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Property.CoZa Glossary

If you're new to the industry or just need a refresher course, you've come to the right page. The Property.CoZa Real Estate glossary is your ultimate guide to commonly used jargon, terms, and words that every real estate professional should know. So grab your favorite drink and start scrolling.

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An additional section added to an original sale contract including specific points agreed to by relevant parties.


A property professional who has completed a qualification with the Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa. Agents receive a certificate annually that confirms their compliance with the code of conduct. Find out more about selecting an estate agent.

Agent’s Commission

A percentage of the selling price paid by the seller to the agent for services performed in selling a property.


An addition or appendix to a legal document.


A market-related assessment of the value or an estimate value of a property calculated by an estate agent. This can be requested by the seller, a buyer or a bond originator.

Asking price

The property price chosen by a seller and advertised to potential buyers.

Assessed value

A calculated value of a property which is conducted by a professional valuator for local municipalities to assess the taxes a homeowner will pay on the property. This is commonly known as a municipal valuation and may not be the same as the market-related value applied when the property is presented to the market for sale.


A sale that is open to the public and facilitated by an auctioneer. Goods or property are sold to the highest bidder. Read more about auctions.



A specified amount offered by a prospective buyer during an auction.


Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

A tax charged on the profit earned from appreciation of a property from the time of purchase. This article may provide more details on CGT.

Carrying Charges

The amount of money it takes to maintain a property over time


A caveat is simply a warning that is acquired by a person or organisation through a statutory injunction to protect their ownership of a property and registering this on a Title Deed in terms of the Real Property Act 1900. A caveat can prevent the registration or changes to a Title Deed unless the person or organisation who registered the caveat is made aware and agrees to these changes, e.g. a mortgage bond.


A percentage of a property transaction amount that a property professional is owed for their service surrounding a completed property transaction.

Common Use Area/Property

Undivided parts of a commonly owed property, such as stairwells, passages and walkways, parking areas, gardens, swimming pools, etc. These common use areas are maintained at a cost to all the owners of a complex via levies.

Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

The method used by Property Professionals to calculate a market related price to present a property to the market, based on comparative properties in the same area.

Compliance Certificates

Certificates that the Seller is required to obtain prior to lodging the property for transfer at the Deeds Offices, please see other certificates required. Read more about compliance certificates in this article.

Conditions of Title

Conditions on a property that limit the rights of free ownership (e.g. servitudes).


The Conveyancing process has several steps starting with a signed Offer to Purchase through to transfer of the property from the seller to the buyer via registration at the Deeds Office. This article may provide more information on the conveyancing process.


There are always costs, whether you are buying, selling, leasing or renting:

  • Seller’s Costs: Capital Gains Tax or Income Tax, agent’s commission (if applicable) and municipal rates, in advance. 
  • Buyer’s Costs: Factor in the costs of this process using a rule of thumbs of approximately 10% of the purchase price which includes transfer duty, legal costs, bond registration costs and Deeds Office Costs. The Purchase Price will also be called for well before the registration date.
  • Lessor’s Costs: The owner will incur administrative costs, Managed Fee or Procurement Fee from agency, insurance and maintenance costs, advertising costs (for private leases)
  • Lessee’s Costs: The tenant will be required to provide a deposit, rental in advance for the month, maintenance costs (i.e. repairs to the property if damaged) and lease costs (where applicable. A credit check cost may be incurred before the lease is signed.

Debt Coverage Ratio

Assessing income versus loan payments on a property to ascertain if it can pay for its own debt.

Debt-to-Income Ratio

An affordability calculation reflecting a buyer’s monthly repayment amount and monthly income as a ratio.

Deeds Office

In real estate, the Deeds Office is where property is registered, and records are managed and maintained, it is the South African property registry.

Distressed Property

A steal! A property listed for sale far below its current value or value following improvements.


A given address of a party to a contract which will serve as the address for written legal notice.

Dual/Joint Mandate

Permission given by a seller to two different agencies to market and sell their property.


Electrical compliance certificate

Every owner of property must be in possession of this certificate issued by a qualified electrician. This certificate confirms that all installations on the property from its supply point are safe.


A development that unlawfully extends on to another person’s property.


The value of a property to its owner after subtracting loans on the property from its value.

Exclusive Use Areas

Relating to Sectional Title where specific areas of the common property, which is co-owned by all owners, but may only be used by the owner/owners of a given section with full usage rights, for instance, a parking bay or a balcony.


Fall of the Hammer

This is part of the auctioneer process where the gavel signals the end of the auction, and the sale of the item or property goes to the highest bidder.


This is the common terms for the Financial Intelligence Centre Act 38 of 2001, which requires any institution that is party to a financial transaction to gather specific information to keep on record relating to the parties, i.e. a buyer and seller are required to provide a copy of the National Identity Document or Passport and proof of residence in the form of a rate account or rental agreement.

Fluctuating Payments

Where repayment amounts are changed (according to interest rate changes on loans with variable interest rates.

Forced Sale

When a property is sold as security upon default on a loan repayment.


When a bank repossesses a property for failure to repay the loan amount.


Also known as Full Title, provides for undisturbed ownership of immovable property including the land and the buildings on it.


Gas compliance certificate

A certificate that states all relevant connections to the gas supply are up to standard and safe. This is done by an authorised and registered person.

Good Faith Estimate

The anticipated costs of transfer for the purchaser, sent by the transferring attorney.


Home Inspection

An inspection by a property professional that informs the property valuation process.

Home loan

See Bond

Home Loan Pledge

A document detailing the amount of credit a bank is willing to advance for the purpose of property purchase.

Huur Gaat Voor Koop

‘Lease Goes Before Sale’ principle, which dictates that tenants may remain in occupation of a property after sale until such time as the lease expires.


Income Approach

A valuation consideration that assesses the anticipated income-generating potential of a property.

Interest Rate Ceiling

The maximum amount of interest that can be charged on an ARM.

Interest Rate Floor

The minimum amount of interest that can be charged on an ARM.

Interest-bearing accounts

Any deposit paid by a buyer will be put into a saving account, which accrues interest over time. A short-term investment can also be made. This is done by an attorney or real estate agent.

Intern Agent

An agent who is registered at the Estate Agency Affairs Board who is in the process of qualifying and therefore assigned to a Mentor Agent, who is fully qualified.


Joint/Dual Mandate

See Dual/Joint mandate


Latent Defect

A defect that is not clearly apparent when inspecting a property, and may only be discoverable at a later stage, for instance, a leak in a pool pipe or electrical issues.


A levy is a payment managed by a Body Corporate for sectional title properties and Homeowners Associations for other complexes and estates. These levies are used to cover the costs of maintenance, security, and repair to common use amenities, and potentially improving property value. Sectional Title levies are generally paid monthly and calculated on the owner’s PQ.

Liquidation Value

The estimated value of a property in the event of forced sale or foreclosure.

Lis Pendens

Notice of impending legal action at court around property title.

Loan Plus Costs

A provision that’s especially useful for first-time homeowners, which allows the buyer to borrow more than the value of the property to cover associated purchase costs.

Loan to Value Ratio (LTV)

The percentage the bank is willing to loan for property purchase, calculated from the estimated property value and the required loan amount.


A Living Standard Measure (LSM) is used to identity the profile of people living in specific neighbourhoods in South Africa. The population is segmented into categories from 1 to 10 where 10 is the most wealth and 1 represents no measurable wealth.


Managing Agent/s

In terms of a Sectional Title properties, a person or company appointed to provide scheme management services to a Body Corporate for reward, including specific services to maintain the well-being of the property, the collection of levies and arranging required meetings.


A mandate is a contract between a seller and a real estate agency to list, market and sell/rent their property for an agreed commission. There are different types of mandates, e.g. Exclusive, Sole, Joint/Dual and Open and each type of mandate is a commitment to pay commission to the agent in the event that they conclude a contract with a buyer/tenant.

See Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

Mentor Agent

A fully qualified agent, registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Boards, who oversees the training and support of an Intern Agent who is in the process of qualifying.

Metes and Bounds

The exact boundary points of a property.

Money Laundering

An illegal act of moving large amounts of money acquired from criminal activity and using legitimate sources to ‘clean’ the money, for instance, paying cash for high value assets.


National Credit Act

A statute used to oversee the standards and acceptable norms of consumer credit.


Where one party’s use of land interferes with a neighbour’ s use and enjoyment of his or her land.

Null and void

A legal term meaning the final cancellation or lapse of a contractual agreement. All parties involved return to the positions they were in before they signed the agreement without any further legal obligations to each other.


Patent Defect

A defect that is clearly apparent when inspecting a property, for instance, a cracked window or a broken tile.

Power of Attorney

Permission granted by a legal party for another party to act and make legal decisions on their behalf. This can either be comprehensive or restricted to certain acts and/or lasting only for a certain amount of time.

Prime Interest Rate

A preferential interest rate charged by banks.

Principal Estate Agent

A duly qualified estate agent registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board as the responsible agent required to abide by all applicable laws and regulations.

Property Transfer

When title in the property legally changes from the seller to the buyer, upon registration at the Deeds Office.


Rates and Taxes

The amounts calculated by the municipality in terms of a property using the municipal valuation, as well as services to the property.


The legal process of registering ownership of Title Deeds of a property from one owner to another, once prepared by an attorney and lodged at the Deeds Office. The date of registration is the date on which the transfer is conclude and ownership changes hands.

Repo Rate

The rate at which the Reserve Bank lends money to private banks which, in turn, affects the rate of interest charged to consumers on credit agreements. Read more about the Repo Rate.

Reserve price

Before an auction, a seller and auctioneer agree upon an absolute minimum price for the property on sale. The seller is not obliged to sell the property if the bids to not reach the reserve price.

Resolutive Condition

If a clause refers to the terms being null and void, terminate on a given date, etc. the clause will only be in effect until the time given has expired. If the requirement is not met by the given time and date, the contract will be considered terminated.

Restrictive Conditions of Title

Conditions in the Title Deed that restrict improvements or use of the property.



In Sectional Title, each owner is given ownership of a specific Section within a complex and this Section is registered on the Title Deeds, which will also have a copy of the sectional plans attached. These sections can be separately owned from the rest of the property under a separate Title Deed.

Sectional plan

The plans that shows the division of the land and building(s) into sections and common property. A copy of the scheme’s sectional plan will be available from the Deeds Office and should always be attached to the Title Deed of the property.

Sectional Title

Sectional Title is separate ownership of individual units, e.g. flats, apartments, townhouses, etc, in a complex or estate, governed by the Section Title Schemes Management Act 8 or 2021.

Sectional title scheme

Is a piece of land with a building(s) where individual owners own portions of the building(s) and co-own the common property. A scheme can be a vertical block of apartments or a one level row of townhouses which may be attached or detached. A scheme must have a minimum of two sections and can be used for residential or commercial purposes or a mixture of both.


A limited real right over immovable property which is registered on the Title Deed and can be transferrable. A servitude gives rights to the holder of the servitude over another person’s property, which may include access right or water rights.

Sole Mandate

A sole mandate is granted by a seller to only one agent or agency to market and sell their property for commission. The seller retains the right to sell their own property with a sole mandate. Find out more about the benefits of sole mandates.

Subject To

See Suspensive Condition/s

Suspensive Condition/s

A clause that is included in an Offer to Purchase relating to conditions that need to be met in order to advance with to a final and binding contract. For instance, subject to the sale of the buyer’s property or the granting of a mortgage bond.


Title Deed

A legal document that confirms ownership of a purchased property which is registered at the Deeds Office.

Transfer duty

Transfer duty depends on the price of the property. From 2020, transfer duty is only paid by buyers of property over R1 million, and this is adjusted from time to time.

0%: up to R1,000,000

3%: R750,000–1,250,000

5%: R1,250,000–1,750,000

8%: R1,750,000–2,250,000

11%: R2,250,000+

Two-Step Mortgage

A bond with one interest rate for the first five to seven years and another for the balance of the loan term.


Unencumbered Property

A property with no title deed restrictions, claims, or liens that act as an impediment to full ownership rights of the property.


A unit is what a sectional title property owner owns. This is made up of his section (generally apartment/townhouse) and his undivided share of the common property.


The right to use a property.



A valuation can only be carried out by a qualified and registered member of the South African Council for the Property Valuers Profession (SACPVP), often contracted by banks or municipalities to provide for property valuations.


A Dutch expression that means “as is.” This clause refers to the condition of a property as it stands at the time of signing the contract and subject to the Title Deed conditions. The seller is cleared of liability and claims that may arise later by the purchaser for any damages that may result of latent or patent defects. Voetstoots should alert a buyer to conduct a proper and thorough inspection of the property prior to signing the contract – buyer beware!



A legal document whereby the signer voluntarily surrenders or relinquishes certain contractual rights and privileges.



Zoning relates to the permitted use and development of property, and the rules and regulations set out by the local authorities of cities and towns to manage the land-use rights in their areas. Zoning can include commercial and residential rights as well as building restrictions.

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