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Buying Property

If you are planning to buy a property in India, you must have an idea about a list of legal documents that you should check before buying a property from the seller. If any mistake/ incorrect information is provided by the seller or the buyer concerning documents, both parties can face legal action.

If you are buying property, besides, you will also need to claim ownership of the property. To claim and prove ownership of the property, certain legal property documents need to be validated with legal advice. In this article, we shall talk about the property documents a buyer needs to check before sealing a property deal. 

Buying Property: Why Verify The Seller’s Identity?

Just like how the buyer is advised to verify the identity of the property, the buyer must also identify the identity of the seller. This is to make sure and to investigate that there aren’t any specific conditions that inhibit the ability of the seller to transfer the property.

  1. The buyer must check the residential status and nationality of the seller and in the case of joint property, the identities of all the owners need to be checked
  2. If the seller of the property is a company or a business firm, then the documents of the company and whether the company has the legal right to sell the property must be checked
  3. The buyer must also check if there are any orders from the competent court, which permits/ inhibits the sale of the property
  4. If there are any guardians of the property 
  5. If the property is owned by a minor or a person of unsound mind

List Of Documents Of The Property That Need To Be Checked Before Buying

List Of Documents Of The Property That Need To Be Checked

Here’s a property documents list that you must check before buying property to rent or buy.

  1. Construction Approval
  2. Occupancy Certificate
  3. Encumbrance Certificate
  4. Sale Deed
  5. Property Tax Receipt
  6. Power Of Attorney
  7. Bank Statement
  8. Title Deed
  9. Mutation Document
  10. Mother Deed
  11. Extracts
  12. The Layout of the Building Plan
  13. No-Objection Certificates (NOC)
  14. Possession Letter
  15. Payment Receipts

Let’s get into the details of each of these property documents.

Construction Approval

If the buyer is purchasing an apartment or land with a constructed building, the approval document for the construction of the building must be checked. The buyer must also scrutinize the building plan and layout plan which is sanctioned by the local authorities. You should also check the approvals which are issued by the government and other authorities for providing water, infrastructure facilities, electricity, environmental clearance, sewage, safety approval, fire, etc.

Occupancy Certificate

The occupancy certificate certifies if a building complies with various rules and civic bylaws, and is a must-need when buying a property to rent. The seller must obtain the occupancy certificate from the competent authority, before transferring the property.

If the buyer is using the property without obtaining an occupancy certificate, a penalty can be imposed under the applicable building by-laws. The building can also be demolished by the authorities but that will be the last resort.

Encumbrance Certificate

Encumbrance Certificate

An Encumbrance Certificate or EC is a certificate of assurance that the property in question is free from any legal or monetary liability such as a mortgage or an uncleared home loan. The sub registrar’s office and the official web portal of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs will reveal information of any registered encumbrance on the property.

If you get Form15 Encumbrance Certificate, it means that the property has liabilities. If you get Form16, it means that the property is free from any encumbrance. An Encumbrance Certificate is necessary if the buyer applies for a home loan because the certificate establishes the eligibility for a home loan.

Sale Deed

How To Create A Property Sale Deed In Telangana

The sale deed is the document that is registered in the sub registrar’s office and this document is used to prove the ownership and the purchase of the property. The sale deed includes the details of the amount paid for buying a property and the date of transfer of the property from the buyer to the seller.

The sale deed also documents all the details of the property being sold and includes a statement from the seller, that the property is free from any encumbrance.

Property Tax Receipt

When buying a property, you need to check and ensure that the seller has paid all the taxes of the property and none of them have been left as due. The property tax receipt can also be used to establish the legal status of the property and serves as an important document of evidence.

Non-payment of property tax can constitute a charge on the property that affects its selling. Hence you need to check with the seller of a property if there are any defaults on the payment of property tax. You need to note that once the property has been transferred to the seller, you will be responsible for any pending property tax payments there may be.

Power Of Attorney

Power Of Attorney

This property document is necessary to demonstrate that the sale or acquisition of a certain property is being handled by an authorized representative acting on behalf of the owner. To be eligible for a house loan, this must be supplied in original form.

Bank Statement

The bank statement is required to ensure that any previous home loan is outstanding to the property that is being purchased. It is safe to procure the bank statement relating to a home loan.

If any loan is outstanding on the property that is being purchased, it is safe to procure the statements relating to the loan so that there is full disclosure in that regard.

Title Deed

The title deed is the most important of all the property documents and this document shows the ownership of the property. With the title deed, the buyer or the seller can claim absolute ownership over the property.

When buying a property you have to check and ensure that the title deed belongs and is in the name of the seller. If you have no idea of how to verify, you can take the help of a property agent to check this document. If the title of the property is not in the name of the seller, then legally the property should not be purchased unless the consent is from the real owner of the property.

Mutation Document

A mutation document has all the details of the purchase of the property including the name of the owner, size of the property, location, and other important information about a property. This document is issued by the municipal authority in the name of the present owner.

Mother Deed

Mother Deed

The Mother Deed is a document that is needed while buying a resale property. You need to get this document because it has all the details of the ownership of the property right from the stage of construction of the building. There may be some situations where the owner may do fraud activity by illegally taking ownership of the property, which can affect your investment.


Different states have different titles for the Khata certificate or extract, which is a crucial document for the registration of a new property. It is also necessary if you intend to subsequently transfer ownership of the property. This document serves as evidence that the building was constructed in accordance with an authorized plan and that the property is listed in the local municipal records. Before approving you for a house loan, banks require this document.

The Layout of the Building Plan

When buying a property to rent and to confirm if the property is being built legally and in accordance with established guidelines and regulations, a buyer must get a copy of the building plan that has been certified by the regulatory board.

No-Objection Certificates (NOC)

When developing a housing complex, a developer may need to get up to 19 NOCs from various agencies. However, the quantity may change depending on certain state regulations. Request copies of these NOCs from your developer, and store them for your own records.

Possession Letter

This agreement, which the developer gives to the buyer, specifies the day on which the latter will give the former owner of the property. To get a mortgage, the original property documents must be shown.

Payment Receipts

If you are purchasing a new home, request the developer to provide you with the original payment receipts. Request the seller to provide a copy of the invoices to the bank if you are purchasing a resale property.

Closing Thoughts

Before buying a property it is very important for the buyer to check and ensure that all the above-mentioned documents are in the possession of the seller. If there are any missing legal documents, it is better to avoid buying that property. If you are not sure how to check if the documents are original and correct it is better to take the advice of a real estate agent to understand how to verify property documents online.

When purchasing a property, it is always best to consult a lawyer to verify the documents related to the sale of the property and to receive legal guidance on matters related to buying property and renting a property.

Buying Property Guide FAQs

1. What documents should property buyers check before buying a property?

Before buying a property, the buyer should thoroughly check, examine, and ensure that all the documents that establish the identity of the seller and the verification of the property must be in the possession of the seller.

2. What are the documents that confirm the identity of the seller?

The documents that establish the identity of the seller are his passport, Aadhaar card, PAN card, etc.

3. Is hiring a lawyer necessary for property verification?

While buyers can examine property documents on their own with due care, it would be a good idea to seek legal assistance to keep the transaction error-free and avoid frauds that might lead to legal trouble.

4. How long does it take to transfer ownership of property?

It usually takes four to six weeks to complete the legal processes involved in the transfer of ownership of a property.

5. What is a Khata Certificate

A Khata is a legal certificate issued by the Municipal Corporation to compute property taxes.

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