6 Questions and Answers To Help You Obtain a Title Search for Your Property

If you’re seriously interested in a property, remember to order a title search first. Find out why this is important and how to make it happen.

Imagine buying a property for a huge amount of money.

But instead of being a proud new owner of a property, you realised that the person who received your payment wasn’t the original owner. Or, the property had several liens tied to it. You can’t put your name on the title because it has an encumbrance.

Either way, it’s frustrating. It’s as if you just spent your hard-earned money for nothing.

This illustrates the importance of ordering a title search before you decide on purchasing a property. 

By title search, we mean examining the public records associated with the legal ownership of the property for sale. Doing so can reveal issues like tax liens, court judgments, land records, etc. It’ll also tell you if the person you’re dealing with and the property you want to buy won’t give you problems when you try to take ownership of the said property.

In this article, you’ll discover the six most important questions about title searches you need to ask and the answers to them.

6 Questions About Title Searches, Answered

To familiarise yourself with title searches, here are six important questions you must consider:

Question: #1. How much does a title search cost?

The cost to conduct a title search will vary depending on your location. Just to give you an idea, here are a few examples:

  • New South Wales (NSW): $100 to $700 (depending on the portal).
  • Queensland: $18.15.
  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT): $220 (through online subscriber services).
  • Victoria: $14
  • Tasmania: $30.60
  • South Australia: $27.75
  • Western Australia: $24.85
  • Northern Territory: Access to the Integrated Land Information System (ILIS) requires a monthly fee.

Question #2. How long does it take to receive the results of a title search?

A typical title search will take 10 to 14 days to be completed. Keep in mind that the older the property, the longer it’ll take to complete the search.

The timeline is expected to cut shorter as property documents become available online. It can even be as short as 60 seconds when you have full access to the right website.

Question #3. What information does a title search reveal about a property?

Among the crucial details you’ll know about a property with a title search are:

  • Owner/s – Titles show the name of the land owner/s and the type of ownership.
  • Easements – This refers to any rights bestowed on people who don’t own the property but are allowed to use it for a specific purpose. For instance, the right-of-way easement allows your neighbours to cross a part of your property to access a road. The service easement allows city or utility workers to access water, electricity, or sewerage infrastructure on your land.
  • Covenants – These are guidelines that specify how the property should be built or renovated. Sometimes, this is used by developers to retain a specific look and quality in a neighbourhood.
  • Caveats – This is a warning put on the property because someone else has shown interest in it. A caveat usually means the owner isn’t allowed to sell it.
  • Mortgages – An unpaid mortgage means the Certificate of Title is with the mortgage provider (their name should be on the title).

Question #4. Is a title search a one-time process or does it need to be repeated?

Title searches come from different sources (e.g. tax liens, deeds, land records, court judgments, etc). This is why it can sometimes take time to be completed.

And if there’s a problem with the property ownership, it won’t be a one-time transaction. So, you’ll have to be patient.

Question #5. What should I do if the title search reveals a problem with the property title?

When the title search reveals a problem with the property and its ownership, you need to revert to the seller so they can fix it. Discuss what needs to be done before you decide whether you’ll proceed with buying the property or not.

Ideally, have a lawyer or a real estate agent present during the discussions. But this will still depend on the issues found.

Question #6. How do I obtain a title search for my property?

Getting a title search isn’t a simple process because it varies depending on the state. Here are a few examples:

  • New South Wales (NSW): The NSW Department of Land and Property Information offers different portals to conduct a title search.
  • Queensland: You can conduct a title search through the Queensland government website.
  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT): Title searches would require you to go to the local government Office of Regulatory Services. Online subscriber services can also be availed
  • Victoria: Title searches happen through the state government’s LANDATA site.
  • Tasmania: You must create an account on the Land Information System Tasmania (LIST) site and pay the fee to do a title search in their Folio Text section.
  • South Australia: You’ll need to go to the South Australian Integrated Land Information System (SALIS) site and pay a fee for every title search.
  • Western Australia: Use the Landgate site to do a title search.
  • Northern Territory: For one-time title searches, you can just request it over the phone/fax or visit their land title office. But if you’ll be doing a lot of title searches, you can pay a monthly fee to access the Integrated Land Information System (ILIS).

Use Archistar to Easily Order a Title Search

A title search is a crucial step to ensure that you’re buying the right property. You can hire someone to do it for you, or you can conduct the title search yourself.

If you don’t like jumping from one site to another to gather all the necessary documents, use Archistar. 

The platform allows you  to set up filters by type, zoning, and other criteria to expedite your search. You can then purchase land titles through the platform with a starting price of $12.50 per title, as well as other documents you’ll need.

Use the Archistar platform to make sure you’re buying a property that’s free of complications. Try out Archistar for free today and see how it can help you speed up the process.