Every home sold in South Australia comes with a Certificate of Title.
There are three types of Title in South Australia - Torrens Title, Strata Title and Community Title. Each comes with quite different implications and even costs for the owner after the purchase. So, it’s important to know the difference before you buy:
This is the most common property title in South Australia. When you buy a Torrens Titled property, you’ll be responsible for the building and the land on which it stands. Because you’re the sole owner, you’re able to change the home and grounds to suit your needs or preferences. You can paint, renovate or extend, landscape, add a pool, a vegie garden, whatever you like, with only local council approvals required where necessary. Of course, this also means that any costs associated with insurance, repairs and maintenance are yours and yours alone too. Torrens Title is sometimes also called freehold, because of the independence it offers the owner.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is Strata Title, a title that applies to most older units and townhouses in South Australia. When you buy a strata titled home, you don’t actually own the building or the land on which it sits. This is called ‘common property’, along with any entrance ways, hallways, pools, tennis courts, driveways and lifts.
This common property will be maintained by a company of which all unit/townhouse owners will be members. If you buy a strata titled unit, you’ll be part of the ‘body corporate’ and therefore able to participate in decisions regarding your property. You’ll jointly decide when fences need repairing, if pets are allowed, and when the gutters need painting. But you won’t be able to make these decisions on your own.
When you buy a strata property, you’ll be required to pay strata fees (usually every three months) which will cover the maintenance, repairs and even insurance. Strata titled properties are popular for investors because most maintenance and repairs will be handled by the body corporate.
Community Title is something of a mix between Torrens Title and Strata Title, and is now the popular title when more than one home is built on a single parcel of land.
If you purchase a Community Title home, you’ll own the building and possibly your own land. However, some areas and amenities, like driveways, tennis court, gardens and pool, may be community owned. As with Strata Titled properties, you’ll contribute to the maintenance and upkeep of these areas.
Although you’ll have the flexibility of owning your own home and land, there may be community by-laws which outline how you can and can’t use your property.