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Real Estate and Financial Terms

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Buying, selling or renting property in Australia and having trouble understanding what they're saying? To help you figure it out, we've created brief explanations of the words used. For more complete information, see your local real estate agent, financial advisor or solicitor.


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debtor Someone who owes money to another person or entity.
deed A legal document conveying title to a property.
default Failure to make mortgage payments regularly or to comply with other requirements of the mortgage.
establishment fee
A fee charged when you pay out your loan within a short period of taking it out.
deposit A percentage of the purchase price given to bind the sale of real estate.
disposable income Any income left over after all known expenses (bills, mortgage payments, car loans) have been met.
depreciation A decline in the value of property due to changes in market conditions or other causes.
disbursement A cash expenditure for the purpose of settling a debt.
drawdown The disbursement of loan funds, especially referring to lines of credit where you can use the funds as required.
dual occupancy A block of land which is zoned so that there two distinct dwellings are permitted to be constructed.
duplex A type of construction where two buildings are attached together by a common wall. Also called semi-detached.


easement A right that someone has to use the land belonging to another. An example is a sewerage easement by the water authority across part of a property.
encroachment Part of a house or establishment illegally overhanging the street or a neighbour's property.
encumbrance An outstanding liability or charge on a property.
equity The amount of an asset actually owned. Equity is the difference between the market value of a property and the amount still owed on its mortgage.
establishment fee Lending body fees which may or may not be charged to set up a loan.
estate The total of all the real estate and personal property owned by an individual at the time of death.
eviction The lawful expulsion of an occupant or tenant from real property.
exchange of contract The legal time when the seller and purchaser swap documentation and start inquiries to settlement.
exclusive authority A written contract that gives one real estate agent the exclusive right to sell a property in a specified time period.

Note: We assume no liability resulting from any errors or omissions. Translation . . . we've done our best to bring you accurate information. However, you should seek your own independent advice as to the accuracy of the information supplied.

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