Real Estate Terminology Canada

Real Estate Terminology Canada

  • Mar 1, 2024
Navigating the real estate market in Canada can often feel like deciphering a foreign language, especially for first-time homebuyers or new investors.


Navigating the real estate market in Canada can often feel like deciphering a foreign language, especially for first-time homebuyers or new investors. The myriad of terms and phrases unique to the industry can be overwhelming. Understanding these terms is crucial for making informed decisions, whether you're buying, selling, or investing in property. This article aims to demystify some of the most common real estate terminology in Canada, providing clear and concise definitions to empower your real estate ventures.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM)

An Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM) is a type of mortgage where the interest rate applied on the outstanding balance varies throughout the life of the loan. Typically tied to a specific benchmark, the interest rates on ARMs change at regular intervals, affecting monthly payment amounts. This option can be appealing when initial rates are lower than fixed-rate mortgages, offering potential savings if rates decrease over time. However, it also poses a risk if rates increase, leading to higher payments.

Adjusting Date

The adjusting date is a critical term in real estate transactions, marking the day when financial adjustments are made to account for items prepaid by the seller. These adjustments can include property taxes, utility bills, and condo fees, ensuring that both parties pay their fair share of costs up to and beyond the possession date.


In real estate, agency refers to the legal relationship between a real estate agent (or broker) and their client, whether the client is a buyer, seller, tenant, or landlord. This relationship obligates the agent to act in the client's best interest, offering guidance, confidentiality, and due diligence throughout the transaction process.


Amortization in real estate is the process of spreading out a loan into a series of fixed payments over time. While each payment covers a portion of both principal and interest, early payments are typically more heavily weighted toward interest. As the loan matures, a larger share of the payments goes towards reducing the principal.

Amortization Period

The amortization period is the total length of time it takes to pay off a mortgage in full, assuming regular payments and no changes in the interest rate. In Canada, amortization periods can range widely but typically extend up to 25 years for insured mortgages and longer for conventional ones.

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

An Annual General Meeting (AGM) is a meeting held once a year that allows members of an organization, such as a condo corporation, to meet, discuss, and make decisions about important issues. It's a platform for property owners to voice concerns, review financial statements, and elect the board of directors for the coming year.


In Canada, an apartment refers to a rental living space located in a residential building or complex. These units are owned by a landlord or property management company and are leased to tenants. Apartments can vary greatly in size, layout, and amenities offered.


An appraisal is a professional assessment of a property's value conducted by a certified appraiser. Based on factors like location, condition, and market trends, appraisals are crucial for lenders to determine the loan amount for a mortgage, and for buyers and sellers to ensure fair pricing.


Appurtenant is a legal term referring to the rights or privileges that come with a property, often pertaining to common property access or the use of amenities. These rights are attached to the land and transfer with property ownership.


The assignee is the party in an assignment sale who receives the right to purchase a property. This typically involves taking over a contract from the original buyer (assignor) before the property has been fully constructed or transferred, allowing the assignee to step into the original buyer's position.


Assignment is a real estate transaction where the original buyer of a property (the assignor) sells their interest in a purchase contract to another buyer (the assignee) before the completion of the property. This is common in pre-construction real estate sales.

Read more: What is a Presale home?.

Assignment Sale

An assignment sale occurs when the original buyer of a pre-construction property sells their purchase agreement to another buyer before the building is completed. This allows the new buyer (assignee) to take over the rights and obligations of the purchase agreement from the original buyer (assignor).


The assignor in an assignment sale is the original buyer who holds the contract to purchase a property and decides to sell this contract to an assignee before the property's completion or closing.

Assessed Value

The assessed value is the dollar value assigned to a property by a public tax assessor for the purposes of taxation. This value may differ from the market value and is used to calculate property taxes based on local tax rates.

Back-Up Offer

A back-up offer is a secondary offer on a property that becomes active if the primary offer falls through. This is a strategy used by buyers to position themselves as next in line should the current deal not close.

Read more: Presale in Vancouver.

Balanced Market

A balanced market in real estate occurs when the supply of available properties matches the demand from buyers. This equilibrium leads to stable prices and reasonable negotiation times, offering a fair playing field for both buyers and sellers.

Bank Draft

A bank draft is a payment instrument issued by a bank, guaranteeing the transfer of a specified amount of money. In real estate transactions, bank drafts are commonly used for down payments or deposits, providing sellers with secure assurance of payment.


1. What is the difference between an adjustable-rate mortgage and a fixed-rate mortgage?
An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) has an interest rate that can change over time based on market conditions, potentially leading to varying payment amounts. A fixed-rate mortgage keeps the same interest rate throughout the entire loan term, ensuring consistent monthly payments.

2. How is the assessed value of a property determined?
The assessed value is determined by a public tax assessor, who evaluates the property based on factors such as location, size, condition, and comparable property sales within the area. This value is then used to calculate property taxes.

3. What benefits does an assignment sale offer to buyers and sellers?
For sellers (assignors), an assignment sale provides an opportunity to transfer the property contract, potentially avoiding penalties for breaking the contract directly with the developer. For buyers (assignees), it offers a chance to purchase pre-construction properties that may no longer be available directly from the developer, sometimes at a price negotiated by the original buyer.

Understanding these terms is just the beginning of navigating Canada's complex real estate landscape. Whether you're buying your first home, investing in property, or selling, knowledge is power. Armed with these definitions, you're better prepared to make informed decisions and navigate the real estate market with confidence.

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