Everyone should be careful while buying land / house to get free of legal problems, right from identifying the property to the registration. Always check the legal stature / title deed of the property. Find out the tenure, legal right of the title bearer of the property in revenue records.

The Title Deed :

Make sure if the land / Property is in the name of the seller/sellers and that the full power to sell the land lies with him/them. Don’t just check the Xerox copy of the title deed. Check the original deed. Check if the seller has taken a loan by pledging collateral as the original deed. Also check if the seller has allowed any entry/access to others through this land / Property and if any other fact has been suppressed/left unrevealed by the owner of the property. Get the original deed checked by a lawyer. You can also demand to see the initial deeds of the land / Property.

Acknowledgement / bills of tax paid on property :

Seek and conform in government and municipal / panchayat /corporation offices whether all taxes on the property you plan to buy have been paid regularly. Examine the panchayat/corporation tax paid receipts. Get in contact with the municipality panchayat / corporation for information about whether any notices / requisitions relating to the property have been issued and not complied with.

There are two prominent columns in the property tax receipt. Confirm that the name listed in the owner’s column is correct. The second column will be for the name of the person who paid the tax. If the owner does not have the tax receipt with him, go to the village office with the survey number of the land to ascertain the original owner of the land. If you are buying a house with land, check the house tax receipt, the electricity and water bills and if there any is balance payment to be made.

Certificate of Encumbrance (E C) :

Make sure that the property you decided to buy does not have any legal issues. Encumbrance certificate is given from the sub registrar office where the deed has been registered. The certificate will mention if the said land / Property is free from encumbrance or not. The certificate should be taken for the past 13 years. If you need more, get an encumbrance certificate for 30 years. If you still have doubts, take a possession certificate of the ownership of the land from the village office.

Loan / mortgage on land :

If the seller has taken loan from the bank by pledging the land you plan to buy, make sure that all the pending are paid. Don’t be satisfied with the receipt of the EMI/payment. No objection Certificate (N O C ) from the bank is needed to release all the debts on the land legally. You can buy land without the release certificate. But if you plan to get a loan in future, the release certificate will be needed.

Measuring area / acreage of land (Land survey) :

Get the land measured previously to registering it in your name. Check if the measurement of the property and its boundaries are correct to get free of problems in the future. You can also take the survey sketch of the land from the survey department to observe the promptness.

Land Belonging to NRI’s ( Buying Land from NRI Land Owners ) :

An individual residing abroad can sell land / Property in India by giving a Power of Attorney to a third person authorizing him to sell the land / Property on his behalf. The Power of Attorney should be witnessed and duly signed by an officer in the Indian embassy in his province.

Agreement and confirmation :

When financial and other matters are over, with discussion and settled between the buyer and seller, pay an advance and write an agreement on stamp paper. It assures that the owner will not change his word on the cost of the land / Property. Also it will protect the owner from selling the land / Property to someone who promise much money. The agreement should state the real cost, the advance amount, the period within which the sale should take place and how to proceed in case of default from either parties. A lawyer / Document writer can prepare the agreement and it should be signed by the buyer and seller and two witnesses. If one of the parties makes a default after signing the agreement, the other party can initiate legal action.

Registration :

The land can be registered in a registrar/sub registrar office, after preparing the title deed, which can be draft by a lawyer / document writers.

Prepare a draft before writing the document on stamp paper. Check for clarity. If there are mistakes in the document after registering, a secondary document will have to be registered. For registration, you will need the original title deed, previous deeds, property/house tax receipts, Torrance plan and two witnesses. Torrance plan is a detailed plan of the property prepared by a licensed surveyor. It will have details of the land area, including width, length and boundaries. This plan is needed only in some areas. If the land value its cost more than Rs5 lakhs, the seller will have to submit pan card or Form Number 16 for registration.

Spending of registration:

Include stamp duty, registration fees and fees for document writers/ lawyers, and other sundry spending. Stamp duty will depend on the cost of the property and varies from Municipality to Corporation and to Panchayat. It could have better to check the Government websites to get the rates of stamp duty Registration Charges in Kerala.

It can be reach the registered document from the registrar office 2 – 3 weeks after registration.

Changing the title in Village office :

The whole legal procedure of buying the property will be complete only if the new owners name is added in the village office records. An application can be made along with the copy of the registered deed to the Village office to get this done.

Kerala land registration procedure for NRI’s (Present) :

As per today’s land registration procedure Presented by the Government of Kerala on 7th May, 2007

It has become mandatory to add photos and thumb impressions of every buyer and seller on stamp paper at the time of documents registration. This is to stop fake transactions (selling and buying of land / Property in the state).

This decision is very difficult to every NRI’s to buy or sell land in their dream land / Property in kerala. But now some exemption given for NRI’s , that the Govt. exempt NRI’s from personal appearance when selling or buying land in Kerala.

For this the NRIs could send the power to his family members or others to get the document registered in their name through a power of attorney , this power attorney stamp charge is normal for to direct blood relative and for others stamp charge is high,in this case also buyer and seller must produce their thump impression, photo and ID proof at the time of registration.