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Posted by cpn_admin on March 12, 2024

The commercial real estate market is full of property jargon, which can be confusing, even for seasoned investors. In this article, we will break down 25 essential terms relating to Victorian commercial real estate. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional, this guide will provide valuable insights into the complex language of commercial property and industrial real estate investment terms, with beginner and intermediate definitions.

Cap Rate (Capitalisation Rate):

Beginner: The rate of return on a real estate investment based on the income generated relative to its current market value.

Intermediate: Calculated by dividing the property’s net operating income (NOI) by its current market value. A higher cap rate may indicate a riskier investment with potentially higher returns.

Triple Net Lease (NNN):

Beginner: A lease arrangement where the tenant pays for property taxes (land tax), insurance, and maintenance costs in addition to rent.

Intermediate: Shifts most operating expenses from the landlord to the tenant, making it a popular choice for long-term leases and stable income streams.

Due Diligence:

Beginner: Thorough research and investigation conducted by a buyer before purchasing a property.

Intermediate: Involves assessing financial records, property condition, and legal aspects to ensure the investment aligns with the buyer’s goals.

Strata Title:

Beginner: A type of ownership where individuals own a specific unit within a larger building or complex.

Intermediate: Common in commercial real estate, this legal structure defines individual ownership of units while sharing common areas.

Gross Lease:

Beginner: Lease where the tenant pays a fixed rent, and the landlord covers property expenses.

Intermediate: Offers simplicity to tenants, but landlords may factor in expenses, leading to higher base rents.

Development Approval:

Beginner: The official permission required from local authorities to construct or alter a property.

Intermediate: A critical step in the development process, involving a thorough review of plans to ensure compliance with zoning regulations.


Beginner: The right to use another person’s land for a specific purpose, such as accessing a property.

Intermediate: Can impact property values, and buyers must understand existing easements before purchasing.

Deed of Covenant:

Beginner: A legal agreement outlining the obligations and restrictions imposed on the property owner.

Intermediate: Used to maintain specific standards within a development, ensuring a cohesive aesthetic.


Beginner: A professional who manages the legal aspects of transferring property ownership.

Intermediate: Handles paperwork, contracts, and ensures a smooth property transfer process.


Beginner: Local government regulations specifying how land can be used, such as residential or commercial.

Intermediate: Understanding zoning is crucial for assessing a property’s potential uses and restrictions.

Rentable vs. Usable Square meterage:

Beginner: Rentable square meterage includes common areas, while usable square meterage is the actual space a tenant occupies.

Intermediate: Impacts lease agreements and helps determine rental costs for tenants.

Base Rent:

Beginner: The initial fixed rent paid by the tenant, excluding additional costs.

Intermediate: Typically, subject to periodic increases and serves as a starting point for calculating total rent.


Beginner: The transformation of a neighbourhood through urban development and an influx of wealthier residents.

Intermediate: Can lead to increased property values but may also displace existing communities.

Joint Venture:

Beginner: A partnership between two or more parties to undertake a specific project.

Intermediate: Involves sharing risks, costs, and profits, often used in large-scale developments.

Reversionary Yield:

Beginner: The yield of a property once it achieves its full income potential.

Intermediate: Important for investors anticipating future income growth from a property.

Ground Lease:

Beginner: Lease where a tenant rents land and constructs a building, returning the land to the owner after the lease expires.

Intermediate: Can be a strategic option for developers, providing flexibility and potential tax benefits.

Land Banking:

Beginner: Acquiring and holding land for future development or appreciation.

Intermediate: Requires a long-term investment strategy and consideration of market trends.


Beginner: Securing tenants for a property before it is completed or even constructed.

Intermediate: Mitigates risk for developers and provides financial assurance during the construction phase.

Anchor Tenant:

Beginner: A major tenant in a commercial property, often a large retail chain, attracting other tenants.

Intermediate: Plays a crucial role in the success and stability of a commercial property.

Beginner: The process of examining public records to confirm the property’s legal ownership.

Intermediate: Identifies any existing claims, liens, or encumbrances that may affect the property.

Mezzanine Financing:

Beginner: Hybrid financing between debt and equity, often used in development projects.

Intermediate: Offers flexibility but comes with higher interest rates and increased risk for investors.

Rent Review:

Beginner: Periodic assessments of rent amounts, often with adjustments based on market conditions.

Intermediate: Can involve fixed increases or be tied to a specific index, affecting long-term lease profitability.

Vacancy Rate:

Beginner: The percentage of unoccupied rental units in a property or market.

Intermediate: A key metric for investors, indicating market demand and potential income fluctuations.

Gross Building Area (GBA):

Beginner: The total floor area of a building, including all spaces and common areas.

Intermediate: Used for various calculations, such as determining rentable square footage and property valuation.

Environmental Site Assessment (ESA):

Beginner: Investigation to identify potential environmental hazards or contamination on a property.

Intermediate: Crucial for risk management and compliance with environmental regulations.

As laws and markets change, new jargon emerges, however, these 25 terms provide a solid foundation for commercial and industrial real estate investment in Victoria. Understanding these terms will empower you to make informed decisions and thrive in the world of commercial real estate.

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