Clear up your home loan confusion
We have gathered some of the terms most commonly used when looking for a property whether it is to live in or as an investment. Use the glossary below to arm yourself with the knowledge necessary to compare home loan products and mortgages.
AAPR stands for ‘average annual percentage rate’. This rate is the average of all the rates that are offered with a particular product. This figure will include all the fees and charges that accompany loans.
Accrued interest is interest that has been incurred on your loan but is yet to be charged and in turn paid by you. The interest on your home loan is calculated daily, but you probably make your payments weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Interest accrues from the time you made your last payment to the time you make your next payment.
See; ongoing fees.
Security over your loan guarantees your lender a portion of the value of your loan until the loan is repaid in full. Usually, the property you have taken out the loan to buy acts as the security over the loan, but in some cases you may have a guarantor on the loan who puts up their property as security.
Additional repayments allow you to pay off your loan sooner. Any amount you pay above the minimum repayment amount is an additional repayment. The more you pay in addition to your minimum repayments the sooner you’ll repay your loan and the less interest you’ll pay. You can make additional repayments on an automated basis by paying a larger-than-required direct payment to your loan each month, or you can make additional repayments into your loan when you come across extra funds in your budget.
When you buy an existing property, you may have to reimburse the previous owner for council or water rates that have already been paid. An adjustment is the process of allocating these expenses to be paid from your home loan account.
See; interest rate.
AFSA stands for Australian Financial Security Authority, the agency responsible for the administration and regulation of the personal insolvency system, proceeds of crime, trustee services and the administration of the Personal Property Securities Register. It aims to provide improved and equitable financial outcomes for consumers, business and the community through application of bankruptcy and personal property securities law, regulation of personal insolvency practitioners and trustee services.
An agent is a person or company authorised to act on behalf of the customer who is selling their property.
An all-in-one loan allows you to use your loan account and savings, cheque and transaction account by having all of your wages and other income paid into your loan account, giving you access to all of the funds above the value of your minimum home loan repayment amount. An all-in-one loan is also known as a home equity loan or a transactional loan. Because you are leaving all of your savings and everyday funds in your loan account until you need them they work to offset the interest charged on your home loan.
A piece of land that is a section of a larger piece of land it is called an allotment. An allotment will often be called a lot, building block or block of land.
An amenity is a feature of the home or property marketed as a benefit to the buyer. An amenity is an additional feature and not a necessity. It may be a natural feature such as a park or coastal location, or a man-made addition such as a swimming pool or an outdoor entertaining area.
Amortisation is the practice of repaying a mortgage loan in monthly instalments of principal and interest repayments. These repayments are based on a scheduled term, which allows you to own your home at the end of that term, the most common loan period being 30 years.
See ongoing fees.
You will need to complete an application form as the first part of the loan approval process. On your application form you will need to record information about your personal details, as well as your financial details to help the lender with the underwriting process.
Not every loan has an application fee but some lenders will charge an initial fee for setting up the loan to cover their internal costs.
An appraisal is an estimate of the market value of the property you are looking to finance. One is usually required by the lender during the home loan application process, and again before the expiry of the fixed-rate period to assess your loan to value ratio and help determine the applicable variable revert rate.
Appreciation refers to the increase in a property's value through any range of economic factors, such as renovations, inflation, supply and demand, and many others.
APRA stands for Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, the prudential regulator of the Australian financial industry. It oversees banks, insurance companies, superannuation funds, credit unions, building societies and friendly societies. It is responsible for making sure these institutions are able to fulfil their financial promises, are financially sound and are able to meet its obligations to their members. APRA does not oversee non-bank lenders such as online lenders.
ASIC stands for Australian Securities and Investment Commission, who are the independent regulatory government body that monitors the behaviours, processes, terms and conditions, and maintains the transparency of Australian financial institutions to ensure a fair deal for customers.
A resource with financial value, which can be owned in the hope of providing future benefits or income.
A sale where the property is sold through bidding and the highest bidder wins the sale.Back to top
A lump-sum payment made to your loan that is typically used to payout the remainder of the loan in full.
A cheque issued by a bank that is similar to a personal cheque. A bank cheque can be reissued if it is lost or stolen. There is typically a fee involved in having a bank cheque drawn up.
A legal status for a person or entity that cannot repay their debts to their creditors. This is usually imposed by a court order that is often initiated by the debtor.
One hundredth of 1%. In other words, 1% equates to 100 basis points.
Battle axe property
A block that has only 3-4 metres of street frontage. These 3-4 metres are usually taken up by a driveway, which leads behind the homes with regular street frontage to a normal size block.
A committee of home-owners who have purchased apartments or townhouses that have common property. They are responsible for making decisions regarding changes to the common property or issues in a particular property caused by problems in the common property. All owners are members of the committee, but a few are typically elected at the annual general meeting to act as president, secretary and treasurer, and they have the final say if other members are not able to come to a consensus on a decision.
Body corporate fee
A charge paid to maintain the common area of a unit block, run by a committee. Generally, the body corporate fee is charged quarterly and covers major yearly costs such as building insurance. It is also there as a resource if any upgrade or issue needs attention within the common area.
A sum of money paid to the rental bond board that will cover the owner if the property is damaged or rent is not paid. The bond will usually be around four weeks' rent.
A break cost is charged when you make an extra repayment on a fixed-rate home loan or pay the loan out before the fixed-rate term ends. The amount charged differs depending on the lender.
Typically used if you are selling one property and buying another at the same time. Bridging finance offers you a short-term loan to cover the money you need to buy a new home while you are waiting for the proceeds of the sale from your old home. It's usually charged at a higher interest rate than a standard home loan.
A building inspection ensures the property you are looking to purchase is structurally sound and that there are no issues that will cause costly repairs in the future. Having issues uncovered in a building inspection can also offer you leverage in negotiating a better price and some contracts of sale can be signed subject to an acceptable building inspection report.
Local councils have control over how the properties in the area look and how they are built and positioned on the land. These controls are building regulations and are in place to ensure public health and safety, acceptable standards for construction and to ensure an aesthetically pleasing area.
A building society is a financial institution owned by its members. It operates with a banking license, but doesn't have to return profits to shareholders.
A buyer's agent acts on the behalf of buyer to seek out suitable properties and negotiate with agents or vendors for a suitable price or contract, saving a buyer the time of travelling to dozens of properties that look good on paper but need further investigation.Back to top
The value of your long-term assets if they were to be liquidated at their current value.
The profit you make when you sell an asset, or - the sale price of the property minus its ‘cost base’. The cost base is made up of incidental costs, ownership costs, improvement costs and title costs, minus any depreciation or grants associated with your property.
Capital gains tax
A federal tax charged on the monetary gain you make from the sale of an asset. The home you live in as your primary residence is excluded from capital gains tax, or CGT, when you sell it.
You've made a capital loss if you sell an asset for less than what you paid for it.
Capitalised interest can be best understood on an investment loan where you are making interest only repayments and you also have a line of credit to access the equity built up in your investment property. Capitalised interest uses your line of credit to pay your interest repayments so that your interest repayments are being added to the principal amount of the loan. Capitalised interest relies on you increasing the equity in your investment property through improvements and then extending your line of credit to continue repaying the interest. This can be a risky long-term strategy because if your loan grows faster than you can add equity to your property and your line of credit, then you will quickly run out of money.
A capped loan has an interest rate that will not exceed a set level for a fixed period of time. That interest rate could fall when the official cash rate drops, but it won't rise exponentially like a standard variable rate can.
A notice placed on a property title that displays a possible interest in the property from someone other than the owner.
This is Latin for ‘let the buyer beware’. It means that you are responsible for doing your due diligence in examining the property before you purchase it for any issues.
Certificate of currency
A written document provided by an insurance company to confirm that there is a current and valid insurance policy on a property. This is usually something you would ask for a copy of from the strata managers, but the details of insurance on the property are sighted when you ask for a strata report on the property.
Certificate of title
This document details the land dimensions and identifies ownership of the property. The certificate of title also shows whether there are any mortgages or encumbrances on the property. It's usually held by your lender as security for your loan.
Describes the fact that you are entering into a debt that uses your property as security. You are liable for the debt until you repay the loan. For example, you are charged with the obligation to repay your loan.
Another term for personal property, and there are two types of chattels; real chattels which are buildings and fixtures of the property, and personal chattels which are things like clothing and furniture. Your purchase contract will detail whether real or personal chattels are included in the sale and contract price.
This is when there are no restrictions on the certificate of title that prevent the sale of a property, such as existing mortgages. Clear title also refers to when ownership of the seller is established.
A group of houses sharing a common space, such as an apartment block or a series of units. If you are considering purchasing a property that is part of a cluster, be aware that there may be body corporate fees and restrictions on what changes and additions you can make to the property.
May be required as additional security over your loan if you don't have a sufficient deposit or you're an undesirable loan candidate. Your lender may ask for collateral security in the form of savings, other investments or properties belonging to a family member who is able to act as guarantor.
The fee paid to an agent for their services. A real estate agent often takes a commission from the deposit paid to secure the property, whereas a buyer's agent might need to wait until the purchase has been processed. Mortgage brokers often receive a trailing commission, which is a portion of the percentage of interest you are paying over the life of the loan.
The areas of a property that is accessible to all residents such as gardens, hallways and driveways. Common property is maintained by using the body corporate fees, and decisions are made by the body corporate committee
A property title that is applicable when owners in a block of units band together to form a company. A company title allows the individual owners of the individual units to own the title to their property where previously a single title was held over the entire block of units. Not all units are held in a company title. If it's important to you to hold the title over your property, you buy this is something you should check for.
As of July 2003, all lenders must provide a benchmark comparison rate in all of their home loan advertising. The comparison rate is calculated to reflect the total annual cost of your loan including interest payments and fees, expressed as a percentage rate so that you have one figure to compare across all loan products.
As interest on your home loan is calculated daily, it compounds to your weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayment. This means you are being charged interest on your interest as well as interest on your principal amount.
When your application has been approved, subject to the lender's terms and conditions. These conditions need to be met before the lender will give full approval and release the funds.
These are a type of loan that are structured to best suit a borrower who is constructing their property rather than purchasing in a pre-built property. As the payment process for constructing a property is so different to purchasing a pre-built property there is often a need for a unique loan type.
Consumer credit code
This is an Act of Parliament which governs the relationship between you and your lender. The legislation is in place to protect you by ensuring that Australian financial institutions are follow the same rules whether they are providing personal, domestic or household credit, so that borrowers are provided with complete, straightforward and honest information. One such inclusion is the fact that lenders must include an accurate comparison rate to help you choose the most affordable loan.
Contract of sale
This is a written document, which is legally enforceable and outlines terms and conditions for the purchase or sale of a property. While the contract of sale is legally binding you do not have to sign it unless you are comfortable with the conditions, and you can sign a contract of sale subject to finance being approved for example, subject to completing a building inspection, or subject to you selling your existing property.
This is when the ownership of the property is transferred from the seller's name, into your name.
This is the legal process which transfers the ownership of the property, and to make sure you understand the process and that it is completed correctly many property buyers enlist the services of a conveyancer.
Cooling off period
Once contracts have been signed there is typically a cooling off period of approximately five business days, this can differ per state see our guide. This can be waived by the purchaser in a private or private treaty sale by signing a 66w certificate. Cooling off periods do not apply to properties that are sold at auction.
The Credit Ombudsman Service Limited is an external disputes resolution system which will hear your complaint about any business, institution, a broker or agent in the financial services industry, offering you an alternative to legal proceedings to resolve your complaint.
This is the terms and conditions which are in place specifying the accepted use of a block of land or property, for example whether you are able to use it properly for just residential purposes or for commercial uses as well.
Many home loan applications will not be approved unless you have sufficient insurance on the property you are purchasing. As a result you can take out cover note which acts as temporary insurance while the property is under contract, and before you have secured and organised an official insurance policy.
Is a person or company of legal nature that is owed money.
The maximum amount a borrower can use at any one time, typically applies to equity or line of credit loans.
Your credit history includes all credit card applications you have made, any personal loans you have in your name as well as details of your repayment history with regards to your bills and other debts. Your credit history will be assessed by a lender to determine how likely you are to responsibly repay your home loan, however even if you have defaults or a lot of credit card that it is still possible to secure a home loan.
CRAA became Credit Advantage Limited, then Baycorp Advantage and is now known as Veda Advantage and My Credit File and if you see your lender use the term CRAA they are referring to the records of your credit information and credit history.Back to top
Lenders will typically calculate the interest charges on your loan account daily regardless of whether you make your repayments weekly, fortnightly or monthly. This means that the interest calculations can vary depending on the balance of the account each day.
The removal of funds from a financial account.
A person or company that owes money to a creditor
Debt to income ratio
Your debt to income ratio is calculated by looking at the ratio of the money you make to the money you owe. When you are considered as a home loan candidate the repayment of the debt on your home loan will be considered in this ratio to help the lender decide whether or not you will be overextended, and the lower your debt to income ratio the better.
A deed is a legal document which shows who has the legal right to possess a property and states whether there are any agreements or obligations on the property.
If you do not pay your minimum home loan repayment by the due date then you will be in default. If you do not make loan repayments and remain in default your lender may take legal action to repossess the property. Defaults can also be listed against your name for failure to pay bills such as a phone or electricity bill. These then show up on your credit history and can impair your credit when it comes time to apply for a loan.
Deferred establishment fee
Is a fee imposed by some lenders where the borrower has sought refinance with another lender within the first few years of their loan. Deferred establishment fees were banned in 2011.
When you do not make your mortgage repayments on time under your loan agreement. If you do not make your repayments then you become at risk of defaulting on your loan due to delinquency.
A deposit is normally required when you purchase a property at the time you sign a contract of sale. Your deposit secures your purchase and is usually around 5 to 10% of the total purchase price.
If at the time of exchanging contracts for the purchase of your new home you do not have access to funds for a deposit, you can take out a deposit bond which guarantees that you will pay the full deposit by a designated due date. The insurance institution providing your deposit bond acts guarantees that the payment will be made and you can secure your purchase without having to access funds which may be tied up in other investments or accounts.
Over time many assets will lose value as they become older, outdated and less useful, and this is known as depreciation. When it comes to the value of long-term tangible assets a periodic cost can be assigned to calculate the cost of depreciation to you.
If you choose to pay your home loan repayments with direct debit, then you are a green for your lender to automatically debit payment amount from your chosen cheque or savings account. If you choose to make your payments by direct debit you will need to be very sure that there will always be enough funds available on the day the direct debit comes out so that your account does not become overdrawn.
This is the name given to fees which are often incurred during the conveyancing process of purchasing a new house. These can often include title search fees and costs paid to government authorities and these are often unavoidable and may be included in the fee you are paying your conveyancer.
This term is used for persons or entities who have previously been declared bankrupt but have had their bankruptcy discharged, this typically occurs three years and one day after you filed for bankruptcy personally or after the Australian Financial Security Authority accepted you completed statement of affairs.
If you finalise your loan account and pay the amount in full before the end of the agreed term you may be charged discharge fees which are administration fees to cover the costs incurred by the lender to process your loan.
Discharge of mortgage
This is a document your lender will sign and give to you when your loan has been repaid in full as confirmation that your loan account has been finalised.
This is the amount you have left over from your wages and other income once all of your bills and expenses have been paid. It does not include any lifestyle or entertainment expenses, but is the amount your lender will look at to determine how much you have remaining from your total income each month to service a loan.
In Australia this is taken to mean the same thing as a deposit, although in some real estate markets, a down payment refers to the deposit plus any other money you’ve set aside to pay towards the purchase price of the property.
If you’re building a home, there are usually five stages of construction from pouring a slab to the stage where the house can be locked-up. A draw down is a payment required by your builder at each of these stages. With a construction loan, you can make these payments and only pay interest on the amount of the drawdown payment, and not the full amount of the loan. This also applies to non-construction loans when they are used to pay the vendor for the property as per the agreed upon price.
Stands for 'debt service ratio', this is the portion of your income which will go towards servicing your loan for the entire term and you will usually see this expressed as a percentage.
This is a tax imposed by each individual State Government and as a result the amount differs from state to state. Stamp duty is a type of this tax charged on the documents associated with purchasing a property. The amount of stamp duty you pay is often based on the purchase price and the amount of your loan – that’s right you pay two lots of stamp duty when you a buy a house, once on your purchase and again on your loan application.Back to top
Also known as early exit fees or deferred establishment fees, early termination fees are charged if you pay out your loan early within a designated time period specified by your lender. In Australia, these were banned from new loans entered into after 1 July 2011, but as mentioned above, fixed-rate loans may still attract these costs.
A right given to someone to use a piece of land for a specific use even if they aren’t the owner of it, e.g a driveway shared between the landowner and a neighbour.
This is the lender’s estimate of its loss resulting from a borrower making a change to their loan during it's fixed rate period such as switching to a variable rate loan prior to the fixed rate period expiring.
Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
When funds are transferred electronically from one account to another. Lenders sometimes allow you to make additional repayments to your loan by making electronic transfers in internet banking.
Can be anything which is a liability or charge on a property and can include an easement which runs through the property, or a charge stating you may choose to repaint your boundary fence from an approved colour list.
When money, property, a deed or bond is put into the care of a third party, and is to be delivered only once specific conditions are fulfilled. When you refinance a mortgage for example, your loan application, title and paperwork may have to go through an escrow agent until your income and details have been verified for approval of the loan.
Not all lenders charge establishment fees, but those who do will require payment to start the application process, and these fees must be paid before the loan is approve. Therefore, make sure you know what happens to your fees if your loan is denied or you choose not to borrow.
All of your possessions, property and debts which will be left behind when you die.
See; home equity.
Exchange of contracts, exchange
When you legally exchange contracts with the vendor you are purchasing from to allow formal inquiries to begin towards the settlement of the sale. This is where you present any conditions to the contract such as signing it subject to finance being approved or subject to satisfactory building inspection reports.Back to top
The Finance Brokers Association Australia (FBAA) is an industry body for finance mortgage brokers, which aims to enforce a code of practice and industry standards.
The FID stands for financial institutions duty. This is a duty that lenders will have to pay against the money that they receive.
First Home Owner's Grant (FHOG)
The first home owners grant is a grant given to first home buyers in Australia. The amount and availability of the grant varies from state to state.
Items which can be removed from a property without causing any structural damage. This covers things like curtains, which may or may not be included in the sale of a property.
When the interest rate charged on your home loan is locked in for a certain period of time. Your rate will not change during the fixed interest rate term of your choosing which is often between one year and 10 years. While your rate will not go up if the Reserve Bank and your lender raise their rates, you will also not benefit from any rate decreases either. At the end of your fixed rate term, your interest is likely to revert to a variable interest rate.
Are items which may cause damage the property if they were removed. It is important that fixtures such as carpets, stoves and dishwashers are covered in the contract of sale, and that the vendor agrees to take responsibility and repair any damage caused by the removal of fixtures from the property before settlement.
Flat interest rate
A flat interest rate is an interest rate that is calculated from the original loan amount throughout the term of the loan.
Protects you against loss or damage of property during a flood and if the property you are purchasing is located in a floodplain your lender will require you to show proof of flood insurance before they will approve your loan.
This is the legal process where a mortgaged property is sold to pay off the loan of the borrower who has defaulted.
Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)
A government body which oversees foreign investment into Australia for both residential and business investments.
This is the approval given once the lender has made all the necessary checks and review of your application. Once you receive formal approval of your loan you are able to proceed with settlement.
Freehold is a type of title. If you have freehold title over land, you own it outright forever. You’re also free to enjoy the property as you see fit within local and government guidelines. Freehold gives you complete control and ownership for as long as you like, until you choose to sell. While your land or property is mortgaged it is of course partially owned by your lender, and you want to make sure that if you are choosing a 30 year loan term for example, that at the end of that term you will have freehold over the property with no obligations remaining.
A freestanding property is one which stands independently of others.
Full doc loan
This is the standard loan type when talking about home loans and requires a lot more documentation when applying than a low doc loan.Back to top
If you make an oral agreement with a vendor to buy a property at one price but then the property is sold to another buyer at a higher price. In some cases the vendor will try to secure an even higher price by going back to the first buyers and getting them to match or beat the second price.
Gearing is the strategy of borrowing money to finance investments.
Funds that have been accumulated or held for a certain period of time prior to applying for a loan.
A lease agreement which states the lessee will pay the lessor a certain amount of rent, which will then be increased or decreased at a specified time.
This is used for the immediate transfer of complete property ownership from one party to another.
The income amount due to a person or company before tax and superannuation has been deducted. Even though your gross annual income is not your take-home wage, lenders will still generally assess your borrowing capacity by asking for your gross annual income.
Gross Rental Yield
The gross rental yield on your property is used to compare the investment return. To calculate your gross rental yield you divide the rental income you receive in a year by the purchase price you paid for the property. For example if the yearly rent on your investment property is $18,200 and the median house price for the area is $509,250 then your gross rental yield will be 3.57%.
This is a term used when referring to all the fees and charges that you will pay to the government when purchasing a property, they include stamp duty, land tax and others.
GST stands for Goods and Services Tax, and is a government tax of 10% on most goods and services within Australia.
A formal and legal promise of fulfilling certain terms and conditions such as being a guarantor on a home loan.
Someone who agrees to be responsible for your mortgage debt if you default. If you do not have the required deposit amount, you have a poor credit history, or you want to avoid paying lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) you may need a family member to act as your guarantor to secure your home loan. Keep in mind you are asking them to put their own home and financial security at risk for you, so make sure you have official payment agreements in place.Back to top
A hectare is a unit of measurement sometimes used when describing property. It equates to 10,000 square metres.
A holding deposit is an amount you pay to a vendor to show them and other buyers that you’re seriously interested in a property. A holding deposit does not secure the property for you, but is given in good faith for the vendor to start organising the sale. Some vendors will refund the holding deposit when the sale goes through, while others will keep the amount to cover costs such as credit checks and legal fees for the initial proceedings.
This is the difference between the value of your home and the amount you still owe on your mortgage, and any other outstanding debts over the property. The amount of equity in your home changes as you make repayments to reduce your mortgage or as the value of your property fluctuates. As your property appreciates in value your equity increases, but if your property depreciates in value, you could be at risk of negative equity, where you owe more than your property is worth. To avoid this situation, most lenders will ask for a home loan deposit so you can avoid borrowing more than your property is worth, and if you refinance to access your equity you can usually only access 80% of the equity in your home, or 40% with a reverse mortgage if you are retired.
Home equity loan
Provides you with a line of credit up to the value of 80% of the equity available in your home. You can use the equity in your line of credit for other investments or to purchase a second home, or to renovate your existing home. The interest charged on a home equity loan is often higher than a standard variable rate, and the loan requires significant discipline not to overspend because while you do not need to make repayments until you have reached your credit limit, you do not want to be controlled by large mortgage debt.
This is an examination of a property to determine if it is structurally and mechanically safe. A home inspection can make you aware of any repairs which will be required on the home and this can give you leverage to negotiate a lower purchase price, or inform you of expensive home maintenance ahead.
A home loan is a sum of money borrowed from a lender to help you purchase a property. It means you’re pledging your home to the lender as security that you will repay the full amount. Until the loan, plus interest, is repaid in full, your lender holds the title of the property.
Home loan repayment
See; mortgage repayment.
An insurance policy which protects you against the loss or damage of both your home and all of your possessions, fixtures and fittings. Home and contents insurance should also protect you against claims of negligence or injury, protecting your liability if someone decides to sue you.
Also known as an ‘introductory rate’, this is a lower initial interest rate offered on a home loan for a period between one month and five years, depending on the lender. You could save as much as 2% on your interest rate if you take advantage of a honeymoon offer which may include a fixed lower interest rate, a discounted variable rate or a capped rate. At the end of the honeymoon period your home loan interest rate will revert to the lender’s standard rate for your type of loan.Back to top
Anything which is included in the sale of a property. Often these are fittings which are at the discretion of the vendor to take or leave, such as curtains or light fittings.
A statement showing your income and your expenditure for a designated period, showing your lender the proportions of your income which go to savings, bills and other debts, and how much disposable income is left to service a loan.
Indemnity insurance is security against any damage or loss, where if compensation is required, indemnity is the amount paid to compensate for a loss.
Lenders use an index to determine when and how to adjust their variable interest rates. The index takes into account their own financial position, their cost of lending, and inflation, the official cash rate and Reserve Bank decisions.
These are the interest rates some lenders use to work out their advertised or interest rates for loans.
Over time the cost of living increases so that the same amount of money is able to buy you less and less. Increases in inflation are caused when there are high volumes of money in circulation and that amount exceeds the goods and services which are available to buy, unnaturally raising demand and therefore decreasing the value of the dollar because you need more money to buy the same items. The Reserve Bank of Australia analyses and adjusts the official cash rate to keep inflation steady at around 2-3% a year.
This is the amount your lender is charging you to let you borrow their money, or paying you for keeping your money in their savings account.
Interest in advance
Is an investment loan, typically interest only, that the borrower pays their interest in advance in order to possibly save on tax.
Interest in arrears
This is interest charged at the end of a specified time.
Usually a loan requires you to pay both the principal (the amount you’ve borrowed) and the interest charged on that amount. An interest-only loan requires you to pay only the interest portion of your repayments. Interest-only loans are targeted primarily at investors because they are able to repay the principal amount of the loan at the end of the term or when they sell the property with a portion of the sale price.
Internal rate of return
This is calculated to help determine the return on investment you could make. Internal rate of return takes into account the time value of money by showing the rate of interest at which the present value of future cash flow is equal to the cost of the investment loan, so you can see the point at which your investment turns a profit.
See; honeymoon rate.
The list of items which will be included in a property sale. This could include furniture or any fixtures or fittings the vendor is including the sale price.
These are loans that are specifically tailored to a borrower looking to purchase an investment property where they will not be living but earning income from.
A property which has been purchased with the sole intention of achieving a return. Property investors can earn a return on their purchases through rental income, capital gains when their property increases in value, or both. For a property to be deemed an investment and be eligible for the tax deductions and exemptions, the owner cannot live in the property.
An investment return is derived from a very similar calculations to the capital growth figure and is the percentage of change in the value of your investment over a period of time. This can help you determine whether your investment property is increasing in value, how much it is increasing and allow you to calculate whether it is likely to continue to increase.Back to top
Applies to loans where there is more than one borrower on the account. If joint and several liability applies, the creditor – your lender – has as many rights of action as there are other debtors listed. This means each debtor can be sued individually, as well as jointly until the creditor has obtained their payment. if the creditor receives an unsatisfactory outcome from pursuing one debtor, they are not exempt from being able to pursue the others.
When two or more people have an equal holding in a property. In the event of one person’s death, the ownership of the property passes onto their surviving partners. This relates to actual property ownership, and not your status as someone tenanting a rental property.
This is a commonly used abbreviation for 1,000, often used to shorten loan amounts that are in the hundreds of thousands.
This is one of several forms of payments made to a landlord.Back to top
Land tax is a State Government charge which is payable on land which is not your primary place of residence. Land used for primary producing such as a farm is exempt. Land tax is levied at midnight on 31 December each year, based on the total taxable value of your land holdings. The calculations and minimum thresholds differ between the states, and there are minimum value exemptions which also differ from state to state. The value of your property for calculation purposes is based on council valuations conducted every two years.
These are charged to you throughout the sale or loan application process by your lawyer or your lender. The fee can cover the lender’s legal costs in having your loan contracts drawn up, as well as the time your own solicitor spends reviewing your property sale or purchase contracts.
Grants a period of tenancy to a property and requires specific terms and conditions are met. A lease is different to a rental agreement in that it’s binding for both the tenant and the landlord, and both agree to uphold the terms of the lease for the entire agreed period - often six or 12 months. Under a lease agreement tenants are requirement to make rental payments and adhere to the lease conditions. Rental agreements can often be for much shorter periods, often just one or two months, at the end of which the tenant or landlord can choose not to renew the agreement, or changes can be made such as rental increases or conditions.
Lenders mortgage insurance protects your lender in the event you default on your home loan repayments, they sell your home and the sale price doesn’t cover the remaining loan amount. If your lender requires LMI you must pay for it, but you can often avoid paying it if you have a loan to value ratio of less than 80%. Non-conforming loans such as low doc loans may require you to provide more than a 20% deposit to avoid paying LMI. LMI is calculated as a percentage of your loan amount and is usually payable before loan approval.
A lessee is a person that leases a property.
A lessor is the owner to a property that is leased.
These include your debts and obligations. Your debts include your mortgage, personal loans, student loans or credit card debts, and your obligations are your outgoing expenses and bills.
A lien is a legal claim over a property to hold it as security against a debt or loan. You may put your own property up as security to access equity in your home, or a family member may provide their property as security against your debt as a guarantor.
A limited title is a title where the boundaries of the property are not certain. This will usually be solved when a survey is conducted.
A very flexible loan arrangement which gives you the ability to draw down on an agreed amount of equity through your loan account. You are not required to pay off your line of credit until you have reached the limit of available credit.
The contract or document that is provided for you to sign in order to receive the funds from a lender in order purchase a property.
A loan pre-approval is when you have the funds you need to purchase a property approved before you’ve found a property. This allows you to clarify your budget and borrowing capacity and bid freely at auction or put in an offer on a private sale. Pre-approval is often provided in writing and can be valid for three to six months.
When you purposely provide false or misleading information on your loan application to help you qualify for a larger loan amount than you would normally be eligible for. Loan fraud can result in civil liabilities or criminal penalties.
Loan to value ratio (LVR or LTV)
The ratio of the amount you have borrowed to the value of the security, where the security is usually the property you have borrowed to buy. To calculate your LVR divide the loan amount by the property’s valuation amount, then multiply your answer by 100 - LVR is expressed as a percentage. Borrowing greater than 80% LVR will often require you to pay lenders mortgage insurance.
Allows you to lock in an interest rate which is current at the time of your application, so you can be guaranteed that same rate at the time your loan settles. Since interest rates can fluctuate so often and quite significantly, the interest rate quoted in your application could be different to that offered by the lender at loan settlement weeks later, this can be a useful feature.
Low doc loan
Low documentation loans are designed for people who are self-employed and who cannot provide the traditional income documentation required for loan approval. The interest charged on a low doc loan may be higher, but you are able to self certify your income and do not need to show BAS if your LVR is less than 80%. Low doc loans and non-conforming loans often require that you have mortgage insurance.
Lump sum repayment
An additional repayment you make above the minimum repayment amount required. These can be made whenever you have spare cash and can often be any amount, although some lenders will require a minimum amount for a lump sum repayment, and others will charge you a fee to make a lump sum repayment.Back to top
The difference between a lender’s advertised interest indicator rate and the rate they actually charge to borrowers.
When you borrow money against your existing assets such as cash or shares, to make a new investment.
In the case of your home loan, the maturity date represents the date when your final repayment is made to your lender and is the last day of your loan term.
Maximum loan amount
Based on your income, expenses, deposit, property price and status – whether you are a couple, or have children – your lender will calculate the maximum amount you are eligible to borrow.
Maximum loan to value ratio
This is the maximum amount you’ll be able to borrow, usually expressed as a percentage.
The maximum amount of time you have been given to repay your loan. Typical loan terms are 25 or 30 years, however, a maximum term may also refer to a portion within that term such as the maximum term of a fixed interest rate.
The mean price of a property market is the actual average value and is calculated on the total of the list of sales, divided by the number of sales on that list. The mean house price can often be significantly skewed by a sale which was exceptionally high or low and so does not always depict a typical house price.
You will often hear house prices in certain areas referenced by the median value of the area and this is different to the average price of house sales because averages can be affected by adverse view properties which were sold for significantly high were significantly low prices, where the median value is the middle price in a series of sales half of which are of a lower value and half are of a higher value. For example 15 sales are recorded and ordered from the lowest to the highest and the eighth price is the median price.
Calculations of median house prices are usually conducted over a three-month period or a full calendar year and can also be broken down further into the upper and lower quartile, where you can look at the top 25% or the bottom 25% of sales.
A mezzanine is a low-ceilinged storey in between two main storeys.
The Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) is an industry body which represents mortgage and finance brokers and mortgage managers to help with the development and promotions of the mortgage and finance industries.
Minimum fixed amount
This is the minimum amount which can be borrowed at a fixed interest rate, and each lender and each type of loan will have a differing amount.
Minimum loan amount
The minimum amount which can be borrowed. This is determined by the lender and the type of loan.
Minimum redraw amount
When you make additional loan repayments you can access these using the redraw facility, but you may be required to make a redraw of a minimum amount set by your lender.
The monthly amount you have agreed to pay in your loan contract to repay your loan within the term.
See; ongoing fees.
A loan secured by property - also known as a home loan.
The creditor or lender who is providing the funds in a mortgage agreement.
A person or company who obtains loans for borrowers from a number of lenders. A mortgage broker receives a trailing commission which is a portion of the interest you pay on your loan, over the life of your loan in return for referring you to your lender.
A mortgage manager can arrange finance for you to purchase your home, but unlike banks, building societies or credit unions, mortgage managers do not source the funds from their base of customer deposits, but instead through securitisation.
Will generate mortgage applications for a mortgage trust and then pool a group of mortgages which can be sold on to investors as an income producing asset. An originator will receive applications for finance, assess the applicant’s credit and monitor the transaction to settlement. A mortgage originator may manage the loan throughout the term, or appoint a mortgage manager.
Is paid at regular intervals, to a lender and may be comprised of interest only, or both principal and interest.
Mortgage life insurance
Pays a lump sum in the event you are diagnosed with an eligible life threatening condition to pay out your loan or make repayments depending on the cover. This is a very limited form of life insurance, and your loan repayments may be able to be covered under your complete life insurance policy, which will also cover your other bills and living expenses.
Mortgage registration fee
A fee charged by the State Government to register your mortgage. Part of the loan application process, and therefore payable before the settlement of your loan.
The borrower in a mortgage agreement.
My Credit File
This is the trading name of Veda Advantage, the company which records credit information for every Australian, and to whom you apply for a copy of your credit file.Back to top
When the return from an investment does not cover the costs of maintaining the investment, it is negatively geared. Negative gearing is beneficial for tax purposes as this loss can be claimed as a tax deduction.
To calculate your net income, deduct all expenses which come out of your gross income before it arrives in your bank account. This includes tax, superannuation contributions, and any mandatory health insurance premiums which come out of your gross income. The remainder is your take home pay, or net income, before depreciation or distribution of earnings – that is, before you have paid any of your own bills. Often when you are considered for a loan, your gross income is used, however this amount can be significantly higher than the income you actually net, and can use to service your loan.
No deposit home loan
This is a type of home loan that you are not required to provide any upfront deposit on the property purchase. Typically you do not need to demonstrate a savings history, and only require funds to cover the transaction costs such as legal fees and any statutory charges such as stamp duty. Often these loans require some form of guarantee or guarantor.
Around 25% of Australians applying for a loan do not meet traditional eligibility criteria, and so to secure finance they use a nonconforming loan, which requires different or less documentation. You may be a nonconforming loan candidate if you are self employed, have a poor credit rating or are a new Australian. In all of these situations you cannot verify your income or savings by traditional means and a nonconforming loan will allow you to self verify your income for loan approval, the result is a loan with a higher interest rate as you are considered a higher risk. Nonconforming finance is also called subprime lending.Back to top
This is an independent governing agency that handles any customer issues or complaints regarding their product or service. Home loans are overseen by The Credit & Investments Ombudsman.
A potential buyer indicating their intention to purchase a property will put forth an offer on the property, usually in writing, for the consideration of the vendor.
Official cash rate
The interest rate set by the Reserve Bank of Australia to influence the general level of interest rates in banking and the economy. When the Reserve Bank makes a change to official interest rates, the change can be seen reflected in variable interest rate loans, personal loans and credit cards within just a few weeks.
A savings account held by the same institution which issued your loan, where the interest you earn in your savings account offsets the interest you pay on your mortgage. Where you would ordinarily be taxed on interest earned from a traditional deposit account, a mortgage offset account allows you to offset your tax bill against interest savings made. Some offset accounts will offset at the same rate of interest as your mortgage these are known as 100% offset accounts, where others may be slightly less.
Off the plan
This is when you purchase a property that has not yet been built but it is part of a construction process and you have seen and agreed to the plan of the property. This most typically applies to new apartment complexes that the apartments are purchased before or during the construction stage.
Option to buy
This is a legally binding contract which can give you first right of refusal on a property.
This is the process which involves the preparation of your loan, including submitting and evaluating your loan application, running a credit check, verifying your employment details, and completing a valuation of the property.
This can also be called the application fee and covers your lender’s costs to originate the loan.
When you overcapitalise you will be spending more money on your home than you will get when you sell the home.
A limit determined by your lender which you are able to exceed your account balance by. Your overdraft is often charged interest and must be repaid but there is no set monthly repayment amount.
See; body corporate.
A purchaser that plans to live in the property as their main place of residence.Back to top
If the highest bid at an auction fails to meet the vendor’s reserve price, then the property is passed in. When a property is passed in, the auctioneer will ask the vendor what they want to do, and they may choose to negotiate with the highest bidder, or wait and try for a higher bid at another auction. Once the auctioneer passes in a property, the auction is closed, and unless you are the highest bidder, you have lost the first right to negotiate with the vendor.
This is a cheque issued from your personal chequing account rather than issued by the bank.
With a portable loan you can sell your house and move without having to refinance your loan, saving you potentially thousands of dollars in exit fees and new application fees. To qualify for portability your new loan amount may need to be the same or less than the existing loan, and you may also have to pay your lender a portability fee, however this fee is often much less than the costs to refinance.
Prepayment refers to a loan which is paid off early.
Your lender gives you information about the exact amount you are able to borrow. This is usually an informal process and does not secure the amount or the application.
The amount borrowed from a lender. You then pay interest on the principal amount, and you may also be subject to additional account or usage fees.
Principal and interest loan
Where both the principal amount and the interest charges are repaid over the term of your loan.
Private sale or treaty
When you sell your property without employing the help of a real estate agent. This will require you to do your own advertising and open inspections, but will mean you avoid paying a percentage of your sale price as commission to an agent.
Someone who manages a property and its tenants on behalf of the property owner.
This stands for ‘Principal Place of Residence’ referring to, typically, the property you live in most of the time rather than an investment or holiday home.Back to top
A Quitclaim deed is used to transfer the whole of the ownership of a property from one party to another, it can be used to remove any person's name from the original title however has no warranty as the grantee, the person transferring the property, has the same power as the grantor, the person receiving the property. It is typically best used with transfers of property between family members.
An architectural style of home that are most popularly built in Queensland or northern parts of New South Wales. They are typically a timber construction that has stumps under the structure to raise it off the ground and allow air to flow under the structure. There is also typically a large verandah area either all around the main residence or at least a large section off the living area. It was built with the tropical climate in mind and hence it has a large amount of coverage in the outdoors sections and being raised off the ground to allow air flow.Back to top
See; lock in.
A term which refers to land and anything fixed to it, including property.
When your loan balance has changed significantly from the original amount – for example if you have made a lump sum payment, or been paying your loan for some time – you may have your lender recalculate the minimum repayment required to repay the outstanding amount over your loan term.
When you make additional repayments to your loan above the minimum repayment amount a redraw facility allows you to access those additional amounts at a later date. Your lender will have specific redraw conditions and may require a minimum amount to be redrawn or may charge you a redraw fee.
Charged by your lender to cover their internal costs when you redraw additional repayments from your loan.
When you replace or extend your existing loan with funds from a new lender or from the same institution.
Allows you to lease a home, paying your landlord rent, with the option to buy. When you pay your monthly rent amount, you pay your standard rental payment plus additional funds which are transferred to a separate account to act as your down payment.
This is a break from repayments offered to borrowers who are ahead in their repayments.
Requisitions on the title
During the settlement period, you or your conveyancer can request additional information about the title of the property from the seller, to make sure there are no restrictions in place.
Reserve Bank of Australia
The Reserve Bank of Australia, or RBA, is the body that is responsible for controlling the Australian financial market. They will determine when interest rates should rise and fall.
The minimum amount the vendor is willing to accept when they sell their property at auction. The reserve price may be negotiable directly with the vendor if the reserve is not met during bidding.
Is a special home loan for older home owners who wish to access the equity they may have built up in their home in order to assist them with costs associated with aged care. There is no requirement for repayment of the loan until the end of the loan term or the death of the borrower.
Revolving line of credit
See; line of credit.
Right of way
A general pathway may be part of your property, giving them the right to cross your land.
Rise and fall clause
When you are building a new home your contract with the builder may have a rise and fall clause which allows them to adjust the cost of building if the cost for their materials or wages fluctuates.Back to top
Before you are able to sell your property your lender and the purchaser will carry out searches to make sure you are entitled to sell the property and there are no encumbrances on it.
Mortgages produce an income for those who hold them, be it a lender or other investor. Therefore securitisation is the process whereby assets which produce an income stream such as mortgages, are pooled and converted into saleable securities for investors, mortgages are packaged into low risk bonds, and then issued to investors.
Security is an asset which guarantees your lender all or part of your loan until the loan is repaid in full. It is usually the property you have borrowed to buy which is the security for the loan.
Semi-detached buildings are buildings that are partially attached to each other
Often charged as a monthly fee to cover the lender’s costs for maintaining your loan account, covering costs such as staff and IT software and hardware.
The end of the process of purchasing or selling a property.
The agreed date when a new owner finalises payment for and takes possession of a mortgaged item, in this case a block of land or property.
After contracts for sale have been exchanged, but before the settlement date, you have the settlement period to organise your finance and conduct building and pest inspections, title or survey searches on the advice of your conveyancer. Settlement periods usually last six to eight weeks depending on the state of the sale.
A party who has signed an agreement where there are multiple parties who have signed for instance a joint application for a loan there would be more than one signatory to the loan.
The specification is a written document that will outline all the conditions and materials that have been used in construction.
Split rate home loan
A loan which combines two types of loan, a fixed interest rate loan and a variable rate loan. Different rates of interest are paid on each portion of the loan, and each split will also be entitled to different features. For example you may be able to make additional repayments and use a redraw facility on your variable loan portion, where the interest rate and repayments will stay the same for the fixed rate portion. You can also choose the split and allocation of interest rates, for example, 50-50 or 60-40.
Standard variable rate
The interest rate charged on a lender’s most feature packed loans and allows your interest rate to be cut when official rates fall, but also exposes you to interest rate rises. In exchange for this movability is flexibility of loan features such as redraw, portability, transaction account and offset account.
See; body corporate.
An external company obtained by a body corporate organisation to manage the general paying of bills and finances associated with a strata property.
Is a title associated with townhouses and home units, and gives you evidence of ownership of a unit (called a lot) within a strata plan. While you own a small portion of the entire building – your unit – there is also common property which includes external walls, windows, roofs, driveways, foyers, fences lawns and gardens, which are maintained by the strata fees you pay.
When a piece of land has been split into more than one part for the purpose of building properties onto them.
See: nonconforming loans.
A plan showing the boundaries of a property and where buildings are positioned within those boundaries. A survey report is often obtained by your conveyancer during the settlement period to ensure the property you intend to purchase is within its boundaries.
If you choose to change from one loan type to another while retaining the same lender your lender may charge you a switching fee to cover their administration costs to complete this change.Back to top
Is the document you need to register with the Land Titles office to confirm a change of ownership, which has been noted on the Certificate of Title.
The tenancy is the right to occupy the property.
Tenants in common
Where two or more people share the holding of a property. This may be an equal or unequal share, however, when one person dies, their share of the property forms part of the estate and does not pass onto the other tenants.
The length of time a home loan will take to be repaid or a portion of that loan. For example the loan term may be 30 years, but the term of the fixed portion of that loan may be 5 years.
A terrace is a row of buildings all connected together.
Third party guarantee
When another person, usually a close family member, offers their property as security for your loan.
Contains the legal description of a property, and details the ownership of the property.
To conduct a title search, transfer ownership of the property, register a new mortgage or discharge an old mortgage on a property, title fees must be paid to the State Titles Office for these services.
Searches public records to ensure that the seller has the right to sell the property and transfer the ownership.
A single system of land titles which records your ownership of a property and states that you are lawfully entitled to lease it. Before the Torrens title system was first implemented in South Australia in 1858, the old-system title being used depended on being able to prove an unbroken chain of title for a property, however the Torrens title system allows for a central place of registration and once your name is recorded on the title as the owner it is primarily unchallengeable.
Townhouses are usually two storey properties, and registered under a strata title.
A document registered in the local state office responsible for land titles that records any change of property ownership.
See; escrow.Back to top
These are the fees you are obligated to pay upfront for any loan or property purchase they may include establishment or legal fees or LMI as well as the government fees associated with purchasing a property.
A property which is not affected by liabilities, charges or restrictions such as easements on the property, mortgages or leases which can affect your ownership.
Is the process which is conducted when your loan application is analysed and determines the amount of risk involved in lending to you.Underwriting reviews your credit history, and includes a judgement of the property’s value.
Uniform consumer credit code
Uniform consumer credit code (UCCC) legislation ensures uniformity across all credit providers in Australia. This means all loan contracts adhere to a uniform format, and all fees and charges must be set out to the borrower, and the guarantor if applicable, so you can be informed of your liabilities under the loan contract.Back to top
This is when you purchase a property and the contract of sale stipulates that the property will be empty upon settlement and you taking ownership. This may refer to the previous owners moving out or if there are tenants they will vacate before you take ownership.
Before approving a new loan or refinancing, your lender will require a valuation by a professional property valuer to detail the property’s exact value. A valuation will also often include predictions or details of the area’s current property prices and predicted market movements.
The fee to cover the cost of a valuation which is requested by your lender. As the borrower you are often required to pay the valuation fee as part of your loan application costs.
Variable interest rate
An interest rate which varies in line with money market rates.
A change which is made to any part of the loan contract to satisfy your individual lending or application requirements, or to encompass changes or additions to your loan product.
The Australian credit reporting agency which holds credit files on every Australian. Veda Advantage Limited was previously Baycorp Advantage, Credit Advantage Limited and CRAA.
The seller’s solicitor or conveyancer will prepare a statement which is then signed by the seller, and is made available to potential buyers. The vendor’s statement includes details about the property’s title, mortgages on the property, and covenants or easements, zoning and the costs of the property such as the rates. The vendor statement does not cover any information about the condition of the buildings, or whether they comply with building regulations, are structurally sound or are within the property boundaries. The vendor statement is a legal document and if the statement is incorrect or insufficient, the buyer has the right to withdraw from the sale and seek legal action.
The person or party who is selling the property.
A villa is a detached single-story home.Back to top
When a reserve hasn’t been set by the vendor at auction, meaning the highest bid will win.
This is used in lieu of a signature if you have literacy or a disability that prevents you from adding your full signature to a document as an attestation that you have reviewed the document and agree to the terms.
The return of a property, as a percentage, calculated by dividing the net income of a property by it’s market value or price.
Zoning guidelines are set by the local government authority to outline the permitted uses for the land, and the buildings on that land.
A legal document presented to the seller of a property that shows the purchaser's intention to waiving their rights to a cooling off period once the contract has been signed. This needs to be signed by both the purchaser and their solicitor.Back to top
If there’s a term not mentioned here which you’d like to know the meaning of contact the team at finder.com.au now and we’ll find out for you.