Glossary Of Legal terms

Not just for the solicitor

See “Statute”.

See “Apportionment”.

The real estate agent is instructed by the vendor/owner/seller to sell the property.
N.B. The agent is always the agent of the Vendor NEVER the purchaser.
N.B. See multiple listing.

See “Apportionment”.

The division of outgoings between the vendor and purchaser.  These will either be a credit or a debit to the purchase price, dependant upon who the outgoing is paid to. N.B. Discounts on outgoings are only allowed when the outgoing has been paid and the discount is actually being achieved.

This is where a property is sold by way of auction sale.  The normal terms are that the property goes to the highest bidder (subject to the reserve being met) and settlement is usually in 30 days.  The contracts are unconditional upon the time of the fall of the hammer at the auction.

Balance of Purchase Price
The difference between the purchase price and the deposit paid.


A document lodged in the Titles Office which prohibits the registration of any other dealing in respect of the property.  A Caveat is derived from the Latin word meaning beware.

The person dealing with the Caveat.

Certificate of Title
Also sometimes referred to as Title Deed or Deed.  Certificates of Title are not issued as a matter of course anymore.  They may be issued upon special request of a purchaser.  Where a Certificate of Title is issued, it is given to the owner or if there is a mortgagee, it is held with the first mortgage as security for the loan.

The difference between chattels, and fixtures and fittings are that chattels are normally moveable.  They may include such things as curtains and drapes, swimming pool equipment etc.

Check Survey
A survey carried out by a registered surveyor which ascertains the boundaries of the property and also ascertains whether there are any encroachments either on or by the particular property.

CITEC is an anomic for the Centre for Information Technology and Communications. It is a computer system which provides a gateway to various Government databases and allows searches of these databases and/or Government departments to be done by means of modem – telephone link-up.

Finalisation of the contract.

Conditions of Sale
This is a separate booklet which is provided and contains all the standard terms and conditions.

Contract of Sale
This is the contract which sets out the terms and conditions of the contract between the parties.  It consists of two (2) parts:-

The conditions of the contract schedule; and
The conditions of sale.

Contract Schedule
This is the schedule of variable information such as name, price, property etc.

This is an outmoded reference to “correct for the purpose of registration”.  This is a method of checking all documents are correct and are capable of immediate registration.

Date of Possession
This is the date that the property is taken over by the purchaser.  It is sometimes separate and distinct from the date of completion, which is when the contract is completed.

The amount of money paid by way of consideration to initiate the contract.

Traditionally, the deposit is set at 10% although where the property is an expensive one, the amount received may be lowered.  Usually the agents allow for the deposit to be at least equal to the agent’s commission.

Discharge of Mortgage
See “Release of Mortgage”.  Leasehold, Freehold and Strata Title.

One of the most common forms of encumbrance -see “Encumbrance”- see also separate brochure on “Easements”.

This is where one neighbor builds across the boundary line so that the improvements of one property are actually built upon another.

A formal burden or charge on a property such as an easement, mortgage, or lease.

This is the cash amount contributed to a purchase by the purchaser.

Fee Simple
Sometimes commonly referred to as “freehold”, it is the absolute form of ownership a registered proprietor can have in property.

Fixtures and Fittings
These refer to ancillary items that are sold with a house such as clothes lines, stoves, light fittings.

These are improvements on the property normally by way of buildings. Improvements can however include all such other things as landscaping, swimming pools etc.

These are items which are of a moveable nature.  They are chattels which are specifically included in the contract -see “Chattels”.

Legal Description
This is the method of describing and identifying all property.  Each legal description for each property is unique.

A loan to finance the purchase of real estate, usually with specified payment periods and interest rates.

This is the date that the property is taken over by the purchaser.  It is sometimes separate from completion.  Sometimes possession is given upon undertakings.  See “Completion”.

Private Treaty
This is the most common method for selling a property.  This is when the vendor and purchaser negotiate between themselves or via an agent to sell and transfer the property at a fixed price.

This is a generic term which is used to mean both the freehold property and/or fixtures, fittings and chattels which are sold.  It is the entire subject of the sale agreement.

Purchase Price
Often referred to as “sale price”.  This is the total amount to be paid for the property by the purchaser, whether the purchaser has raised these funds by finance or by cash equity.

The Buyer.

Rates Adjustments
The amount adjusted as between vendor and purchaser for the rates.

Rates Notice
The notice issued by the Council for the appropriate shire or city relating to the property.  It sets out the details of all rates which are payable by the owner of the property.

Release of Mortgage
The document provided to the mortgagee when the loan fee is paid out in full to the financial institution.

Reserve Price
This is the lowest price at which a vendor will accept a sale at an auction.  It is normally pre-determined before the auction commences.

Sale Price
See “Purchase Price”.

These are forms which are sent to various Government departments and local authorities or instrumentalities seeking information with regard to the property or which regard to the vendor’s of the property.

The vendor.

See “completion”.

Settlement Statement
This is a statement or account which shows the purchase price, less deposit and all other apportionments which may occur.  In our format, it also provides the cheques to be drawn on settlement and who the cheques are to be drawn in favour of.

Sole Agency
Where the vendor places the property for sale with one agent exclusively.

Stake Holder
This is the person who holds the deposit on behalf of the vendor and the purchaser. Usually this is the real estate agent although sometimes it is the solicitor for either the purchaser or vendor.  Rarely it is the vendor him or herself.

A codified Law enacted by Parliament.

Survey Certificate
The certificate provided by a registered surveyor after carrying out a check survey.

Also referred to as the legal right of ownership to a particular property.

Title Particulars
This refers to the methodolgy of describing land by its legal description.  It includes such things as Lot and Plan number, County, Parish, City, and Certificate of Title number.

Torrens Title System
A system of Government guaranteed land registration.

The document used to transfer ownership of a property from the vendor to the purchaser.  Also refers to the method of exchanging ownership of a property.  In the Titles Office’s forms, the transfer is Form 1.

The person acquiring an interest in the property, namely the purchaser.

The person divesting themselves of the interest in the property, namely the vendor.

Trust Account
A special account operated by the solicitor and monitored by auditors.  This account is used to hold funds on behalf of other people, usually clients’.

Types of Land
Freehold title, group title, strata title, building units, leasehold, torrens title, old systems title, crown leasehold.

Unimproved Value
The value placed on the land by the Queensland Valuer General.  It is the value of the land without any improvements on it.

Vacant Possession
The acquiring of possession of a property without any tenant or other person living in the property.  See “Possession”.

Refer to “Unimproved Value”.

A method of categorising property by the Local Council.  Each particular zone has three (3) broad categories of use.  These being:- uses as of right, uses that can be achieved after permission is sought and, uses which would never be allowed.

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