Terminology for First Time Home Buyers

Amortization – this is the length of time it will take to pay off a mortgage in full, and is calculated using the principle and interest. A typical amortization period for new buyers is 25 years.

Conditional Offer

A conditional offer is an offer made on a property where certain conditions must be met prior to the contract becoming binding. Most common conditions are financing, home inspection and condo document review, but can also include a sale of buyer’s home condition, well water and septic test conditions, or even getting a pet approved in a condo purchase! If these conditions are satisfied, then the property is conditionally sold

Land Title

When you purchase a property in Alberta, you will be sent an Alberta Land Title, also known as a deed. This information is publically available on the Government of Alberta’s website, and will include a legal description of the property you are purchasing, who the current registered owner is, and if there are any encumbrances, liens or interests on the property.


This is any structure or obstacle belonging to one property that extends to another, or encroaching on another property. Common encroachments are eaves troughs or fences.


Equity is the portion of your home that you own and is the difference in value between how much you owe and the appraisal value of your home. So if your home is worth $500,000 and you owe $300,000, then you have $200,000 equity in your home. This amount will change as you pay down your mortgage, improve the property or the market improves. But it could also go down if you use your Home Equity Line of Credit or get other loans secured by your home.  


When you have a completed contract with a seller, you will be required to pay a deposit. This money is held in trust (usually) by the seller’s real estate brokerage.

Down payment

This is the money the lender requires you to invest in the purchase of your home. It will include the deposit you already paid, and must be at least 5% of the purchase price of the home.

You can read more about the difference between the deposit and down payment in THIS blog post.

Fixtures and chattel

A fixture is something attached to a house, like a water heater or ceiling fan. A chattel is something that could be moved if necessary, like a washer or dryer. It is important to read through the inclusions on the MLS posting to make sure you understand what you are buying!

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