Home Buying

Guidelines for Verifying Real Estate Documents Without a Lawyer’s Assistance

11 NOV 2022

“Ultimately the greatest help is self-help” – Bruce Lee.

Buying property is one of the most significant and challenging activities in your life. The entire process of scouting for that dream abode, arranging the finances, completing the legal verification, taking possession, and conducting the grand housewarming ceremony is both exhausting & exciting. You are finally moving into your own home and getting freedom from all the hassles of renting & moving frequently.

Once you have zeroed in on the right place to call your home, the next most important thing to do is to complete the legal verification of documents. Your dream home can turn into a nightmare if the property records are dubious or fudged. No matter how great and charming the new house is, you have to ensure that the records are clean & straight. 

Benefits of Property Documents Verification:

  • A property deal often involves a huge amount of money. Legal verification ensures that it is free of litigation and your investment is safe too.
  • You can avail of a home loan from a bank or NBFC only if the records are proper.
  • You ensure that the seller has the absolute right to transfer the property to your name.
  • No third party can stake claims to your right over the property.
  • You will not face hurdles when you try to dispose of the property at a later stage.

Although it’s fine to seek professional support, it is recommended that you take the initiative to study & verify the documents on your own. No lawyer can be as deeply invested in your property as you are! This article describes the important factors that you need to examine when you decide to help yourself.

Property Documents Verification

  • Know the Seller: Before verifying the papers, it is necessary to know the person whom you are dealing with. Clearly ascertain the identity of that person through a PAN, Aadhaar card, etc. You can visit the locality and talk to the neighbors. If it’s a developer, look at his past track record. Check for reviews in the press and social media. Get feedback from the old customers too.
  • Property Title Deeds: This is the main document to be verified & confirmed. You have to ensure that the seller has full rights to sell the property and that he/she is indeed the owner. Look at the past transactions and see how many hands the property has changed till now. You can confirm the authenticity with the local municipal office. Ask for the encumbrance certificate (EC) to confirm that the property is free from any mortgage, loan, or debt. You can get the EC by applying for it at the Sub-registrar’s office.
  • Property Tax Receipts: Every property owner is mandated by law to pay tax every year on his land & house property. By checking the property tax details, you can again confirm the ownership and ensure that no statutory dues are pending against the said property. The tax payment should be regular & up to date.
  • Layout & Building Approvals: If you are buying a plot of land, ensure that the layout is approved by the competent authority. For apartments and constructed properties, ensure that there are no major deviations from the sanctioned plans. The construction should be done only after the land has been converted for residential purposes. An occupancy certificate (OC) is another important document for flats & apartments. It certifies that the said building is fit and suitable for occupation. The local municipal corporation issues OC to the building after verifying several documents from the developer. The builder should also obtain all the required NOCs from government agencies.
  • Sale Deed: This document effectively transfers ownership from the seller to the buyer. A well-drafted sale deed avoids confusion and protects the interests of both parties. It has to mention the personal details of both the seller and the buyer. The exact information pertaining to the property, such as the location, land survey number, property dimension, amount involved, etc., must be mentioned. The terms of the agreement and the date of the transaction are given. A clause in the agreement also promises to compensate the buyer for any dispute that shall arise in the future with regard to the title of the property. 
  • Possession Certificate: This is a document issued by the developer stating the details of payment and the date on which the possession of the property shall be handed over to the buyer.

Note: The honorable Supreme Court of India ruled in 2011 that the sale of property through a general power of attorney (GPA) is not valid under the law. So the transfer of property should be executed under a registered sale deed for legal validity.

Document Verification Procedure:

It can be quite challenging for laymen to comprehend and analyze property documents with all their legal technicalities. You would probably be hearing a few jargon for the first time. But patience is key here, especially if you do not want to consult a professional. Go through all the relevant resources that you can find online. Much of the content is greatly simplified for the benefit of common people. A checklist of documents and their formats is half the job done. If you face some difficulty, you can visit any of the popular law portals and enquire about their services. A few of them may even provide the first consultation and basic services free of cost. A nominal amount may be charged for additional services. In any case, you end up saving a lot more as compared to visiting a lawyer at his office.

Document Verification Procedure

Conclusion:

Before you begin the verification exercise, ensure that you have all the necessary documents in place. A personal inspection of the property helps you to get first-hand information. You can also check the Real Estate Regulation & Development Act (RERA) website to verify the builder’s credentials.

Go by the maxim that it’s better safe than to be sorry. If you do not understand something, do not make assumptions. A house is a big financial asset and a deep emotional investment too. Proper scrutiny of property records is indispensable before you make that big move.

 

Author - Webdura

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