Chat with us, powered by LiveChatUnderstanding real estate acronyms and language

Glossary of terms in real estate.

Here are some important terms to know during the sale or rental process.

The acronyms and language we use in our day-to-day real estate transactions can at times seem like a foreign language for anyone who is new to real estate. To help you out we’ve listed the A to Z of frequently used real estate jargon - just click on the letter to expand the menu.


AC / A/C - Air conditioning

ACCESS RIGHTS – The right of ingress to and egress from 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.

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 self-contained. The term flat is used to describe a self-contained dwelling unit in multi-unit dwellings.

APPRAISAL – In Australia, the term means an opinion of price or a range of prices and the potential sale-ability of a residential property.

APPRECIATION – An increase in value.

ARREARS – Unpaid debts.

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 mortgage repayment.

AUCTION – A sale usually in public, by an auctioneer, in which property is sold to the highest bidder.

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 – A person who is licensed to sell, or offer for sale, real estate where persons become purchasers by competition, being the highest bidders.


BDM - Business Development Manager

BID – A verbal or written offer to purchase.

BIR - Built in robe


(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 scheduled by-laws.

BOND (RENTAL) – Consideration held, usually under a lease, to ensure performance of lease terms and conditions. Normally refundable if possession of property is returned in good condition.

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 for buildings.

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. This occurs when there is an over-supply of property for sale causing prices to decline.

BUYER’S AGENT – A person that 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


CAPITAL GAIN – The amount by which the net proceeds from resale of a capital item exceed the book value of the asset. Refer to The Australian Tax Office (ATO).

CAPITAL GAINS TAX – A Commonwealth tax payable on the Capital Gain made on the sale of an investment property. Refer to current requirements of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

CAVEAT – A notice on title proclaiming a possible interest other than that of an owner.

CAVEAT EMPTOR – ‘Buyer beware’. Used in the context of a property sale transaction it means that the risk lies with the purchaser.

CERTIFICATE OF TITLE – A document issued under the Torrens System of Title, showing ownership and interest in a parcel of land.

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 services rendered.

CMA - Comparative/Comparable Market Analysis

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 (OPEN) LISTING – See “Open Listing”.

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.

(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.

(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 interest payments.

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.

CONJUNCTIONAL AGENTS / 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.

COO or C of O - Certificate of Occupancy.

COOLING OFF 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 OFFER – A new offer as to price, terms and conditions, made in reply to a prior unacceptable offer. Normally the counter offer terminates the previous offer.

CROWN LAND – Unalienated land owned by a State or the Commonwealth Government.


DATE OF SETTLEMENT - In relation to real estate transactions, it is the day on which under the terms of the contract the vendor is required to transfer his or her estate or interest in property to the purchaser.

DEED - An instrument (i.e. document) whereby an agreement is made, obligation entered into, or property conveyed, and is under the seal of a party thereto.

DEFLATION - A general decrease in the market value of property.

DEPLETION - A reduction in the value of an asset by reason of the taking away of exhaustible material assets or resources, such as the removal of trees from a forest, the taking of minerals from a mine, the taking of oil from a well and so on.

DEPARTMENT MANAGER - A title that in real estate is usually used for the Manager of a Property Management Department.

DEPOSIT - Non-refundable percentage (usually ten per cent) of purchase price paid by buyer when contracts are signed and exchanged. Deposit must be held by estate agency or seller’s solicitor in a trust account or held jointly in a trust account by seller and buyer.

DEPRECIATION - A loss from the upper limit of value. An effect caused by deterioration, or obsolescence, or both.

DERELICT - The intentional abandonment or renunciation of property. A state of disrepair.

DETACHED - A dwelling unattached to any other building and occupied or intended or designed for occupation as a single dwelling.

DETERIORATION - The gradual exhaustion of the usefulness of a property caused by wear and tear or decay and decline from natural causes. One of the causes of depreciation and loss in value.

DEVELOPER (PROPERTY) - A person or company that makes money by sub-dividing land, building new houses, land estates and or apartments or renovating existing properties for sale.

DISBURSEMENTS - Money paid out. Expenditures, e.g. advertising expenses, rates and taxes, insurance, etc., paid by an agent on behalf of an owner.

DISPLAY HOME / DISPLAY SUITE- A building or room/s which represents a dwelling and which is employed for the purpose of inducing prospective purchasers to enter into contracts for the purchase or construction of like buildings. A display home is generally located adjacent to new housing estates or on a main roadway.

DISTRICT - An area having a common characteristic use (such as a retail district, residential district, etc).

DRY ROT - A decay of seasoned wood caused by a fungus.

DURATION OF LEASE - The remaining time for which the property is leased. The length of a lease.

D/W - Dishwasher

DWELLING - A residence. A place of abode or a structure occupied exclusively for living purposes.


EA - Executive Assistant

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 payable.

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 and reservations).

(a) A synonym for a share (as distinct from fixed interest) investment;
(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 forfeit 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 / 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:
(a) A synonym for a share (as distinct from fixed interest) investment;
(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 forfeit 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 / 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.


FHOG - First Home Owners Grant.

FIRB - See "Foreign Investment Review Board"

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 structural integrity.

FIRST (RIGHT OF) REFUSAL – 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.

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 awnings.

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 Government on foreign investment policy.

FREEHOLD – Absolute ownership subject to limitations imposed by the state; also known as a fee simple estate. An estate held for perpetuity.


GABLE - A triangular shape in a roof that's above the eaves.

GRADUATED LEASE - A lease that provides for a certain amount of rent during an initial period of the lease, followed by either an increase or decrease in rent over a stated period of time.

GUARANTOR - Someone who agrees to fulfil a contract if the main party to the loan defaults.


HAMMER PRICE - The winning bid or final price paid when an item is sold at auction.

HEAD LEASE (or Master Lease) - the over-riding primary lease to a person or an entity who will subsequently sub-lease the premises to other tenants, who will become tenants in possession.

HECTARE - The metric measure for an area of land measuring 10,000 square metres (approximately 2.47 acres).

HIGH RISE - Generally understood to mean a tall building.

HIGH SET - A house which is higher off the ground on wooden stumps, concrete or brick piers.

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, but is not compulsory and is refundable if the offer is rejected.


IMPLIED COVENANT - A covenant that has not been written into a lease, but that has been implied. This may include a tenant agreeing to keep rental premises clean and tidy, even though this may not have been expressly detailed in the lease agreement.

IMPLIED EASEMENT - An encroachment upon property that has been left unchallenged for a long period of time. One that is apparent by long and continued use.

IMPROVED VALUE - That portion of the current market value of a property, which is in excess of its cost and which may be expected to persist. The expected permanence of the excess is due to an anticipated increase in the value of the land, or reproduction cost of the building, or both. Usually, this condition is found in new and rapidly developing districts. The combined value of land and all improvements thereon as distinguished from their separate values.

INGRESS - An entry point for a property.

INVESTMENT PROPERTY - A property which a person would invest in to get a return on money.

INVISIBLE IMPROVEMENT - improvements to land which are not visually apparent. They are generally difficult to ascertain and assess as they have merged with the land, e.g. cutting and filling, reclamation, timber treatment and eradication of pests and noxious weeds.


JOINT TENANTS - Property may be owned under joint tenancy or tenancy in common. Joint tenancy is ownership in equal undivided shares, and are stated to have the technical requisites of unity of possession, interest, title and time.


LAND AGENT - A term commonly used for real estate agents in some locations.

LAND BROKER (S.A.) - A person who has obtained a licence from the Land Brokers Licensing Board can then transact business under the provisions of the Real Property Act.

LANDLORD - The owner of leased property. The lessor.

LAND TAX - An annual tax paid to the state government, calculated according to the value of the property.

LAND USAGE - The use being made of land or the uses permitted under zoning ordinances.

LEAN-TO - A small structure with a single pitched roof, usually erected against an outside wall of a larger structure.

LEAN-TO ROOF - A sloping roof supported on one side by the wall of an adjacent building.

LEASE - Possession but not ownership of a property for a set period of time. The terms and conditions are set out in a document signed by both tenant and owner.

LEASE TERM - The length of time on a lease.

LMI - LENDER'S MORTGAGE INSURANCE - Also known as Mortgage Guarantee Insurance. This is a fee paid by the borrower for the lender to gain insurance to cover any foreseeable losses that may arise in the event the borrower cannot meet payment obligations.

LESSEE (TENANT) - One who possesses the right to use or occupy a property under a lease agreement.

LESSOR (LANDLORD) - Property owner who rents out the property.

LICENSED REAL ESTATE AGENT - an agent who is licensed to conduct activities pertaining to a real estate business.

LIEN - An encumbrance placed over a property to secure the payment of a debt.

LIMITED TITLE - The Torrens Title that applies before a property has been surveyed.

LISTING - The recording of properties as being available for sale or rent.

LONG TERM LEASE - Generally considered to be a lease agreement extending for 10 years or more. Under such leases the tenant may desire, or be required, to do extensive remodelling: or if the property leased is land, to construct a building or other improvements.


MACHINE SHED - A farm building used for the storage of farm machinery.

MAINTENANCE - The act of keeping, or the expenditure required to keep a property in condition to perform efficiently the service for which it is used.

MAISONETTES - A term occasionally used to describe two semi-detached dwellings, normally of single-story construction.

MANAGEMENT AGREEMENT - An agreement between a property owner and a property manager detailing the tasks and duties required of each in the course of managing a property.

MANAGEMENT FEE (PROPERTY) - A fee charged by a property manager to a landlord in exchange for providing property management services.

MANAGING AGENT - A real estate agent who is authorised to manage the business affairs in connection with the property of another.

MARKET PRICE - The price actually paid, or to be paid, for a property.

MARKET VALUE - the estimated value at which a property should be anticipated to fetch if it was listed for sale on the open market.

MEDIAN - the number that sits precisely in the middle of a range of numbers when they are arranged in sequential order from lowest to highest.

MEDIATION - the act of a third-party intermediary assisting to resolve a dispute between two or more parties in an effort to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution.

MEZZANINE - A low level between two floors of a building, especially the first two floors; an intermediary floor.

MOBILE HOME - A complete, liveable dwelling unit equipped with wheels so that it may be towed from place to place.

MORTGAGE - A written contract giving the lender certain rights over the specific property for example, the house being bought by the borrower, as security for the loan.

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. This is also known as Lenders Mortgage Insurance or LMI.

MORTGAGEE - The source of funds for a mortgage loan and in whose favour the property serving as security is mortgaged, i.e. the person who lends money on the mortgage against some security normally real property or goods.

MORTGAGOR - The owner of property who borrows money and mortgages the property as security for the loan.

MULTIPLE LISTING - A method of exchanging exclusive entries for the sale of properties between real estate agents who are members of the same organisation.


NATIONAL TENANCY DATABASE - A database containing information about tenant's past rental history.

NOTICE OF TERMINATION - At the end of a lease either the landlord or tenant may give notice that they want to end the rental agreement and vacate the property.

NOTICE TO QUIT - A notification given to the tenant by the landlord or managing agent informing them to vacate the rental premised. This is usually issued in the event of the tenant breaching terms as set out in the rental lease.


OCCUPANCY - Having possession of property. Physically taking and holding it and residing thereon as a tenant or owner.

OFFER – The consideration offered to purchase or lease an asset.

OLD SYSTEM TITLE – See “Common Law Title”.

ON SITE AUCTION - Auction sale held on premises being offered for sale or chattels being offered at the owners residence as distinct from an auction held at the premises of the auctioneer or auction rooms.

a) a property that is officially available for sale or lease.
b) a term an Auctioneer will use when a property has reached the Vendor's Reserve price.

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.

OPTION - A right given for a consideration to purchase property on or before a fixed date, on terms previously agreed upon.

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.

OWNER'S CORPORATION – See “Body Corporate”.


PA - Personal Assistant

PASSED-IN – If a property is not sold at auction because the owner’s reserve price has not been reached, it is passed in.

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 specified use.

PREFERRED LISTINGS – Entrusting a property sale / lease to a predetermined preferred agent.

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.

(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 agent.

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 clients.

PUBLIC LIABILITY - Insurance against this liability to others for death, injury or damage accidentally caused by their negligence at a residence or business.

PURCHASE AND LEASE BREAK - A real estate transaction wherein an investor purchased a property and allows the seller to remain in possession as a tenant.

PURCHASE PRICE - The price paid; the amount for which a property is sold.

PURCHASER/S - The successful buyer/s of a property who will acquire title to a property or an interest therein.


QUALIFIED TITLE - An Old System Title that has been updated to the Torrens system, but which may not have been comprehensively investigated to find out all the enduring legal interests in the property.

QUANTITY SURVEYOR - A person who undertakes the preparation of a statement of the quantities of material involved in the carrying out of constructional work.


RATEABLE VALUE - The value of property on which rates are assessed.

RATES – Periodic property taxes levied by Local and State Governments (e.g. water rates).


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 real property.

REALTY - Used as a synonym for real estate.

REDEVELOPMENT - The development or improvement of cleared or undeveloped land in an urban renewal area.

REDEVELOPMENT ZONE - An area of land designated by a planning scheme as an area in which the existing development is to be replaced by a new development of the kind specified in the planning scheme.

RENT – A payment made periodically by a lessee to a lessor for the use of premises.

RENTAL BOND - See "Bond"

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 agreement.

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 low-cost manner, usually without the involvement of lawyers.

RESIDENTIAL TENANCY DATABASE – A risk management tool used by agents to identify tenants with a history of breaching tenancy rules.

RESTORATION - Remodelling a building to its original form.

RESTRICTION - An encumbrance that limits the use of real estate in some way.

RESUMPTION - The taking by the Crown, or some statutory body, of certain lands.

RETICULATION - Formation of network of individual lines to service urban land on establishment of principal utility services, e.g. supply of water to individual houses from a water main.

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

ROW - Right of way.


SALEABLE PROPERTY - Property that can be readily sold because of the current demand, location, price or some other factor.

SCOPE OF WORKS - Pre-contractual drawings and specifications showing what and how an owner wants to build.

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 property.

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”.

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 legislation.

STANDARD LEASE – A lease in commonly used form into which specific clauses or provisions may be written.

STCA - Subject to council approval.

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.

(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 sub-agent is referred to as a sales representative.

SUBDIVISION – Divisions by a land owner, 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.

SUB-LEASE / SUB-LET – 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.

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. – The sale of an asset through the seeking of written bids.


UNDER IMPROVEMENTS - Improvements which because of their size or value, produce a smaller residual land value than could have been produced on the same site by larger or more valuable improvements; Site not improved to its highest and best use.

UNDER OFFER - An offer has been made which is acceptable to the client, but the offer is subject to conditions, such as finance, before sale becomes unconditional.

UNDERPINNING - In general, the term applies to timbers or other props temporarily supporting a foundation during construction; also permanent supports added to increase the load-bearing capacity of a foundation.

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.

URGENT REPAIRS - Repairs that must be made to a property to ensure that it is ‘fit to live in’.


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 built-up property in respect of which there is no current occupant.

VACATE – To give up occupancy; to make vacant; move out of property.

(a) The process of estimating value;
(b) The prediction of the value of an asset at a point in time, depending on the purpose for which the valuation is required.

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 used interchangeably.

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.

VARIATION – An addition to, omission from, or alteration to a contract or to the contract conditions.

VENDOR – One who sells anything. In real estate transactions, the person(s) or entity selling the property.

VISIBLE IMPROVEMENTS - Those improvements that are apparent on inspection such as buildings, fences, orchards, etc.

VOIDABLE – An agreement which can be made void at the option of one or both of the parties.


WAINSCOTING - Wooden lining of an interior wall, usually in panels.

WC / WATER CLOSET - A room equipped with toilet fixtures and facilities.

WATERFRONT PROPERTY - Any property that has frontage on an ocean, river or other watercourse.

WATER RIGHTS - A right to a definite or conditional flow of water, usually for use at stated times and in stated quantities for irrigation or for hydroelectric power development.

WEAR AND TEAR - The depreciation of an asset due to ordinary usage.

WIR - Walk in robe

WITHOUT RESERVE - A term used at auction to signal that a reserve price was not set by the vendors. This also signals that the buyer with the highest bid on auction day will buy the property at the bid price.


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.