Buying or selling a property in India is a complicated process – made more so by real-estate agents who cheat NRI and bring bad name to their business. For NRI, purchase of property in India is the most important purchase of their life. Property purchase in India is not only an investment, but also a mark of self-respect, independence and social standing. It is tempting to find ways to reduce costs and to do away with safeguards involved in buying and selling of property. NRI and PIOs may think – at thier own risk – that a lawyer is not necessary during sale or purchase of property in India. However, it is not a wise decision to forego a lawyer. The risks of fraud in property sale and purchase are substantial and very real. You may think that if anything goes wrong, you will go to court or initiate criminal proceedings against the fraudster. However, consider this – do you have time to do all those things and get involved in litigation? Is it not wise to take legal help before buying and selling property and prevent all problems.
Sale and Purchase of Property
Sale and purchase of property in India involves several contracts and other legalities. Only a lawyer having knowledge of property laws in India can assist you to comprehend your legal rights and duties as laid down on contract. Most real estate agents are not lawyers and are only concerned with the commission they get from each of the parties. They try that deal goes through – even when they know that you are at risk because of any fault in contract or property title and other aspects. When we are hired, we do not have any such interest in sale or purchase of property. Our only concern is your 100% security – both legally and financially. We are there during such transfers to protect you. A typical transfer of property in India should involve the following steps –
- Brokerage Contract. You meet a real-estate agent and hire the services. A broker or agent is paid a commission which is generally less than 1% of the transfer value. In India, this contract may be oral or written.
- Property Search. After brokerage agreement, real-estate agent shows properties and you choose a few to finalize one.
- Title Search. The title of property is searched for last 33 years by a qualified legal professional. The buyer must ensure that the seller before him is really the one who owns the property, there is no litigation regarding the property, there are no unknown liens on the title and that the property can actually be sold to another person under existing laws. Important land records to be inspected from land record office of government are jamabandi, khasra girdawari and registry deeds for last 33 years.
- Agreement to sell. This is and agreement where parties decide to enter into sale contract at a future fixed date and at a fixed price.
- Transfer of Property. Finally the property is transferred after due diligence. Transfer takes place before tehsildar or SDM of the concerned area where property is situated, from the seller to the buyer and the title is updated.
The above mentioned process is extremely complicated and only a competent lawyer with prior knowledge can protect NRI at each step of the transfer.
Standard Form Contracts.
As mentioned above, realtors, brokers, agents use standard form contracts only and do not know nutty-gritties of law. Only a lawyer can effectively answer questions like-
- Whether alterations and additions in property are as per existing laws?
- Can the future construction plans of buyer be executed?
- What happens if existing structure is below construction standards? What if cement on bricks starts chipping and dropping? (based on real case)
- What if there is agreement to sell but there is no sale?
Problems in property records or property itself
Further, a lawyer who has decades of experience in transfer of property can review the title search and explain any discrepancies in land records. A lawyer can:-
- Ensure that the title of property is without any legal defect.
- Ascertain any legal issues with neighbors or prior owners.
- Ascertain any rights regarding easements which may adversely effect value of property.
- Check whether land requires any CLU – Change of Land Use – from government.