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Making sense of the jargon

Sometimes it feels like people in the property industry – everyone from real estate agents to lawyers and conveyancers are talking their own secret language.

You just want to buy a house and you’re faced with contracts, settlement periods, caveats, disbursements, easements and zoning. But it’s not as daunting as it initially looks and if you take it one step at a time you’ll find there are plenty of experts and information available to help demystify the whole process.

We have already looked at putting the steps in place for a smooth transition to property ownership, but if you’ve missed a step, just take a look at our blog archives. We also welcome any questions along the way, just email us at

Using an expert like is one of the ways to help unravel the jargon involved in property transfer. So let’s take a look at some of the common terms that cause confusion.

Vendor: the person selling the property

Tenant: a person in possession of property with the owner’s permission

Stamp duty: the tax imposed by the State Government on property. It is calculated as a percentage of the purchase price and is paid by the buyer

Caveat: this can be lodged with the Land Titles Register by anyone with a legal interest in the property, stopping the sale of the property without their knowledge

Cooling off period: a period of time after the contract is signed, when the purchaser may cancel the contract

Deposit: non-refundable percentage of the purchase price paid by the buyer when contracts are signed and exchanged. The deposit is held by the estate agency or the vendor’s solicitor in a trust account or held jointly in a trust account by the seller and buyer

Disbursements: expenses paid on behalf of a client to obtain searches of the property during the conveyancing process. Examples include rates searches and land tax searches

Families encouraged to move to the country

With the new financial year comes a new incentive to get more people of the metropolitan areas and into the country.

From July 1, families who relocate from the Sydney metropolitan area, Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Gosford, Wyong, Wollondilly, Wollongong and Newcastle will be given $7000 to move to regional NSW.

NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner said in the announcement that “The message to people considering a move out of Sydney is clear – there is no better time to move to regional NSW.

“From our beautiful country air and stunning landscapes to strong communities and a more affordable lifestyle, regional NSW is a great place to live and raise a family.”

Given the state of some of the infrastructure (or total lack thereof) in many regional NSW towns, it will be interesting to see whether the local councils and communities are eager to welcome more people to their towns with open arms or not. Many regional towns are crying out for doctors, hospitals, roads and transport already.

The Real Estate Institute reported that under legislation passed through Parliament last week:

One-off $7000 grants will be payable to individuals or families who relocate homes from Sydney to regional NSW;

The grant will be payable after the settlement of the purchase of a home in regional NSW and sale of a home in metropolitan Sydney;

Grant is eligible for properties in regional NSW valued up to $600,000;

The new home must be the applicants’ principal place of residence for at least 12 months;

The scheme will operate for four years from 1 July 2011; and

Budget impact is estimated to be up to $46.9 million per year, depending on the number of people taking up the offer.

What do you think this will mean for regional NSW? Should the government be offering regional towns more money to support growing populations?

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