Glossary: real estate terminology & definitions

Detailed area plan

Also referred to as DAPs these plans relate to the urban design and the overall look of a built area. It includes things like site levels, the location, orientation and design of buildings, vehicle access and parking, service locations and landscaping.

Public Open Space

The variety of spaces within a community that everyone can enjoy for recreation, sport, play and socialising! Think parks and playgrounds, ovals and reserves or piazzas and squares.

Transit Orientated Development

When a new community is planned and designed around a transport hub such as a train station.


Zoning restricts what the land is able to be used for, and, while each state and territory has its own zoning codes they tend to fall into six basic categories; commercial, industrial, mixed-use, residential, public use and agricultural.

Lot, Block or Allotment

They're actually all the same thing and simply refer to a piece of land. Allotment or lot are traditionally used in new subdivisions and each lot has its own number which later changes to a street number. Lot is simply the shortened version of allotment.

Torrens Title

It's the most common property ownership structure through which the ownership of property is transferred through registering the title with the relevant authority.


This is when the garage is located at the back of the lot and you can access it by a rear laneway. Rear-loaded lots have no front driveways and garage doors are out of sight.

Progress Payments

These are part payments you make to your builder as your home progresses. Instead of paying all the money upfront, you get to pay it in agreed instalments – you’ll usually pay deposit before the build starts, and then the first progress payment is made when the slab is poured.

Strata Title

It means all the common, shared areas such as lifts, stairs, gardens, car parks and recreational areas (i.e. swimming pool) are jointly owned by everyone who owns property in the complex and you’ll pay annual strata fees for the maintenance and management of those areas.


Infrastructure that’s installed on a vacant block, so services like water, sewerage, gas, etc can be connected later on.

Home Equity

The difference between the value of your property and what you have left to pay on your mortgage... you can look at it is as the portion of your house that you have actually paid for!

Practical Completion

When the construction of your block of land or house is complete as per your contract and you can get building on the block or move in to your new home!

Capital gains tax

It’s the tax you have to pay for the difference of price when you bought a property, compared to what you received when you sold it.

Cash rate

If you have a mortgage (or are about to get one) this is a rate you should be interested in. It’s basically the interest rate charged to banks on their loans by the Reserve Bank of Australia which impacts mortgage rates and your repayments if you’ve got a variable home loan.


Once you’ve had your offer accepted to buy a home or block, this is the person who’ll make it happen. They look after all the legalities that come with transferring the ownership from one person or company to another.

Cooling of period

Think of it like a ‘get out of jail free’ card. It’s a window of time where you can change your mind and cancel your offer to buy without incurring any costs.

Lot number

There’s often confusion between your lot number and street address. Your lot number is not your street address, it’s a number used to identify an area often before any of the street names have even been decided. You’ll find it on your land title.

Off the plan

Property that you can buy ahead of time, based on images or blueprints, before it’s actually built.


When settlement happens, you officially become the owner of your new home or land. If it’s a completed home, when it’s transferred into your name, you get the keys!


This is the process of getting your land ready for building – it might include clearing, excavation or block levelling.

Stamp duty

This is the tax the Government charges for the transfer of land or a home. It varies by state and the amount depends on the value of the property.


The official bit of paper which says that the land is now yours! Congratulations, it means you can start building.

All content within 'Peet's Advice Blog' (Blog) is for information purposes only. While Peet endeavours to ensure all information is current and correct, Peet makes no representation or warranty as to its currency or accuracy. It is recommended that you obtain your own independent advice before taking any action following reading any of the contents of the Blog. Please read the full disclaimer here.


Post tags: Glossary

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