Unpacking real estate jargon for home buyers
By | 14th May 19

By Emily Hutchinson

It’s easy to be mystified by the real estate jargon used when buying, selling, or renting a property.

To simplify things for home buyers, we unpack some of the more confusing terms used by the pros so you don’t get lost in translation.


Bridging finance

If a buyer has recently sold their property and is waiting for proceeds to clear, they can apply for bridging finance to put a deposit on a new home.

Buyer’s advocate

As the name suggests, this person’s role is to represent a buyer – helping their clients obtain the right property at the lowest possible price.


A licensed professional who will ensure all legal requirements are met when buying a house, and help with the settlement and title transfer process.

Cooling-off period

The length of time given to a prospective buyer to consider their impending property purchase. This period doesn’t apply to those buying at auction.


This is the person who puts their hand up to pay off your debt if you falter on the mortgage repayment.

Home equity

This is the portion of your property that you actually own and doesn’t belong to the bank. As you pay off your mortgage, your home equity increases.


Lender’s mortgage insurance is payable by those who have a deposit below 20% of the property value and gives banks security when lending to high-risk borrowers.


A loan to value ratio is the size of your home loan, expressed as a percentage of the value of the property it was used to buy.

Passed in

A property is passed in at auction when bids didn’t reach the seller’s reserve.


This means the bank has given you conditional approval of your home loan and will indicate how much you can spend when you go to auction.


The lowest price the vendor has agreed to go when selling their property.

Settlement date

The date that the sale of the property is finalised between buyer and seller.

Stamp duty

Stamp duty is a form of tax that’s applied to several different transactions including transfers of property and mortgages. It’s important to be clear about the stamp duty you will need to pay when purchasing a home as it can vary from state to state.

Track My Property

This is a tool developed by realestate.com.au that allows you to track your property‘s worth in the market. You can keep track of multiple properties at the same time and see how they rise or fall in value.


This is the second-highest bidder at an auction. It’s worth noting that negotiating usually goes straight to the highest bidder if the property is passed in.

Under offer 

This means that an offer on the house has been accepted and the vendor and buyers are in the settlement stage of the transaction.


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