Glossary

Authority to Sell - A legally binding document which is signed by the seller. It details the agreement between the seller and the agent. Many aspects of the authority to sell, such as commission and advertising costs, are negotiable between both parties. Usually takes the form of mandatory PAMD Form 20a, 21a, 22a, 23, 24, 25 or 26 (as appropriate).

Body Corporate - Consists of each owner of a lot (eg. townhouse, duplex, apartment, villa or unit) in a community titles scheme. Upon your purchase of a lot, you automatically become a member of the body corporate. A body corporate is generally responsible for the management and maintenance of the scheme's common property, eg. lawns, access roadways, stairs and infrastructure such as pipes and wiring. In addition a committee elected from lot owners, also carries out some decisions on behalf of the body corporate. Lot owners pay contributions to fund the operation of the body corporate. More information about the legislation regulating bodies corporate can be obtained from the Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management within the Department of Tourism, Fair Trading and Wine Industry Development on 1800 060 119.

Buyer's Agent - Specialises in locating and negotiating the purchase of a property on behalf of the buyer. They also conduct background checks on the property and area to ensure buyers pay the fairest price to their advantage. Purchasers may also engage buyer's agents purely to bid for them at auctions.

Certificate of Title - A document that shows who owns the property, the size of the land and whether there are any interests registered on the title such as mortgages, easements, encumbrances or caveats.

Commission - Paid by the person who appointed the agent (usually the seller) to the estate agent, normally when the property is sold. It must be a percentage of the selling price of the property and the amount is usually negotiable between the seller and the agent up to a maximum amount set by law.

Claim Fund - The claim fund can compensate consumers who have suffered loss as a result of actions of licensees or their registered employees under certain circumstances.

Community Titles Scheme (CTS) - A duplex, a residential unit block, a commercial centre or a similar multi-dwelling complex which contains individually owned units and common property managed by the scheme's body corporate.

Consumer Credit Code - Regulates all credit for personal, domestic or household purposes. To ensure fair dealing and protect the interest of consumers, all lenders must comply with the Consumer Credit Code. More information on the code can be obtained from the Office of Fair Trading

Conveyancing - Transferring the ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer and any associated checks and searches.

Cooling-off Period - The five business day period applying to sales of residential property (excluding auction sales) during which the buyer may terminate the contract for any reason.

Deposit Bond (deposit guarantee) - Offered by some lenders as an alternative to a cash deposit.

Easement - A right held by a person to make use of the land of another, eg. drainage, sewerage, driveway to second property on a block of land behind another. Usually held by Councils, railways etc.

Joint Tenants - The form of ownership where two or more people purchase a property in equal shares. If one dies, his or her share of the property passes to the surviving owner/s (see also tenants in common).

Material Prejudice - A material or substantial difference between what was described in the contract and what the buyer would receive on settlement. The buyer would be materially prejudiced if the buyer would not have entered into the contract for the lot they would receive on settlement.

Mortgage - A written contract giving the lender of finance certain rights over specific property, eg. the house being bought by the borrower as security for the loan, and outlines the terms and conditions of the finance.

"Off the Plan" - Purchasing "Off the Plan" involves buying a property before it has been built. Such purchases are usually based on the architect's plans and models. "Off the Plan" purchases are regulated by the Land Sales Act 1984.

Open House - Marketing process whereby a house is opened to the public to inspect during a set time.

"Passed In" - The circumstance where a property for auction is not sold because it has not reached the seller's reserved price.

Pastoral Houses - Predominantly operate in the rural market. They are real estate agents and auctioneers who commonly sell rural real estate and livestock and are restricted to selling four residential properties a year by auction.

Reserve Price - A seller's minimum sale price for the property.

Settlement - When ownership of a property passes from the seller to the buyer and the balance of the sale price is paid to the seller

Site Agreement - A written agreement between a residential park owner and a manufactured home owner that details the rental of particular land (a site) in the residential park, the positioning of the home on the land; the home owner's non-exclusive use of the park's common areas and communal facilities; and any special provisions/conditions.

Tenants in Common - A form of joint ownership of a property in which each person owns a share of the property, equally or unequally. On the death of one owner, the deceased's share passes to his or her heir/s, who assume/s the role of tenant in common with the other existing owner/s.

Vendor - The party who owns the property that is for sale.

Warning Statement - The first page of all residential sales contracts (excluding auction sales) must have a Warning Statement as its top page. It provides advice to the buyer and must be in the approved form (PAMD Form 30c).

Zoning - The permissible uses of an area of land as stipulated by the Council.