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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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off the plan To purchase a property before it is completed after having only seen the plans.
offer A legal document that details specific price for the purchase of a specific property. It may include any conditions and stipulations.
offset account An account linked to a mortgage account so that the interest earned is applied to reduce the interest on the mortgage. A 100% offset has the interest rate the same for earned and paid. A partial offset account has a lower interest rate earned than the rate paid on the home loan.
Old System Title Also called Common Law Title. It consists of a series of title documents called a 'chain of title' going back to the original owner. The overall title is sound only if the every document in the chain is sound.
ombudsman The Australian Banking Industry Ombudsman (ABIO) is provides customers with a way to make a complaint about their bank and have it dealt with independently.
ongoing fee Any loan maintenance fee charged regularly over the life of the loan.
option to buy A legally binding document giving the right to buy something usually within a specific time frame at a specific price. This right is given in exchange for a fee.
open listing A type of listing agreement in which more than one real estate agent may sell the property. The owner pays a commission only to the agent who finds the buyer. Also known as a simple listing or a general listing, the owner is not obligated to pay anyone a commission if the owner personally sells the property.
open space Land which has not had improvements such as buildings and other structures added to it. Such land may be left by a developer or ordered by a local authority for recreational use or for personal use by the owner.
overdraft A pre-arranged limit allowing someone to exceed their account balance.

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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