FAQ for Real Estate


How many properties can I own?

You can own as many properties as you want.

How can I qualify for exemptions on the Capital Gains Tax?

There are a few exemptions available for long term Capital Gains, if you: - Buy or construct a new house: If you build a new house or buy one from the money you receive from selling a property, you are exempted from paying the tax on Capital Gains. However, the new purchase should be done either one year before or within two years of sale and the construction should be completed within three years from the date of transfer. The new property bought or constructed should not be sold within three years from the date of its purchase or date of completion of construction. - Capital Gain Account Scheme- Through the Capital Gain Account Scheme (CGAS), you can save the received money in designated banks. CGAS helps you in buying time to look for suitable investments as it serves to inform the Income Tax department that you plan to invest the money received; but at a later date. - Invest in Bonds- You can also invest in financial assets or bonds to save tax. Such bonds are issued by the Rural Electrification Corporation and the National Highway Authority of India and should be bought within six months of transferring the property. You can invest a maximum of Rs 50 lakhs through these bonds.

What is the difference between long-term Capital Gains and short-term Capital Gains?

If the house is held for less than three years prior to its sale, it is termed as a short-term capital asset and any gain arising from the sale is treated as a short-term Capital Gain. There are no tax exemptions for short-term Capital Gains and one needs to pay it according to the applicable tax slab. However, if the property is sold after holding it for more than three years, it is treated as a long-term capital asset and the gain arising from it is called the long-term Capital Gain. Such gains attract a flat exemption rate of 20%.

What are Capital Gains on property purchase?

Property is considered a capital asset and Capital Gains Tax is levied on the gains arising from the sale of property. Such gains are calculated after adjusting the inflation rate, transfer and renovation charges.

Do I need to pay stamp duty if the property is transferred or is a gift?

Yes. Generally, the stamp duty on the gift deed ranges from 5% to 12% in all states. In few states like Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi, concession of 1 to 2 per cent is given to female transferors.

What is Stamp Duty? Who is liable to pay Stamp Duty? Do I get tax benefits on Stamp Duty?

Stamp Duty is the tax paid for the legal recognition of property. It is paid by the home buyers. You can claim tax incentives of up to Rs 1.5 lakh on stamp duty and registration charges on a new property purchase or construction of a house. However, these benefits are available for only one self-occupied property.

What are the current rates for the different property taxes that need to be paid?

TDS- 1% on immovable properties (except agricultural land) exceeding Rs 50 lakhs. Stamp Duty - Depending upon state and municipal laws Service Tax- It is a central tax paid for the services offered by the developer to you. From April 1, 2015 onwards, if the apartment is worth less than Rs 1 crore, or has a floor area less than 2000 sq ft, the service charge levied is 14% on car parking and preferential location charges (PLC) and 3.50% on the basic sale price. If the apartment is worth over Rs 1 crore, or has a floor area greater than 2000 sq ft, the service tax levied is 14% on car parking and preferential location charges (PLC) and 4.2% on the basic sale price of the flat.

What are the taxes that I need to pay before buying a property?

The buyer needs to pay the following taxes: - TDS or tax deduction at source on amount exceeding Rs 50 lakhs for the purchase of property excluding agricultural land. - Stamp duty - Service Tax - Applicable if the property is being purchased from the builder who conceived and constructed the project before offering possession to the buyer. If a `ready to move in' property is purchased from the seller, service tax is not applicable. - Value Added Tax (VAT) - If applicable in the concerned state.

How can I convert a leasehold property to freehold?

The property could be converted from leasehold to freehold if the local laws allow it. For example, properties under DDA can be converted to freehold by executing a Conveyance Deed but the same is not allowed if the property is owned by the Noida Authority.

What is the difference between leasehold property and freehold property?

The difference between a leasehold property and a freehold property lies in its ownership . In a leasehold property, the ownership remains with the concerned local authority or the government (as the case may be). The lease period varies typically between 30 to 99 years. But, this does not prevent the individual owner from selling or perform other transactions with the property, provided the lease deed is registered. In case of a freehold property, the owner of the property is the legal owner and can sell/lease/rent the property as per his/her wish .

What should be the language of the registration document?

The language of the registration document must be the one that is commonly used in your district. According to Section 19 of the Indian Registration Act, the Registering Officer or the registrar has the power to decline registration of your document if it is presented in a language which is not commonly used in the district unless it is accompanied with a true translation of the language in use.

Can I authorize someone else to register my property by granting him Power of Attorney?

Yes, you can execute Special Power Of Attorney to get your property registered by someone else.

What is Power Of Attorney?

Power of Attorney allows a person to authorize another person the right to make decisions regarding the person's assets, finances and real estate properties. There are two types of power of attorney. First, the 'General Power of Attorney' where a property owner confers 'general' rights. The rights include but are not limited to sell, lease, sub-lease etc. The second one is the 'Special Power of Attorney' where only a specific right is given by the owner to the chosen person.

How can I register my property?

Registration of a property includes necessary stamping and paying of registration charges for a sale deed and getting it recorded at the sub-registrar's office of the concerned jurisdictional area. If a property is purchased from a developer directly, getting it registered amounts to act of legal conveyance. In case the purchased property is a second or third transaction, it involves a duly stamped and registered transfer deed. Nowadays, property registration process is computerized in most states.

What is property registration?

It refers to the registering of documents relating to transfer, sale, lease or any other form of disposal of an immovable property. Registration is compulsory by law for all properties under Section 17 of Indian Registrations Act, 1908. Once a property is registered lawfully, it means that the person in whose favor the property is registered, is the lawful owner of the premises and is fully responsible for it in all respects.

What documents would I need at the time of possession?

- Original copies of the chain of title agreements and Building Plan approvals - Original registration and stamp duty receipts - Possession Letter - Original share certificate (In case of societies) - Proof of payment of all dues like maintenance charges, electricity bills, phone, water and property taxes up to the date of handing possession - NOC from the Society or other concerned body confirming no objection to the transfer

How could I verify that the documents shown to me by the seller are genuine?

- Projects approvals can be verified from the corporation or the sanctioning authority's office - Ownership documents can be confirmed from the Sub Registrar's office where they are registered - Share certificate related to societies can be verified from the concerned Society itself

What documents do I need to check if I am buying a resale property?

Clear and marketable Title, Sale Deed, Encumbrance Certificate, latest tax receipts, Occupancy Certificate, Building Plan Approvals and Possession Certificate.

What documents are required to get a resale property registered ?

New Sale Deed, PAN Card, Photographs.

What documents are required for registration of a new apartment/plot?

Sale Deed, No Objection Certificate (NOC) from builder, NOC from banks, Building Plan approvals, Completion Certificate, PAN Card and Photographs.

What documents are needed for registration of an independent house?

Allotment papers of the plot, Building Plan approvals, Transfer Deed (in case of multiple owners), Sale Deed, PAN Card and Photographs.

What documents should I check before buying a new property?

- Sale Deed - Title Deed - Approved Building plans - Completion Certificate ( Newly Constructed) - Commencement Certificate( Under-construction property) - Conversion Certificate( If agricultural land is covered to non-agricultural) - Khata Certificate (especially in Bangalore) - Encumbrance Certificate - Latest Tax Receipts - Occupancy Certificate

Is an FIR necessary while making the claims?

Yes. FIR is compulsory in cases where insurance is claimed for malicious damages, riots, terrorism, burglary, theft and larceny. In case of a fire incident, you need to submit the assessment report compiled by the fire department as well.

How do banks valuate the property for insurance?

Property valuation is done by multiplying the built up area of the property with the cost of construction per square feet. This is the usual method followed by most banks.

What is generally the tenure of a home insurance?

It varies from bank to bank. Generally, most policies cover a period of five years.

What is covered under personal possessions?

Under personal possessions, home insurance companies generally cover furniture, electronic/electrical gadgets and jewelry under personal possessions. However, the maximum liability of these items depends upon the type of insurance cover sought or valuations done by the bank.

What does a home insurance policy cover?

Home insurance policies cover the house structure as well as its contents or possessions. Many insurance policies also combine various personal insurance features too.

What is home insurance?

Home insurance is a type of insurance policy that covers private residences and protects them from unpredictable damages, natural or man-made disasters, burglary and theft.

Can I repay the loan ahead of schedule?

Yes, lending institutions allow you to prepay your loan. However, these institutions may charge early repayment penalties, which may vary from 2 to 3% of the outstanding principal amount.

Do I need a guarantor to get a home loan?

It depends from one bank to another. Some banks ask for 1-2 guarantors

If I have money, is it still necessary to avail of a bank loan for buying a home?

It is generally advantageous to go for a home loan as it helps you in availing tax benefits. However, please consult your CA or tax advisor to discuss the advantages and disadvantages in your case.

Do I need to furnish any security to get a home loan?

In a majority of the cases, the property to be purchased itself becomes the security and is mortgaged to the lender till the entire loan is repaid. A number of lenders may ask for additional security such as life insurance policies, Fixed Deposit receipts and savings certificates.

Can I sell the property, even when the home loan is outstanding?

Yes, you can sell the property with the consent of the banking institution. If the buyer wants to take a loan to buy the property, the process is much easier if he approaches the same bank. In these cases, the bank does not need to release the property papers to another bank before getting the payment. If the buyer wants to make a payment outright, he can make it to the bank directly. The property papers will be released only after the bank has recovered the entire loan amount.

Can a single woman get a loan?

Yes, a single woman can get a loan. Many lending institutions also have special schemes for them, such as a discount of up to 0.25% on the interest rate.

What is a down payment?

Generally, banking finance institutions pay around 75 to 85 percent of the cost of the property bought. The remaining 20 % of the amount is paid up front, which is popularly known as the down payment.

What is the time required for home loan disbursement?

On an average, loans are disbursed within 3-15 days after satisfactory and complete documentation and completion of required procedures.

I have two housing loans on two different properties. Can I get tax rebate for both the loans?

Yes, you can get the benefit on both loans. However, the total amount that you will be entitled to will not exceed Rs 1,50,000 for both the homes.

How much tax rebate is available on a home loan?

As per Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, you are allowed separate deductions on principal and interest amount of home loan amount, along with other entities like ULIP, PF, PPF, ELSS and NSC's. In case of principal, you can claim deduction up to Rs 1.5 lakhs while in case of interest, it is Rs 2 lakhs. The amount of stamp duty and registration is also eligible for tax deduction. It is important to note that the tax break can only be claimed for the year in which the construction is completed.

Are there any other charges that accompany home loans?

Home loans are usually accompanied by the following extra costs: - Processing Charge: It is the fee payable to the lender on applying for a loan. It is either a fixed amount not linked to the loan amount or a percentage of the loan amount. - Pre-payment Penalty: When a loan is repaid before the scheduled duration, a penalty is charged by some banks, which is known as the pre-payment penalty. - Miscellaneous Costs: Some lenders may also ask for documentation or consultation charges.

What is the difference between fixed rate and floating rate of interest?

In fixed interest rate, the interest remains constant throughout the loan period irrespective of the changes in market conditions while in the floating interest rate, the interest can decrease or increase depending on market fluctuations

How is the interest rate calculated?

The interest on home loans is usually calculated either on monthly reducing or yearly reducing balance. In some cases, daily reducing method is also adopted. - Annual reducing: In this system, the principal, for which you pay interest, reduces at the end of the year. Thus, you continue to pay interest on a certain portion of the principal that you have actually paid back to the lender. This means that the EMI for the monthly reducing system is effectively less than the annual reducing system. - Monthly reducing: In this system, the principal, for which you pay interest, reduces every month as you pay your EMI. - Daily Reducing: In this system, the principal, for which you pay interest, reduces from the day you pay your EMI. EMI in the daily reducing system is less than the monthly reducing system

What are the documents needed to apply for a home loan?

You have to submit the following documents: - Proof of Identity: PAN, Driving license, Voter ID, Aadhar Card - Proof of Income: - Salaried Applicants: Latest 3 Months salary slip showing all deductions and Form 16 for the last three years. - Self Employed Applicants: IT returns for the past 2 years and computation of income for the last 2 years as certified by a CA - Bank Statement: Past 6 months - Guarantor Form (Optional)

How does my salary influence my home loan amount?

Apart from other criteria and norms of the lending bank, the home loan amount is generally calculated as 30 to 65 percent of your gross income. You can increase your loan amount by including a co-applicant.

What are the general eligibility conditions for availing a home loan?

The general eligibility conditions are as follows: - The borrower should be a resident of India or an NRI - Above 24 years of age at the beginning of the loan - Below 60 years (65 for self-employed) or retirement age when the loan matures

Can a Home Loan be Pre-approved?

Yes. One can avail a pre-approved loan from a housing financial institution or a bank.

What is Pre-EMI?

Under the Pre-EMI option, the borrower is required to pay only the interest on the loan amount that will be disbursed as per the progress on construction of the project. The actual EMI payment starts after the possession of the house.

What is an EMI?

EMI or Equated Monthly Installment is a fixed amount paid by you to the bank on a specific date every month. The EMIs are fixed when you borrow money from the bank as a loan. EMI's are used to pay both interest and principal amount of a loan in a way that over a specific number of years, the loan amount is repaid to the bank with interest.

Does tenure affects the loan cost?

Longer the tenure you have, the lesser will be your EMI but higher would be the interest outgo. In shorter tenures, you pay a greater EMI, but the loan gets repaid faster and you pay less interest.

What is the tenure of a home loan?

As home loans cover a large sum, the tenure generally varies between 3 to 30 years.

What are the types of Home loans available?

The banks usually offer these nine types of loans on interest: - Home Purchase Loan: It is the most common type of loan taken for purchasing a new residential property or an old house from its previous owner. - Home Improvement Loan: Home improvement loans are given for executing repair and renovation work at home. - Home Construction Loan: These loans are sanctioned to construct a house on a piece of land you have already purchased. The loan approval and application process for these loans is somewhat different from the other commonly available home loans. - Home Extension Loan: Home extension loans are offered for expanding or extending an existing house. For example, addition of an extra room, a floor etc. - Land Purchase Loan: This type of loan is granted for purchase of a plot of land for both residential or investment purposes. - Home Conversion Loans: These loans are available for people who have already purchased a house by taking a home loan but now want to buy and move to another house. With these loans, they can fund the purchase of the new house by transferring the current loan to the new house. - Balance Transfer Loan: These loans are availed to transfer one's home loan from one bank to another. It is usually done to repay the remaining amount of loan at lower interest rates or when a customer is unhappy with the services provided by his existing home loan provider and wants to switch to a different bank. - NRI Home loans: These are specialized loans, structured to suit the requirements of NRIs who wish to build or buy a home in India. - Loan against Property (LAP): These loans are given or disbursed against the mortgage of a property.

What is a home loan?

Home loan is the money borrowed from a bank or a housing finance institution on interest for buying / constructing / upgrading a residential real estate property.

Should I talk with a bank before looking at homes?

The answer to the question is YES! There are tons of reasons why you should talk with a bank and get pre-approved before looking at homes. First and foremost, talking with a bank before looking at homes can help you understand exactly how much you can afford. There is no reason to look at homes that are listed for ?25,00,000 if you can only afford up to ? 20,00,000. If you’re a first time home buyer, talking with a bank before looking at homes is strongly suggested, as there are many first time home buyer programs available. These programs can vary from state to state and county to county, so knowing exactly what’s available to you, is critical. Another important reason to talk with a bank before looking at homes is so you understand exactly what costs are associated with buying a home. There are many home buyers who don’t understand the difference between a down payment, pre-paid items, and escrows, which can be thoroughly explained by a mortgage professional. A mortgage professional can give you advice on the type of financing you should be looking to obtain and also whether or not you should request the seller to contribute towards your closing costs, also known as a seller’s concession.

Should I buy or continue to rent?

Buying a home can be a very solid investment. This being said, renting can also be a better option for some, depending on the circumstances. The current interest rates are incredible. Since the interest rates are so low, it actually can be cheaper to pay a mortgage right now than paying rent. There are questions that you should ask yourself before deciding to buy a home. One of the most important things to consider is the length you plan on staying in a home, if you were to purchase. If the answer is only a few years, it’s likely the better decision is to continue renting. Another question to ask yourself is whether you are ready to take on the additional “responsibilities” of owning a home. When owning a home there will be general home maintenance that should be done, are you ready for that? Buying a home is a great option in many cases, but not always.

I own a home, should I buy another before selling my current home?

There is truly no concrete “correct” answer to this question. There are pro’s and con’s to buying a home before selling your current home and the same can be said about selling your current home before buying another. Buying a home before selling your current home The biggest benefit to buying a home before selling your current home is the fact that you have a suitable property lined up. This can reduce the stress and pressure of having to find a home once your current home is sold. This however also can create disappointment and heartbreak. If you are unable to purchase a new home without having to sell your current home, you’re purchase offer is going to be contingent upon sale and transfer of title of your current home. If your current home does not sell in a timely manner, this can lead to you getting “bumped” by a non-contingent buyer and you losing out on the home you’re looking to purchase, which can be devastating. Selling your current home before buying a new home The time it takes to sell your current home is unpredictable. There is no crystal ball that exists that can tell you exactly how many days it will take. Selling your current home before buying a new home will put you in an ideal position to negotiate on the new home you’re purchasing due to the fact you are purchasing without the sale contingency of your current home. One risk of selling your current home without buying a new home first is the chance of not being able to have a place to live. There are options if your current home sellers before buying another though. A “rent-back” can sometimes be negotiated with the buyer of your current home. A “rent-back” would allow you to retain possession of your current home for a certain number of days after closing at the expense of paying the buyers mortgage. A “rent-back” allows for additional time to find a new home

Do I really need a Realtor when buying a home?

When buying a home, it’s strongly recommended you have a Realtor. There are many reasons why you should have a Realtor represent your best interests when buying a home. Keep in mind, all Realtors are not the same! When choosing a buyers agent, make sure you know how to properly interview prospective Realtors when buying a home. Attempting to buy a home without a Realtor can really make the home buying process more difficult. Having a Realtor is always recommended when buying a home. One thing not to do when buying a home is calling the listing agent because you don’t want to “bother” your Realtor. This is one thing that real estate agents hate.

Who pays the Realtor fees when buying a home?

One reasons why buyers ask the question about the need of having a Realtor when buying a home is because they don’t understand who pays the Realtor fees when buying a home. There are no guarantees, however, in most cases the seller and Buyer pays the Realtor fees.

How is the neighborhood/area?

When buying a home, a common question home buyers have is regarding the neighbourhood /area. As a real estate professional, there are rules against steering and providing personal insight into specific areas and neighbourhoods. This doesn’t mean that your Realtor cannot provide you with tips to help you choose the right neighbourhood when buying a home. Many buyers wonder about the growth of the local economy, crime statistics, taxes, and local amenities. If you have a top Realtor when buying a home, you should be able to receive all of the pertinent information to allow you to make an educated decision on areas and neighbourhoods.

How are the schools?

This is another question that Realtors should tread very lightly with. There is no doubt that schools impact property values. Just like tips for selecting a neighbourhoods, a top Realtor should be able to provide you with names or websites where you can find information on the local schools so that you can determine whether or not the schools are acceptable to you or not.

What are the average utility bills?

When buying a home, it’s important to know what additional costs will be in addition to the monthly mortgage payment. Utility bills are just one of the additional costs to consider when buying a home. Utility bills can be obtained from the home owner and in some cases, from the local utility company, who can provide averages over the past 12 months. Keep in mind, everyone prefers to have their home temperature different, so the average bill could be different if you were to purchase the home.

What’s the age of the Property?

When looking at homes, many buyers want to know the ages of specific items in a home. The most popular items in a home that buyers want to know about are the major mechanical items, such as the roof, furnace, water heater, and air conditioning (if applicable). An experienced Realtor should be able to find the dates of a furnace, water heater, and air conditioning unit by looking at the serial numbers. The roof age is often known by the home owner. If not, the age usually can be approximately determined by looking at the roof characteristics, such as the sagging areas and the way the shingles are laying.

How many homes should I look at before putting in a purchase offer?

This question is often asked and is a simple answer. The answer is, there is no specific number of homes you should look at before buying a home. Don’t feel that if you were to purchase the first home you look at that you’re making a mistake. Same can be said if it takes you looking at 25 homes.

How much should I offer the sellers?

When buying a home, you are the only one who can determine how much you should offer a seller. Certainly it’s suggested you ask for your Realtors advice and thoughts, but ultimately you are the only person who can determine how much you should offer.

What is an earnest money deposit?

An earnest money deposit is also frequently referred to as a good faith deposit. When a buyer purchases a home, they provide the seller’s real estate company a deposit to hold in their escrow account. The primary purpose of this deposit is to show a seller you are serious about purchasing their home. The amount that is deposited is subtracted from the final figure that a buyer pays at the closing table. In most cases, the larger the deposit, the stronger a purchase offer looks to a seller.

How long does the seller have to respond to my offer?

There is not a standard answer to this question. A purchase offer will have a “life.” The “life of the offer” can vary from 12 hours to 3 or 4 days. There are many circumstances that can effect the length of the “life of the offer.” Your Realtor should know how long of a “life” to give to your offer. If you’re looking to purchase a home that is newly listed and the possibility of multiple offers exists, a shorter life is recommended. If the home you’re looking to purchase has been on the market for 3 months and the seller is located out of town, a 2 day “life” maybe necessary and/or recommended.

What if my offer is rejected?

When a purchase offer is submitted to the seller there are generally four possible responses. The first is an accepted offer, the second is a counter offer, the third is a rejected offer, and the final is an offer that is not responded to. If your offer is rejected, meaning the seller says no and doesn’t counter, you have the right to place another offer. It’s not very common an offer is rejected or not responded to, unless a seller is offended by a low-ball offer.

Do I have the option to have any inspections?

When buying a home, you have the option to perform several types of inspections. The purchase offer you write can be contingent upon a satisfactory home inspection, pest inspection, chimney inspection, radon test, and many other inspections. In most cases, it’s recommended that when buying a home, you at the bare minimum have a home inspection. There are home inspection findings that are more common than others, however, no two homes are the same so it’s a great idea to get the home inspected.

What’s the next step?

Congratulations! Your offer was accepted, now what? Between contract acceptance and the closing date, there are many things that need to be completed. In a nutshell, after an offer is accepted, generally any inspections will be completed. After the inspections, you complete a formal mortgage application and last but not least, the title, abstract, survey, and any miscellaneous paperwork is completed. When buying a home, finding the perfect home is only one part of actually becoming a homeowner. Throughout the mortgage process, you should expect the bank to require documentation, letters, and other items from you to satisfy the bank conditions, so don’t be upset or surprised when this happens.

Do I need to do a final walk-through?

As a buyer, you have the option to perform a final walk-through. Is a final walk through a requirement? NO. Is a final walk through necessary? YES. Generally when buying a home several weeks go by between when you last walked through your home. Lots of things can change during that time. When doing a final walk through a few things you should check is that furnace is working, the toilets are flushing properly, and there is hot water.

When is the closing date?

When buying a home, the excitement level is extremely high. It’s important to understand that the closing date in the purchase offer is a target and not a guarantee. Before you hire the movers and take time off from work, know that the closing date in the contract isn’t necessarily the date you will own your new home. Many buyers will ask their Realtor this question, however, it isn’t up to the Realtors when a closing will be. The attorney’s are the ones who have to set the closing date and time.