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Property Due Diligence
In the case of property transactions a buyer always has to be more careful in acquisition and has to make sure the property he is buying is free of all encumbrances, that the seller is absolutely entitled to sell it and that there are no issues that may embroil him in complicated legal processes or render the sale void. The process of inspection and investigation of real property or a business entity before the buyer acquires it is known as due diligence. As experts in real estate and property transactions we work in the interests of our clients who would like a due diligence carried out. Our services are comprehensive and extremely detailed covering among others, scrutiny of sale deeds, mother deed, khata/patta certificates, encumbrance certificates, tax receipts, clearances and approvals, RTC extracts and authenticity. We make sure beyond a shadow of doubt that there are no issues involved and then only give the green signal for our client to go ahead and acquire a piece of property or a company.
What is Property?
Property and real estate connote land along with buildings thereon and in legal matters, are distinct from movable properties. Ownership of immovable property or real estate may comprise of freehold ownership, life estate, estate for defined number of years, leasehold, reversion and concurrent or co-tenancy. Real estate comprises of residential properties, commercial or industrial properties and agricultural land. Property costs are determined by size, property rights, geographical area, development rate of that area, demand-supply, rise in per capita income, housing demand and the duration for which property is held—real estate is always appreciating in value over time. Property investment involves high costs but is durable and assures high returns with wise choices. Foreign direct investments and involvement of banks as well as large developers has led to a boom in real estate markets.
Parties involved in a real estate or property transaction:
A property transaction involves a buyer and a seller in the form of owner/user, owner, renter, developers, renovators and facilitators or real estate agents and lawyers. An individual, a company, a proprietory or a partnership firm or a cooperative housing society may buy or sell property.
A property transaction involves:
- Finding the right property and having it examined in all respects: survey, title clearances and other aspects and then making an agreement to buy
- Draft out terms and conditions of the sale deed mentioning duration for compliances.
- Obtain No Objection as well as permissions and sanctions from relevant authorities
- Clearance under the Urban Land Ceiling Act and Municipal clearances as applicable
- Pay applicable stamp duty, hand over title deeds, engross the deed and register it.
- Due Diligence Process in Property Acquisition:
On the face of it property transaction appears simple. However there are various issues that impinge on a transaction and it needs a knowledgeable lawyer to carry out the due diligence process to ensure the buyer becomes the absolute owner of the property without any legal issues affecting his rights in the present or in the future. A lawyer will begin by considering whether the property is a registered one or an unregistered one. He identifies, traces and scrutinizes titles to the property. Documents he will scrutinize are the sale deeds, encumbrance certificate from the Sub-Registrar, possession certificate, allotment letter, khatha certificate, copy of lease-cum-sale agreement or auction sale agreement, tax paid receipts and genealogical tree. Then he tallies if the schedule of property matches the site plan. He conducts searches in the Taluka office, Municipal office, sub-registrar’s office, registrar of companies’ offices, civil courts and other authorities to see that no vital matters are concealed. Revenue record search for owners past and present also plays a vital part of the due diligence process. A search in the sub-registrar’s office is a must to show name of the area and other description related to the property. Land Acquisition office search is also conducted as part of the process whether the land in question is proposed to be acquired in future, especially applicable in Urban areas. A search in the Registrar of Companies shows up any charges that may be created in relation to the property. A search in the courts is made to verify that there are no law suits concerning the property. Finally, after making absolutely sure the lawyer will submit a due diligence report that gives a client the green signal to go ahead and purchase the property safely.
Our expertise and in-depth due diligence make property transactions secure:
In India, property acquisition and the process of due diligence is extremely lengthy and complicated since so many authorities are involved and there are so many legal ramifications. We know all the issues involved in a transaction and examine every connected matter in great detail, checking and verifying with all related authorities and registrars to ensure that the property or company under consideration is marketable and free. The transaction also requires us to consider the source from which the property is being acquired and whether it is an outright sale or a lease. Additionally we have to factor in local city municipal laws and documentation as also State specific laws and rulings if any along with taxation and stamp duties in order to give our clients a thoroughly satisfactory due diligence report that factors in not only existing conditions but also anticipates unforeseen developments. Further, as part of the due diligence process, we structure the transaction in a way that will minimize the incidence of registration charges, stamp duties and other related costs.
Not all property transactions are cut and dried. There will always be some minor hurdles that need to be resolved to smooth the path for flawless acquisition that avoids any legal issues at a future date. As experienced and knowledgeable legal advisors, we also work at resolving property related disputes or minor irregularities in documentation as well as registration issues so that when it comes to the final transaction, our clients can go ahead and acquire the property without any hitches, now or in the future. Due diligence services are of course supported by our equally refined drafting and legal conveyancing services along with registration with appropriate authorities.