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Commonly used real estate terms

What do real estate terms mean in plain english?

Agency Agreement - An agency agreement is a contract between you and an agent. It sets out the terms and conditions on which you appoint the agent, what the agent will do for you, and what you will pay them.

Agent - A licensed person or agency employed to facilitate the sale of the property on behalf of the seller.Although many people refer to all real estate people as 'agents', the licensing system makes a distinction between 'licensed salespeople' and 'licensed agents'.  Both are qualified to sell your home.

Appraisal - An opinion of your property's saleability and estimated market value based on current market conditions and your property's characteristics.  This is not the same as a legal valuation by a registered valuer.

Assets - What you own.

Auction - A three to five week programme using a high-profile marketing campaign. The sale of the property goes to the highest bidder or is passed in if your Reserve price is not met.

Breach of Contract - Not fulfilling any terms of the contract.

Bridging Finance - A short-term loan, usually at a higher rate of interest, which helps people to cover the purchase of a property while waiting for theirs to sell. The security is usually over both properties.

Building Regulations - These are designed to uphold the standards of public safety, health and construction. These are put in place by local authorities (usually councils) to control the quality of buildings.

BEO - Buyer Enquiries Over $.....

Caravan - The agent that is marketing the property takes the rest of the salespeople in the office through the property so that they can familiarise themselves with the property and market it to their buyers.

Caveat - A document lodged with the titles office, by any person with a legal interest in a property, to ensure the property is not sold without their knowledge.

Common Property - Areas on a title which have joint ownership with another property, often common with cross-leased, strata-title and unit-title properties.

Conditional Contract - A contract that is agreed to by the Seller and the Buyer, but where one or more conditions need to be met, usually within a specified time period, by either or both parties, e.g. it is subject to the purchaser raising finance within a few days or subject to the lawyers consent of the title etc.

Contract of Sale - A written document that sets out the terms and conditions for the purchase or sale of land, and all improvements [buildings etc.] thereon.  Also commonly known as a 'Sale and Purchase Agreement'.

Cross Lease Title - This gives you ownership of a piece of a larger property with cross lease rights over defined improvements [house/unit etc]. You can sell or dispose of your unit as you desire.

Capital Gain - The monetary gain obtained when you sell a property for more than you paid for it.

Caveat Emptor - Latin for 'Let the Buyer Beware'. In certain cases, this puts the burden on to the buyer to be satisfied before purchasing a property.

Certifiate of Title - A document which details the ownership of a property along with property dimensions and other details.

Chattels - Any removable items that are sold with a home, typically carpets, light fittings, curtains, dishwasher, etc.

CMA - Comparable Market Analysis (Appraisal) is the price comparison of your home with others that are currently for sale and those that are similar in size and location that have sold.

Commission - The fee payable to a real estate agent for selling a property.

Conveyancing - The legal process of transferring the ownership of a property and money, making sure that everything is legally correct, as the property transfers from one owner to another. This is usually done by your solicitor.

C.T. - Certificate of title. Document that shows the legal ownership of a property. All land in New Zealand has a Certificate of Title.

Covenants - Rules and regulations governing the use of property.

Deposit - A defined percentage of the purchase price paid by the purchaser which is held in trust as confirmation of intention to buy.

Escape Clause - This allows the Vendors to issue notice to a conditional purchaser that unless that purchaser confirms the sale as unconditional within a short stipulated time, then the vendor can proceed with another offer from another party.

Exclusive Listing/Agency - Only the agency appointed has the rights to sell the property.

Easement - A right held by someone to use land belonging to someone else for a specific purpose. Mains, drains, and water pipes are usually covered by an easement.

Encumbrance - An easement, mortgage, or other liability on a property which impedes its use or transfer.

Equity - The value you hold in your home. The total value less any mortgage or other liabilities on a property.

F.S.BN. - For Sale By Negotiation. This is a non price marketing strategy where often a price bracket is used to advertise the property.

General Listing - A listing that is open for any agent in any company to work.

Interest-only Loans - A loan on which interest only is paid periodically and the principal is paid at the end of the term.

Investment - The purchase of any asset, such as real estate, with the ultimate goal of producing capital gain on the resale of the asset.

Joint Tenants - Joint tenancy is the equal holding of property by two or more persons.

Land Transfer Office - Government department where all property records are held and any changes are registered. It is a public record and therefore you can go there and look at any title to a property.

Lease - A document granting possession of a property for a stated period without transferring ownership. The lease document specifies the terms and conditions of occupancy by the tenant, including period of occupancy, rent payable etc.

Liabilities - The outstanding debts you owe.

LIM - Land Information Memorandum - a report which can be requested from your local authority which provides information regarding the property - things like consents, rates owing, drainage and building plans.

Listing Authority - A contract between the owner of the home and the Real Estate Company selling the house. It is normally for a set number of days and sets out the commission rate and any additional costs. This states whether it's an exclusive, general, tender or auction listing. Now called an Agency Agreement.

Loan Period - The number of years that a home loan is for.

Maturity Date - The last day of the term of the home loan agreement. The home loan must then be paid in full or the home loan agreement renewed.

Mortgage - The security over property given to the lender for the repayment of the loan. The lender (Mortgagee) has the right to take the property if the borrower (Mortgagor) fails to repay the loan.

Mortgagee - One who lends the money for the property.

Mortgagor - One who borrows the money to purchase property.

MREINZ - Member of the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand. The institute provides training and advice for real estate agents.

Negative Gearing - Where your mortgage repayments exceed the income received from a rental property.

Offer to Purchase - A formal offer for a specified price for a specified property, normally made on a sale and purchase agreement.

Pass In - A property is passed in at auction if the highest bid fails to meet the vendor's reserve price.

Plan - This shows the house design, elevation of the house, number and size of rooms, kitchen, bathroom and laundry layout, position of the house on the land.

Possession Date - The day the purchasers take occupancy of the home, normally when the ownership of the property transfers and the balance of the purchase price is paid to the vendor.

Principal - The actual amount of money that has been borrowed to buy a property.

Private Sale - The seller does not engage an estate agent but acts on his own behalf, dealing directly with the buyer and in preparation of the agreement.

Private Treaty Sale - Sale of a property via an agent through private negotiation and contract.

POA - Price On Application

PBN - Price By Negotiation

Property File - Your local authority has a file for every property which contains potentially important information that is not contained in a LIM.

Purchaser - The eventual buyer of the home.

REAA - Real Estate Agents Authority. The regulatory body for the real estate industry.

REAA 2008 - Real Estate Agents Act 2008. The laws governing the real estate industry.

Realtors - American term for Real Estate Agents.

Real Property - Land, with or without improvements.

Reserve Price - The amount below which a home owner will not sell on the day of Auction.

Right of Way - Right of access across a property.

Strata Title/Unit Title - Most commonly used for flats and units, this title gives you ownership of a small piece of a larger property including "air space". You have sole right to a particular unit and can lease, sell or dispose of your unit as you desire. You also have an undivided share of the common land and become a member of the Body Corporate which controls maintenance and has stipulated rules governing occupation.

Stratum Title - This title gives you legal ownership over a piece of property and also a share in the common land of the area of flats or units. It does not include "air space".

Subject to Finance - A condition inserted into a contract, for the benefit of the purchaser. This makes the contract subject to the purchaser's confirming that they have raised finance within a certain amount of time.

Survey - Confirmation of the property boundaries and improvements.

Subdivision/development - Special Project that involves mulitple sections/properties that are for sale.

Sale and Purchase Agreement - The contract between the buyer and the purchaser.

Security - Property offered as backing for a loan. In the case of a home loan, the property itself usually acts as security.

Semi-detached - Two buildings joined by a common wall.

Settlement - Completion of a sale when the balance of the contract price is paid to the vendor and the buyer is legally entitled to take possession of the property.

Sole Agency - Only the agency appointed has the rights to sell the property.

Tender - A tender is a programme similar to an Auction, with an increased level of marketing. A tender involves potential purchasers placing confidential bids for a property. The bids may or may not include conditons, and any bid can be accepted by the vendor.

Title Search - The process of examining the land title to ensure the vendor has the right to sell and therefore transfer ownership. It details the names of the owners and other information about the property such as encumbrances or caveats on the title.

Unconditional Contract - A contract for the sale of a specific property that the vendor and purchaser has agreed upon that has no conditions, or if any conditons they have been confirmed as being met, and therefore constitutes a sale.

Vacant Possession - When ownership is transferred from the sale of a property there will be no tenants living in the property, or leases giving someone else use of the property.

Valuation - Assessment of the value of a property given in a written report, usually by a registered valuer.

Vendor - The person who owns the property for sale, i.e. the seller.

Zoning - Control of the use of land exercised by local authorities or the responsible planning authority.

If you require any further assistance or information surrounding your real estate areas in question, please contact us.