreviations and jargon?
Here’s the ultimate glossary of real estate terms and abbreviations from the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA), Property Council of Australia, Australian Property Institute, realestate.com.au and more.
Glossary of real estate terms and abbreviations
Absentee landlord: An owner or sub-lessor who does not reside in the place or
area in which he/she owns real estate from which he/she derives rental income.
Abstract of auction: A summary of the auction advertisements which appears in
the property page of a newspaper.
Abstract of title: A chronological summary of conveyances, mortgage or leases
and other deeds giving the names of the parties and the description of the land,
arranged to show the continuity of ownership of general law land not under the
A/C: Air conditioning.
Acceleration clause: A clause in a mortgage document which requires the
immediate repayment of the entire balance due under the said mortgage at any
given time should there be a breach of the conditions of the mortgage e.g.
Access rights: The right to enter or exit a property that abuts upon an existing
street or highway. Details will be shown on Certificates of Title of both parties
granting and receiving the right.
Accessible housing: A dwelling designed to allow easier access for physically
disabled or vision impaired persons.
Acquiring authority: A government department, local authority or other body
empowered by statute to acquire land compulsorily.
Adaptable housing: A dwelling designed to facilitate low-cost modification to
enhance access for physically disabled or vision impaired persons.
Adjustments: Apportionment of rates, taxes, body corporate fees, rent, insurances
etc up to the date of possession or settlement on a sale or letting.
Agent: A person authorised to act for another (usually for the owner) in the
selling, buying, renting or management of a property. Commonly used to refer to
licensed real estate agents and real estate representatives.
Agents in conjunction: Two or more agents employed by a principal to sell or let
real estate and share commission.
Apartment: A room or suite of rooms used as a dwelling unit. Not necessarily selfcontained.
The term flat is used to describe a self-contained dwelling unit in
Appraisal: The term commonly used in America to indicate what is termed in
Australia as a Valuation. In Australia, the term means an opinion of the potential
saleability of a residential property by a licensed Real Estate Agent.
Appreciation: An increase in value.
APRA: Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (https://www.apra.gov.au/). An
independent statutory authority that supervises institutions across banking,
insurance and superannuation and promotes financial system stability in
Arbitration: The determination of a dispute by one or more independent third
parties rather than a court. Arbitrators are appointed by the parties in
accordance with the terms of the arbitration agreement or in default by a court.
The arbitration is conducted pursuant to the Arbitration Acts in each State and
the award given by the arbitrator/s binds the parties.
A-REIT: An Australian Real Estate Investment Trust, formally known as Listed
Property Trusts. An A-REIT is an Australian listed property trust that buys property,
generally commercial property and manages it on behalf of investors.
Arrears: Unpaid debts.
ASIC: Australian Securities and Investment Commission (https://asic.gov.au/). An
independent commission of the Australian Government tasked as the national
Assessed, rateable or taxable value: A value which is based upon definitions
contained within applicable laws relating to the assessment, rating, and/or
taxation of real property.
Assumption of mortgage: When a buyer takes ownership of real estate
encumbered with a mortgage and has assumed the responsibility as the
guarantor for the unpaid balance of the mortgage. Such a buyer is liable for the
Auction: A sale usually in public, by an auctioneer, in which property is sold to the
Auction agency agreement: An agreement that the vendor must sign when a
property is listed for auction. Details the reserve price and the costs of the
auction, including advertising and the agent’s commission. Usually includes a
condition that one agent will have the exclusive right to sell the property for a
period during and after the auction.
Auctioneer: One who is licensed to sell, or offer for sale, real estate where persons
become purchasers by competition, being the highest bidders.
Basis point: One percent (1%) is the equivalent of 100 basis points.
Bics: Built-in cupboards.
Bid: A verbal or written offer to purchase.
BIR: Built-in wardrobes.
Body corporate: (a) A term used in the Strata Titles Act to describe the body
representing the building owners; (b) The control and administration of common
property is vested in a statutory Body Corporate which comes into existence
automatically on the registration of the plan, and to which the provisions of the
Companies Act do not apply. The registered proprietors of the units are the only
members of the Body Corporate. Associated rights and obligations are fixed by
Bond (rental): Consideration held usually under a lease to ensure per formance of
lease terms and conditions. Normally refundable if possession of property is
returned in good condition.
Building Code of Australia (BCA): Sets minimum community standards for buildings
in terms of health, safety and amenity in buildings for regulatory purposes.
Produced by the Australian Building Codes Board (https://www.abcb.gov.au/)
Building inspector: An authorised person who is responsible for checking buildings
in the course of construction and completed buildings to ensure that they have
been constructed in accordance with building control provisions.
Building line: The setback from the site boundary required by statutory authorities
Building regulations: The Building Code of Australia and other regulations
stipulated by local authorities relating to the design and construction of buildings.
Building restrictions: Planning and development controls that limit the use, size
and location of buildings or other improvements on land.
Business broker: An estate agent licensed and certified to sell businesses.
Buyer’s market: The condition which exists when, under competitive conditions,
the pressures of supply and demand are such that market prices are at a
relatively low level, giving the buyer an advantage. An oversupply causing prices
Buyer’s agent (BA): Represents a property buyer in negotiations with a vendor or
his/her agent. The buyer’s agent is paid by the buyer. Buyer’s agents should be
licensed and certified to act as a buyer’s agent.
BV: Brick veneer.
Capital expenditure (CAPEX): Those items that are significant replacements or
additions to existing properties or for new developments, as distinguished from
cash outflows for expense items that are normally considered part of the current
period’s operations. Capital expenditure does not include general maintenance
and repair items.
Capital gain: The amount by which the net proceeds from resale of a capital
item exceeds the book value of the asset.
Capital Gains Tax (CGT): A Commonwealth tax payable on the Capital Gain
made on the sale of an investment property.
Capital Gains Tax discount: A discount of 50% on the CGT payable, provided the
property has been owned for at least 12 months (and provided various other
conditions have been met).
Capital growth: An increase in the value of the property over time.
Capital return: The change in capital value between periods less any capital
expenditures which may have occurred – it is expressed as a percentage of
capital value plus a portion of capital expenditures less any partial sales and less
a portion of net income.
Caveat: A notice on title proclaiming a possible interest other than that of an
Caveat emptor: ‘Buyer beware’, that the risk in a property transaction lies with
Certificate of occupancy / occupation: A certificate which establishes that a
building or major refurbishment project has reached a stage where it complies
with all relevant statutory approvals and is ready for occupation.
Certificate of title: A document issued under the Torrens System of Title, showing
ownership and interest in a parcel of land.
Certified Practising Valuer (CPV): A designation of the Australian Property Institute
signifying the recipient has the required education and experience to undertake
Ceteris Paribus: Latin phrase, literally translated
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceteris_paribus) as "with other things [being] the
same," and usually rendered in English as "all other things being equal."
Chattels: Any fixed asset other than freehold land. Items such as machinery,
implements, tools, furnishings, fittings, which may be associated with land use, but
which are not fixed to the land or premises or, if fixed, may be removed without
causing structural damage to a building. Legally known as personalty.
Client: One who engages the services of an agent or valuer and to whom the
agent or valuer should look for payment of his commission or fees, in return for
Commercial property: Property intended for use by all types of retail and
wholesale stores, office buildings, hotels and service establishments. In many
property circles, commercial property refers specifically to office property.
Commission: The fee or payment made to an agent for services rendered, such
as the sale of property, often calculated with reference to the value of the
property, contract or agreement.
Common law title: A system of title based upon traditional English land laws which
depends upon tracing the ownership of the subject land from the original Crown
grant through all succeeding dealings.
Common property: (a) Land or a tract of land considered as the property of the
public in which all persons enjoy equal rights. A property not owned by
individuals but by groups; (b) In a home (villa) unit or flat development that part
of the property owned and used in common by all the unit or flat owners or
occupiers and which is maintained by the Body Corporate.
Company title: (a) Method of obtaining ownership of real estate by way of
company shares (usually preceded Strata Title Act); (b) Under Company Title,
land and buildings are owned by a private company. The company’s
shareholding structure is organised so that ownership of a certain number of
shares entitles the shareholder to exclusive possession of a part of the building.
Compound interest: Where interest is calculated on a sum that includes previous
Compulsory acquisition: Where an asset is acquired by a statutory authority
through legislation, irrespective of whether an owner is willing to sell or not.
Conditions of sale: The conditions applicable to a sale contract made between a
vendor and purchaser.
Conjunction agency: See Agents in Conjunction.
Consideration: Payment in the form of money or other form of benefit in
exchange for an agreed action (e.g. the receipt of goods and / or services).
Contract: A legally binding agreement.
Contract of sale: An agreement relating to the sale of property, which expresses
the terms and conditions of sale.
Conveyance: A deed which transfers ownership of common law title from one
person to another.
Cooling of f period: A short statutory period after the contract is made, during
which the purchaser may cancel the contract unconditionally. Usually does not
apply in the case of auctions.
Counter of fer: A new offer as to price, terms and conditions, made in reply to a
prior unacceptable offer. Normally the counter offer terminates the previous
Crown land: Unalienated land owned by a State or the Commonwealth
Date of settlement: The date on which a contract of sale is finalised and final
payment is made.
Deed: A document executed under seal. For example, a conveyance.
Deposit: Percentage of total consideration, or an agreed amount, paid on
exchange of contract for purchase of an asset.
Depreciation: (a) In accounting terms, the writing down of the original cost of an
asset systematically over the life of that asset; ( b) An effect caused by physical
deterioration, or obsolescence, or both; (c) In valuation terms, the writing down
of the current cost of an asset to calculate its current value. The accumulated
effect on the value of an asset due to physical, functional, technological and
Depreciation schedule: A list of items in an investment property that can be
depreciated and claimed as a tax benefit. It includes such items as carpets, hotwater
systems and air conditioning.
Development approval: Approval from the relevant planning authority to
construct, add, amend or change the structure of a property.
Disbursements: Recoverable costs. For example, in the case of real estate sales,
expenses paid by an agent on behalf of an owner, such as advertising, rates and
Display home: A building which represents a completed example of a dwelling
type offered for sale.
Dry rot: Decay of seasoned wood caused by fungus.
Easement: A right to use the land of another (not involving the taking of any part
of the natural produce of that land, or any part of its soil) or a right to prevent the
owner of that land from using that land in a particular manner. Most commonly
used where Government authorities have the right to run, for example, electrical
mains or drainage through private property. Some form of compensation may be
Effective age: The age of an item, such as a building, as indicated by its physical
condition and utility compared to its useful life, in contrast to its chronological
age. The amount of maintenance and care given to the building will help
determine its effective age. A 5-year old building may have an effective age of
10 years due to poor maintenance of the building.
Effective cause of sale: Where the efforts of a particular real estate agent are
considered to have been an essential element in a purchaser entering into a
binding contract with a vendor for the sale of a property. An agent considered to
be the effective cause of sale will usually be entitled to a commission in respect
of that sale.
Effective date: The date something commences or closes.
Egress: The exit point from a property.
Encumbrance: A charge or liability on a property; for example, a mortgage or a
special condition on the use to which it may be put (e.g. easements, restrictions
Environmental impact study: A multi-disciplinary assessment of existing
environmental conditions and the likely effect on a specified environment of the
introduction of a proposed development or actions which may change the
existing environmental conditions and ecological balance.
Equity: (a) A synonym for a share (as distinct from fixed interest) investment3; (b)
the interest or value that an owner has in an asset over and above the debt
against it. For example, a home-owner has equity in that part of the value of his
or her house above the amount borrowed from a lender.
Estate agent: See Agent.
Eviction: The removal of a person from a property.
Exchange of contracts: A formal legal process that creates a binding contract for
the sale of real property on agreed terms. The vendor and purchaser each sign a
copy of the sale contract and then exchange these documents, after which time
the contract becomes legally binding on the parties. The parties are then bound
to proceed to settlement, subject to any cooling off period that may apply. A
deposit is usually also paid by the purchaser to the vendor during the exchange
process. Any party that unilaterally declines to proceed to settlement may for feit
deposit monies or be subject to a damages claim.
Exclusive agency: See Exclusive Listing.
Exclusive agency agreement: The agreement between an agent and a vendor
establishing an Exclusive Listing.
Exclusive listing: Where a single agent only is appointed to sell or lease a property
under an Exclusive Agency Agreement. Under the terms of an Exclusive Agency
Agreement, the appointed agent is usually entitled to any commission resulting
from a transaction relating to the property, even if it is sold or leased by another
agent or the vendor during the term of the agreement. Also known as an
Exclusive Agency or a Sole Agency.
Extension of lease: An agreement extending or renewing the terms of a lease for
a period beyond the expiration date.
F/F or F/furn: Fully furnished.
Fire resistance rating: Means the minimum period of time during which an
element of a structure may be expected to function satisfactorily while subjected
to a standard fire test, as set down by the relevant authority.
Fireproofing: The use of incombustible materials to protect structural components
of a building so it can withstand a complete burn-out of contents without losing
First refusal (right of): The right granted to a person to have the first privilege to
buy or lease real estate, or the right to meet any offer made by another.
Fittings: Installed items that may be removed from real estate without causing
irreparable damage to the land, structure or use of the premises.
Fixed interest rate: An interest rate that remains unchanged for a set period, for
example, for the whole term of the loan, or the first year of a loan.
Fixed rate loan: A loan where the interest rate is fixed for a period of time, which
can vary from one to 15 years.
Fixtures: Those parts of a property affixed to structures or land, usually in such a
manner that they cannot be independently moved without damage to
themselves or the property housing supporting or pertinent to them. Fixtures are
usually included in a sale and commonly include items such as carpets and
Flat: A self-contained dwelling unit in a multi-unit building.
Foreclose: Removing the right, title and interest of the owner of a property or
asset, usually due to a default of due payments.
Foreign Investment Review Board: An Australian Government entity that reviews
foreign investment proposals and advises the Government on foreign investment
Freehold: Absolute ownership subject to limitations imposed by the state; also
known as a fee simple estate. An estate held for perpetuity.
Ftld: Fully tiled.
Gazumping: Where the vendor agrees to sell a property, but then sells it to
another party on more favourable terms.
Gearing (leverage): A measure of indebtedness i.e. the extent of borrowings as
against the equity held by a person or company in an asset. Usually expressed as
a ratio. Positive gearing refers to the magnification of financial gain resulting from
borrowing when the cost of capital (borrowed) is less than the return on capital
and leads to magnification of returns to equity. Negative gearing refers to the
same relationships but where the cost of capital exceeds the return on capital.
Persons would normally only negative gear in the expectation of positive returns
in the future.
General law title: See Common Law Title.
Going concern: An operating business that will remain in operation for the
foreseeable future. It is assumed that the entity has neither the intention nor the
necessity of liquidation or of curtailing materially the scale of its operations.
Properties sold as a going concern may be treated differently for taxation
Goods and Services Tax (GST): A consumption tax imposed by the
Commonwealth levied on the provision of goods and services.
Grace period: A period when a mortgage payment or other debt becomes past
due and before it goes into default.
Graduated lease: A lease which provides for a certain rent for an initial period,
followed by an increase or decrease in rent over a stated period.
Guarantor: A person who undertakes to fulfil a contract if the main party defaults.
Hammer price: The purchase price paid when land or goods are sold at auction.
Head lease (or master lease): A lease to an entity that will subsequently grant
leases to sublessees who will be tenants in possession.
Holding deposit: An amount given by a buyer to the estate agent acting for the
seller. It shows the buyer’s serious commitment to the property and is commonly
10% of the purchase price.
House: A single, self-contained place of residence detached from other
buildings. A house generally consists of enclosing walls with a roof to shelter
occupants against both climate and intruders.
Implied covenant: A covenant implied rather than expressly written into a lease.
On the part of the lessor this could include the asset being fit for the purpose for
which it is let and allowing for quiet enjoyment. On the part of the lessee it could
include keeping the premises clean.
Implied easement: An encroachment upon property that has been left
unchallenged for a long period of time. One that is apparent by long and
Ingress: The entry point to a property.
Interest: The payment made by a borrower to a lender in return for the loan of
money, in addition to the principal repayments.
Interest only loan: Only the interest on the principal is repaid during the term of
the loan. At the end of that time the principal is repaid as a lump sum.
Interest rate: The rate of return earned on an investment, or charged by a lender,
expressed in the form of a percentage per annum.
Investment property: Property (land or a building - or part of a building - or both)
held (by the owner or by the lessee under a finance lease) to earn rentals or for
capital appreciation or both.
Joint tenancy: The ownership of land in common by several persons where there
is a right of survivorship i.e. where on the death of one joint owner the land as a
whole vests in the survivors.
KIO: Key in office.
Land agent: See Agent.
Land tax: A tax payable annually in respect of the beneficial ownership of land,
the rate of which is determined by the assessed valuation. Usually based on
unimproved value of land.
Landlord: The owner of leased property. The lessor.
Lease: An agreement whereby the lessor conveys to the lessee in return for a
payment or series of payments the right to use an asset for an agreed period of
Lease abstract: A summary of a lease document listing the specific details
peculiar to that lease.
Lease term: The period of the lease.
Leasehold: Possession and use of a property by virtue of a lease.
Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI): A premium paid by the purchaser if the loan
is more than 80% of the value of the property. This insurance covers the lender if
the borrower defaults on the loan.
Lessee (tenant): A person / legal entity who receives the right to occupy and use
a property under the terms of a lease.
Lessor (landlord): The owner of a property who transfers the right to occupy and
use property to another by way of a lease agreement.
Licensed real estate agent: A Licensed Real Estate Agent may per form the
activities in the conduct of a real estate business. He/she is licensed to hold
responsibility for an agency’s legislative compliance activities.
Lien: A charge, security or encumbrance upon property for the payment of debt.
Line of credit loan: A loan that is similar to a credit card, where you are able to
withdraw funds as needed. Sometimes regular, minimum, interest-only repayments
must be made.
Listing: (a) A term commonly used by agents for obtaining an instruction to sell or
lease real estate; (b) The recording of properties as being available for sale.
Loan-to-value ratio (LVR): The value of the loan as a percentage of the value of
Long-term lease: Generally considered to be a lease extending for ten years or
more. In some long-term leases the lessee or tenant may desire, or be required, to
do extensive remodelling or, if the property leased is land, to construct a building
or other improvements.
Low-doc loans: Loans where minimal documentation is required by the applicant.
Often used by self-employed people. The interest rate charged is often higher
than for a full-doc loan.
LUG: Lock-up garage.
Maintenance: The act of keeping, or the expenditure required to keep, an asset
in condition to per form efficiently the service for which it is used.
Management agreement: A written contract recording the agreement between
the owner and manager of real estate concerning the duties, responsibilities and
liabilities of the owner and the manager in the management of that real estate.
Management fee (property): The fee charged by the property manager to the
landlord for the service of managing a property or properties. This service
typically includes collecting rents, paying recurrent property expenses, selecting
and supervising property service contractors such as cleaners, plant service
providers and security. It may also include negotiating new leases, marketing of
the property, rent reviews and overseeing building refurbishment. In respect of
property trusts, it refers to the fee levied on unit holders by the responsible entity
to cover the cost of trust administration.
Managing agent: A real estate agent authorised to manage the business affairs in
connection with the property of another. See also Property Management.
Margin scheme: Refer to the Australian Taxation Office (https://www.ato.gov.au).
Market price: The price actually paid, or agreed in a contract to be paid, for an
asset. It differs from market value in that it relates to an accomplished fact,
whereas market value is and remains an estimate until proved. Market price may
involve circumstances not normally included in market value.
Market value: Market value is the estimated amount for which an asset should
exchange on the date of valuation between a willing buyer and a willing seller in
an arm’s length transaction after proper marketing, wherein the parties had each
acted knowledgeably, prudently and without compulsion.
Median: The middle number when data is arranged from lowest to the highest in
sequence. If there are two median scores, they are averaged to provide the true
median. The median is also known as the 50th percentile.
Median price: The median price is derived by arranging property prices in
ascending or descending order and then selecting the middle price. It is not the
Mediation: The process by which a third party assists two disputing parties to
reach a mutually agreeable solution. A recommendation made by the mediator
is not necessarily binding on the parties.
Mortgage: Documentation of a property loan. Security over real property to
ensure payment of a debt or per formance of an obligation.
Mortgage guarantee insurance: Paid by the borrower to protect the lender
against failure by the borrower to keep up mortgage repayments or to pay back
the loan in full when it is due.
Mortgagee: Financier who lends money against property as security.
Mortgagee sale: Sale of a property where, in the case of a default of payments
by the mortgagee, the mortgagor can sell the property over which the mortgage
has been held.
Mortgagor: One who owns an interest in real estate and who executes a
mortgage on that interest as security for a loan or for the advance of credit.
Multiple listing: A method of exchanging exclusive entries for the sale of
properties between real estate agents who are members of the same
Negative gearing: The interest payable on an investment loan is greater than the
income received. See Gearing.
Neutral gearing: The interest payable on an investment loan is equal to the
income received. See Gearing.
Notice of termination: The notice given by either the landlord or tenant that they
want to end the rental agreement and vacate the property in compliance with
the terms and conditions of the lease.
Notice to quit: A legal notice served on tenants requiring them to vacate real
estate due to a breach of lease terms.
Of fer: The consideration offered to purchase or lease an asset.
Of f the plan: Signing a contract for property which has yet to be built. This is often
the practice of developers of blocks of high rise units and apartments.
OFP: Open fireplace.
Old system title: See Common Law Title.
ONO: Or nearest offer.
Open agency agreement: The agreement between an agent and a vendor
establishing an Open Listing.
Open listing: Where a vendor grants selling or leasing rights over a property to
any number of agents on a non-exclusive basis. The first agent to procure a buyer
ready, willing and able to purchase or lease the property on terms acceptable to
the vendor receives the commission. Also known as a Common Listing, Simple
Listing or Open Agency.
OSP: Off street parking.
Outbuildings: Any building other than the main structure on a particular allotment
of land e.g. a garage, workshop etc.
Outgoings: The expenses incurred in generating income. In real estate, these
expenses include, but are not necessarily limited to, property rates, insurance,
repairs and maintenance and management fees.
Owner: In relation to land, the owner includes every person who jointly or
severally whether at law or in equity: (a) is entitled to the land of an estate in
freehold possession; or (b) is entitled to receive rent or profits thereof, whether as
beneficial owner, trustee, mortgagee in possession or otherwise.
Owners corporation: See Body Corporate.
Passed-in: If a property is not sold at auction because the owner’s reserve price
has not been reached, it is passed in.
P.c.m: Per calendar month.
Periodic lease: Where a tenant continues to rent / occupy the property after the
lease has formally expired.
Planning approval: Approval from the relevant authority to use property for a
Positive cash flow: Income from the property (including tax benefits) is greater
than all the expenses (including interest, rates and taxes, repairs, etc.).
Positive gearing: The income from a property is greater than the interest payable
on the investment loan. The difference between positive gearing and positive
cash flow (and negative gearing and negative cash flow) is that cash flow
includes all income and all expenses whereas gearing only refers to rental
income vs interest. See Gearing.
Preferred listings: Entrusting a property sale / lease to a predetermined preferred
Premises: A house, building or other structure together with the surrounding
grounds that form part of the title. Also, the real estate forming the subject of a
conveyance or licence.
Principal: (a) A term used in most Australian contracts in lieu of ‘client’ or
‘proprietor’; (b) A licensed estate agent holding responsibility for an agency’s
legislative compliance activities including legal responsibility for trust accounts.
Private sale: Where an owner offers a property for sale without engaging an
Private treaty sale: A sale negotiated directly between the parties or their agents.
Property: At law, property consists of the private rights of ownership. To distinguish
between real estate (realty), a physical entity, and its ownership, a legal
concept, ownership of land is known as real property. Physical items other than
real estate are legally termed ‘personalty’ and their ownership is known as
‘personal property’. The word ‘property’ used without further qualification or
identification may relate to real estate, personalty or a combination.
Colloquially, property is anything that can be owned or in which an interest can
be held, over which control can be exercised, which can be traded or left in an
estate or from which current or future rights to receive benefits can be held.
Property can include, but is not limited to, real estate and associated interests
therein, personalty, intellectual property, rights, licences and options, plant and
machinery, art and jewellery, goodwill and shares.
Property management: The management of a property on behalf of the owner.
For example, the leasing of space, collection of rents, selection of tenants and
generally the overall maintaining and managing of real estate properties for
Property manager (PM): A property manager is a person or firm charged with the
upkeep and management of a property on behalf of the owner.
Pw: Per week.
Rates: Periodic property taxes levied by Local and State Governments (e.g. water
RBA: Reserve Bank of Australia (https://www.rba.gov.au/). Australia's central bank
and banknote issuing authority.
Real estate agent: See Agent.
Real property: All the rights, interests, and benefits related to the ownership of
real estate. Real property is a legal concept distinct from real estate, which is a
physical asset. There may also be potential limitations upon ownership rights to
Realty: See Real Estate.
Rent: A payment made periodically by a lessee to a lessor for the use of premises.
Rent review: A periodic review of rental under a lease using a predetermined
method. For example, an increase in line with Consumer Price Index (CPI) or in
accordance with a market valuation.
Rent roll: A group of rental properties managed by a real estate agent and
includes names of tenants and the amount they pay.
Rental determination: A valuation report by an independent valuer fixing a rent,
in circumstances where a lessor and lessee have been unable to negotiate an
Rescind: To terminate a contract of sale.
Reserve price: The lowest acceptable price fixed by the vendor.
Residential Tenancies Tribunal: Specialist bodies exist in most Australian States and
Territories to resolve disputes between landlords and residential tenants in a lowcost
manner, usually without the involvement of lawyers. Specifically, these
bodies include the: Residential Tenancies Tribunal (ACT, SA); Residential Tenancies
Authority (QLD); Residential Tenancies List (VIC); Residential Tribunal (NSW);
Commissioner of Tenancies (NT); and Residential Tenancy Commissioner (TAS).
Tenancy disputes may be heard by the Small Disputes Division of Local Courts in
Residential tenancy database: A risk management tool used by agents to identify
tenants with a history of breaching tenancy rules.
Reverse mortgage: A mortgage over a residential property owned by a person
(usually over 55 years of age), where repayments are not required until the
property is sold or the last homeowner dies.
Right of access: Where an ongoing right of access has been granted, usually for
inspection of services, agistment, etc.
Right of entry: Where a landlord may inspect the premises, provided reasonable
notice is given to the tenant.
R/O: Room only.
Self-managed super fund (SMSF): A type of trust that exists with the sole purpose
of funding the beneficiaries’ retirement.
Seller’s market: The condition which exists when, under competitive conditions,
the pressures of supply and demand are such that market prices are at a
relatively high level, giving the seller an advantage. An under-supply causing
prices to increase.
Settlement: This is the final stage of the sale when the purchaser completes the
payment of the contract price to the vendor and takes legal possession of the
Settlement date: The date on which a contract of sale is finalised and the
balance of money is paid for an asset.
Simple interest: Interest that is calculated on a sum that does not include
previous interest charges.
Simple listing: See Open Listing.
SLUG: Single lock-up garage.
Sole agency: See Exclusive Listing.
Speculator: One who speculates; that is, one who buys any commodity, including
real estate, in the expectancy of selling in a higher market.
Stamp duty: The tax imposed by state governments on certain contracts (e.g.
Contracts of Sale and Registered Leases). The amount of tax payable is
calculated as a percentage of the contract value. See also individual state
Standard lease: A lease in commonly used form into which specific clauses or
provisions may be written.
Stock and station agent: Stock and station agents are certified to broker
transactions that involve livestock, rural property and agricultural products on
behalf of their clients.
Strata plan: The registered plan of a strata title property showing the boundaries
of lots and unit entitlements. Pursuant to legislation on strata or unit titles.
Strata title: (a) The formal ownership of property held within a strata plan where
property is defined within horizontal and vertical boundaries; (b) A scheme of
property ownership where each proprietor owns parts of a building and has joint
rights with other proprietors over the land and other common areas.
Sub-agent: A person employed by an agent as their sales representative to
provide assistance in transacting the affairs of the principal. In some States a subagent
is referred to as a sales representative.
Subdivision: Divisions by a landowner, of all or part of a parcel of land, into
separate allotments (or sections), each with a separate title, in accordance with
a ‘plan of subdivision’ approved by the planning authority.
Sublease / sublet: A contract whereby the whole or part of the property is let to
another person, the party letting being themselves a lessee. The obligations of the
lessee to the lessor are not diminished. The length of the sub-lease must not be
longer than the unexpired part of the head lease.
Survey: The measurement and depiction on paper of the boundaries of real
estate and the location of the improvements on the land, or measurement of a
part of a building, usually undertaken by a registered surveyor.
Tenancy agreement: A form of lease, generally in an abbreviated form. It may be
registered on an owner’s certificate of title.
Tenancy in common: Ownership that is separate and not held directly with
another person. There is no survivorship.
Tenant: A person or entity paying rent in exchange for the occupancy of a
building or dwelling. See also Lessee.
Tenant’s agent: A Tenant’s Agent should be a licensed real estate agent, who
acts on behalf of a tenant in a commercial property transaction.
Tender: The sale of an asset through the seeking of written bids.
Title: The form of ownership of real estate (i.e. Torrens, strata or company title).
Title deeds: Documents evidencing the ownership of property.
Torrens title: The title to land by registration. Originating in South Australia under
the stewardship of R.R.Torrens (later Sir Robert Torrens) and enacted in 1858. The
Torrens titles has superseded the ‘Common Law Title’ system throughout Australia.
Under the Torrens system dealings and ownership of land are managed by
registration with the Titles Office.
Trust account: A legislatively required bank account where monies are held by an
agent for or on behalf of another person e.g. deposits, rental etc.
Unencumbered property: Property free and clear of mortgages, restrictive
covenants, leases and assessments of any kind.
Unimproved value: A statutory concept of value used mainly for rating and taxing
purposes, which envisages the land as being in its virgin state but enjoying the
benefits of all external factors which influence the value at a given date. The
value of land as if all existing improvements thereupon, including site works, had
never been built or made, but regarding all other lands as in their current
circumstance, including all improvements, roads, services and amenities.
Unit (strata): Each dedicated lot / unit area designated within a strata plan.
Vacancy: A rental property or any unit thereof that is unlet.
Vacancy rate: The proportion of inhabitable rental premises which are vacant.
Vacant possession: In real estate this refers to a right to possession of land or builtup
property in respect of which there is no current occupant.
Vacate: To give up occupancy; to make vacant; move out of property.
Valuation: (a) The process of estimating value.5; (b) The prediction of the value of
an asset at a point in time, depending on the purpose for which the valuation is
Valuation report: A document that records the instructions for the assignment, the
purpose and basis of the valuation, and the results of the analysis that led to the
opinion of value. A Valuation Report may also explain the analytical processes
undertaken in carrying out the valuation, and present meaningful information
used in the analysis. Valuation Reports can be either oral or written. The type,
content and length of a report vary according to the intended user, legal
requirements, the property type, and the nature and complexity of the
assignment. The terms, Valuation Certificate and Valuation Report, are sometimes
Valuer: A person who is: (a) registered / licensed / approved to carry out property
or plant and machinery valuations under any State, Territory or Commonwealth
legislation; and / or (b) a member of the Australian Property Institute who is
accredited as a Certified Practising Valuer.
Variable rate loan: A loan in which the interest rate fluctuates.
Variation: An addition to, omission from, or alteration to a contract or to the
Vendor: One who sells anything. In real estate transactions, the person(s) or entity
selling the property.
Voidable: An agreement which can be made void at the option of one or both of
Water closet: A room equipped with toilet fixtures and facilities.
Without reserve: An auction term signifying that a reserve price has not been set,
such that the highest bid will prevail.
Yield: The derived percentage return of a property assessed from the net income
and the market value or price. It is calculated by dividing the net income by the
opening market value or price.
Zoning: A local planning tool to control the present and future development of
land including residential, business and industrial uses.
Real Estate Institue of Australia (http://reia.asn.au/wpcontent/
Property Council of Australia