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Important Words/Terminology of Indian Real Estate

When it comes to real estate sector in India the terms used by real estate businesses and agents is not very easy to deal with, having said that being a vast nation the local dialects also make investors/buyers of other regions feel like an alien.

Below is a glossary of terms frequently used by real estate agents across the nation?



Unit of measurement of land, 1 acre is equivalent to 4048.32 square meters and 43560 square feet.


The person who is allotted a property, either by government body/authority or by a developer.


Also known as Real Estate Agent, Realtor or Broker. An agent plays the role of a facilitator for property transactions for a consideration.


Means a part of any property, intended for any type of independent use, including one or more rooms or enclosed spaces located on one or more floors or any; part or parts thereof, in a multi-storied building to be used for residence or office or for the practice of any profession or for the carrying on of any occupation, trade or for business or such other type of independent use as may be prescribed, and with a direct exit to a public street, road or highway or to a common area leading to such street, road or highway, and includes any garage or room (whether or not adjacent to the multi-storied building in which such apartment is located) provided by the promoter for use by the owner of such an apartment for parking any vehicle or as the case may be for the residence of any domestic aide employed in such an apartment.


A written report of the estimated value of a property prepared by a certified Real Estate appraiser or a valuar.


An increase in the value of a property due to changes in market conditions or other causes over a period of time.

Assessed Valuation

The value that a taxing authority places on real property for the purpose of determining the amount of taxation for that property.


Benami Ownership

In Benami Ownership, the title of the property is in one party’s name and the real ownership is in another party’s name.


The person/persons/institution designated to receive the income from a trust, estate or a deed of trust. A contingent beneficiary has conditions attached to his/her/their/its rights.


A Bhumidar is of the class of a tenure-holder under the Delhi Land Reforms Act, 1954. He has the right to use land for any purpose connected with agriculture, farming, pisciculture or poultry. He has no right to use the land for industrial purposes other than those connected directly with the aforesaid activities, unless the land lies within the declared industrial belt.

Built-up Area

Includes the carpet area, the wall thickness


Capital Transaction

Sale/Purchase of a property.

Carpet Area

The actual usable area of an apartment/office unit/showroom etc. minus Wall thickness. Simply put, it is that area within the walls where you can actually lay a carpet.

CBD or Central Business District

Commercial area and its immediate radius of 2 – 3 kms, typically located towards the city centre, which forms the hub of all major commercial activity in a city. Most of the larger corporate entities, large retail outlets and financial institutions would be located in this area. The Real Estate prices here would be the highest compared to all the other locations in the city.

Clear Title

A title that is free from claims or legal questions and all other encumbrances about the ownership of the property.


An asset (such as a car/home) that guarantees the repayment of a loan. The borrower risks losing the asset if the loan is not repaid according to the terms of the loan contract. In a housing loan scenario, collateral would mean additional security over and above the security of the property being financed.

Commencement Certificate

A certificate issued by the appropriate local authority certifying the construction may commence. Typically, this is done after the concerned party has obtained sanction of plans for the construction of a multi-storied building and has put the columns in place indicating the building boundaries.

Commercial Property

A building / property which is used for the purposes of carrying out commercial activity or trading.

Common Areas

Those portions of a building, land and amenities owned (or managed) by a planned unit development (PUD) or condominium project’s homeowners’ association (or a cooperative project’s cooperative corporation) that are used by all of the unit owners, who share in the common expenses of their operation and maintenance.

Common areas include swimming pools, tennis courts, and other recreational facilities, as well as common corridors of buildings and parking areas.

Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP)

The Master Plan approved by an authority.


A Real Estate project in which each unit owner has title to a unit in a building, an undivided interest in the common areas of the project, and sometimes the exclusive use of certain limited common areas. Each individual owner may sell or encumber his/her own unit.


When there are more than one owner for an immovable property, the status of the property is known to be of the Co-ownership type. A Co-owner can do whatever he wishes with his part of the property as long as he does not affect the share of the other Co-owners.


A clause in a mortgage that obligates or restricts the borrower on the use of land or promising certain acts and if violated, can result in legal action against a violator.

For example, homeowners’ associations often enforce restrictive covenants governing the architectural controls (such as how the house is built and what the house can look like) and maintenance responsibilities. However, land could be subject to restrictive covenants even if there is no homeowner’s association.


Debutter property

A debutter is an endowment much less a trust although it can be created through the medium of trust in which the property vests in the trustees and the deity /God is the beneficiary. Not necessary that debutter be always a registered deed


The legal document conveying title to a property.

Defacto Possession

Also called Constructive Possession; the actual physical possession is called Defacto Possession. The actual possession should be held without force or fraud.

Dejure Possession

Also called Juridical Possession, it means possession in the eyes of the law. This may not be accompanied by Defacto Possession. Even when the property is lying locked, the Dejure possessor is the Defacto possessor of the property.


A sum of money given to bind the sale of Real Estate or a sum of money given to ensure payment or an advance of funds in the processing of a loan. Deposit could also be the deposit paid to a landlord as part of a rental transaction.


A decline in the value of property brought about by age, physical deterioration, functional or economic obsolescence, etc.

Due diligence

Verification of the authenticity of the title of the property


Earnest Money Deposit or EMD

A nominal sum of money given as a token to the vendor, signifying the assent to a contract of sale or the like, that the parties are in the earnest or have made up their minds.

Effective Age

A Real Estate appraiser’s estimate of the physical condition of a building. The actual age of a building may be shorter or longer than its effective age.


The physical intrusion of a structure or improvement on the land of another. For example, a neighbor’s fence or construction that crosses over your property line.

Encumbrance Certificate

A report issued by Registrar of Assurances or Sub-Registrar’s office after due verification of the relevant documents certifying that the property in question is free from all encumbrances such as mortgages, leases, easements or restrictions.


Fair Market Value

The highest price that a buyer, willing but not compelled to buy, would pay, and the lowest a seller, willing but not compelled to sell, would accept. In other words a value decided by the market forces.


The concept of a farmhouse is nothing but the building appurtenant to the agricultural land. A farmhouse may be used for dwelling purposes, or as a storehouse or an out-house.

Farm Property

Farm Property is the general name given to the agricultural property.

Freehold Property

A property where title paramount has conveyed the property in favour of the purchaser by conveyance/ sale deed with no restriction on the right of the holder of the property to further transfer the property. Record of ownership of the freehold property can be ascertained from the office of the sub-registrar. It can be transferred by registration of sale deed.

F S I or Floor Space Index / F A R or Floor Area Ratio

The maximum amount of construction allowed on a given plot of land. This is purely dependent on the plot area and would vary from one locality to another based on factors such as the road width. For example, in Delhi in a 400 sq. yard plot the area is 40% the distribution being 20% for the backspace and 20% for the front. In case of a 1000 sq. yard area the area set aside is 60% for the back and the front spaces.



The person who is the lawful obvious inheritor of an estate or a property.


The administrative jurisdiction of a revenue authority.


Immovable Property

Includes land, buildings, hereditary allowances, rights to ways, lights, ferries, fisheries or any other benefit to arise out of land, and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything which is attached to the earth, but not standing timber, growing crops not grass.

Industrial Property

Any property used for a manufacturing purpose. Areas where industrial activity may be carried out are specified by the respective local authorities.

Investment Property

Real Estate owned with the intent of supplementing one’s income and is not intended for owner occupancy (i.e. rental houses, apartment buildings, etc.).


Joint Ownership Agreement

An agreement between owners defining their rights, ownership, monetary obligations and responsibilities.



Any person who has a valid and legal right, title and interest in the property.


Lease is where there are no two kinds of payments made to the landlord by the tenant unlike a rental transaction. A sum of money is paid to the landlord at the beginning of the lease tenure, which is repaid without interest when the tenure ends. No monthly payments are made.

Lease Hold Property

A property “bought” for a certain period of time. The “owner” of such a property will have “bought” the property from the original landlord and is entitled lawfully to rent, lease or “sell” the property to a third party during the period of leasehold. After the leasehold period, the property goes back into the original landlord’s possession.

Loan-to-Value Ratio (LTV)

The ratio of the amount of your loan to the appraised value of the home. The LTV will affect loan programs available to the borrower and generally, the lower the LTV the more favorable the terms of the loan programs offered by lenders.

Long-term Capital Asset

This means a capital asset held by an assessee for nothing less than thirty six months immediately preceding the date of transfer.


Rate Lock Option. A written agreement guaranteeing the homebuyer a specified interest rate provided the loan is closed within a set period of time, usually within 60 days. The lock-in also usually specifies the number of points to be paid at closing.


Maintenance Charges

Charges payable by the owners / occupants of a development (apartment complex / commercial complex / plotted development etc) towards upkeep & maintenance of all common areas and facilities. It is normally a monthly charge and the amount payable is dependent on the kind of amenities that are part of the project.


A legal document that pledges a property to the lender as security for payment of the loan.


Mutation means transfer/change of name in the records of the Corporation for the concerned property.


No Objection Certificate or NOC

A certificate issued by the concerned local authority that the plans are in order and conform to the guidelines and rules in force. In other words, the authority concerned has NO OBJECTION to the commencement of construction.


Occupancy Certificate or OC

A certificate issued by the local development authority certifying that all necessary works have been completed as per the sanctioned plans and that the property is fit for occupation. The OC is issued after clearance from the water, electricity, sewerage, fire fighting authorities etc.


Any person who has a valid and legal right, title and interest in the property.

Owner Financing

A property purchase transaction in which the property seller provides all or a part of the financing.


Occupancy Certificate or OC

A certificate issued by the local development authority certifying that all necessary works have been completed as per the sanctioned plans and that the property is fit for occupation. The OC is issued after clearance from the water, electricity, sewerage, fire fighting authorities etc.


Any person who has a valid and legal right, title and interest in the property.


Real Assets

Real Estate or real property owned by an individual or business.


synonym of “Real Estate Agent”.


The process of paying off one loan with the proceeds from a new loan using the same property as security.


A legal documenting and subsequent recognition of a transaction under the State. This can either be a rental or capital transaction and there is a fee attached to registering a transaction, which varies from state to state.

Residential Property

Any property, which is used for residential purposes. These areas are specifically earmarked as such by the concerned local authority.



In lending, security refers to the collateral given, deposited or pledged to secure the payment of the loan.

Super Built-up Area

The plinth area along with a share of all common areas proportionately divided amongst all unit owners makes up the Super Built-up area. The common areas include corridors, balconies, swimming pool, garden, clubhouse, the lift wells etc.



Revenue authority or officer empowered to impose and collect revenue from a particular jurisdiction.


One who is not an owner but enjoys possession of a property from the owner on certain specified terms and conditions for a temporary period.


The document that provides legal evidence that the person has the right to the possession of the land.

Title Search

An investigation of public records into the history of ownership of a property to check for liens, unpaid claims, restrictions or problems, to prove that the seller can transfer free and clear ownership.


Any activity that leads to an exchange between two parties – buyer and seller/landlord and tenant etc.



A value of the property that is lesser than the fair market value. Registration fee for a property is based on the value of the property in case of capital transaction or rent in case of rental transaction.

Urban Land Ceiling and Regulation Act (ULCRA)

Popularly referred to as ULC Act. This is basically a legislation that was enforced to prevent profiteering and hoarding in the urban land market as well as prevent urban congestion.



Parts of a city or town are allocated and categorized into zones, which in turn will have a bearing on factors like type of property that can be constructed, number of floors allowed for construction, etc.


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