What are Land Titles and Why they are Important?

Aug 05, 2022
Coridale Spice Living Talent 2 Low Res 1

When it comes to purchasing property, there are many ways you can go about it. There are also a lot of terms that can lead to confusion. One such topic is, what is a land title?

What is a land title & Why is it important?

When you purchase a property there are various types of titles you should know about:

  1. Torrens title (the focus of this blog!) - you buy both the property itself, and the land which it is built on.
  2. Strata title – normally applies to a purchase of an apartment, unit, townhouse, or villa. This involves an owner’s corporation, which includes all owners in the building/complex. It outlines and documents all common areas, such as pools, lifts, stairwells, gardens, etc. An ongoing fee is charged in addition to traditional water and council rates. You need to be aware of strata by-laws (these are rules and regulations governing what you can and can’t do e.g. modifications to your unit, rules around pet ownership).
  3. Company title – rare these days as it is applicable to units and apartments built prior to 1960. This is where you buy shares in the company that owns the building, instead of an individual title.
  4. Other title types we will not get into include government leasehold, stratum title and retirement villages.

In simple terms, a land title is a legal document that outlines the legal ownership to a property, granting the owner/s exclusive use and possession. This entitles the owner/s to build on their land. The significance is that the people on the title can build on the land!

Before we go too far ahead, land titling can catch owners out and impact the process of building, so it is an important concept to understand.

What does a Certificate of Title cover?


A restrictive covenant is a private treaty or written agreement between landowners that limits the way land can be used and developed. A covenant will be clearly noted on your land title certificate.


A caveat essentially means a “warning”. Lodging a caveat is a way of telling anyone who wants to deal with the property to be aware that someone else’s interest already has priority.


An easement is a right held by someone to use land belonging to someone else for a specific purpose. The best examples of this are drainage and sewerage whereby the council requires certain use of your land to be able to access these utilities if required. Your land title will specify if and where easements are located, and as they need to be accessible, they may impact your building footprint.

You may be wondering how to get land title certificate? As your land gets closer to titling, both the land developer and your conveyancer will be in contact with you. Ultimately, your conveyancer will provide you with the title certificate.

What is the difference between Titled and Untitled land?

Can land be sold without title? Untitled land is sold by developers prior to receipt of council registration. This is very common with new land releases. When you buy unregistered land, you sign a Contract of Sale with a developer that agrees to develop and register your land for you.

Titled land is what you seek. Once your land is titled you can get started on building your dream home.

Whilst a developer attempts to provide their best guess of when untitled land, will title, it is not a perfect science. There are numerous items that can cause delays, weather, availability of contractors, illness with contractors, the list goes on. The point is, the title date you are given is the best guess based on information available. It is important to understand that delays are a possibility as they can have an impact on the cost to build your home.

Do land title blow outs matter?

Yes, definitely!

Whilst, land titling does not impact your land price, as you are bound with a contract of sale, your home building price may be impacted. The key item you need to clarify with your home builder is how long your contracted price is held for. All builders outline how many months they will hold your contract value from your initial deposit to land titling. If your land title is delayed and your price hold ends, this will either lead to additional costs, or potentially the requirement to reprice your entire building contract.

FAQ: Titled vs Untitled Land

What are the benefits of buying untitled land?

A key benefit is locking in your land price. As land has historically increased in value overtime, while you are waiting for your land to title, the value of it may increase. Median lot prices rose from $226,000 in 2016 to $339,000 in 2018, a growth of $113,000 for doing nothing.

What are the risks of buying untitled land?

Other than the potential for delays receiving your title, there generally are not too many risks with buying untitled land.

However, something to be aware of is the sunset clause. This clause effectively puts a time limit on the contract's validity. If settlement has not taken place by the end date included in the clause, both parties are legally entitled to walk away from the contract. In such a scenario, the buyer would receive their deposit back in full.

Generally, the project is finished well before the date outlined in the clause, as developers exaggerate the required timeframe, to allow for delays caused by industrial action, inclement weather or lack of funding.

How long does the titling process take?

Depends. When you sign your Contract of Sale, ask the developer what the expected title date is. As outlined above, this is their best guess. Depending on the market, the titling process can take months or years. The process involves numerous steps including adding utilities, construction, council delays, & weather conditions.

Find out more about land titles today!

If you are seeking any clarity, you can always refer to our trained New Home Advisors at our many display homes throughout Victoria. We hope you found this article insightful, for many other blog articles to help you along your home buying journey, visit our Inspiration Hub.