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Property Glossary

Property24 has put together a comprehensive property glossary, for your complete home buying reference. The glossary contains terms commonly used in real estate by both tenants and home purchasers.

Administration Fee
The fee charged by a Bank to cover the initial costs of processing a home loan application.

Affordability Score
The Bank's assessment of a Buyer's ability to afford monthly instalments based on their income.

Agent’s Commission
The amount payable by the Seller for the work done on marketing and selling a property. This is a percentage of the selling price.

Amenities
Certain features of a property or features of the area which increase a property's value.

Application
The form used to apply for a home loan, containing information about a borrower's income, savings, assets, debts, and more

Appraisal
The assessment made by an Estate Agent to determine the property's current value before it enters the property market to be sold.

Appraisal Fee
The fee charged by an appraiser when producing an estimate of the market value for a property.

Appreciation
The increase in the value of a property due to changes in market conditions, inflation, or other causes.

Asking Price
The price at which the Seller is offering their property for sale.

Asset 
The physical item that you invest in.

Bank-owned Property
Repossessed property now owned by the bank, usually sold at a lower price.

Beetle Certificate
A certificate issued confirming that a structure is free of wood borer or termite infestation. This is a legal requirement when selling.

Bequeath
To transfer personal property through a will.

Body Corporate 
A group of trustees which controls the day-to-day running of a sectional title scheme.

Bond
A lending agreement between a Buyer and the Bank. The legal bond document states that the Bank will lend an amount of money in the form of a bond.

Bond Cancellation Cost
Costs accrued during the cancellation of a bond. These include an Attorney's registration fee and a Deeds Office fee.

Borrower
Someone who receives money from a Bank (lender) with the intention to repay the amount.

Buyer
The buyer of a property enters into an Agreement of Sale with the Seller of the property and pays the purchase price in cash or via a home loan.

Buyer’s Market
A period in the property market which favours the Buyer with an increased number of properties for sale and low purchase prices.

Buy-to-Let
When you buy a residential property with the intention of renting it out for profit.

Buy-to-Rent
This is when the purchase of the property is bought for investment and then rented to a third party to generate passive income.

Cancellation Attorney
The Attorney who attends to the cancellation of the Seller’s bond and is appointed by the Bank with whom the current mortgage bond is held.

Certificate of Insurance
A certificate issued by an insurance company verifying which parts of your property or property contents have coverage and the amount.

Cluster
A freehold property in a development of similar houses.

Commercial Property
Property which is used for business purposes or for generating income from the premises. Not used for residential purposes.

Conveyance Tax
A tax charged for the transfer of property from the Seller to the Buyer.

Conveyancer 
A Conveyancing Attorney will attend to Deed Office transactions such as the transfer of a property from a Seller to a Buyer.

Cooling Off Period
The 5-day period after the Offer to Purchase has been signed during which the Buyer of a property has the right to cancel this agreement.

Credit Report
A detailed score card of an individual's credit history prepared by an official credit bureau. This report will determine your risk as a borrower.

Creditor
An institution or person to whom money is owed such as a Bank or mortgage originator.

Debit Order
A monthly instruction given to a Bank to deduct money off your account for payment of a loan.

Debt-to-Income Ratio
A ratio which shows a Buyer's monthly payment obligation to debts and which is divided by gross monthly income to ensure affordability.

Deed
A document which states the particular information of a property transfer.

Default
Failure to make the home loan payment within a specified period of time.

Deposit
Money which you have saved and is paid towards the purchase price of a property. In renting, a deposit is also paid upfront as security.

Depreciation
A decline in the value of a property.

Dwelling
Any building (e.g. A house, flat, apartment, room, hostel room or shack) within which people reside.

Economy
Economy refers to the wealth and resources of a country or region.

Electronic Banking
Electronic banking is a method of banking which allows an account holder to perform banking duties without having to physically enter a branch.

Estate Agent
The Estate Agent is a person who is authorised to act as an agent for the sale of land or the valuation, management, or lease of property.

Eviction
The lawful removal of an occupant from a property which they are renting.

Fees
A charge to cover the cost of a service (e.g. building inspection fee, zoning fee).

FICA
The Financial Intelligence Centre Act, 2001 was formed to regulate money laundering and requires valid information to be presented to the Bank.

Financial institution
An establishment such as a bank, trust company, insurance company and investment dealer. A financial institution deals with investing your money.

Floor plan
A floor plan shows the architectural layout of the building and the specifications of each room.

Forced Sale
The sale of a property used as security for a loan to repay the creditor in the event of default on the loan.

Foreclosure
When a Bank takes possession of property as a result of defaults in loan or mortgage payments. (See: Repossessed)

Fractional Ownership
Shared ownership and shared usage of an asset such as property. Fractional ownership often refers to holiday property.

Freehold
Property where the owner has full rights to the property and takes on all responsibilities.

Gross Income
Your total monthly income before taxes and other expenses are deducted.

Gross Profit
Remaining revenue after deducting total costs from total sales.

Habitable
A term used to describe a dwelling or home which is suitable for a person to live in.

Home Inspection
An inspection that evaluates the condition of a property for valuation purposes.

Home Loan
An agreement between the Buyer and a Bank, where the Bank lends the Buyer money in order to purchase property.

Home Loan Application
A form on which all relevant personal and financial information is given to begin the home loan application process.

Home owners Insurance
An insurance policy that covers your house (structure and property) in the event of damage or loss.

House
A freehold dwelling.

Instalment Amount
The monthly amount paid to the lender as part of the total home loan amount. Instalments run for the entire duration of the agreed term.

Insurance
Insurance protects an individual or their property in the event of unforeseen circumstances, such as theft, loss or death. This is a monthly fee.

Interest
A charge owed for borrowing money. Interest is calculated as a percentage of the remaining balance of the amount borrowed.

Interest Bearing Account
When Attorneys and Estate Agents hold money for clients, it is deposited into an interest bearing account. This is for the protection of the amount.

Interest Rate
Interest is added onto the amount of money borrowed from a Bank. This amount is fixed for a period and is based on the amount of money.

Internet Banking
This is an electronic banking facility that enables an account holder to process banking transactions online.

Joint Income
The total gross income of two parties or partners living in one household.

Land Surveyor
A qualified professional who is trained to measure the boundaries of a property.

Landlord
The owner of property that is leased to others. A landlord is seen as a custodian of the property and is responsible for collecting rent.

Landmarks
Points of interest or amenities. Schools, libraries, sports fields and shopping centres are examples of landmarks.

Lease
A contract signed between an owner of a property and the tenant. This contract specifies important terms and conditions regarding the rental period.

Lender
A Bank, person or other institution that lends money to a borrower.

Lessor
The owner renting out the property.

Levies
A set of fees or a tariff collected by an authority.

Loan
An amount of money transferred from a Bank (lender) to a borrower in exchange for future repayments.

Mortgage Broker
Someone who acts as an intermediary between the Buyer and a Bank, for the purposes of arranging a home loan.

Municipal Land Value
The value of a piece of land, or property set out and decided by the Municipality.

Municipal Rates
Taxes paid to the municipality by property owners.

Municipality
A local government which presides over a city, town,or district which acts as the local authority.

Net Income
This is your yearly income after taxes.

Occupant
Someone who occupies a particular property or place.

Occupational Rent
A charge applied to the Seller for occupying the property after registration has taken place or to the Buyer for occupying the property before.

Offer to Purchase
A legally binding document signed by the Buyer and Seller stating the agreement of the sale and its conditions.

Office Park
A property designed specifically for business and corporate offices.

Owner
Someone who owns a property or an asset. This ownership is usually indicated on a title deed.

Payslip
A document issued on a monthly basis by your employer as proof of your monthly income.

Premises
A building or part of a building, usually including the adjacent grounds.

Property Transfer
When ownership of a property legally changes hands from Seller to Buyer, through registration of the property at the Deeds Office.

Property Type
The classification of commercial Real Estate. The four primary property types are: retail, industrial, office and residential.

Purchase Price
The amount paid for the purchase of a property as set out in the Offer to Purchase agreement.

Purchaser
The person who buys a property.

Qualified Buyer
Someone who meets a Bank's requirements of affordability and has qualifed for a home loan.

Rand (R)
The currency unit for South Africa. R1 is equal to 100 cents.

Registering Attorney
The Attorney who attends to the registration of the new bond into the name of the Buyer.

Renovate
Restoring a home or property by rebuilding or remodeling.

Repayment Term
The number of months allocated to pay off a home loan. The maximum repayment term is 30 years.

Repossessed
A home that has been reclaimed by the Bank due to default payments by the owner. (see: Foreclosure)

Residential Property
A property used for residential purposes, not for business or office purposes.

Sectional Title
An entire property of flats or townhouses. The property is divided into individual units and sold separately and runs under a Body Corporate.

Seller's Market
During this time there are more Buyers than houses because the demand for property is greater than the supply.

Subject to Sale
When a sale of a house becomes binding and unconditional then certain conditions are met, such as bond approval.

Taxes
An involuntary fee levied that is enforced by government in order to finance government activities.

Tenant
A person who occupies a property, but does not own it and pays rent in return.

Title Deed
The legal document which states ownership of a property. The Title Deed is filed at the Deeds Office and contains details of the property.

Townhouse
A cluster-type home, either a simplex or a duplex, usually sharing a boundary with other units.

Utilities
Services provided by the government for your use at home. Utilities include: water, electricity, telephone service and other essentials.

Vacant Land
An empty plot of land that has not yet been developed.

Voetstoots
Refers to a property sold "as is". After a sale of property, a Seller is not liable for defects following a reasonable inspection of the property.

Walk-Through
The final inspection of a home.

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