Glossary of Terms

48 Hour Clause

This provision is often included in contracts which are conditional upon the buyer selling their own property. It enables the seller to continue to market their property until the buyer sells their property. If the seller receives a better offer the seller can give the contracted buyer 48 hours notice of their intention to accept the alternate offer. The contracted buyer then has 48 hours to confirm or waive the conditions in their contract to purchase unconditionally. If the buyer fails to confirm or waive their conditions with the 48 hour period then the seller can terminate the contract and accept the alternate offer.

Chattels

Furniture and other non fixed items included in the sale. This can include floor coverings, curtains, light fittings, white goods, TV aerials, and any other removable items such as aluminium garden sheds. If in doubt as to whether an item needs to be specified in the contract it is best to include it.

Completion

Refers to completion of the sale or purchase when the buyer pays the balance of the purchase price and receives the title deeds to the property together with a transfer of title signed by the seller. Referred to as either completion or settlement.

Conditions

These are terms contained in a contract which must be satisfied before the party having the benefit of the terms or conditions is bound to proceed with the contract. Common conditions are finance approval, sale of a property or building inspection.

Contract

The written agreement setting out the terms and conditions of the sale and purchase and signed by the seller and the purchaser.

Conveyancing

The process of transferring title to the property from the seller to the buyer.

Deposit

The initial payment made by the buyer to the seller or selling agent upon the signing of the contract or at such later date as agreed. The amount is negotiable. The payment of the deposit is an essential term of the contract enabling to seller to terminate the contract if the buyer fails to pay the deposit.

Duty/Stamp duty

A State Government tax on the transfer of property. The amount of duty increases with the purchase price. Duty is payable by the buyer only. It is paid following completion and before the transfer of title to the buyer can be registered at the Land Titles Office. See helpful links State Revenue Office duty calculator.

Easement

A legal right granted to a person to use the land belonging to another for a particular purpose, e.g. a neighbour may have an easement to drain water across an adjoining property or a right of way for access.

Encumbrance

A burden or charge registered on the title to the property such as a mortgage.

Final Inspection

A purchaser should always have a final inspection of the property prior to settlement to make sure that the property is in the same condition as when first inspected and to see that all chattels are left in the property.

Fixtures

Items affixed to the land. Includes buildings and items affixed in buildings which are intended to be permanently affixed. This can be an area of dispute.

Joint Tenants

Where more than one party owns a property it can be held between the parties as joint tenants or as tenants in common. Joint tenancy means that if one joint tenant dies the interest of the deceased passes automatically to the other joint owners. The interest of a joint owner cannot be devised by the Will of the deceased joint tenant.

Land Titles Office

The Land Titles Office is the office of the Recorder of Titles. The Recorder of Titles is the statutory officer responsible for providing the community with certainty of title to land. This is achieved by the development and administration of legislation governing land dealings in Tasmania. Transfers of title are lodge at the Land Titles Office for registration. Following registration the Recorder of Titles issues a certificate for the property transferred in the name of the new owner, noting on it any mortgage.

Mortgage

The security taken by a lender registered over the title to the property as a security for the loan.  The property cannot be sold without discharging the mortgage. This usually requires the loan to be repaid.

Mortgage Documents

The documents the lender requires a borrower to sign before the lender will advance loan monies to the borrower.

Registration

In order to obtain legal title to land the transfer from the seller to the buyer needs to be forwarded to the Land Titles Office in Hobart for registration. The Recorder of Titles will record the change in ownership and issue a new certificate of title in the name of the buyer. If the buyer has granted a mortgage to a financial institution this is also registered and will be noted on the certificate of title.

Searches

A series of requests to various government departments and councils to ascertain whether any money is owed or if there are any proposals for the land, such as road widening or acquisitions for public use.

Settlement

The completion of the selling and buying process. When the buyer pays the balance of the purchase price to the seller and the seller provides the certificate of title and signed transfer to the buyer. The settlement process takes place at the seller’s bank, or if the seller does not have a mortgage on the property, at the office of the seller’s conveyancer. Neither the seller nor the buyer are required to attend settlement but are represented by their conveyancers.

Strata Title

A system or type of land title ownership. A strata scheme is a particular type of development which divides a parcel of land into “lots” and “common property”, and which specifies a system of management, commonly known as a “body corporate”. This is a common type of title for residential units.

Tenants in Common

Where more than one party owns a property it can be held between the parties as joint tenants or as tenants in common. Tenants in common means that the parties have separate shares or interests in the property. The shares or interests need not be equal. Each owners share can be devised by Will on their death. It does not automatically pass to the other owners.

Transfer

Refers to the document signed by the seller in order to transfer legal ownership of land to the buyer. The transfer is in a form prescribed by the Recorder of Titles. The transfer is lodged at the Land Titles Office for registration following completion of the sale. Following registration of the transfer, a certificate of title will issue in the name of the buyers.

Unconditional

When all of the conditions in the contract have been satisfied the contract is unconditional. These conditions usually relate to the buyer obtaining a satisfactory building inspection of the property, obtaining loan approval or selling their property. Once all conditions are satisfied the contract is unconditional and each of the parties are bound to complete it.

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