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The title deed: What homebuyers (and owners) need to know

The title deed: What homebuyers (and owners) need to know

This article was published by OOBA ( and explains what the Title Deed document is about and why it is such an important document.

NOTE: This article was shortened to provide the most relevant information.

Proof of home ownership, the title deeds to your new home, are very important documents. But who keeps them and what happens if they need to be changed?

  • Title deeds are important legal documents used as evidence of proof of ownership of a home or piece of land.
  • If there is a bond on the property then the title deeds will be kept by the lender or bank and only returned to the owner once the home loan has been fully paid.
  • A lawyer (coveyancing attorney) will be needed if the title deeds are changed, and the lenders and co-owners will have to agree to the changes, too.

One of the crucial steps in buying a new home is to have the title deed transferred into your name, thereby proving that you are now the legal owner of the property.

You will need the assistance of a lawyer specialising in property transfers (also known as a conveyancer) to help you transfer the title deed into your name.

What does the title deed include?

  • A description of the property, with its size, boundaries and exact position.
  • The name and identity number of the person or persons who legally own the property. (It is possible for more than one owner to be listed on a title deed.)
  • The date when the property was last transferred (or sold)
  • If bought from another person, the purchase price
  • Any factors that could restrict the sale of the property, for example, a home loan (endorsements)
  • Any restriction that applies on the purchase of the property. For example, the title deed should state if the property has a full freehold title.
  • An official Deeds Registry Office seal to indicate that the deed has been recorded in the name of the owner and the date.

Why are title deeds needed?

Title deeds are used as an official record of who owns the title to a property.

The title deeds may have details on whether there is a bond on the property, and whether anyone else has an interest in the property.

Who keeps the title deeds?

Where the title deeds are kept depends mainly on whether there is a bond on the property or not. “If there is a bond then the deeds will be kept by the finance lender or bank. The deeds will only be returned to the owner once the home loan on the property has been fully paid, although photocopies of the deeds can be requested at any time.”

If no bond is held on the property then the title deeds will be kept by the owner. The title deeds can either be kept in the home or they can be held by an attorney for safekeeping.

Changing the title deeds

There are a number of reasons why an owner may want to change the title on property deeds. These could include if a co-owner sells or transfers their rights in the property, or if the owner wishes to sell their rights to the property.

Title deeds are extremely important documents used as evidence of proof of ownership.

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