When you’re buying or selling property, proving ownership, or refinancing a mortgage, conducting a title search for a Certificate of Title is essential. But what is a Certificate of Title, and what detail can it provide about a property?

A Certificate of Title (sometimes referred to as a title deed or a land title) serves as a public and legal record of land ownership, including interests and restrictions on the land.

In the past, these certificates were physical papers, but with the availability of e-Conveyancing, they are now available electronically.

In Australia, state land registries hold title information. This title information is accessible through a Title Search from an authorised provider in as little as 60 seconds. A title search unveils crucial details, including property owner/s names, land restrictions, mortgage and lease details, and other important information.

Here are five key revelations from a title search:

1. Ownership Details

The Certificate of Title discloses the names of all landowners, specifying the type of ownership—either tenants in common or joint tenants.

This information is vital for understanding the property’s ownership structure and potential implications.

2. Easements

Easements, granting non-owners the right to use land for a specific purpose, are highlighted.

Common easements include drainage, service access and right of way.

Being aware of these easements is crucial as they can impact land use and construction possibilities.

3. Covenants

Covenants, acting as guidelines or restrictions on the land, outline limitations on construction.

Developers create covenants to maintain quality and aesthetics. Understanding these rules is essential for compliance during property alterations.

4. Caveats

Caveats serve as warnings that others have an interest in the property, preventing certain actions like selling.

A caveat is lodged with the state land registry, signaling potential claims to the property.

Buyers must be vigilant for caveats as they indicate potential issues with the property’s title.

5. Mortgages

The presence of a mortgage is disclosed – if one exists – indicating that the bank holds the Certificate of Title instead of the property owner.

This information is crucial for buyers, as the seller must discharge the mortgage before settlement to avoid delays.

Conducting a title search provides a comprehensive understanding of a property’s legal and ownership status, and the careful consideration of these details not only ensures compliance but also helps avoid potential issues, to help individuals, investors or businesses make more informed decisions in real estate transactions. 

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