Property ownership: read title deed carefully

Jul 25 2017 14:48

Cape Town - Anyone who purchases a home will need to have the title deed transferred into his or her name as proof of ownership.

The document acts as proof of ownership in terms of the Deeds Registries Act, with each property required to have its own separate deed.

The document contains all the necessary details and important information about the property such as a comprehensive description and exact size.
Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, explains that the title deed also provides vital insight into to a property's history; registered owner and previous owners; the purchase price paid by the current owner and some other information elements such as the rules and restrictions surrounding the property.  

“By reading the title deed of a property, a prospective buyer will also know if there are any conditions applicable to the zoning, use or sale of the land, along with all real rights registered in respect of the property. All of these aspects can have an impact on the value of the property and should be considered.

Read carefully

Before signing any offer to purchase a home, buyers should carefully read through the title deed to ensure they are fully aware of all the details pertaining to the property, advises Goslett.

The owner of an immovable property will only receive the original title deed once he or she has paid off the home in full. However, if there is a bond registered on the property, the bank keeps the title deed in its custody until the home loan is paid off.

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“If the purchase of a home was financed by a bank, it is legally entitled to keep the title deed, because it is its money that bought the home and it has a vested interest in the property,” says Goslett.

While the bank that holds the bond over the property will have the original title deed in its possession, the homeowner or agent marketing the home should have a copy that the buyer can read through.

Deeds Office

Alternatively, buyers can access the information directly by obtaining a copy from the Deeds Office. There are several Deeds Offices throughout the country, each handling a particular area of jurisdiction.

A copy of each Title Deed is held in a Deeds Registry at the Deeds Office within the closest proximity to where the property is located. The Deeds Registry is open to any member of the public who requires access to information. However, each enquiry will come at a nominal cost.  

Goslett says most real estate professionals will have access to deeds information through a computer-linked facility at their offices called Deedsweb, which is the National Department of Rural Development and Land Reform’s official site for the supply of deeds registration information.
Every Deeds Registry is connected to the network which contains all title deeds registered from 1980.

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re/max  |  property  |  money



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