Here are some of the most common terms you’ll come across when dealing with real estate.

Search the term by clicking on the letter.

  • A

    Advertised price sale

    Selling at an advertised price means that the seller has declared the amount that they expect to be paid for it.

    Agency agreement

    A seller using a licensed real estate agent to sell their property needs to sign an agency agreement (also known as a listing agreement). This is a legal contract between the seller and the agent that sets out what the agent will do and what they will be paid. The seller can negotiate the conditions, such as who pays for marketing and how much the commission is and you should get legal advice before they sign.

    Agency agreement guide

    This guide contains the key things sellers need to know about agency agreements. A real estate agent must give the seller a copy of this guide before the seller signs an agency agreement.

    Agent or real estate agent

    This is the general term for a real estate agent, agency branch manager or salesperson (these are different types of real estate licences). In New Zealand, real estate agents are licensed by the Real Estate Authority (REA).


    A feature of real property that enhances its attractiveness and increases the occupant’s or user’s satisfaction, such as scenic views, proximity to public transport or recreational facilities.


    An assessment of a property’s likely sale price. An agent must give the seller a written appraisal that is realistic and based on market conditions and information from recent sales of similar properties.

    Asking price

    The listed price of the property but may not always be the final price the property sells for.


    The transfer of a mortgage or lease from one person to another.


    A sale method where buyers publicly bid until the highest price is reached.

  • B

    BBO (buyer budget over) or BEO (buyer enquiry over)

    If either of these terms are used, it means the price listed on the advertisement is the minimum the seller will accept. The seller must seriously consider any offer over the figure advertised so it needs to be chosen carefully.


    A person designated to receive the income from a trust, estate, or a deed of trust.

    Body corporate

    An administrative body made up of all the owners within a group of units or apartments. The owners elect a committee, which handles administration and maintenance of the site.


    The lines that define the borders of a property.

    Branch manager

    This person is licensed to carry out real estate agency work on behalf of an agent and may supervise salespersons carrying out real estate agency work.

    Bridging Loan

    A short term loan (usually at a higher rate) taken out to cover the financial gap between buying a new property and selling an existing property.

    Bridging loan

    A short-term loan (usually at a higher rate) taken out to cover the financial gap between buying a new property and selling an existing property.

    Building report

    An expert assessment of a building’s condition that identifies any current or future problems. REA recommends getting a building report done by a qualified building inspector who has professional indemnity insurance, understands the legal requirements and carries out their work in accordance with the New Zealand Property Inspection Standard.

    Building Code

    The Building Code is contained in regulations under the Building Act 2004. The Act governs the building sector and also sets out the rules for the construction, alteration, demolition and maintenance of new and existing buildings in New Zealand. All building work in New Zealand must comply with the Building Code, even if it doesn’t require a building consent. This ensures buildings are safe, healthy and durable for everyone who may use them.

    Buyer’s agent

    An agent who has a signed an agency agreement with the buyer. The buyer will pay their agent a commission.

  • C

    CAC (Complaints Assessment Committee)

    A preliminary panel that determines complaints about agents. It can make determinations and orders under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 and can file disciplinary charges in the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal.


    A notice on a title that a third party might have some interest or right in the property.

    CCC (code compliance certificate)

    A code compliance certificate is a formal statement issued under section 95 of the Building Act 2004, that building work carried out under a building consent complies with that building consent.

    Certificate of title (title)


    A notice on a title that a third party might have some interest or right in the property.


    Moveable and removeable items of personal property. In real estate transactions, chattels included in the sale usually include the stove, television aerial, carpets, blinds, curtains, drapes and light fittings. However, unless chattels are specified in the agreement, they are not sold as part of the property.


    Real estate agents are usually paid a commission by the seller when a property sells. This is their fee for selling the property and it is detailed in the agency agreement the seller signs with the agent. Commission rates vary and can be negotiated.

    Common property

    The area of building, land or amenities within a unit title property that is shared by all owners, for example, a shared driveway.

    Company title

    A type of ownership more common when properties are grouped together. An owner automatically becomes an owner of a company that administers, manages and maintains the property in which the owner’s unit is registered. The directors of that company are elected each year at the annual general Meeting from owners involved only with that company, i.e. owners in that block.

    Conditional offer

    An offer to buy a property subject to stated conditions being met.

    Conjunctional agreement

    An agreement that allows an agent from an agency that is not the listing agency to do real estate agency work on behalf of the seller. Usually this will be by introducing a buyer, and the non-listing agent, referred to as the selling agent, will receive a share of the commission.

    Continuing professional development

    Verifiable and non-verifiable education which all licensees complete yearly by 31 December.


    Any terms, conditions and restrictions regarding the use of the property that are noted on the title. A covenant may affect future plans or resale of the property.

    Cross lease

    This type of ownership is common where there is more than one home on a block of land. All owners of the land and each leases their home. The lease will usually provide for an exclusive use area for each cross-lessee. This is like owning a freehold property but there are some restrictions.

  • D

    Deadline sale

    A sale method is where a property is marketed for a set period with an advertised end date. The seller isn’t obliged to accept any offers and can choose to accept an offer at any point during the listing period.


    Failure to make mortgage payments on time or to comply with other requirements of the mortgage.


    A percentage of the purchase price paid in advance to secure the sale of real estate.

    Dux Quest plumbing

    Dux Quest was a plastic piping used in houses in the late 1970s to early 1980s. The product was discontinued after reports throughout New Zealand of pipes and fittings bursting.

  • E

    Early resolution

    The alternative to a complaint going to a CAC in the REA’s complaint process. The purpose of early resolution is to give the parties to a complaint the opportunity to work together to resolve the complaint. 


    A right to use land belonging to another, for example, a water authority may have a sewerage easement across part of your property.

    Eligible officer

    An officer of an agency who holds an agent’s class of licence. They are responsible for supervising salespersons and enable a company to carry out real estate agency work. All companies have an eligible officer, who is the person REA contacts when we receive a complaint. 


    Part of a house or structure illegally overhanging the street or a neighbour’s property.


    An impediment to the use or transfer of property in the form of an interest or right in the property.


    The amount of an asset actually owned, i.e. the difference between the market value of the property and the amount still owed on its mortgage.


    The combination of all the real estate and personal property owned by an individual at the time of death.


    A person named in a will to administer an estate.

  • F

    Fee simple (or freehold)

    The exclusive ownership of the land and any associated buildings, subject to any interests registered on the title. 


    Fixed items that cannot be removed without damaging either the property or the fixture itself, for example, fitted cupboards.

    Freehold (or fee simple)

    The exclusive ownership of the land and any associated buildings, subject to any interests registered on the title.   

  • G-H


    A person who agrees to pay a loan or a portion of the unpaid principal balance in case of default by the borrower.

  • I


    A fee charged for borrowing money.

    Interest-only loan

    A loan where only the interest is repaid throughout the course of the loan. The original loan amount is repaid at the end of the term of the loan, is rolled over by the same bank or the owner remortgages.

    Investment property

    A property that is not occupied by the owner, but provides a financial return to the owner through letting or leasing to a tenant.

  • J-K

    Joint tenancy

    A form of co-ownership that gives each tenant equal shares and rights in the property including the right of survivorship, i.e. in the event of death of one of the owners, ownership passes to the surviving owners automatically.

  • L


    An interest in land that includes ownership of the buildings and a lease of the land for a certain time. The lessee pays rent to the lessor for the land and you can sell the lease they want to move on. There may be restrictions on Their use of the property.


    An organisation or person that lends money.


    A person leasing a property.


    The owner of a property that is leased to another person.

    Life estate

    Also called tenancy for life. A freehold interest (in real property) that expires upon the death of the owner or some other specified person.

    LIM (land information memorandum)

    A LIM contains relevant information that the local council knows about a property, such as any issues with drainage and plumbing, erosion or permits. A LIM will also record any unpaid rates.

    Listing agent

    An agent who is the seller’s point of contact with the agency and acts on behalf of the seller to advertise and sell the property.

    Listing agreement

    A written contract between an owner and an agent, authorising the agent to perform services for the owner (also known as an agency agreement).


    A sum of borrowed money.

    LVR (loan to value ratio)

    The amount of a loan financed as a proportion of the property value expressed as a percentage.

  • M


    A legal document that pledges a property to the lender as security for payment of a debt.

    Mortgage broker

    An individual or company that brings borrowers and lenders together. Mortgage brokers typically require a fee or a commission for their services, which is usually paid by the lender.


    The lender in a mortgage agreement.


    The borrower in a mortgage agreement.

    Multi-offer process

    A method of sale where prospective buyers are encouraged to submit their best offer and the seller can choose whichever one looks most attractive to them. There has to be more than one offer in writing — real estate agents aren’t allowed to pretend there are genuine competing offers if they don’t exist.

  • N


    A person who, in a limited sense, acts for or represents another. In a sale and purchase agreement, it could mean the person who the buyer appoints to take over the buyer’s right to own the property on settlement.

  • O

    Off the plan

    To purchase a property before a structure or dwelling is built on the site, after having only seen the plans.


    A proposal to purchase a property. To make an offer, the agent will usually draw up a sale and purchase agreement and ask the buyer to sign it. The offer can be made subject to certain conditions, such as finance, the sale of a current property or a satisfactory building report.

  • P-Q

    Passed in

    Where the highest bid fails to meet the reserve price of a property at an auction and the property consequently does not sell.

    PIM (project information memorandum)

    A report that provides relevant information that a council knows about a piece of land, such as the location of underground pipes, natural hazards, soil types and other ground conditions, and whether any building project on it will be subject to any resource consents or bylaws.

    POA (price on application)

    A pricing method used by some agencies. Prospective buyers can find out the asking price by enquiring.

    Power of attorney

    A legal document that authorises a person (the attorney) to act on another person’s behalf. A power of attorney can grant complete authority or can be limited to certain acts and/or certain periods of time.


    For a mortgage, the loan amount borrowed or still to be repaid or the part of the monthly payment that reduces the balance of the mortgage.

    For real estate agency work, a principal officer is an officer who controls the agency’s business activities and is a director or shareholder of the agency.

    Private sale

    The sale of property by the owner without the services of a real estate agent.

    Private treaty sale

    The sale of property through a real estate agent by negotiation.

  • R

    RV (Rateable value)

    The is a value used to calculate local body rates, formerly known as government Value or GV. This is not a market value for a property for sale, because it may be several years old and may not reflect local market changes and any recent renovations to a property.

    Real estate agency

    A company performing real estate work through its agents, branch managers and salespersons. 

    Real estate agent

    A person licensed to negotiate and transact the sale or lease of real estate on behalf of the property owner.


    The process of paying off one loan with the proceeds from a new loan using the same property as security.

    Real Estate Agents Act 2008 (REAA 2008)

    The Act that provides for the regulation of the real estate industry in New Zealand. 

    Real Estate Authority (REA)

    The government regulator of the New Zealand real estate industry.

    Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal (READT)

    The READT hears and determines disciplinary and licensing cases involving licensees. The READT is independent from REA and is part of the Ministry of Justice.

    Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ)

    Membership organisation that represents real estate agents throughout New Zealand.

    Requisitions on title

    A process where the buyer requests additional information about the title of the property from the vendor.


    At an auction, a reserve is the lowest price the seller is willing to sell the property for.

    Resource consents

    Resource consents are necessary when a group or individual wishes to carry out an activity or development that is not permitted by the district or regional plans. Resource consents relate directly to the rules set out in the district or regional plans and the Resource Management Act 1991 and are different to building consents.

    Right of first refusal

    A provision in an agreement that gives a party the first opportunity to purchase or lease a property before it is offered for sale or lease to others.

    Right of way

    The legal right to access or cross another property via a specific route.

  • S

    Sale and purchase agreement

    A legal contract between the buyer and seller for the sale/purchase of a property that sets out all the agreed terms and conditions in writing.  

    Sale and purchase agreement approved guide

    This guide contains the key things that buyers and sellers should know about sale and purchase agreements. If there is a licensed real estate agent involved in a sale, they must give this guide to the seller and prospective buyers before any agreement is signed.


    A person who is licensed to carry out real estate agency work on behalf of an agent. 

    Second mortgage

    A mortgage that, on the sale of a property, is paid off only when the first mortgage is paid.

    Selling agent

    An agent who is working on behalf of the seller but is not the listing agent. They may have introduced a buyer and will be working with the listing agent to sell the property.


    A type of construction where two buildings are joined together by a common wall.


    The end goal in a property transaction when the sale and purchase is completed by the exchange of property and payment.

    Settlement statement

    A breakdown of the payments involved in the property transaction, prepared by a lawyer/conveyancer. It will include payments such as the deposit, agent’s commission, outstanding rates and loan payments.

  • T

    Tenants in common

    A type of joint ownership in a property where two or more purchasers own a property separately in specified shares. If one dies, their share of the property forms part of their estate. Shares can be sold without consulting the other owner(s).


    A sale method where prospective buyers submit confidential written offers by a specified deadline. Usually there is no minimum price, but properties are often listed with a BEO or BBO price. The seller can then choose the offer that is most acceptable to them, based on the price and any attached conditions. The most attractive tender is likely to be one that combines a good price with few conditions. Sellers are allowed to negotiate with any one or more of the tenderers after tenders close.

    Title search

    A title provides infomration about a property’s ownership, boundary and access. This information is held by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).


    A dwelling unit generally having two or more floors and attached to other similar units via party walls.

    Trust account

    A bank account administered by a law firm or real estate agency to hold funds on behalf of others. When a buyer pays a deposit, it is held in a trust account by the real estate agent until the sale and purchase agreement becomes unconditional.


    A person who holds or controls property for the benefit of another.

  • U-Z

    Unconditional agreement

    Where a buyer and seller agree to buy and sell a property without including any conditions. A conditional sale becomes unconditional once all conditions are met.

    Unconditional offer

    When a buyer offers to buy a property without attaching any conditions to the sale.

    Unit title (stratum estate)

    A title to a unit or lot on a plan of subdivision associated with townhouses, units and blocks of flats and based on the horizontal and vertical subdivision of air space. Owners have a certificate of title, are absolute owners of a freehold flat and have an undivided share of the common property.


    Private or public service facilities such as gas, electricity, telephone, water and sewer that are provided as part of the development of the land.

    Valuation report

    An estimate of a property’s worth on the current market, which can be provided by a registered valuer.


    A person qualified by education, training, and experience to estimate the value of real property and personal property.


    The person or entity legally authorised to sell a property.


    Licensees have to complete 10 hours of verifiable continuing education each year (as well as 10 hours of non-verifiable continuing education). This is delivered by one of REA's approved providers.

    Non-verifiable training

    Licensees have to complete 10 hours of non-verifiable continuing education each year (as well as 10 hours of verifiable continuing education). Non-verifiable continuing education is structured professional development such as training courses.


    Local authority guidelines that indicate the permitted use of land.