Everyone dreams of a home for themselves. Either buying a dream home or buying a plot of land and building our own dream home on it. However, with rising real estate values, it is difficult to find a desirable plot and if we do, it is usually so highly priced as to be unaffordable. So when you do find a good plot of land either to build or as an investment, you should weigh the risks so you are not buying a non-existent property or a property with legal troubles
- Verify patta if you are buying a plot in Chennai city limit. Patta should be in the name of the owner. Do NOT fall into the trap where seller assures you the Patta is in the name of a previous owner.
- Verify encumbrance certificate. An encumbrance certificate will show previous transactions with names of buyers and sellers as well as showing if a loan has been taken in lieu of it. Hire a lawyer to check parent documents like patta and the sale deed.
- The Seller should have a clear Title of the land. Hire a property lawyer to check this. Check for Sale Deed and if seller has a sale agreement or power of attorney, check these documents thoroughly as the risk of fraud is higher with these.
- Verify the identity of the Seller. Politely ask for any three documents like PAN card, Voter’s ID, driving license and Passport.
- Check if the land does not have any legal hassles like ownership of the land came through family or divorce settlement and if so, the Seller must provide the Will or other legal documents to support his/her claims.
- If plot is within city limits: Check if the plot has received the approval of the CMDA (Chennai Metro Development Authority) and sanctioned by the local body. You can obtain a copy of CMDA approved layout on payment of a nominal fee. Always check with a lawyer/architect/licensed surveyor if a plot qualifies for construction.
- If plot is outside city limits: If your plot is within a layout, then it should have a District Town & Country Planning (DTCP) approval. A DTCP approved layout will follow minimum standards for road width, public areas like parks etc. Also check for if the plot is outside the Coastal Regulation Zone limits (no construction within 500 metres from the sea).
- Verify the land use zone as per master plan for the plot.
- Verify land measurement. Get a local village surveyor to measure the land and ask him to make a drawing in the Field Map Book and sign with official seal. This drawing should be part of the sale deed while registering the property. If any measurements are amiss, you can renegotiate price with the Seller.
- Check if the roads and park area have been handed over to the local body. Also, check if the abutting road of the plot has been maintained by local body or been handed over to the local body.
If you are buying a Plot in Bangalore for non-agricultural purposes, check that you have the approval as per rules under Karnataka Land Reforms Act (1961) and the Karnataka Land Revenue Act (1964).
Any layout on the outskirts of Bangalore requires the approval of Bangalore Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (BMRDA). A helpful checklist for you:
- Check the Seller has the Sale Deed for the plot. The sale deed will provide details of all transactions on the land.
- Search report provides details of the original property holder, property history, charges on property, current property status (dues paid or pending), etc. Your lawyer should be able to look through these details and confirm if it is a legitimate property.
- Verify all original documents, with the help of a lawyer, before making the advance payment.
- Get a written agreement on a stamp paper duly signed by both the owner and the buyer in the presence of two witnesses. The Agreement must mention the advance paid, price of the plot, duration of sale and legal actions in case of a default from either side.
- Pay Stamp Duty in full and on a timely basis. An agreement can be implemented only when Stamp Office fixes stamps on it.
- Register the property in a Sub-Registrar’s office as per timeframe mentioned in the agreement. You will require property tax receipts, original title deed, any previous deeds as well as two witnesses at the time of registration.
- If Seller has a sale agreement or power of attorney, your lawyer should verify these documents properly as there is higher possibility of fraud with those documents.
- If a specific piece of land involves various family members, insist on all members being present during the registration process.
To the uninitiated, buying a piece of plot may appear like a simple transaction. However, you must safeguard against many pitfalls. Keep the above check list prepared by RoofandFloor with you before meeting the seller. The seller should be able to answer your questions satisfactorily and if you are not happy with the answers, don’t be afraid to dig deeper. It is better to take a slightly longer route to your own piece of plot rather than easily buying a contentious plot and then being mired in legal troubles.