Buyer glossary


Absorption Rate

  • Ratio of the number of properties in an area that have been sold against the number available; used to show the volatility of a market

Accessory Building

  • A building separate from the main structure on a property; often used for a specific purpose such as a workshop or shed


  • The natural growth of a piece of land resulting from forces of nature


  • A supplement to the Contract of Purchase and Sale that contains additional information pertinent to the property


  • Any feature of a property that increases its value or desirability


  • A carefully documented opinion of value; most commonly derived using recent sales of comparable properties by a licensed professional appraiser

Appraised Value

  • The estimated fair market value of a property as developed by a licensed, certified appraiser following accepted appraisal principals


  • The natural rise in property value due to market forces

Arms Length Transaction

  • Any transaction in which the 2 parties are independent and have no obvious common interests

Assessed Value

  • The value of a property according to jurisdictional tax assessment

Bona Fide

  • Any genuine offer, made without intent to defraud or deceive

Bridge Financing

  • An interim loan made to facilitate the purchase of a new home before the buyer’s current residence sells and its equity is available to fund the new purchase


  • Is the real estate company under which the individual is licensed

Building Code

  • Regulations that ensure the safety and material compliance of new construction within a municipality


  • A 1 storey home-style, dating back to the early 20th century; often characterized by a low-pitched roof

Cape Cod Colonial

  • A home-style made popular in New England, often characterized by a steep roof with gables

Caveat Emptor

  • “Buyer beware”; the buyer is responsible for verifying any and all claims by the seller of the property

Certificate of Occupancy

  • Issued by an appropriate jurisdictional entity, typically for a new home, it certifies that a building complies with all building codes and is safe for use

Certificate of Title

  • A document designating the legal owner of a parcel of real estate

Chain of Title

  • The complete history of ownership of a piece of property


  • A moveable article of property, any article of tangible property other than land, buildings, and other things annexed to land ie. furniture 

Clear Title

  • Ownership of property that is not encumbered by any counter-claim or lien


  • The sale of a property is consummated with the buyer completing all applicable documentation, including signing the mortgage obligation and paying all appropriate costs associated with the sale


  • A fee negotiated by an agent to compensate for the effort expended to sell or purchase a property


  • Additional value granted by a buyer or seller to entice another party to complete a deal


  • A legally binding agreement between 2 parties


  • Cash given along with an offer to purchase property


  • The natural decline in value of the improvement due to market forces or deterioration of the improvement

Distressed Property

  • A mortgaged property which has been foreclosed on

Double End

  • When you are the listing agent and also the selling agent as well. You are dealing with both the listing and selling side

Down Payment

  • An amount paid in cash for a property with the intent to mortgage the remaining amount due


  • The right of a non-owner of property to exert control over a portion or all of the property

Effective Age

  • The subjective, estimated age of a property based on its condition, rather than the actual time since it was built


  • A building or other improvement on one property which invades another property or restricts its usage


  • A claim against a property, such as mortgages, liens, easements, and rights of way

Exclusive Listing

  • An agreement between the owner of a property and a real estate agent giving the agent the exclusive right to sell the property


  • Frequently Asked Question

Feature Sheet

  • Information sheet for the home for sale showing all pertinent information that a buyer would need to know

Fee Simple

  • A complete unencumbered ownership right in a piece of property


  • Any piece of personal property which becomes permanently affixed to a piece of real property


  • For sale by owner

Gable Roof

  • A steeply angled, triangular roof

Gambrel Roof

  • A "barn-like” roof, where the upper portion of the roof is less steeply angled than the lower part


  • A classic English style house characterized by simple rectangular shape and multiple stories


  • The slope of land around a building


  • Any person who is given ownership of a piece of property


  • Any person who gives away ownership of a piece of property

Home Inspection

  • A complete examination of a building to determine its structural integrity and uncover any defects in materials or workmanship which may adversely affect the property or decrease its value

Homeowner’s Warranty

  • An insurance policy covering the repair of systems and appliances within the home for the coverage period


  • Harmonized Sales Tax

Latent Defects

  • Any defect in a piece of property which is not readily apparent but which has an impact of the value (e.g. dry rot)

Legal Description

  • The description of a piece of property identifying its specific location in terms established by the municipality or other jurisdiction in which the property resides


  • Is the managing broker, associate broker and/or representative of a Brokerage


  • Any claim against a piece of property resulting from a debt or other obligation

Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

  • A computerized database of real estate listings and sales; it is operated by the Boards in conjunction with other real estate boards and The Canadian Real Estate Association

New England Colonial

  • A home-style dating from early American history typified by a 2 storey building with clapboard siding

Non-Conforming Use

  • The use of land for purposes contrary to the applicable municipal zoning specifications

PDS (Property Disclosure Statement)

  • A form that the seller completes disclosing general and structural details; the seller is responsible for the accuracy of the answers on the form as it constitutes a representation under any Contract of Purchase and Sale if so agreed, in writing, by the seller and the buyer


  • A plan or a chart of a piece of land which lays out existing or planned streets, lots, or other improvements


  • Less formal than pre-approval, is usually a written statement from a loan officer indicating an opinion that the borrower will be able to become approved for a mortgage loan

PTT (Property Transfer Tax)

  • A Provincial Government Tax which applies on all transfers of Real Estate and is payable on the completion date; the rate of tax is 1% on the first $200,000 of the purchase price and 2% on the balance of the purchase price over $200,000; payable at completion at the lawyer’s office and payable with a separate cheque to the Minister of Finance

Purchase Agreement

  • A written contract signed by the buyer and seller stating the terms and conditions under which a property will be sold


  • Home style typified by a single storey, low roof construction

Raw Land

  • Any land which has not been developed


  • Master database of MLS listings in Greater Vancouver

Right of First Refusal

  • An agreement giving a person the first opportunity to buy or lease a property before the owner offers it for sale to others


  • A specific map of a piece of property which includes the legal boundaries and any improvements or features of the land; also depict rights of way, easements, and encroachments

Sweat Equity

  • Method where the owner creates equity in a property by personally constructing improvements rather than paying to have them constructed


  • A document which serves as proof of ownership

Title Search

  • Research on a property’s title history to ensure no outstanding claims exist

Transfer of ownership

  • Any means by which the ownership of a property changes hands


  • Home-style typified by exposed stone, wood and brick construction;

Unencumbered Property

  • Any property which has no outstanding claims or liens against it

Useful Life

  • The span of time over which a property can be used or can provide benefits to its owner


  • Accessed through Realtorlink, where realtors can create and save a personalized form toolkit for buyers and sellers

Working With a Realtor

  • A form that is used to provide an explanation of the relationship between you and a realtor and of the collection, use and disclosure of personal information