Understanding the difference between strata and Torrens title properties

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A checklist of the pros and cons


There are a number of points to consider when purchasing a strata property.

Torrens title means you are the sole owner of the property

'Torrens' refers to a land title system, where the owner of the property owns the land and the building on it. With a Torrens title, you secure your land through registration of title (an alternate system to deed titles). When you buy under the Torrens title system, the registrar will issue you a certificate of title.

Ownership of a property under strata is shared through an owners corporation

Properties that are adjoining in some way – like apartments or townhouses – are normally bought under strata title, because they share some common areas such as roofs, lifts, gardens, driveways, etc. The common areas must be maintained by all unit owners collectively and any expenses incurred will be shared. Strata buildings require the owners to pay a levy that covers the ongoing expenses of maintaining the common property.

If you are looking to buy a strata property, you should closely examine the financial health of the owners corporation to see how funds are managed and to get an understanding of what costs are involved.

Pros and cons of strata and Torrens titled properties

Strata   Torrens
✓  Lifestyle benefit of outsourcing the bulk of property maintenance.   ✓  You are free to make changes to your property as you wish (with your local council's approval, if required).
✗  Changes to property will usually require permission of the owners corporation.   ✓  You can determine when and if repairs are made to suit your financial situation.
✗  Strata fees are subject to change and are likely to increase as buildings age.   ✗  You are solely responsible for the cost of maintenance and the work required.
✓  Strata properties are usually easier to sell as demand is pretty consistent.   ✓  No restrictions on pets, hanging washing, BBQs, parking, etc (subject to local council restrictions).
✓  Strata properties usually cost less than Torrens title properties.   ✗  Torrens properties usually offer greater privacy and less noise disturbance.

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Our experienced team is available to help you navigate the maze of property buying. Call 13 62 27 to speak to a Macquarie mortgage specialist.

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