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Real Estate Glossary: ​​16 Terms You Need to Know


Every industry has its own vocabulary and, in the real estate market, it couldn’t be different! It is full of nomenclatures and acronyms that can generate doubts when buying or renting a property. Therefore, we selected here a list with the most used terms. Check out!

1. Lessor

It is the owner of the property or its legal representative. It can even be represented by more than one person, which is common in cases of family or partnership properties, when several people own it. The lessor can also be a legal entity (company).

2. Lessee

The lessee is the person on the other side of the negotiation, that is, the person to whom the property will be rented. And just like the lessor, it can also be represented by more than one person and by a legal entity.

3. Guarantor

It is a person who acts as a guarantee of payment if the lessee, for any reason, does not comply with the obligations (rents, fees, fines and correction) entered into in the contract.

4. Security deposit

When renting a property, the tenant must provide guarantees for the owner, in case there is any problem with the payment. The “rental bond” or “damage deposit” is one of these rental securities. In this modality, the owner can demand that the value of up to three rents be deposited in advance.

According to the Tenancy Law, number 8.245/1991, it is the lessor who chooses the type of lease protection and not the tenant. The other three forms are: surety, surety bond and fiduciary assignment of investment fund quotas. The contract depends on the definition of this model, as each option has different requirements.

5. Surety bond

Bail insurance is offered by some insurance companies or financial institutions to replace the traditional guarantor. In this case, the tenant takes out an insurance policy that will be used in case of non-payment of rent or in need of any repairs.

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6. Chattel mortgage

The chattel mortgage is a resource used in loan modalities as a guarantee for the payment of the debt. It works like this: the person who contracted the financing transfers to the financial institution the ownership of the asset that he intends to acquire or that will be the guarantee of the operation, until the payment of the debt is made.

7. Registration

The registration of the property can be defined as the act of formalizing in the Real Estate Registry Office all changes made to the property (subjective call) or to the property (objective) – such as a change in the owner’s marital status or in the street name of the property, for example.

Changes registered in the registry guarantee security for the owner when it is necessary to carry out validations related to the property.

8. Condominium

Building or group of houses that form a whole and share common expenses. Condominium is also the usual way of referring to the fee charged to residents, resulting from the apportionment of common expenses (building maintenance, water and electricity in common areas, employees’ salaries, among others). The division is made according to the proportions or dimensions of each property.

9. Property deed

It is one of the documents needed to purchase a house or an apartment, as it formalizes the real estate transaction. In other words, the deed represents the legal act of transfer of ownership and domain of the property from the seller to the buyer. In order for it to have value, it must be registered with the Real Estate Registry Service of the property’s district.

10. Property registration

Property registration number at the registry, the same since its construction.

11. Property Registration Certificate

It is the document that contains all the acts performed (records, registrations, debts, among others) within a certain period. It can be positive, when there is a burden on the property (attachment, mortgage, among others), or negative, when no burden is weighed on the property.

12. Settle in

It is the authorization given by the city to occupy and use a newly built or renovated property. It is issued after an inspection carried out by construction inspectors (who compare the construction with the approved project) and public services (fire brigade, electricity, gas, water and sewage companies). Every house or apartment unit can only be occupied after granting the occupancy permit.

13. Permit

It is a document issued by a public agency to authorize someone to perform a certain act. In many cases, it serves to allow the incorporation and/or construction of an architectural project.

14. ITBI

The acronym stands for “Transmission Tax on Immovable Property” or, in some regions, “Transmission Tax on Inter-living Property”. It is a fee – proportional to the value of a property or real rights over real estate – charged by the city hall every time there is a change in property.

Learn more:
Understand what ITBI is and how to calculate it

15. Tenancy Law

Popular name for the law that regulates urban leases. The law in force is n.º 8245, of 1991.

16. Zoning

Division of a municipality into zones with specific urban characteristics (destination, type of construction and activity): residential, commercial, mixed (commercial and residential), industrial, cultural preservation area, watershed preservation, among others.