What is a title search and what does it tell me?

what is a title searchBefore buying a property, it is a good idea to conduct a title search on it to receive a Certificate of Title. When you engage a conveyancer, this is one of the many things they will check on your behalf to ensure your transaction is smooth.

So what is a Certificate of Title? Each state and territory keeps a register of all the land in the state and shows the owner of the land. So the Certificate of Title is the legal record of land ownership. It can also share a wealth of information about the property you are interested in. For example:

  • Who owns the land – there may be one or multiple owners
  • Any mortgage on the property – often the provider of the mortgage (usually a bank) will be listed on the title
  • Any easements connected with the property. An easement gives someone who does not own the land rights to use the property for a specific purpose. For example, access to electricity infrastructure by city workers. These can restrict the use of the land depending on what they are for, so knowledge of them prior to purchase is important
  • Caveats – this is a potential claim to all or part of the property and a caveat listed on the title prevents the owner from selling the property until it has been removed
  • Covenants – these are guidelines or restrictions on the land and what can be built on it. Common covenants include things like whether the land can have multiple buildings on it. Breaching convenants can be serious, so knowledge in advance of purchase is wise for any future planned improvements to a property
  • The title search will also allow you to cross-check details that are in the contract to ensure they are correct

In all of these cases, your conveyancer will be able to explain the implications any of the above items can have on you, the financial goals you have shared with them and the property. If you would like to discuss a title search on a property you are interested in buying or selling, feel free to contact us.