Documentary evidence is well recognised for determining the legitimacy of any real estate property. Nonetheless, it is customary to obtain and assess these credentials before the sale or mortgage of a property.
The process is called a ‘Title Search’. It guarantees that the land title is authentic and free of legal concerns.
CoreLogic reports that there are around 598,000 houses and units sold throughout Australia as of August 2021. The numbers show that this year’s housing turnover is the highest annual sales after 12 years since 2004—a whopping 42% increase from the previous year’s annual sales. Nationwide, the number of residential properties sold this year is 31% higher than the decades average and 24% above the 20-year estimate.
Given these circumstances, title search professionals at Property Registry underscored the importance of securing a land title. Moreover, with the recent uptick in residential property acquisitions, homeowners, real estate agents, property investors, conveyancers, and solicitors should be responsible for securing a Land Title for whatever purpose it may serve them best.
But what exactly is a Land Title, and why do you need to secure one?
A Certificate of Title (CT) or simply Land Title is a legal and public record of property ownership containing rights and restrictions on the land. Certificates of Title were formerly pieces of paper, but with the emergence of e-Conveyancing, CT’s are now accessible online.
In Australia, land title information is kept by state land registries. You can access it by doing a Land Title Search from an authorised source. Moreover, you can use land title search for various reasons since it provides information about the property owner(s), land restrictions, mortgage information, lease records, and other pertinent information about the property.
A Land Title offers a fast, updated, legal document of who owns the property. It saves the need for anyone to research the title’s history.
The Land Title is a matter of public record that serves as documentation of ownership.
Land Title can quickly resolve disputes over ownership or rights to the land.
When a Land Title is registered with a plan, the owners receive an official plan of the property, which they may use to prevent encroaching by trespassing on the boundaries.
Banks, lending institutions, or private loan providers may request a Land Title to secure any loan.
If a legal owner wishes to sell the land, the owner presents the registered Land Title to the potential buyer. No other evidence of ownership is needed, and the buyer doesn’t have to wade through a long list of legal documentation to prove ownership.
A registered land title has various sections. It provides:
- the current owner’s name and information
- the property’s description and location,
- restrictive clauses that limit how landowners may utilise their property,
- easements that impact the property (for instance, a right of way),
- Charges, penalties, and outstanding mortgages or
- Warnings or caveats that apply to the property.
Property owners, investors, real estate agents, and developers must thoroughly understand property titles. That is, if they want to avoid significant mistakes that might lead to legal action and financial losses. Doing a land title search is pretty straightforward. Go to Property Registry’s website, fill out a form, pay a charge, and you’ll have access to the information you need.
Property Registry’s integrated land title search system provides a unified solution for doing title searches. Property Registry states:
We help our clients remove the guesswork from conducting property searches by using standardised forms throughout the search phase.
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