The festive season is upon us, and now ‘tis the time to buy property. But you would be well advised to check the provisions of the Title Deed to the property you’re interested in before you sign on the dotted line.
Broadly speaking, a “Title Deed” (also called a “Deed of Transfer” – they’re interchangeable terms) sets out important information about the property, for example who owns it, how much was paid for it and when, and whether the property is encumbered by any mortgage bonds. The Title Deed will also set out any conditions pertaining to the property. It is issued by the local Deeds Office after a conveyancing attorney has registered the transfer to a new owner.
If you don’t do a thorough check, you could potentially be in for a nasty surprise down the line. For example, you really don’t want to find out after you buy that servitudes apply and you must now live with neighbours crossing your property whenever they feel like it, or that you can never build that double-storey you always wanted, nor subdivide when the time is ripe.
Check that everything in the title deed lines up with the offer you are intending to make. And that you are happy with all obligations and restrictions on your use of the property.
Importantly, even the simplest title deed can be full of legalese and potential pitfalls for the unwary. So, as always, ask your lawyer for help before you sign anything!