149 Certificate
A search from the local council showing the zoning and other information held on council record regarding the property.


Adjustment Date
The date on which the outgoings on a property are adjusted for payment and this date is the earlier of the giving of possession of the property to the purchaser or completion.

Agency Agreement
An agreement between the real estate agent and the owner of the property being marketed, setting out amongst other things, the sales commission payable and the agent’s estimated market value of the property.

A person authorized to act on behalf of another person in the sale, purchase, letting or management of a property. A real estate must be licensed by the Office of Fair Trading.

Agents Commission
The fee charged to the seller by the real estate agent.

A person appointed by written power of attorney and according to law by another to represent or act in place of that person.

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


Bank Cheque
A cheque issued by a bank, which is guaranteed by the bank and is as secure as cash, except that there may be a clearance period on the bank cheque.

A line separating adjoining properties.

Breach of contract
Where one of the parties breaks one or more conditions of the contract.

Bridging Finance
Short term finance that has been arranged until long term funding can be set in place.


A legal notice by a person having a (caveatable) interest in the property which will prevent transfer in title until the claim has been determined.

Caveat Emptor
“Let the buyer beware”. This principle of law puts onus onto the buyer to be satisfied with the property before buying. Therefore, it is essential the buyer undertakes pre-purchase enquiries.

Certificate of Title
A document issued by the Land Titles Office detailing the owner, a legal description of the property and any other interests, such as mortgages, in the property.

Personal property such as furniture and other moveable items which may or may not be included in the sale.

A sales fee, as agreed in the Agency Agreement, payable to the real estate agent for effecting the sale of a property.

Common Property
All areas within a strata plan which are not part of any lot and is owned by the owners corporation (all the owners collectively).

See Settlement.

Community Corporation
The corporation automatically created on the deposit of a community plan. The community corporation manages the common property within that plan and facilitates various matters of common interest for the residents of the community lots. The owners of the community lots are its members.

Community Lot
A defined piece of land (not being common property or a development lot) within a community plan.

Community Plan
A plan under the Community Titles Act that divides a parcel of land into community lots and common property and sometimes development lots. Where the community lots are on different levels, the division of the land must be by strata.

Community Title
A title to land within a community plan.

See Contract for Sale.

Contract for Sale
A written agreement, signed by both parties, which sets out the terms and conditions of the sale, description of the property, the price, inclusions and completion date.

The transfer of ownership of property from the sellers name to the buyers name.

A person licensed by the Department of Fair Trading to practice conveyancing in New South Wales.

The legal process for the transfer of ownership of real estate.

Cooling Off Period
The current legislation provides a period of 5 business days from date of exchange of contracts in which (only) the purchaser may cancel the contract for the purchase of residential property.

Counterpart Contract
The sellers solicitors prepares two identical copies of the contract; the purchasers copy is called the counterpart and has copies of the original documents contained in the sellers copy of the contract.

A notation on a title deed which imposes an obligation to terms, conditions or restrictions regarding the property.


An agreed amount (usually 10%) of the purchase price, which is paid by the purchaser at exchange of contracts and usually held by the estate agent until completion.

Deposit Bonds
This is a guarantee issue by an insurance company that the purchaser will pay the full deposit by the due date. There is a fee for these bonds and they are regularly used instead of money as a deposit. Conditions apply.

To improve (land) in some way, often by building.

Development Lot
A defined piece of land within a community plan that is neither common property nor a community lot. Not all community plans include development lots. Development lots are subsequently converted into one or more community lots plus (in most cases) additional common property.

Miscellaneous fees and charges incurred during the conveyancing process, including search fees and charges paid to Government authorities.

Discharge of Mortgage
A document signed by the lender and given to the borrower when a mortgage loan has been repaid in full.


A right by a person who is not the owner of the property, to use or have access over part of that land.

An outstanding liability or charge on a property.

Exchange of Contracts
The time at which the Agreement for Sale becomes binding on both parties, the agreed deposit is paid and the cooling period commences.

Items which are specifically excluded from the sale.


Fee Simple
The highest interest in land (whether built on or not) that can be owned by a person other than the Government.

Goods or articles that can be removed from the property without causing damage to it.

Items such as built in cupboards, stoves, etc which are fixed to the property and cannot be removed without causing damage. There is still argument about what constitutes a fixture so these should be detailed in depth in the contract.

Final Inspection
An inspection of the property, prior to completion, to determine that the property is in the same state and condition that it was at the date of exchange of contracts.


Gazumping is when a purchaser’s offer has been accepted and the purchaser begins pre-contract enquiries, only to find that the seller has accepted a higher offer from someone else.


Items which are specifically included in the sale.

A list of items included with a property, usually furniture, furnishings, movable items etc.


Joint Tenants
Ownership of a property in equal shares, where if one owner dies his/her share passes to the surviving owner/s.


The term to describe land whether built upon on not. By law, land defined by a certificate of title includes all buildings, fixtures and improvements on the land.

Land Tax
A tax levied by the state government against some owners of property and is based on the value of the property.

Lands Title Office
State government office that records and registers all property ownership in NSW. Now known as the LPI.

An exclusive right to occupy land (whether for residential or other purposes) for a fixed period (see also “License”).

A non-exclusive right to occupy land (see also “Lease”).

Loan Security Duty
State government tax on mortgages. Like stamp duty on the purchase but not as much.

An abbreviated reference to a community lot or a development lot (see “Community Lot” and “Development Lot”).


Any charge on land (other than a covenant) created merely for securing the payment of a debt.

Mortgage Broker
A person or organization offering to organize or broker loans from a group of lenders.

The proprietor of a mortgage; a person who lends the money to another where the loan is secured by taking a mortgage over the borrower’s property.

The proprietor of land or of any estate or interest in land pledged as security for the payment of a debt in favour of the mortgagee.


Office of State Revenue
State government office that receives stamp duty payable on a conveyance.

Old System Title
The title system which pre-dated the Torrens system and still exists in some properties today. Old system title to a property was proved by demonstrating an unbroken chain in title.

Option to Purchase
A legal document giving a person a right to buy. In the document the price and period are specified. A fee is paid and if the person proceeds to buy the property the amount of the fee comes off the purchase price. If the person does not proceed to buy the property the fee is forfeited to the seller.

Order on the Agent
An authority given to the real estate agent by the purchaser after settlement authorising the agent to release the deposit to the seller.

See Office of State Revenue.

Owners Corporation
The owners of lots in a strata title scheme.


A person who buys a property (buyer).


Qualified and Limited Title
A cross between Old system title and modern Torrens Title. Mainly used when a property is being converted from Old System title to Torrens title. There is a title deed showing the owner, but still need to prove good title by showing a chain of ownership of at least 30 years. Compare Old System Title.


Registered Proprietor
The person whose name appears on the certificate of title as the owner of the land.

After settlement the title documents are sent to the Lands Title Office to register the new owners. On registration a new certificate of title is produced showing the new owners of the property.

Rescission of contract
Where a party cancels a contract because the other party has breached the terms of the contract.

Requisitions on Title
A series of questions, inquiries and requests addresses by a Purchaser of an estate of land to a Vendor regarding the Vendor’s title.

Right of Way
See Easement.


Section 603 Certificate
A Certificate applied for through the local council of your proposed purchase which outlines any outstanding accounts for rates and/or water. These are used to calculate the amount of money each party (vendor and purchaser) is liable for respective of the time each party is in ownership of the property.

The settlement (or completion) of the sale whereby the purchaser pays the balance of the purchase money, the vendor gives the purchaser possession of the property and gives the title deed and the Transfer to the purchaser.

Settlement Statement
A document produced by the purchaser’s solicitor outlining the total amount required to complete the purchase. The settlement statement includes any adjustments such as local council rates adjustments.

Special Conditions
Extra clauses included in the contract.

Stamp Duty
This is a tax charged by the State Government for which the purchaser will be liable, unless entitled to an exemption.

Strata Title
The subdivision of a property into lots and common property. The lots are the units or other areas owned by the owners and the common property is everything that does not form part of a lot and is owned by the owners corporation (all the owners collectively).

Strata Unit
A three-dimensionally defined piece of land within a strata plan.

A plan that shows the boundaries of a block of land and the positioning of any building/s on that land.


Tenants in Common
Joint ownership of property and may be in equal or unequal shares. Each joint owner may dispose of their share in the property independently and unlike Joint Tenancy, the shares do not automatically pass to the other owners in the event of death but form part of that persons estate.

Title Deed
Document disclosing the legal description and ownership of a property.

Torrens Title
A term used to describe the system of title (or land) registration expressed in NSW in the Real Property Act. This type of title is guaranteed by the State Government, except in some cases of fraud.

A document registered with the Land Titles Office that confirms the change of ownership as noted on the Title.


Unconditional Finance Approval
When you have met all the criteria of your lender and we have written confirmation that the loan is unconditional. Finance may be conditional upon a valuation. This does not constitute unconditional finance.

Describes a property free of mortgages, covenants, restrictions etc.

See “Strata Unit”.


A report detailing a professional opinion of a property’s value.

A person who offers property for sale (seller).


To give up a legal right. A purchaser of land may waive the right to cool off in certain circumstances (see “Cooling Off”). A person may waive the right to be able to rely on a term (including a special condition) of a contract of sale.


A qualification on the allowable use of the property, imposed by Council.

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