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Finance Glossary

Break through the jargon with our handy finance glossary.

Like any industry the finance one has many unique terms and jargon that can sometimes be hard to understand or often misunderstood. Here you will find all the key terms explained.

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A

Additional Payment

A payment that is over and above of what you are normally expected to pay (Did you know paying fortnightly rather than monthly can save approximately 2 years on your home loan).

Amortisation

Another way to describe the repayment of your debt. Over the term of the loan, your regular repayments are said to “amortise” the loan.

Assets

An item of property owned by a person regarded as having value.

Asset Finance

A generic description of all types of finance that relate to the purchase or lease of assets that are not real property (also known as Chattel Finance and Equipment Finance).

B

Bad Credit History

In Australia your credit history is recorded by companies such as VEDA. Phone plans, electricity accounts, personal and home loans are all forms of credit and if you don't pay or have missed payments over a certain time frame, the creditor can list a mark on your credit file. This mark can stay on your file for up to 7 years and negatively affect your ability to obtain further credit. Once a mark has been placed on your file you have a bad credit history.

Balloon Payment

A final payment built into the structure of a Chattel Mortgage or Hire Purchase contract. Generally the balloon payment amount should be set at the value of the asset at the end of your loan term.

Basic Home Loan

A very simple home loan with a low variable interest rate and few or no regular fees. This type of loan is cheaper because it comes with fewer bells and whistles.

Bill of Sale

A form of security for a business loan taken over an asset which is not real property, such as a piece of equipment or a vehicle. Also known as a Chattel Mortgage.

Break Costs

A fee charged by a lender when a fixed rate loan is paid off before the fixed rate period ends, or when you exceed the maximum additional payments during the fixed rate period.

Bridging Finance

This type of loan allows you to purchase a new property without having to sell your existing property first. Generally the bridging finance is over a 6 month period unless you are building and then the lender may allow 12 months. Extra conditions apply as you have to demonstrate you can afford to hold both debts until the bridging period is over.

C

Capital Gain

The monetary gain you receive when you sell an asset, investment or property, for more than you paid for it.

Chattel Mortgage

A form of security for a business loan typically taken over a piece of equipment or a vehicle (being the chattel). The Lender has the right to take (repossess) the chattel if you fail to repay the loan on time. Also known as a Bill of Sale.

Community Title

For legal purposes, different types of property can be sold under different titles. A Community Title is property that has been divided into individual lots, with common areas and shared services. Generally, Community Title schemes are responsible for their own roads, parks, garbage collection and delivery of some utilities.

Company Title

For legal purposes, different types of property can be sold under different titles. Before 1961, buyers used a Company Title to purchase shares in a company, which provided them with exclusive use and occupation of a unit and shared use of common property. Some older buildings remain under this type of title but it is becoming increasingly rare. Lenders are generally not enthusiastic about company title properties.

Comparison Rate

A tool to help you understand the true cost of a loan. The rate includes both the interest rate and the fees and charges relating to a loan, combined into a single percentage figure.

Construction Loan

A loan designed to suit the needs of those building a new property or conducting renovations of an existing property. With a construction loan you draw down money as you need it, and make progress payments. This can significantly reduce your interest payments.

D

Daily Interest

Interest is calculated on a home loan on a daily basis. The lender asks that you pay at least monthly in arrears but they calculate how much you owe every day.

Debt Consolidation

This is where multiple secured and unsecured debts are combined into a single debt, thus reducing the repayment amount and interest charged.

Deposit

The initial cash put towards the purchase of the asset (home, car, equipment). The deposit is often payable on exchange of contracts.

Deposit Bond

Purchasing real estate without having to provide the deposit in cash. Institutions will provide deposit bonds and act as guarantor that payment will be made at settlement.

E

Equity

The calculation of your assets minus your debt. For example, if your home is worth $400,000 and you still owe the bank $150,000, then your equity is $250,000.

Equity Loan

A loan that allows you to borrow up to a certain limit either all at once or in smaller amounts. The advantage is that you only pay interest when you withdraw (known as “drawing down”) these funds. This flexibility usually results in a higher interest rate. An Equity Loan is the same thing as an Equity Line or a Line of Credit.

F

First Home Owner Grant (FHOG)

A scheme that offers a once-off payment to first home buyers to assist with their entry into the housing market. Amounts, terms and conditions differ between states and territories. If you qualify, our adviser will explain the whole process and assist you with the required forms.

Fixed Interest Rate

An interest rate that remains fixed for a defined period, which gives you repayment stability for the agreed upon period. Watch out for Break Costs (see above).

Freehold Title

For legal purposes, different types of property can be sold under different titles. This is a form of property ownership where the property and the land it stands on belong entirely to the owner. Lenders are generally comfortable with this type of title.

G

Genuine Savings

A rule put in place by lenders for first home buyers requiring demonstration of an ability to save. Saving a fixed amount over a fixed period provides comfort to the lenders that a mortgage commitment can and will be maintained.

Guarantor

A person, usually a spouse or family member, who is helping the borrower obtain finance by offering additional income or security support. A guarantor may be liable for the loan debt if the borrower defaults and should obtain legal advice to ensure they understand the financial obligations.

H

I

Interest Only (IO)

A loan where, for a period of time, you only repay the interest on your loan and not the actual debt. This facility is popular with investors or can be useful when financial hardship occurs.

Introductory (Honeymoon) Rate

A reduced interest rate offered for a specified period of a loan, usually the first twelve months that reverts to a higher rate after. A product for a good time not a long time.

J

Joint Tenants

Equal ownership of a property between two or more persons. If one party dies, their interest passes to the survivor/s. A common arrangement for married couples. See also Tenants in Common.

K

L

Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI)

A form of insurance for a Lender whose customers borrow more than 80% of the value of a property. It’s a safeguard for the lender against financial loss in the event you cannot make your payments. It’s important to note that the insurance only covers the lender; if there is a claim, the insurer chases the borrower for any loss.

Liabilities

A person’s debts or financial obligations, such as a credit card, loan, leases or mortgages.

Line of Credit

A loan that allows you to borrow up to a certain limit either all at once or in smaller amounts. The advantage is that you only pay interest when you withdraw (known as “drawing down”) these funds. This flexibility usually results in a higher interest rate. Also known as an Equity Loan.

Loan Principal

The amount you borrow from the Lender; the amount upon which interest is charged.

Loan Term

The agreed period you have to repay your loan. On average, the loan term for a home loan is 30 years – but the sooner you pay it off, the less money you pay in interest.

Loan to Valuation Ratio (LVR)

The ratio of the loan amount compared to the valuation of the property. For example, a loan of $90,000 on a home valued at $100,000 means the ratio is 90%.

Low Documentation (Low Doc) Loan

No different to any other loan except there is less documentation, and a bigger deposit is required. It’s suitable for applicants who may not have up-to-date or complete financial information available at the time of application.

M

Mortgage

A form of security for a loan usually taken over real estate. The lender (mortgagee) has the right to take the property if the borrower (mortgagor) fails to repay the loan.

Mortgagee

The lender of the funds and the holder of the mortgage.

Mortgagor

A person who borrows the funds and grants a mortgage over their property as security for the loan.

N

Negative Gearing

When you earn less from an investment property than it’s costing you. For example, the interest and costs for the property cost more than the rent your tenants pay. You may choose to make a loss to reduce your taxable income, or you might accept a short-term loss in the hope of a capital gain later.

Non-Conforming Loan

A type of loan from specialist lenders for borrowers whose situation is outside the normal eligibility requirements of the major lenders.

O

Offset Account

A transactional account that is linked to your home loan. The balance of this account offsets the balance of the home loan, helping to reduce the interest paid and overall term of the loan.

Ombudsman

An arbitrator who provides a way for customers to make complaints about their adviser/financial services provider. They can provide an avenue for complaints to be dealt with independently without the need for a lawyer.

P

Principal

The amount initially borrowed or the outstanding loan amount upon which interest is calculated.

Principal and Interest (P&I)

A loan formed of two payments. One part pays off the debt (Principal) and the other pays off the interest portion of the loan. Suitable for people who want to own the property.

Q

R

Redraw Facility

A loan facility where you can make additional repayments (to reduce the interest) and then access those extra funds if necessary. Like a savings account except you save interest, rather than have it paid to you. There are no redraw fees on the Astute Simplicity Loan.

Refinancing

To replace an existing loan (or debt) with funds from a different lender. Usually at a cheaper rate, for additional features, or for an amount more than your current lender is able to provide.

S

Security

An asset (real estate, vehicle, equipment) offered as security for a loan.

Settlement Date

The date your money is due to be paid to the seller of the asset (real estate, vehicle, equipment).

Split Rate Loans

A loan that allows you to split your loan between different interest rates and repayment types. For example, you may fix the interest rate on part of your loan as a protection against possible interest rate rises, while keeping part of the loan at a variable rate to allow flexibility with additional repayments and redraw. Or whatever suits your needs.

Stamp Duty

In its simplest form, this is a document transfer fee. It’s a government fee applied to transactions, such as transfers and agreements, for the sale of real estate (referred to as transfer duty), documented gifts, policies of insurance, mortgages, hire of goods (rental), and the transfer and issue of motor vehicle licences. Stamp Duty is calculated by applying a sliding scale of taxation. The amount of duty will vary depending on the value of the asset you intend to buy, and is decided upon by the state you're buying in.

Standard Variable Loan

A loan with an interest rate that varies according to market forces. The loan usually comes with all the bells and whistles, such as offset and redraw facilities.

Strata Title

For legal purposes, different types of property can be sold under different titles. This type of title provides a system for handling the legal ownership of a portion of a building or structure and can be applied to residential or commercial property – like an apartment. Lenders are generally comfortable with this type of title.

Survey

A plan that shows the boundaries and the building position.

T

Tenants in Common

Property in the names of two or more persons where each person has a separate and distinct share. When one person dies their share is not passed to the surviving “tenant(s)” but becomes part of the deceased’s estate for disposal in accordance with the will. See also joint tenancy.

Term

The length of a loan or a specific portion within the loan.

Title Search

A process that ensures the vendor has the right to sell and transfer ownership of an asset, and check there aren’t any issues that could cause problems in the future.

Torrens Title

The most common form of property title in Australia. It means the purchaser owns both the house and the land on which it’s built. You are responsible for the property's upkeep - both inside the property and outside on the block of land.

U

Unencumbered

A property free of debt (such as a mortgage) or restrictions.

V

Valuation

A professional opinion of property value.

Variable Interest Rate

An interest rate that varies during the term of the loan, in accordance with market forces.

W

X

Y

Z