In this article the Director of By The Rules Conveyancing, Maggie Keene explains how a little known insurance product could potentially protect you from thousands of dollars in unexpected property expenditure.
When you buy property, it is natural to assume that all the aspects that you fell in love with, like the pool, shed, patio etc. are Council approved, that the boundary fences are in the right place and there is no possible way anyone can take your investment from you as long as you continue to pay your bills.
I’d like to say the ‘Australian Dream’ isn’t without its occasional nightmare, but sadly there are unknown risks that we give our clients the perfect solution for. It’s called ‘Title Insurance’.
What is Title Insurance you ask?
In a competitive industry, clients are often chasing the cheapest conveyancing quote and comparing Law Firms based on the ‘standard searches’ thinking that is all they require to alleviate their concerns and reveal everything they need to know about the property.
A good portion also expect that the Real Estate agent or current owner are privy to the full history of the property.
The truth is, most issues with unapproved structures or boundary misalignment are unknown by the agent or current owner, unless they made the improvements themselves.
Engaging a Surveyor or ordering additional searches can be very expensive, and unless you have the correct special condition in the contract, there may be nothing that you can do to terminate or seek compensation for what you have found.
Title Insurance gives you the peace of mind that should these issues arise after settlement, that you will be covered to resolve or restore the structure up to the value of $160,000.
Are you worried about fraud?
Well you should be. In March 2018, the ACCC reported a staggering $340million was lost by Australian victims in 2017, and it is estimated to rise considerably in 2018. All our intel is suggesting that property is the Number 1 focus for underworld groups. ID fraud could result in your home being transferred to another owner or mortgaged without your knowledge. If this happens, you would be covered with Title Insurance!
This unique policy has many great features, but I am going to start with the “how much question”. Policies start as low as $408 for a house under $500,000 or $309 if it is a townhouse or unit. Unlike tradition insurance policies, you only pay it once at settlement and this covers you for as long as you own the property. There is also no excess if you need to make a claim.
What does Title Insurance cover you for?
The top issues we encounter that are covered under Title Insurance are:
- Illegal or unapproved structures
- Incorrect boundaries
- Encroaching structures built on your land
- Errors on property searches
- Errors in adjustments to taxes and various land charges
- Identity theft and fraud
- Undisclosed special strata levies
Want more information on Title Insurance?. Contact Maggie and her team today on 1300 223 344 or send an email and they will help you to protect your most valuable assets from your initial offer to buy until you are ready to sell again.
Maggie Keene is shareholder and Director of bytherules Holdings Pty Ltd. By The Rules Conveyancing breaks down the legal jargon and focuses on personalised service, practical solutions and great communication.