Legal words you should know

Agent The real estate agent is appointed by the Seller to negotiate some terms of the sale and prepare a Contract. The agent can often act as a “go-between” between the Seller and Buyer but cannot give any legal advice or give notice on any conditions.

Body Corporate If you purchase a unit you will become a part of the Body Corporate. The Body Corporate is a collective of all owners.

Building & Pest Date The date upon which the Buyer must have completed their Building & Pest inspection and notify satisfaction or otherwise of the condition.

Buyer Also known as purchaser or incoming proprietor.

Caveat A document lodged with Titles Queensland which will prevent the transfer/sale of the Property. There are many reasons a Caveat may be lodged and they can be a complicated property issue.

Certificate of Title Titles Queensland is now electronic and doesn’t issue paper Certificates of Title.

Chattel A chattel is a piece of “moveable property” – in essence, anything that can be lifted and moved. The Contract will provide provision for chattels to be included in the sale. Eg – dishwasher, pool pump, garden ornaments, furniture.

Conditional A Contract is “conditional” while there are still conditions to be satisfied by either party. Eg – the Contract is conditional upon the Buyer obtaining finance approval.

Contract The Contract sets out the terms and conditions by which the parties agree to buy/sell the property. Any changes to the Contract after it has been executed can be difficult and increase costs. The REIQ has published a standard Contract which is the most widely used.

Cooling Off Period A Buyer is allowed a 5 business day cooling off period in which to change their mind and terminate the Contract. The Buyer will be charged a penalty if they terminate during the cooling off period. A Seller does not have a cooling off period.

Deposit An amount paid by the Buyer to show their “intent or commitment to purchase”. The amount of the Deposit can vary depending on a Buyer’s individual financial circumstances but cannot exceed 10%. The Deposit is held by the real estate agent pending Settlement being completed.

Disbursements Amounts that are expended on your behalf to outside parties – eg search fees, verification of identity fees, bank fees.

Finance Date The date upon which the Buyer must have an unconditional approval letter from their financier and be satisfied with the conditions. A Buyer may terminate or extend if the approval is not granted by the due date.

Fixture Basically something that is “attached” or “connected” to the property in such a way that it becomes part of the land and would cause damage if removed. Eg – a shelf that is screwed into a wall – when removed it will leave damage to the wall and is considered a fixture. A wall mounted TV

Mortgage The document that will be registered on the title to secure the bank’s loan.

Mortgagee The Buyer

Mortgagor The Bank

Pool Safety Certificate A certificate issued by a licensed pool inspector to confirm the pool meets all government requires. Certificates are only valid for 2 years.

Professional Fees The fees payable to your lawyer/conveyancer to handle the transaction.

Queensland Revenue Office Formerly known as the Office of State Revenue. Government body that collects payment of transfer duty. Registration fees on the Transfer are determined by the purchase price. A registration fee is also payable on a Release of Mortgage and Mortgage.

Safety Switch A safety switch shuts off electricity supply when it detects leakage to earth to avoid electric shock to a person. It is different to a circuit breaker in that a circuit breaker will protect wiring and appliances while the safety switch protects people. All properties sold in Queensland must have a safety switch installed. Learn more about safety switches in Queensland.

Satisfy To give notice that a condition is satisfied. Eg – if the Contract is subject to finance approval and the Buyer obtains approval the Buyer will give notice to the Seller that the condition is satisfied.

Seller Also known as vendor or proprietor on title.

Settlement The date or point at which the actual property transfer occurs – ie the payment of money and delivery of documents.

Smoke Alarm Government requirements for compliant smoke alarms were updated on 1 January 2022 to require that all properties being sold have photoelectric and interconnected smoke alarms. Learn more about smoke alarm rules.

Tenant If there is a Tenant in the property it can affect the sale or purchase. You should seek advice prior to signing the Contract as to how the Tenant can affect a transaction.

Terminate To end the Contract by notice to the other party. The refund of the Deposit can depend on the conditions of the Contract.

Titles Queensland The central registry responsible for all Queensland titles and registration of transfers and other titling documents.

Transfer Duty Formerly known as stamp duty. A government tax payable on the purchase/transfer of property. The fee is calculated based on the purchase price. There are various concessions available.

Unconditional The status of the Contract once all conditions have been satisfied.

VOI Verification of Identity – the requirement to verify the identity of the Seller and Buyer and their entitlement to transact on the property.

Waive To forgo a right – eg if the Seller is required to clean the pool prior to settlement and the buyer decides to proceed even though this is not done, the Buyer is said to waive the benefit of this clause.