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Finance Glossary

Finance Glossary

Our Finance Glossary page is your A to Z guide of industry terminology.

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Accrued Interest
Interest you have earned or incurred that is yet to be paid or charged.

Additional Securities
An asset that guarantees the lender their loan until the loan is repaid in full. Usually the property is offered to secure the loan.

Additional Repayment
Extra funds paid into the loan in addition to the minimum monthly or weekly repayments. These extra funds reduce the term of the loan.

The process of allocating expenses, e.g. council rates, water rates, etc.

A person or body authorised to act on behalf of a customer in the sale.

A feature of the home or property that serves as a benefit to the buyer, but is not necessary to its use. May be natural (like location, parks, water) or man-made (like a swimming pool or garden).

Amortisation Period
Repayment of a mortgage loan through monthly instalments of principal and interest. The monthly repayment amount is based on a schedule that will allow you to own your home at the end of a specific time period, (e.g. 15 or 30 years). Often referred to as the loan term.

The first step in the loan approval process; this form is used to record important information about the potential borrower necessary to the underwriting process.

Application Fees
Fees charged to cover or partially cover the lender’s internal costs of setting up a loan.

A document that gives an estimate of a property’s fair market value appraisal is generally required by a lender before the expiry of the fixed-rate period.

Australian Securities and Investment Commission

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Baycorp Advantage
(Now Veda Advantage). Australian credit files are held by Veda Advantage Limited, previously also Credit Advantage Limited and CRAA.

Bridging Finance
A short-term loan often used to cover a finance gap between the purchase of a new property and the sale of an old property. Higher interest rates are usually charged for this form of finance.

Building inspection
An inspection generally carried out prior to the purchase of a property to ensure the building is structurally sound. Contracts of sale can be made subject to a satisfactory building inspection.

Building regulations
Rules of a legal or statutory nature by which local councils control the manner and quality of buildings. They are designed to ensure public safety, health and minimum acceptable standards of construction.

Buyers’ Agent
Person who acts on behalf of the buyer to find and negotiate on properties the buyer wishes to purchase.

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The current value of your long-term assets.

Capital Gain
The monetary gain obtained when you sell an asset for more than you paid for it.

Capital Gains Tax
A Federal tax on the monetary gain made on the sale of an asset (excluding your primary residence) bought and sold after September 1985.

Capped Loan
A loan where the interest rate is not allowed to exceed a set level for a period of time, but unlike fixed-rate loans, can fall.

Latin for “beware”. A notice of warning given to a public authority, e.g. Titles Office, claiming entitlement to an interest in certain land. The caveat is registered and remains on the books as a warning to anyone who contemplates dealing with the property. It thereby prevents any action being taken without the previous notice of the person entering the caveat (the caveator).

Caveat Emptor
Latin for “let the buyer beware”.

Certificate of Title
A document that details the land dimensions and identifies the ownership of land. It shows who owns the land and whether there are any mortgages or other restrictions on it. This document (if issued) is usually held by the lender as security for a loan.

The term used to describe any right established over a borrower’s property to secure a debt or performance of an obligation.

Personal property. There are two types. Real chattels are buildings and fixtures, while personal chattels are clothes and furniture.

Clear title
A seller has a clear title when there are no restrictions (such as an outstanding mortgage) preventing the sale, and when ownership of the seller has been established.

Cluster Housing
A group of houses that share common space.

Collateral Security
Additional or supporting security given in addition to the principal security.

The fee payable to an “agent” for services.

Company Title
A property title that applies when owners of units in a block form a company.

Comparison rate
Since July 2003, all lenders must disclose a benchmark comparison rate in their advertising of home loans and personal loans. This comparison rate is designed to reflect the total annual cost to a borrower of a loan. It wraps up interest payments and fees and expresses all these costs in one rate, or the average annual percentage rate (AAPR).

Compound interest
Interest that is paid on both the accumulated interest as well as on the original principal.

Consumer Credit Code
An Act of Parliament governing the relationship between borrowers and lenders. The legislation is designed to protect the rights of the individual by ensuring finance institutions adhere to the same rules when providing personal, domestic or household credit. It should provide borrowers with complete and honest information.

Contract of Sale
A written, legally enforceable agreement outlining the terms and conditions for the purchase or sale of a property.

The transfer of ownership of a property from the seller’s name to the buyer’s name.

The legal process for the transfer of ownership of real estate.

Credit Ombudsman Service Limited.

Terms and conditions that specify the usage of a block of land or the buildings on it.

Cover note
A guarantee of temporary insurance before the implementation of a formal policy.

Credit History
A history of an individual’s debt re-payment. Lenders use this information to gauge a potential borrower’s ability to repay a loan.

CRAA became “Credit Advantage Limited” and is now Baycorp Advantage. Baycorp Advantage is the company which records and holds credit information on everyone in Australia.

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Daily Interest
Interest calculated on a daily basis therefore varies according to daily account balance.

Debt-to-income ratio
A comparison of gross income to expenses.

A legal document that states an agreement or obligation regarding a property.

Failure to meet debt repayment by a due date. A failure to make loan repayments may result in the mortgage holder taking legal action to repossess the mortgaged property.

Failure of a borrower to make timely mortgage repayments under a loan agreement.

A deposit is normally paid by the buyer at the time of exchanging contracts. Normally a minimum of 5-10% of the total purchase price is required.

Deposit Bond
A guarantee that the purchaser of a property will pay the full deposit by the due date. Institutions providing deposit bonds act as guarantor that payment will be made.

The periodic cost assigned for the reduction in usefulness and value of a long-term tangible asset.

Direct Debit
Regular electronic debiting of payments from a customer’s nominated bank/building society cheque or savings account.

Miscellaneous fees and charges incurred during the conveyancing process, including search fees and charges paid to government authorities.

Discharge Fees
An administration fee to cover the costs incurred in finalising a loan account.

Discharge of Mortgage
A document signed by the lender and given to the borrower when a mortgage loan has been repaid in full.

Disposable Income
Any income left over after all known expenses have been met (e.g. loan repayments, bills, other commitments).

Down payment
The portion of a home’s purchase price that is paid in cash and is not part of the mortgage loan.

Draw Down
Lines of credit where the limit is set and the borrower can use the funds as required or the act of transferring money from the lending institution to the borrower after the loan has settled.

Debt Service Ratio – maximum of a loan applicant’s weekly, fortnightly or monthly wage which will support loan repayments over the agreed loan term. Usually expressed as a percentage.

Duty (or Stamp Duty)
State Government tax on financial transactions. For the purchase of real estate, it is calculated according to the property value. It also applies to the amount of the mortgage and the amount differs from state to state.

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Early Termination Payment
The cost of winding up a loan early.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
Electronic transfer of funds from one account to another.

An outstanding liability or charge on a property.

The part of something – asset, house or company – which you own. You also have equity in that part of the value of your house above the amount borrowed from the lender that has the mortgage over your house. (Assets – Liabilities = Equity)

Equity Finance Mortgage
An Equity Finance Mortgage (EFM) is a relatively new type of home loan that effectively boosts your potential borrowing capacity by anything up to 25%.

Equity Loan
A loan usually secured by the proportion of the value of your house which you own.

Equity Mortgage
A loan secured by the part of the value of an asset (usually a house) which you own.

Money, property, a deed or a bond put into the custody of a third party for delivery to a grantee only after the specified conditions are fulfilled.

Establishment Fees
Lending body fees which may or may not be charged to set up a loan.

The whole of one’s possessions, especially all the property and debts left by one at death.

Exchange of Contracts (or Exchange)
The legal point of time when the vendor and purchaser swap documentation and start inquiries with a view to settlement.

Exit Fee
A fee imposed by some lenders when the loan is paid off before the end of its term. Fees most generally apply to fixed-rate loans.

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Finance Brokers Association Australia.

Items that can be removed from a property without causing damage to it (e.g. curtains).

Fixed Interest
An interest rate set for an agreed term regardless of any variations in the market.

Fixed-rate mortgage
A fixed interest rate that applies to a loan for a set term. Both the interest rate and loan repayments are fixed for the agreed term, regardless of any interest rate variations in the home loan market.

Items that would cause damage to a property if removed. Their removal must be stipulated in the contract of sale and any damage made good by the seller (e.g. carpets, stoves, dishwashers etc).

Flood insurance
Insurance that protects homeowners against losses from a flood; if a home is located in a floodplain, the lender will require flood insurance before approving a loan.

A legal process in which mortgaged property is sold to pay the loan of a defaulting borrower.

The dwelling and the land on which it stands is owned by the owner until they choose to sell.

Ratio of your own money and borrowed funds in an investment.

Gross Income
Income from a person or company, before tax, superannuation or payroll deductions.

A party who agrees to be responsible for the payment of another party’s debts, should it default.

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Holding Deposit
A refundable deposit demonstrating the goodwill of the buyer to go ahead with the purchase.

Home Equity
The value of a homeowner’s unencumbered interest in their property. Equity is the difference between the home’s fair market value, the unpaid balance of the mortgage and any outstanding debt over the home. Equity changes as the mortgage is paid or as the property appreciates or depreciates.

Home Equity Loan
A home equity loan gives you a revolving line of credit secured by the equity in your house. This allows you to use the funds for any other purpose, such as the purchase of a second property, shares or other investments. The interest rate is generally higher than a standard variable rate, and these accounts are not suitable for everyone.

Home inspection
An examination of the structure and mechanical systems to determine a home’s safety. Makes the potential home buyer aware of any repairs that may be needed.

Home Loan
A home loan requires you to pledge your home as the lender’s security for repayment of your loan. The lender agrees to hold the title or deed to your property until you have paid back your loan plus interest.

Home & Contents Insurance
An insurance policy that combines protection against damage to a dwelling and its contents with protection against claims of negligence, i.e. inappropriate action that results in someone’s injury or property damage.

Honeymoon Rates
“Honeymoon” or introductory rates are offered to entice borrowers with a low advertised rate that may be as much as 2% below the standard home loan rate and therefore look very attractive. The rate can be fixed, capped or variable for the first six to 12 months of the loan. Then they automatically revert to the standard rate offered by that lender.

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Items included with the property e.g. light fittings.

Income Statement
A statement of income and expenditure for a period.

Security against damage or loss; sum paid in compensation for loss incurred.

Measurement used by lenders to determine changes to the interest rate charged on an variable-rate mortgage.

A sustained increase in the general level of prices so that a given amount of money buys less and less. The number of dollars in circulation exceeds the amount of goods and services available for purchase, resulting in a decrease in the dollar’s value.)

The regular periodic payment that a borrower agrees to make to the lender.

The lending body’s charge for the use of funds or the return on deposited funds. See also Daily Interest.

Interest Only Loan
A loan where the principal is paid back at the end of the term and only interest is paid during the term. These loans are usually for a short term of one to five years.

Interest Rate
The amount of interest charged on a monthly loan payment. Usually expressed as a percentage.

Internal Rate of Return
A measure of the return on an investment (or loan) which takes into account the time value of money by showing the rate of interest at which the present value of future cash flows is equal to the cost of the investment or loan.

Introductory Loan
A loan offered at a reduced rate for an introductory period (usually 12 months) to new borrowers. Also called a discounted or honeymoon rate.

A list of items included with a property, e.g. furniture.

Investment Property
A property purchased for the sole purpose of earning a return on the investment, either in the form of rent or capital gain. The owner cannot live in the property.

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Joint and Several Liability
With joint and several liability, a creditor has as many rights of action as there are debtors. He can sue them jointly or severally until he has obtained payment, and an unsatisfied judgment against one debtor will not be a bar to an action against the others.

Joint Tenants
Equal holding of property between two or more persons. If one party dies, the property passes to the survivors.

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Land Tax
A State Government tax charged to the owners of any property over a stipulated value.

Legal Fee
May be charged when an outside party is used to prepare lender documentation.

A document granting a period of tenancy of a property under specific terms and conditions.

Someone’s debts or obligations.

The right to hold property as security against a debt or loan.

Line of Credit
A flexible loan arrangement with a specified ceiling to be used at a customer’s discretion.

Loan Pre-approval
A loan is approved before the borrower bids on or offers for the property.

Lenders Mortgage Insurance. A one-off payment by the borrower to the lender to insure the loan. LMI is usually required when a loan amount is higher than a lender’s acceptable LVR which is usually around 80% of the property’s value. LMI insures the lender for the full amount of a loan in case a borrower defaults.

Money borrowed that is usually repaid with interest.

Loan Fraud
Purposely giving incorrect information on a loan application in order to better qualify for a loan. May result in civil liability or criminal penalties.

Loan to Valuation Ratio (LVR)
The ratio of the amount lent to the valuation of the security (usually the house).

Interest rates can change frequently, so many lenders offer an interest rate lock-in that guarantees a specific interest rate if the loan is closed within a specific time.

Low-doc Loans
Low doc or low documentation loans are structured for the self-employed who don’t have the documentation required to get traditional home loans. The interest rate is higher than the standard variable rate, although the gap is narrowing. Other types of non-conforming loans are also on the rise to cater for people with riskier borrowing profiles. They accordingly pay higher interest rates. Both types of low-doc loans generally carry a requirement for mortgage insurance, adding to their cost.

Low Start Loan
A loan where the initial repayments are low and increase over time.

Lump Sum Repayments
Additional ad hoc repayments, made over and above your minimum repayment requirement.

This is the general term for the Loan to Value ratio. This measure is used to determine the percentage of the equity in a mortgage against the value of the security. eg. If a house is worth $500,000, and the mortgage over the property is $350,000 then the LVR is 70.00%. Typically, lenders consider 80% as the point at which Mortgage Insurance is required. (LVR is sometimes referred to as LTV.)

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The difference between the lender’s interest indicator rate (or other reference rate) and the rate actually charged to borrowers.

Margin Lending
Margin lending enables investors to borrow against their existing assets (e.g. cash, share holdings etc) to invest in more shares.

The date by which a debt or investment must be paid in full.

Maximum Loan Amount
The maximum amount that can be borrowed, based on an applicant’s disposable income, deposit and the purchase price of the property.

Maximum Loan Value Ratio (LVR)
Maximum loan to valuation. This means the amount you can borrow expressed as a percentage of the valuation of the security (usually the property you are buying).

Maximum Term
The maximum length of a home loan or a specific portion within that loan (normally 25 or 30 years).

The median is the ‘midpoint’ when a set of values are arranged in ascending order. eg. if the numbers were 1,1,3,4,5,6,7,7,7,7,8 the median would be 6, whereas the average is 5.09.

Mortgage and Finance Association Australia.

Minimum Fixed Amount
The minimum amount that can be borrowed at a fixed rate of interest.

Minimum Loan Amount
The minimum amount that can be borrowed.

Minimum Lump Sum Payment
The minimum amount that can be repaid as a lump sum.

Minimum Redraw Amount
The minimum amount that can be redrawn from a loan.

Minimum Repayment
The amount you are contractually obliged to repay each month, in order to repay your loan within the agreed term.

Monthly Fees
The fees charged to cover or partially cover the lender’s internal costs of administering the loan each month.

A form of security for a loan usually taken over real estate.

The creditor or lender in a mortgage agreement.

Mortgage Broker
A company or person that originates and processes loans for a number of lenders.

Mortgage Insurance
Some lenders may provide up to 97% of funds for a loan if you agree to take out mortgage insurance. This figure is a one off payment usually made at the time of settlement. The figure is not easy to calculate being based on variables such as the loan amount, the value of your property and the exact LVR (i.e. the figure between 80% and 95%).
This payment allows the lender to recoup the unpaid principal in the event of default and the borrower’s debt is transferred to the mortgage insurer.

Mortgage Manager
Lending specialists who arrange funding for home and investment loans. Unlike banks, building societies and credit unions, mortgage managers do not have a base of customer deposits with which to fund their loans. Instead they source their funds via a process known as securitisation.

Mortgage Offset Account
A savings account run in conjunction with a home loan. The interest earned on the account is
applied to reduce the interest paid on the loan. A 100% offset is where the interest rates
earned and paid are the same. A partial offset account is where the interest earned on the
offset account is only a portion of the rate paid on the home loan.

Mortgage Originator
Originators initiate or generate mortgage applications for the mortgage trust. Put simply, they ‘pool’ a group of mortgages which can then be sold on to investors as an income-producing asset.
Originators are responsible for receiving applications for finance, assessing credit and monitoring the transaction through to settlement. They may then appoint a mortgage manager or take on the management role themselves.

Mortgage Payment
A regularly scheduled repayment that usually includes both principal and interest.

Mortgage Protection Insurance
See Mortgage Insurance.

Mortgage Registration Fee
A State Government charge for the registration of a loan.

The person borrowing money under the terms of a mortgage.

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Negative Gearing
Where the return on an investment is insufficient to meet the interest costs of the loan used to fund the investment. This amount can usually be claimed as a tax deduction.

Net Income
Gross income less expenses, including taxes and insurance, but before depreciation, or distribution of earnings

Non-conforming loans
Loans that cater for those who can’t meet the standard income verification and credit history criteria that mainstream lenders like banks and mortgage originators use for ordinary borrowers.
Such borrowers include those who are self-employed, have a poor credit record or who have recently arrived in Australia.
Non-conforming loans usually have higher the interest rates to reflect higher risk of these borrowers. Non-conforming finance is also called “sub-prime lending”.

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Indication by a potential buyer of willingness to purchase a home at a specific price; generally put forth in writing.

Offer to Purchase
A legal agreement that details a specific price for the purchase of a specific property.

Offset Account/Mortgage Offset
A savings account linked to your mortgage in such a way that the interest earned on your savings is applied to reduce the interest on your mortgage.
Offset accounts can help reduce your tax bill by offsetting taxable income from deposit accounts against interest paid in after tax dollars on mortgage repayments.
However, not all offset accounts are equal, with many not paying the same interest as you are charged on your mortgage.

Official Cash Rate
The Official Cash Rate is the interest rate set by the Reserve Bank of Australia and used to influence the general level of interest rates in banking and the economy.
Changes to the cash rate, also termed “official interest rates”, flow on to variable home loan, personal loan and credit card rates within weeks.

Option to Buy
A Legally-binding document which gives a person first right of refusal on a property.

The process of preparing, submitting and evaluating a loan application. Generally includes a credit check, verification of employment, and a property valuation.

Origination fee
A fee for originating the loan charged by the lender. Also called an application fee.

A pre-arranged limit to which a person can exceed an account balance.

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Passed In
A property is “passed in” at auction if the highest bid fails to meet the reserve price set by the vendor.

Portability or Portable Loan
A portable loan allows you to sell your house and move to a new one without having to refinance. This saves application and legal fees. Most lenders insist that the loan amount is the same or less. It is important to know the terms of your loan.

Lender commits to lend to a potential borrower. Commitment remains as long as the borrower still meets the qualification requirements at the time of purchase.

Any amount paid to reduce the principal of the loan before the due date, or any amount in addition to the minimum repayment. May be subject to a prepayment penalty.

A lender informally determines the maximum amount an individual is eligible to borrow.

A capital sum borrowed from a lender on which interest is paid (doesn’t include the interest or additional fees).

Principal and Interest Loan
A loan in which both the principal and the interest are repaid during the term of the loan.

Private Sale or Treaty
The sale of a property without a real estate agent.

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Real Property
Land, with or without improvements (e.g. a house).

To recalculate the minimum repayment required to repay the outstanding balance of your loan over the remaining period (typically relevant when loan balance has changed substantially from the original amount).

Redraw Facility
Allows you to make additional repayments on your mortgage, and then have access to the additional repayments if you need to. It is important to understand the conditions attached to the redraw facility as they can include a minimum amount and a fee for every time you use it.

Redraw Fee
Fee charged to cover or partially cover the lender’s internal costs of allowing the borrower to redraw money from repayments.

Replace or extend an existing loan with funds from the same institution or another lender.

Rent Purchase
Designed to assist low to moderate-income home-buyers to purchase a home by allowing them to lease a home with an option to buy. The rent payment is made up of the monthly rental payment plus an additional amount that is credited to an account for use as a down payment.

Requisitions on title
Process by which the buyer requests additional information about the title of the property from the seller.

Reserve Price
A specified minimum price acceptable to a seller at auction.

Right of Way
A person’s right to cross other property or a general pathway across your land.

Rise and Fall Clause
A building contract clause that allows the final pricing to move up or down according to the fluctuations of material prices or wages.

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An examination or research usually carried out on the purchaser’s and lender’s behalf prior to settlement to confirm that a vendor is in a position to sell a property and that there are no encumbrances on it.

This is a process whereby assets (such as mortgages) with an income stream are pooled and converted into saleable securities. These assets are purchased and packaged into low risk negotiable securities such as bonds, and then issued to investors.

An asset that guarantees the lender their loan until the loan is repaid in full. Usually the property is offered to secure the loan.

Service Fee
Usually a monthly fee levied by the lender to cover costs of administering and maintaining the loan account i.e. fixed and variable costs such as staff, IT software/hardware.

Settlement Date
A date on which the new owner finalises payment and assumes possession of a mortgaged item.

Settlement Period
A period after contracts exchange and before the settlement date. Allows the buyer time to organise finance, if needed, and to conduct searches surveys and other formalities. The settlement period usually lasts six to eight weeks, depending on a range of factors, including the state.

Shared Appreciation Mortgage
Shared Appreciation Mortgages are also know as Equity Finance Mortgage and are a relatively new type of home loan that effectively boosts your potential borrowing capacity by anything up to 25%. The Shared Appreciation Mortgage (Equity Finance Mortgage) is available in Sydney and Melbourne.

Solicitors Mortgages/Finance Mortgages
Finance offered through solicitors’ firms.

Split Loan
A combination of loan types forming one loan, such as a partial fixed/variable interest rate loan. Typically, different types of interest are paid on different portions of the account, e.g. fixed rate and variable rate.

Stamp Duty
State Government tax assessed on the selling price of the property. Each state has different rules and calculations.

Standard Variable Rate
The rate which lenders apply to their “premium” home loan product. Carries features such as a redraw facility, portability, salary account and mortgage offset.

Strata Title
A strata title is the most common title associated with town-houses and home units and is evidence of ownership of a unit, which is called a “lot”, in a strata plan. Of the entire building, individuals each own a small portion (such as a unit or townhouse) but where there is common property (external walls, windows, roof, driveways, foyers, fences, lawns and gardens) which all owners share.

Sub-prime lending
Also called ‘non-conforming’ loans. Refers to loans that cater for those who can’t meet standard income verification and credit history criteria. Non-conforming loans usually have higher interest rates.

A plan that shows the boundaries of a property and the positioning of any buildings on that property.

Switching Fee
The lender may impose a switching fee where an existing borrower wishes to change from one loan type to another, e.g. variable rate loan to fixed rate loan.

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Tenants in common
The equal or unequal holding of property by two or more persons. If one party dies the share
of the property forms part of the estate rather than passing to the other tenant / tenants.

The length of a home loan or a specific portion within that loan. The term is usually written in months, rather than years.

Third Party Guarantee
Using someone else’s property as security; where someone else has agreed to offer their property as additional security for a loan.

Title Deed
A document disclosing the legal description and ownership of a property.

Title Fees
Fees payable to the State Titles Office for title search, transfer or property ownership, registration of the new mortgage and/or discharge of an old mortgage.

Title Search
A check of public records to ensure that the vendor has the right to sell and transfer ownership.

Torrens Title
Records your ownership of a property. You are lawfully entitled to lease it.

Usually a two-storey dwelling registered under a strata title.

A document registered with the Land Titles Office that confirms the change of ownership as noted on the Certificate of Title.

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A property free of liabilities, encumbrances or restrictions.

The process of analysing a loan application to determine the amount of risk involved in making the loan. It includes a review of the potential borrower’s credit history and a judgment of the property’s value.

Uniform Consumer Credit Code (UCCC)
Legislation to ensure uniformity amongst all credit providers across Australia. For example, all loan contracts must now adhere to a uniform format as specified by the Act. It must set out all fees and charges that the borrower (and, if required, guarantor) are liable for under the loan contract.

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A report required by the lender detailing a professional opinion of a property’s value. For more information on Valuations, go to pages on valuations.

Valuation Fee
A fee which may be charged if the lender seeks to cover the cost of valuing the property taken as security for the loan. For more information on fees involved in buying a home, including valuation fees, go to our pages on valuations.

Variable Interest Rate
A rate that varies in accordance with the money market rates. For more information on variable interest rates, start on our pages that discuss how variable interest rates work.

A change to any part of a loan contract.

Veda Advantage
Australian credit files are held by Veda Advantage Limited, previously Baycorp Advantage, Credit Advantage Limited and CRAA. For more information on your credit file, go to our credit profile page.

Vendor Statement
A statement by the seller to the buyer detailing material particulars regarding the property in question.

The party who offers a property for sale.

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Local government authority guidelines as to the permitted uses of land and buildings on that land.

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