The word list

When dealing with conveyancing and contracts, it is likely you will encounter numerous legal terms. Here is a handy explanation of some of the most common terms you may come across.

Of course, our friendly team of Conveyancers are always available to give you advice or guidance, free of charge and without obligation.

Certificate of Title

The certificate issued by the government in the relevant state that demonstrates the ownership of the property. Many states are moving to an electronic form which is the case in QLD, however a paper copy is available on request.


Community Titles Scheme (also known as Strata title)

The title given in multi-dwelling developments (home units or apartment blocks). This title can be both volumetric e.g. the position of a 10th floor apartment in comparison to all other apartments in the development, or a particular townhouse amongst a group of townhouses. The title has the same rights as the title associated with a block of land accepting there are usually common areas, e.g. Corridors, driveways, pool areas, etc. Strata titles are invariably managed by a body corporate whose members are made up of the strata title owners.



The contract is the written or printed document that obligates a buyer and seller to complete all of the steps necessary to transfer property. In some states you will sign preliminary documentation which will assist in drawing the actual binding contract.

In QLD there is only one contract which is prepared by the vendor (usually the real estate agent acting for the vendor) and usually contains a clause which gives the purchaser a time frame, usually 21 days but can be more or less time, to secure finance and a clause to complete a building a pest report which can also be more or less time than also 21 days.

The contract is presented to the purchaser to sign. At that point the purchaser may make any alterations he sees fit and initials those changes. The purchaser signs the contract which goes back to the vendor to consider the changes. The vendor either accepts the changes or rejects the changes and then returns the contract to the purchaser to again consider. This process continues until both are in agreement. At that point the vendor signs the contract and dates it which starts the clock ticking for the finance, pest and building report to be completed.

In NSW there are two contracts. One contract for the vendor and one for the purchaser. When all conditions of the contract are met and both parties are in agreement, they each sign their contract. The contracts via their respective solicitors are exchanged and counter signed by the other party. This makes the contract unconditional and enforceable.



In QLD the conveyancer must be a solicitor or an person taking instructions from a solicitor. The Conveyancer prepares and/or checks all documentation and advises the buyer or the seller of their rights and obligations and manages the property transaction. In NSW a person or firm that conducts the transaction anticipated in a contract does not have to be a Solicitor but must be a registered conveyancer.


Cooling-off Period

Is the Length of time where the purchaser of the property may change their mind about the purchase and opt out of the purchase. In QLD the cooling off period is 5 business days.



Amounts that are expended on your behalf to outside parties e.g. Councils, Government Departments to either obtain information or search results. These are fixed costs determined by the Council or Government that provide the information.



This is a term used in NSW where there a two contracts. It is the point at which a binding contract is passed from the buyer to the seller or vice versa which has been signed by both parties.


Finance Date

The date upon which you must be able to confirm that the bank will lend you money if you are borrowing. It is not the date from which you need the money, rather the date upon which the bank confirms they will provide you the money at settlement.

First Home Owners Grant

From time to time the government may offer a grant for First Home Buyers. The Grant amount may vary as does eligibility. For the latest guidelines and information, visit your local Office of State Revenue site:





Lands Titles Office

This is the central registry for the ownership of real property in each state.


The granting of a right to occupy certain premises as defined in the lease for a period of time, in return for a payment of a certain amount of money. A lease gives you certain rights in the land/property, but is not equivalent to Freehold Rights (which indicates the ultimate ownership right available in Australia).



Mortgage is another name for a document which secures a loan. The mortgage can be registered on the Title and shows the interest of a person or body that has lent money to the owner of the property.



Is the person or body under a Loan Agreement who has lent money.



Is the person or body under a Loan Agreement who has borrowed money.


Professional Fee

Is the fee that you pay your Conveyancer or Solicitor who conducts your property transaction.



Is a person buying a property.


Registered Proprietor

Is the person who is registered on the title as being the owner of the property.



Is the date or point at which the actual property transfer occurs, i.e. The payment of monies and the delivery of documents necessary for the registration of the new owner on title.


Settlement Agent

Is a person who attends settlement on behalf of a buyer or seller it can be your solicitor or a person appointed by your solicitor.


Transfer or Stamp Duty

Is the amount levied by the government on the transaction as a State Tax. The Stamp Duty amount varies from State to State. To find your local Stamp Duty amount, visit your local Office of State Revenue site:




Strata Title

Please see under Community Titles Scheme


Torrens System/Title

Is the system of titling used in Australia in every State. It includes all types of land and real property ownership including strata and community titles.



A person selling a property



To forgive an obligation, e.g. If a party 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.

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