Buying a house is an important event in one’s life and if it’s the first one then it is attached with an emotional achievement and satisfaction. Though buying a house causes an enormous dent in one’s savings and exposes homebuyers to financial risks.
Typically, a sale agreement is entered into between the buyer and the seller to effect the purchase. This sale agreement becomes a valid instrument of transfer after it is registered. A registered sale agreement is also called a sale deed. It is important that one knows the legal requirements involved in a Sale Deed or the contract which will legally make you the homeowner. We bring to you a list of legal requirements which you should go through before you finalize the purchase of your house.
Legal checks before purchasing a property
There are certain components that you should check before you are ready to sign the Sale Deed. These are:
Capacity to enter into the contract: Only those persons who have attained the age of 18 years and above, who are mentally sound and are not disqualified under any other law from entering into contracts, can sign the sale deed. For instance, your son or daughter who is not yet 18 years of age cannot sign the contract.
Who owns the House?/Legal Ownership: The Seller from whom you are buying the house, should have legal ownership over the property. This means that he should be the absolute owner of the property and not merely have an interest in the property. For example, a tenant cannot sell the house as he is not the absolute owner of the property. Ask for documents of legal ownership from the seller and preferably show them to a lawyer to check if the seller actually has title over the property.
Is the Seller genuine?/Identity of the seller: You should also verify the identity of the seller prior to buying a house. You can ask him to furnish any government-mandated identity proof documents, in order to check if you are buying the house from a genuine seller. This is generally relevant in resale transactions.
Disputed Property: You should check whether the property you are buying is subject to any dispute or not, before signing the sale deed. A title search report which is typically prepared by a lawyer will help you know, if the property is subject to any court dispute or not.
Defects in the Property: You should check the property for any possible defects. The law mandates the seller to inform the buyer of any material defect in the property which the buyer cannot find out by ordinary care and diligence.
Regulatory requirements: If you are buying your house from a builder, check if he has the occupancy certificate (this certificate deems the property fit for occupancy), if the property is registered under RERA and that the property is not mortgaged or has any other liability attached to it. This can be done by conducting legal due diligence over the property with the help of a lawyer.
Tax Verification: A house is typically subject to the payment of property tax. You should ideally ask the seller to furnish you with past tax receipts to assess whether there is no outstanding tax liability. If there is unpaid tax, then you should insist that the seller pays them before the title is transferred to you.
Registration: You should get the sale agreement signed by you and the seller registered at the Office of the Local Registrar. Proper stamp duty must be paid, otherwise the sale deed will be termed defective.
An agreement is a consensus of mutually agreed terms and conditions. However, the first step towards drafting an effective agreement is to ensure that it is placed within the correct legal framework. Competence of parties, checking if the seller has legal ownership over the property, registering the sale deed, etc. are some important things one needs to know before signing the sale agreement for a House.
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