What should I consider when I am buying a house or land?

One of the most critical aspects to consider when buying a land or house, is knowing whether:

The price of the property is fair 

Since land and property fall under State subjects as per the Constitution of India, laws and transactional rules vary depending on the state where the property is located. Depending on where the property is located and the nature of construction (if applicable), different states have introduced a system of determining a minimum base price for the property, called ‘circle rate’, or ‘ready reckoner rate’. These circle rates are speculative and vary greatly even within the same city- from one area to another- and are frequently updated and notified. In addition to the location-based circle rates, the value of a property is also affected by the services it has access to, and the builder/ housing society. However, these circle rates only serve as guides, and the actual price may vary based on the market value of the property, called fair market value.

The ownership of the property is free of disputes

There are various ways in which you can find out if the ownership of the property you want to purchase is disputed. The simplest way is to check the title deeds of the property in question. You can also enquire with the local tehsildar’s office or that of the village officer where the property is located. Other documents such as e-record of rights, property tax receipts, and survey documents are also used to establish ownership.

Who can buy and/or receive immovable property?

Any citizen of India aged 18+ is eligible to buy property in the country. However, certain states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, North-eastern states like Assam, Nagaland, Sikkim, among a few others, restrict non-farmers from purchasing agricultural land. Under Indian law, an unborn person can also receive immovable property1.

If you’re a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) or Person of Indian Origin (PIO), you cannot purchase agricultural land/plantation property or a farmhouse anywhere in India, but there’s no such restriction when it comes to residential properties. However, you can inherit such land from a resident Indian or other NRIs/PIOs upon receiving special permission from the Reserve Bank of India.2

Individuals and companies can also acquire immovable property and this is governed by the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 and various circulars notified by the RBI from time to time.

  1.  Section 13 of the  Transfer of Property Act, 1882.[]
  2. RBI Master Circular on “Acquisition and Transfer of Immovable Property in India by NRIs/PIOs/Foreign Nationals of Non-Indian Origin”,Accessed at: https://rbidocs.rbi.org.in/rdocs/notification/PDFs/04MCNIP010713.pdf[]

How can I find the circle rates for a property?

To find the circle rates for a property, you can go to the respective state government’s website (usually the Department of Registration and Stamps). For example, in order to find circle rates in Delhi, you can visit https://eval.delhigovt.nic.in/ where you must select the area where your property is located, the type of deed, the type of property, built-up area and then  calculate the circle rates.

To find out the market value of a property, one approach could be to contact a government registered property valuer or a chartered property valuer. Property rates tend to vary greatly due to the changing nature of the real estate market. Parameters like circle rates and fair market value can be a reliable way to determine fair price for a property.