In post-pandemic real estate, the Greater Sydney market has charged full speed ahead. Sellers may reach the top end of the market in coming weeks (if not already), as more vendors take to the market and listing volumes continue to tick up.
As for buyers, trying to get a foot in the door may seem like navigating a jungle of intense competition, bidding wars and real estate jargon that’s enough to bury your head into your hands.
And there’s nothing like an unforeseen 66W to break a deal on the home of your dreams.
But rather than trying to take a shot in the dark at buying, it’s better to get friendly with a few common terms that you’re guaranteed to hear in the mix – and which could save you from a wrong decision that you hadn’t bargained for.
We’ve listed all of those important terms below, for hopefully homeseekers to avoid any last-minute confusion at the eleventh hour.
Of course, with buying any property, always read over the sale contract, ask questions – and most importantly, have your conveyancer or solicitor read over it too!
Appraisal (or valuation)
Done by an agent, a market appraisal or valuation is a professional estimation of the value of your property.
An auction is a method of sale where property is publicly offered through a competitive bidding process, between interested buyers.
A body corporate refers to a legal entity where land is subdivided and registered to establish community title schemes, such as strata in an apartment complex.
Cooling off period
Cooling off is a period of time (usually 5 or more days) after a buyer and seller have signed and exchanged the contract. This is typically for the buyer to perform any final inspections, to seek approval from their lender, or to withdraw from the contract should they wish to – notably, auctions do not have cooling offs.
Dual occupancy, duplex and detached
Dual occupancy refers to a property that allows two separate living arrangements, and exists in two versions: attached (such as a home with two separate entrances), and detached (such as a house and granny flat). For a dual occupancy property, the land is considered one piece of land and is not subdivided.
A duplex often looks like a dual occupancy and also offers two separate living arrangements sharing one common wall. However, the land in a duplex can be two separately titled blocks or a strata subdivision. This can make a difference when buying so check with your solicitor.
An easement is a section of land registered on your property, which gives someone the right to use the land for specific purposes (despite them not being the land owner). This may be to access drainage, power or phone lines. When selling and buying property, all easements must be disclosed in the contract of sale for a future buyer to be aware of.
Expression of interest (EOI) or ‘sale by expression of interest’, is a method of sale that invites buyers to submit an offer in writing to purchase the property by a certain time and date.
Private treaty is also a method of sale, through which a real estate agent lists a property for sale most commonly with a fixed price or a price guide, inviting the buyer to make an offer.
Common to auctions, a reserve price is the minimum amount that a seller will accept as a winning bid. This is generally not disclosed to a buyer but you may hear the auctioneer declare, “we are now selling” during the bidding process which means the owner’s reserve price has been exceeded
Settlement or Completion refers to when the sale of a property is legally finalised, and usually takes place around six weeks after the contracts are exchanged.
Stamp duty (or ‘transfer duty’) is a tax charged by the NSW state government to transfer the ownership of a property to someone else. Stamp duty applies to the buyer, not the seller, and is calculated on the property’s sale price or current market value. Notably, the NSW government has some stamp duty exemptions which can be found here.
Title is a registered document outlining the ownership of a property. With strata title, each owner has ownership rights to designated parts of a building, but still retains joint rights over common areas of the property – this is typically the case with apartment blocks.
‘Torrens’ refers to a land title system where the owner of the property owns the land, as well as the building on it. Interestingly, this was named after Robert Torrens, a one-time Premier of South Australia who invented the system now used throughout Australia and in many countries around the world.
Townhouses are self-contained properties, sometimes attached and sometimes freestanding, within a complex of three or more dwellings. With a townhouse, the buyer owns the dwelling but shares ownership of common property/land (such as courtyards) with others in the complex.
While ‘townhouse’ and ‘villa’ are sometimes used interchangeably, in NSW, a villa is usually considered a single-level dwelling with an attached garage and a private courtyard, and is also usually registered under strata or community title.
Zoning refers to the allowable uses of specified land, which is set out by local councils or planning authorities.
A 66W is a certificate that waives all of the buyer’s cooling off rights. It is typically signed by the buyer’s solicitor or conveyancer once they’ve completed all of their checks, and is often used within auction conditions.
Prudential Real Estate Campbelltown | (02) 4628 0033 | email@example.com
Prudential Real Estate Liverpool | (02) 9822 5999 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Prudential Real Estate Macquarie Fields | (02) 9605 5333 | email@example.com
Prudential Real Estate Narellan | (02) 4624 4400 | firstname.lastname@example.org