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A sale deed is a vital document in any property deal. Reading through the fine print is mandatory as also verifying documents properly. A brief on the importance of the document.

When Sharad Kulkarni returned to India after a long stay in the USA, his family’s sole dream was to have a sprawling villa. A fastidious search yielded him a dream plot. The US returned buyer shelled out a whopping Rs 1 crore. A month later, when the family visited the plot site, a huge board declaring the ABC Bank as ‘owner’ stood there. Their lawyer explained to a disheartened Mr. Kulkarni that the sale deed was a culprit and they had failed to read the fine print between lines. The property had changed a few hands in the past and one of the owners had pledged it to the bank for some loan. The sale deed was expedited on a faulty ground. The Kulkarnis wriggled out of the controversy but learnt a major lesson; a clear sale deed is the fulcrum of all property deals.

For a landed property, the most important document that binds the buyer and the seller is the sale deed.  It is mandatory to check whether the property on sale is freehold or leasehold. Sale deed is the only document that establishes the buyer’s right, interest and title on the property, be it an open land or a flat. It is unquestionable and lends a complete authority to the holder of the title. Executing a sale deed is the best way to acquire a property. Free hold properties are more expensive and yet worth the buy on account of a clear sale deed. If the property is lease hold, the deed should exemplify the nature of the lease.

There are a few thumb rules to be followed before rushing for the sale deed. A complete scan of the documents attached like the title, a will or any other papers pertaining to the property is a must. Sellers might want to push in photocopies of originals as a final proof saying “the originals will be submitted at the time of the deal”. A strong ‘NO’ to trust the validity of photocopies is the right thing to do, as copies can be manipulated. The originals should be matched with the copies and checked for validity. Albeit a time consuming process, it’s a must to establish the authenticity of the documents.

Legal experts and lawyers specialising in property matters are best visited to examine whether the documents are satisfactory. Supreme Court lawyers and property experts believe that a proper verification from the authorities on the authenticity of the title is just one point. It is also vital to cross check whether there are dues pending against the property.  A major document here is the conveyance deed. If the property is converted from leasehold to freehold, the conveyance deed actually conveys the ownership or title of the property to the owner. The property is registered in the owner’s name already, yet the conveyance deed is mandatory. If a property has had many owners in the past, the complete chain of deeds has to be scrutinised. A missing link can deem the sale deed risky. A la Kulkarni deal.

A real estate dealer avers that any dues like water and electricity dues, corporation tax and the like have to be seen into. A proper site plan of the property is a necessity for the sale deed. Last but not the least; a site visit is a must. With so many cautions and conditions executed, any sale deed is a safe bet.

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