In my over decade and half legal practice, the oft repeated complaints that I have heard from property buyers is the “ordeal” they face in the entire process right from identifying a property until the time of registration. Is it really that difficult? Does one have to sweat it out so much so that an acquisition becomes almost always a harrowing experience? Well…, the answer is an emphatic NO! How do we go about it then? Read on…

Identifying a property

Can’t help you guys much there! It is a subjective decision that one makes based on a number of criterion set by oneself.

Title Verification

This should be left to the lawyers, and one must never “assume” that all is well because the documents “smell nice.” That is a big No No. Before you go to a lawyer, make sure that you have all the documents (mother deeds as most people refer to) are in place. I would recommend a title search of a 35 year time frame, which means that one has to back track the ownership of the property for 35 years. If one can get a hold of documents older than that, that is just amazing! Always make sure that the chain of title is not disrupted, and that you can always relate to each of the subsequent owners. There are many intricacies to a title scrutiny, which a lawyer can inform you based on the documents you present for scrutiny. Here is a brief checklist:

  • Previous Sale Deeds/Gift deed(s)/partition deed/court decree etc.;
  • Encumbrance Certificate (“EC”) for the entire time frame (which can be easily obtained at the Sub-Registrar’s office, it just takes more than a week if you want it for a longer duration). EC shows if there are any registered encumbrances or liens on the property;
  • Khata extract and certificate (to ensure that the property stands in the seller’s name); and
  • Tax paid receipts.

These documents are “almost sufficient,” then again your lawyer is the best judge.

Agreement of Sale and Sale Deed

No one ever gives any importance to an agreement of sale, and consider it only as a promise to pay the entire sale consideration, and a promise to transfer the title at a future date. OKAY! Most people never get the agreement properly stamped. Yes! An agreement of sale has to be properly stamped, but not necessarily registered. This is THE document which safe guards your rights before the actual transfer of the property, therefore, pay great attention to the terms of the sale. Never attempt to conjure up an agreement of sale on your own with the boiler plate clauses that you can find on the internet, or get some vague format drafted under totally different circumstances.

A sale deed is a document wherein a seller transfers his/her right, title, and interest in the property to the buyer.  This document needs to be registered, which then brings to an end the saga or property purchase.

Registration

Before registration, you will have to figure out the actual stamp duty that you need to pay to the government before it will enter the transaction in the registry, making the entire transaction legal. You will need to prepare Two Demand Drafts, both in the name of Sub-Registrar. One would be for the stamp duty, and the other will be the registration fee. There are great websites which will tell you the amount you will have to pay as stamp duty and registration fee.

Registration process is fairly simple; all it needs is a verification of the sale deed at the Sub-Registrar’s office, which also includes verification of the stamp duty payable to the government. Once the verification is completed, you will be put in “Q” for scanning, taking of picture, getting your thumb impression, and then your sale deed will need the final nod from the Sub-Registrar. That’s it. Oh Yes! You will need two witnesses for the transaction.

The entire process should not take more than an hour; however, make sure that you do not set unreasonable deadlines for yourself, as it will only delay the process.

You can reach out to me if you need any clarifications on the process alone.

Categories: Real Estate Law

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