Real Estate Legal Terms Glossary

Abatement A reduction or decrease in amount or worth.

Amortization period The number of years it will take to pay back your mortgage.

Anniversary Many mortgage products allow you to make payments against the principal on the anniversary of the mortgage.

Appraisal The process of determining the value of a property.

Assumability Allows the buyer to take over the seller's mortgage on the property.

Closed mortgage A set payment schedule to repay a  mortgage

Closing cost Costs in addition to the purchase price of a property and which are payable on the closing date. Examples include legal fees, land transfer taxes, and disbursements.

Closing date The date on which the buyer takes possession of the property

Common Areas Land or improvements designated for the use and benefit of all residents, property owners and tenants

Conditional offer An offer to buy property subject to conditions such as loan approval.

Condominium fee A fee paid by the condo owner to help pay building expenses. 
Examples of that would be snow removal or lawn care

Conveyance The transfer of title to real property by means of a written instrument such as a deed or an assignment of lease

Conveyance Tax A tax imposed on the transfer of property (land transfer tax)

Deed A legal document, signed by both parties, that transfers the ownership of property

Deposit Money offered by a prospective buyer as an indication of good faith in entering into a contract to purchase; earnest money; security for the buyer's performance of a contract.

Default Failing to abide by the terms of a loan

Down payment The buyer's cash payment toward the property; the difference between the purchase price and the mortgage loan.

Easement Certain rights that a property owner might have over someone else’s property

Encroachment The unauthorized extention of the boundaries of land

Equity The difference between your home's value and the money you owe.

High-ratio mortgage A mortgage that exceeds 75% of the home's appraised value

Income Property Property purchased primarily for the purpose of earning income. Income property can be commercial, industrial or residential

Inspection Having a home inspected by a third party get a better idea of the condition of the property

Interest rate The percentage which is charged for the use of borrowed money

Joint tenancy A form of property ownership by two or more persons in which the joint tenants have one and the same interest, arising by one and the same conveyance

Land transfer tax A fee paid to the municipal and/or provincial government for the transferring of property from seller to buyer.

Lien Money owed to a creditor, supplier or contractor.

Maturity date The date at which you are done repaying your loan and may have the option of renewing it

Mortgage A loan that is taken out in order to buy property

Mortgage broker A company that offers mortgages from several different financial institutions

Mortgage insurance Protects the lender against any losses if the borrower is unable to repay the mortgage

Mortgage life insurance Pays off the mortgage in the even that the borrower should die.

Mortgage rate The percentage interest that you pay on top of the loan principal

Mortgagee The lender. (Usually a bank)

Mortgagor The borrower. (Usually the home owner)

Open mortgage Allows payments to be made at any time to repay the money owed

Power of sale The right of a mortgagee to force sale of the property without judicial proceedings should default occur

Principal The dollar amount borrowed or owing on a loan.

Property survey A legal description of your property and its location and dimensions (usually required by your mortgage lender).

Purchase Agreement A legally binding agreement that defines the price, closing date and items that are included with the purchase of the house

Renewal Renegotiation of a mortgage loan at the end of a term for a new term.

Right-of-way The right or privilege to pass over a designated portion of the property of another

Sales taxes Taxes applied to the purchase cost of a property. Some properties are exempt from sales tax and some are not. For instance, residential resale properties are usually GST exempt, while new properties require GST

Service charges Extra costs incurred such as hydro, gas, phone, etc.

Survey A document that shows the boundaries of the property and specifies encroachments, easements, and the placement of buildings on the property

Title Legal ownership in a property

Title Search An examination of public records to determine and confirm a property's legal ownership, and find out what claims are on the property