Real Estate Jargon




























Agreement to the terms and conditions of an offer/contract by both parties.



A marketing campaign where the sale is a public event and the property is sold to the highest bidder, on the provision that the reserve price has been met or exceeded. All bids are on the basis that the purchaser conditions have all been met and on the fall of the hammer the property is sold unconditionally.


Backup Offer

A second offer which is accepted by the vendor, who has already accepted another offer that had conditions attached to it. Timeframes need to be carefully adhered to. If the first offer does not confirm by the time stated in the agreed contract then the second(back up) offer kicks into place and the first contract is at an end.


Body Corporate

A committee generally made up of a group of owners from an apartment block or townhouse who oversee the running of the whole property on behalf of all owners, including (but not limited to) general maintenance, security, lift maintenance and budget.


Body Corporate Levy

A fee that is paid yearly by apartment owners and some townhouse owners to cover costs of common areas, building insurance, cleaning and lighting by way of example.



Upon signing a tenancy agreement, tenants pay a agreed amount to the landlord or property manager. This must be lodged with the Bond Centre within 23 working days of payment and can be no more than 4 weeks rent.


Buyer Budget Over (BBO)

A method of marketing a property, where a buyer interested should look at submitting an offer over the amount stipulated. eg BBO $390,000


Capital Value (C.V.)

Also know as Rating Value (R.V.) or Government Valuation (G.V.). Assessed by Quotable Value NZ. The C.V. is comprised of land and building value and is used principally by local authorities to calculate rates. C.V. does not mean market value.


Capped Interest Rates

Where the interest rate can go up or down but it can’t go over a set level for a set period of time.



An official request placed on the Certificate of Title not to proceed with a change of ownership without notice to the person who has made the request.


Certificate of Insurance

A certificate from your insurance broker/company to confirm that your property is insured.


Certificate of Title

This is ownership document for your property. It shows ownership details, details of the house and land, a legal description and details of any mortgages and encumbrances.



Items that are sold with your house such as carpets, curtains, light fittings, stove and tv aerial. The For Sale and Purchase Agreement has standard chattels which must be crossed out if they are not included with the sale and any additional chattels that are to be included in the sale must be written into the contract – such as dishwasher, heater, fridge etc.


Closed Tender

A property is marketed with a finite time and date when all offers are presented to the vendor. Normally marketed over 2 or 3 weeks this process allows time for all prospective purchasers to carry out any due diligence they fell necessary.   A tender can have conditions, however you are always in the best position with a cash unconditional offer. All tenders are confidential and buyers put in their offer ‘blind’ to the level of other offers.


Code of Compliance Certificate

A certificate from the local authority to confirm that the building complies with the building act.


Common Property

An area which is owned by all owners of the property, such as corridors, foyers.


Company Share

If you buy a property that is a Company Share (generally apartments) you buy a share in a private company. The company administers and maintains the block of apartments and you pay a levy for this service which is similar to a body corporate levy.


Conditional Agreement/Contract

A written sale and purchase contract that is legally binding but has had the terms and conditions agreed to by both purchaser and seller where one or more conditions need to be met within a specified timeframe. For example subject to the purchaser arranging suitable finance or a building inspection which is acceptable to them. Sometimes the purchasers require the seller to do something by a certain date. Once all conditions are confirmed then the agreement becomes unconditional.


Cross Lease

This is where there are two or more properties on a cross-leased site. The owners of each property own the land together and the owners of the common land must agree before improvements such as paths, fences or building alterations can be made.



When an written offer is received for a property that is not being sold by Closed Tender or Auction all other purchasers who have shown interest in the property are notified. All parties are given a time frame by which offers must be submitted by and at this time all offers that are received are presented to the vendor.



The deposit is usually ten percent of the purchase price. It is usually paid at the time of signing the contract and if the contract is accepted it is paid to the Real Estate Companies Trust Account. If the contract is not accepted then the deposit cheque is returned immediately.



A right to use a part of a property owned by another in a certain way such as to use a driveway or path.



The money that you have personally in your home – it is the amount you’d end up with if you sold your home and repaid any loans you owe on it.


Fixed Interest Rates

This means the interest rate is set for a certain period of time and will not go up or down.


Floating Interest Rates

The interest rate can go up or down as the market changes.


Freehold/Fee Simple

This is the most common type of ownership and is not subject to a lease and the owner has virtually no restrictions on your ownership rights.


Government Valuation – See Capital Value


Land Information Memorandum (LIM)

A report from the local authority (ie in Wellington – Wellington City Council), which details everything they know about the property. A typical LIM tells you about building consents, planning restrictions, drainage and any hazardous substances on the property. It can also alert you to erosion and potential slippages.



A type of ownership where you lease the land and pay rent to the landowner.


Lenders Mortgage Insurance

An amount you pay that insures your lender for the extra risk they take if they lend over a certain percentage of the value of the property – normally 80%


Listing Authority

A contract between the owner of the home and the real estate company selling the house signed on behalf of the Listing Real Estate Consultant (often referred to as a Real Estate Agent). This will say whether it is a General, Exclusive, Tender or Auction Listing. It will state the fee to be charged for a sale and any additional costs.


Loan Agreement or facility agreement

This is the written contract between you and the bank for the money that they are lending you.


Marketing Programme

A promotional campaign put together to exposure your home to buyers when your house is on the market.


Market Value

This is the amount that a buyer is willing to pay for a property and the vendor is prepared to sell at.



The legal document containing the terms and conditions applied to the funds which are provided to a person for the purchase of a property. This gives the lender ‘security’ – the right to sell your property if you are unable to pay the loan and they can hold your Certificate of Title until you repay the loan.


Mortgage Protection Insurance

This insurance protects you if you can’t pay your home loan.



The lender/organisation that provides the funds to purchase the property.


Mortgagee Sale

This is when the lender has to sell your property to get their money back because you can’t repay the loan.



The person who has borrowed the money to buy the property.




When you have paid for the property and have the right to move into it. Usually the possession date is the same as the settlement date.


Pre-approved Home Loan Certificate

A certificate you get from the bank which confirms how much you can borrow.



The amount of money you borrow before interest is added.


Property Information Memorandum (PIM)

Property Reports can be quicker and cheaper than LIMs and are available on properties with up to two 'household units.'


Rateable Value Used to be known as Government Valuation – see Capital Value


Reducing Loan

You pay a set amount off the loan each payment plus interest. Your payments are much higher at the beginning of the loan but go down as time goes on.



When your name and the mortgage are added to the title of the property.


Reserve Price

The amount which is set by the owner of the property that is being taken to Auction. Usually set the day or day prior to the auction day. After the property has passed the reserve price the property is sold to the highest bidder.


Sale and Purchase Agreement

This is the contract between the buyer and the seller of the property. Real Estate agents use the ADLS.



When you get a home loan the home will be the security, which means the lender can sell the home if you can’t replay the loan.



A date as agreed between the buyer and the seller and at which point the balance of the contract price is paid and ownership of the property transfers between the parties.


Sole Agency

The most common form of agency, where a home is listed for sale with one real estate company.


Table Loan

You have a set payment each fortnight or month. At first most of the money goes towards the interest you owe, but as your loan starts to go down more of the payment goes towards repaying the loan itself.


Tenancy In Common

This type of ownership is used if you are buying your home with relatives or friends. You each own a share of the property and in the event that you die your share goes to whoever you leave it to in your Will.


Tender – See Closed Tender



A legal document providing proof of ownership of a property


Title Search

Your solicitor will generally undertake this on your behalf to prove right of ownership of a property and to confirm whether there are any caveats or easements over the property.



Means that the sale and purchase agreement made on a home has no conditions attached to it or that the conditions written into the agreement have been met. An unconditional contract is legally binding on both the buyer and seller and the property must change ownership on the agreed settlement date.


Unit Title

The system of title that applies to apartments, units and some townhouses. Titles are issued for each apartment and for common property which is managed by the Body Corporate Committee.


Vacant Possession

When you get ownership or possession of your property there will be no tenants or past owners living there and no lease giving someone else use of the property.



The person/s selling the property


Working Day

Means any day of the week other than:

a) Saturday, Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Monday Anzac Day, the Sovereighn's Birthday, Labour Day, New Zealand's anniversary day and the provincial anniversary day as overved at the place where the property is situated; and

b) a day in the period commencing on the 24th day of December in any year and ending on the 5th day of January in the following year, both days inclusive.

A working day shall be deemed to commence at 9am and to terminate at 5pm.


Use these definitions as a guide only - for legal advice consult your solicitor.