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Understanding Title Transfers

When property changes hands, there are many legal processes that need to happen so that the transaction takes place securely and correctly.

To help ensure all the necessary legal steps are completed, a conveyancer can help both buyers and sellers, as well as anyone transferring property as part of a business deal, family gift, relationship breakdown, or inheritance.

What is a transfer of title?

A transfer of title is the legal process to change the ownership of a property.

Do you need conveyancing to transfer a property title, even if no money changes hands?

The conveyancing process refers to everything that needs to be checked, searched, and signed to formalise the transfer of a property or land to a new legal owner. Anyone who buys or receives property must have the property legally transferred into their name and needs to engage conveyancing services to manage it for them.

So, even where no sale or purchase is taking place, changing legal ownership of any property still requires a title transfer – and that requires conveyancing.

Transfers made easy

To complete a title transfer, there are a few steps that need to be taken. These will  depend on the type of property ownership already in place, how and why the ownership is being changed, and whether the property is still under finance.

Transferring property titles between members of the same family is less complicated than selling or buying between people who are not related, but there is still a legal process that needs to be completed, by experienced conveyancers who know how to ensure the transfer is done successfully. Even though you may not need a conveyancer to draft a contract of sale for you, the process around transferring a property title is still governed by laws and state-based legislation that can be complex.

Completing a property title transfer with the support of a trusted conveyancing team, will ensure the transfer of your property complies with all relevant legislation and legal processes.

There are 3 types of property title transfer

There are different ways to transfer a property title, although the two most common methods are selling and gifting. By understanding the different reasons behind a transfer of title, you can help minimise your risk and save yourself unwanted transfer fees, known as stamp duty, or transfer duty, depending on where in Australia the property is located, the type of property, and how it is being transferred.

Although a transfer of property title can sometimes have tax implications, as well as stamp duty/transfer duty fees, in certain circumstances the title transfer may be exempt of transfer duty. By connecting with an experienced conveyancing team to manage your property title transfer, you can avoid making an expensive mistake.

The three types of property title transfer are:

1. Property title transfer by gifting

Gifting property to a family member is reasonably straightforward but there is still a legal process that needs to be followed.

Determining the property’s value is an important first step and is a critical part of working out how much stamp duty/transfer duty may be payable by the recipient of the property.

If the transfer is a gift, a deed may be used to formalise the gifting transaction and is an essential way to avoid future confusion or conflict about the property’s legal ownership. Depending on the type of property and where it is located, your conveyancing team will tell you the documentation that needs to be signed and lodged. With their support, the legal transfer of title can take place smoothly and safely.

2. Property title transfer by selling

Selling your property at either a discounted price, or for its full market value, can be another way to transfer property between family members.

In both circumstances, conveyancing is needed to manage the legal transfer.

Conveyancers help prepare a contract and undertake all the relevant searches needed for any relevant disclosure for the transfer to occur.

Your conveyancing team will help everyone involved understand the associated legal costs and process relating to the transfer.

3. Property title transfer by changing ownership

There are special circumstances that motivate the need to transfer between family members without selling or gifting.

These situations include:

  • Transfer between married couples or de facto partners
  • Foreign transferees
  • Relationship breakdown/separation/divorce

For transfers between de facto or married partners, subject to the type of ownership, the payment of transfer duty may not be required. For some foreign transferees, land tax may not be payable. However, the surcharge purchaser duty – which is a defined percentage of the property value – will likely need to be settled.

Following a divorce or relationship breakdown, the recipient of a property may be exempt from property taxes. The terms of these transfers are usually set out in court orders or property settlement agreements between the parties.

Choose a reliable conveyancing service for a convenient, secure settlement

Whether you’re buying or selling, you can take control of achieving a smoother, successful settlement by engaging quality conveyancing services.

From reviewing a contract to drafting a contract, our experienced and trusted conveyancing team can help you manage all your transfer of title needs.

This article is provided for general information purposes only. Its content is current at the date of publication. It is not legal advice and is not tailored to meet your individual needs. You should obtain specialist advice based on your specific circumstances before taking any action concerning the matters discussed in this article.

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