CANTILEVER– The portion of a building floor or roof that projects over a foundation wall or support below, as in a bay window cantilever. It is unsupported at the non-projecting end.
CAPITAL GAIN – Term used for tax purposes. The amount by which the net proceeds from the resale of a capital item exceed the book value of the asset. Refer to The Australian Tax Office (ATO).
CAPITAL GAINS TAX – A Commonwealth tax payable on the Capital Gain made on the sale of an investment property. Refer to current requirements of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
CAPITAL VALUE – The value of a parcel of land including improvements for rates and government property taxing purposes. (It may have no bearing on market value or a bank’s valuation.)
CARPET UNDERLAY – A thick sheet of foam-based or similar material that provides traction to hold the pile fabric in place and gives a softer feel to the carpet.
CARPORT – An open-ended, roofed car shelter, usually created by extending the roof from the side of a building along a driveway.
CASEMENT WINDOW – A window attached to the frame by a vertical hinge on one side so that it swings open like a door.
CASING – Wood trim installed around the opening of a door or window.
CASH FLOW – The owner’s ‘spendable’ income after operating expenses and debt service is deducted.
CAULKING – A flexible material used to fill the gap where two surfaces meet, such as in between pieces of cladding or tiles and the bathtub edge.
CAVEAT – A notice on title proclaiming a possible interest by a third party, other than that of an owner. A notice of warning given to a public authority, e.g. Titles Office, claiming entitlement to an interest in certain land. The caveat is registered and remains on the Title as a warning to anyone who wishes to deal with the property. It, therefore, prevents any action being taken without the previous notice of the person entering the caveat (the caveator).
CAVEAT EMPTOR – ‘Buyer beware’, that the risk in a property transaction lies with the purchaser.
CAVITY – The space between the brick skin and the timber frame in a brick veneer wall.
CAVITY WALL – Masonry wall such as brick or concrete block, built with an enclosed hollow inner space.
CEILING – The top or an overhead portion of a room or building.
CEILING JOIST – The structural member spanning the room to support the ceiling lining which also ties the roof to the rest of the structure at wall plate level.
CEMENT– A finely ground inorganic powder that, mixed with water, binds an aggregate/ sand mixture into a hard concrete or mortar within a few days.
CEMENT RENDER – A wall finish where cement mixture is plastered onto a wall surface. May be smooth or pattern finish.
CENTRAL HEATING – Heating of building from a central source either by circulating hot water or steam through pipes and radiators, or warm air through ducts.
CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY – A document issued by a local government to the owner of the property permitting the structure to be occupied. This generally indicates that the building is in compliance with public health and building codes.
CERTIFICATE OF TITLE – A document issued under the Torrens System of Title, showing ownership and interest in a parcel of land. It may also include the size of the land and whether there are any limitations on the title such as mortgages, easements or encumbrances.
CHARGE OVER PROPERTY – The term used to describe any right established over a borrower’s property to secure a debt or performance of an obligation.
CHATTELS – Moveable personal property or furniture. Items such as machinery, implements, tools, furnishings, fittings, which may be associated with land use, but which are not fixed to the land or premises or, if fixed, may be removed without causing structural damage to a building.
CHIPBOARD – A composite material engineered from wood chips, shavings and/or sawdust mixed with a suitable binder and then pressed. Chipboard is a cheaper and lighter alternative to plywood. Sometimes called particle board.
CIRCA – About; around; an approximation (age).
CIRCUIT – The flow of electricity from the power source, through an outlet, and then back to the ground.
CIRCUIT BREAKER – A device designed to limit the amount of power flowing through a circuit in order to prevent overloading, or to isolate power shut-off to specific portions of a building. The circuit breaker looks like a switch and can be typically found inside the circuit breaker box or the electrical breaker panel.
CLADDING – Thin sheets or slabs used to enclose a framework and provides further protection and easier maintenance to a property. E.g. imitation brick, aluminium or cladding.
CLIENT – One who engages the services of an agent or Valuer and to whom the agent or Valuer should look for payment of his commission or fees, in return for services rendered.
CLIP TIES – Sharp metal wires that protrude out of a concrete foundation wall; these cut wires are used to hold the foundation form panels while the concrete is still wet. Clip ties should be trimmed off with a snap tool or a framing hammer.
CODE OF ETHICS – The rules and regulations required by all members of the various real estate institutes or auctioneer societies.
COLLAR – A prefabricated flange installed over a vent pipe to seal the roofing above the opening of the vent pipe. Sometimes called a vent sleeve.
COLLAR BEAM – Reinforcing members that connect opposite roof rafters.
COLLATERAL – Security additional or supporting security given in addition to the principal security.
COLOURBOND– A brand name of sheets of pre-painted steel roofing or cladding material.
COLUMN – A freestanding load-bearing, vertical member.
COMMERCIAL PROPERTY – Property intended for use by all types of retail and wholesale stores, office buildings, hotels and service establishments. In many property circles, commercial property refers specifically to office property.
COMMISSION – The fee or payment made by the seller to an agent for services rendered, such as the sale of property, often calculated with reference to the value of the property, contract or agreement. It is usually a percentage of the selling price of the property. The amount of commission is negotiable between the seller and the agent.
COMMON LAW TITLE – A system of title based upon traditional English land laws which depend upon tracing the ownership of the subject land from the original Crown grant through all succeeding dealings.
COMMON PROPERTY – Areas of a property that are used by and belong jointly to all of the owners of a property. This applies to such property as apartment blocks or multi-dwelling complexes. It is maintained by the Body Corporate. Usually referenced where Strata Title or Community Title applies.
COMMUNITY TITLE – A community title divides the land into lots (of which there must be at least two) and common property.
COMPANY TITLE – (a) Method of obtaining ownership of real estate by way of company shares (usually preceded Strata Title Act); (b) Under Company Title, land and buildings are owned by a private company. The company’s shareholding structure is organised so that ownership of a certain number of shares entitles the shareholder to exclusive possession of a part of the building.
COMPARATIVE MARKET ANALYSIS – CMA – A service normally provided by real estate agents prior to listing a property. The true purpose of a CMA is to establish a current estimated market price of a property. This is accomplished by researching both: the currently listed properties and the most recently sold properties, in the same area, with as similar characteristics as the property in question. This information is usually provided to the homeowner to help them establish a fair market selling price or it may be given to a prospective purchaser to help guide them in a proper offer to make the owner. Some real estate agents perform this service for free others may charge for this information. A lot depends on both who is doing the CMA and also how detailed the information that is provided.
COMPARABLE SALES– Recent sales of similar properties in nearby areas and used to help determine the market value of a property.
COMPOUND INTEREST – Where interest is calculated on a sum that includes previous interest payments.
COMPULSORY ACQUISITION – Where an asset is acquired by a statutory authority through legislation, irrespective of whether an owner is willing to sell or not.
CONCRETE – A conglomerated artificial stone made by mixing in specified proportions of cement, water and sand or aggregates and pouring the mixture into prepared forms to set and harden. Used as a construction material; typically reinforced with wire mesh or steel bars.
CONCRETE BLOCKS – Hollow concrete “bricks”. Also called hollow blocks.
CONDENSATION – Moisture that accumulates on surfaces. It encourages wood rot and mould growth.
CONDITIONAL OFFER– An offer to buy a property, subject to something else happening – such as obtaining loan approval.
CONDITIONS OF SALE – The conditions applicable to a sale contract made between a vendor and purchaser.
CONJUNCTION AGENCY – See Agents in Conjunction.
CONSIDERATION – Payment in the form of money or another form of benefit in exchange for an agreed action (e.g. the receipt of goods and/or services).
CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT – A legal document containing the agreed-upon details of a building It should include the following: (1) the contractor’s registration number; (2) a statement of work quality; (3) a set of specifications; (4) a set of the building plans; (5) construction timetable indicating starting, milestone, and completion dates; (6) the quote for the construction work based on a fixed price or computed using a Time and Materials formula; (7) a schedule of drawdowns; (8) allowances, if any; (9) a clause that defines the procedure for handling any disputes; and (10) all applicable warrantees.
CONSTRUCTION LOAN – A short-term, interim loan for financing the cost of construction. The lender makes payments to the builder at periodic intervals as the work progresses.
CONSTRUCTION JOINT – A joint provided in structure to allow for movement in the structure due to expansion and contraction.
CONSUMER CREDIT CODE – Legislation designed to protect the rights of the individual, a personal consumer, by ensuring banks and other financial institutions all adhere to the same rules when providing personal, domestic or household credit. It should provide borrowers with complete and honest information.
CONTINGENCY – Usually called Subject-to-conditions. A condition that must be met before a contract is legally binding. For example, home purchasers often include a contingency that specifies that the contract is not binding until the purchaser obtains a satisfactory home inspection report from a qualified home inspector.
CONTOUR SURVEY – A survey of the building site that identifies the amount of rise or fall represented by lines of equal level and relates to a datum (starting) point, normally a front corner.
CONTRACT – A legally binding agreement.
CONTRACT OF SALE – An agreement relating to the sale of property, which expresses the terms and conditions of sale. A legal document usually prepared on the seller’s behalf by an agent, solicitor or conveyancer that outlines the details of the sale. The contract of sale is legally binding when signed by both parties.
CONTRACTOR– In the construction industry, a contractor is one who contracts to erect buildings or portions of them. There are also contractors for each phase of construction: heating, electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, road building, bridge and dam erection, and others.
CONTROL JOINTS – Tooled, straight grooves placed on concrete floors at predetermined locations to create weakened planes where the concrete can crack in a straight line; widely used to prevent random cracking in concrete slab or pathways. Sometimes called contraction joints.
CONVEYANCE – A deed which transfers ownership of common law title from one person to another.
CONVEYANCER – A person (not a legal practitioner) who prepares conveyancing instruments for fee or reward for the purpose of transferring property from the vendor to the purchaser. A legal practitioner is also allowed to engage in conveyancing work.
CONVEYANCING – Transferring the ownership of a property from the vendor to the purchaser. It is usually performed by a solicitor or registered conveyancer.
COOLING OFF PERIOD – A short statutory period after the contract is made, during which the purchaser may cancel the contract unconditionally. Usually, does not apply in the case of auctions.
In South Australia, this period extends to the end of two clear business days from the making of the contract or the service of Form 1, whichever is later.
CORNICE – The top course or ornamental crowning member of a wall located between ceiling and wall.
COUNCIL – The local government authority with responsibility for administering building codes and assessing and approving development in its local area by means of development and building approvals.
COUNTER-OFFER – A new offer as to price, terms and conditions, made in reply to a prior unacceptable offer. Normally a counter-offer offer terminates the previous offer.
CORBEL – A triangular projecting bracket usually made of stone, wood or brick supporting a mantel or a horizontal shelf. Sometimes called a truss.
CORNER BEAD – Protective brackets made of either metal or plastic, installed to protect outside corners and edges on masonry walls, beams and columns.
CORNICE– A moulding installed over the junction between the ceiling and wall; also refers to the overhang on a pitched roof.
COURSE – A row of shingles, roll roofing, bricks or siding.
COURTESY – Treat others respectfully and with consideration. Eg Return phone calls. Keep appointments or call to confirm that you cannot make it. Provide positive or negative feedback about the property. Say ‘Please’ or ‘Thank you’ if a service is performed.
COVENANT – An agreement that creates an obligation on the titleholder of a property to do or refrain from doing something. For example, a restrictive covenant could state that no more than one dwelling may be built on the land.
COVER NOTE – This is given on behalf of an insurance company giving immediate temporary cover over a specified property for a particular sum as soon as you decide to buy a property, i.e. pay a deposit, and/or sign an agreement to purchase.
CRAWLSPACE – The shallow space underneath a building’s living area; it typically has a dirt floor, and the foundation walls enclose it.
CRAZING – Fine cracks that may appear on a finished surface.
CROSSOVER – The crossing between the front boundary of a private allotment and the road; also called a driveway.
CROWN MOULDING – A decorative trim used to line the junction between the walls and ceiling of a home; usually made of softwood or wood alternatives.
CREDIT – An agreement in which a borrower receives something of value in exchange for a promise to repay the lender at a later date.
CREDIT HISTORY– A record of an individual’s repayment of debt. Credit histories are reviewed my mortgage lenders as one of the underwriting criteria in determining credit risk.
CREDITOR– A person to whom money is owed.
CREDIT REPORT– A report of an individual’s credit history prepared by a credit bureau and used by a lender in determining a loan applicant’s creditworthiness.
CROWN LAND – Unalienated land owned by a State or the Commonwealth Government.
CUL-DE-SAC – An access street with a blind end in the form of a turning space for vehicles.
CULVERT– A round drain pipe installed beneath a driveway to allow groundwater to flow into a drainage ditch; it is typically laid parallel to the street.
CURING – The treatment of concrete or cement rendering to increase its strength and durability. The curing process, which takes between 3 to 14 days, requires the applied concrete’s temperature to be maintained above 10C while its relative humidity remains at 80% or higher.
CUT AND FILL – The method often used to provide a level area on a sloping site, where part of the sloping surface is cut away and used to provide fill on the portion of the slope immediately below it.
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