Identifying your dream home and making the dream come true is fraught with potential pitfalls and demands an intensive due-diligence exercise at your end. It’s a whole detailed process to ensure a seamless transaction and the raft of tasks would comprise fixing a budget, identifying a location, seeking out a reliable real estate developer or agent, negotiating the price, organizing and scrutinizing all the necessary documentation, picking an apt home insurance, and other things. Here is an overarching checklist that might be of help:
# Location: This is the only thing you can’t change once you have purchased a property. So choose your location carefully and after a detailed assessment of the area. Accessibility should be your primary concern before finalizing a home. You must take into consideration commute time to work, whether there are enough market and other retail options at arm’s length, schools and other educational institutions, medical facilities, etc. Most importantly, talk to local residents to get a clearer picture of the safety and ease of living in the locality.
# Check the title documents: You should be looking out for documents like government grant order, sale deed, succession certificate, nature of the title (leasehold, freehold or development right), development agreement and power of attorney, information on pending litigation, if any, and having access to original title documents, stamped and registered.
# Verify seller’s identity: Specifically look for documents to establish the seller’s identity and credibility, like PAN, Aadhaar, passport, IT returns, salary certificates, etc if an individual seller. In case of a jointly held property, the identification of all the sellers is required. If the seller is a company or partnership entity or trust, the constitution documents will be required to make sure it has the right to own and transfer the property.
# Land-use and conversion: As a buyer, you need to scrutinize the master plan to confirm that the property has been developed as per the zoning plan like residential, commercial, industrial, etc. If there is any change of land use, the required permission from the appropriate town planning authorities is a must.
# Approvals for construction: As someone buying an apartment or land with some construction, you need to study the building or layout plan which was sanctioned by the local civic body, besides other government approvals and those issued by statutory and regulatory authorities pertaining to power, water, sewage, fire safety, green clearance, etc.
# Certificate of occupancy: As a buyer of a property, you must insist on the occupancy certificate from the competent authority before taking possession. This document is absolutely critical since without being in possession of the occupancy certificate, you are liable to action and penalty under building bye-laws, and even the risk of demolition.
# Property tax status: You must also ensure that the seller has cleared all property tax payments till date and there’s nothing pending. This you can verify with the municipal authorities. Unpaid property tax or utility bills erode the marketability of the property. So make sure you obtain all the relevant documents before taking possession.
Encumbrances: It’s absolutely imperative to verify with appropriate authorities if the property you are buying is free of all burden or encumbrances. This can be done at the jurisdictional sub-registrar office or with the ministry of corporate affairs, if you are buying from a corporate entity. This is an important safety valve and you must plug it before completing the transaction.
# Physical survey: You must conduct a physical survey of the property to confirm all the physical parameters and measurements professed. You can also take the help of a professional surveyor for this.
# Compliance under RERA: The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 or RERA makes it mandatory for all developers to register their properties under this Act. As a buyer, you can visit the RERA portal to check if the property is registered under the Act and if there are any cases or complaints pending against the developer. This will enable you to check on the credibility of the developer and then take an educated decision. Here, it’s important to know that all real estate agents too must also get registered with the state arm of RERA. Once you have the comfort of the RERA umbrella, you are a lot more reassured.
# Check for outstanding documents: In case you are buying a second-hand property, it’s extremely crucial to check on the loan status. In case of any outstanding loan amount, make sure the seller clears all dues before handing over the property, or else you must get hold of the original property documents from the bank before you get the property registered in your name so that you can pay off the balance amount without complications. If the seller is clearing the home loan dues, make sure to obtain a “no dues certificate” before completing the transaction.
# Assess the property price: You must do a proper research and market analysis to figure out price trends in the area. Talk to a reputed and qualified agent to understand the history of market ups and downs in the area so that you can confirm that your property will appreciate. You can also calculate potential return on investment in future, based on educated inputs.