If you are planning to relocate permanently in India, you would perhaps wish to buy a property. This can be quite complicated, but not impossible. Here are some tips.
Buying a property in India could be a good idea if you have decided to stay permanently in the country. But this can be a quite complicated task, although it will allow you to make considerable savings in terms of rent. Note, first of all, that foreign nationals are not allowed to own a property in India unless they have a resident permit. Moreover, procedures can be quite difficult for several reasons, namely corruption, frauds, and even pressure. Thus, you are highly advised to hire a reliable and sworn lawyer, specializing in real estate transactions, before proceeding. This can save you from being trapped by unscrupulous people.
You are not authorized to buy a property in India if you are not residing there. Moreover, you must have stayed in the country for at least 183 days during a tax year to be considered as a resident. Hence, it is impossible for a foreign national to buy a property with a tourist visa. On the other hand, a non-resident Indian or a foreigner of Indian origin is not allow to buy a property jointly with a non-eligible foreigner.
You will be eligible to a resident permit once you have stayed for at least 183 days in India during a tax year. The resident permit has to be requested from the nearest immigration office to your place of residence or to the address of the property which you wish to acquire. Once you have obtained your resident permit, you have to apply for a special authorization from the Reserve Bank of India for the purchase of a real estate property. Note that procedures can last for several weeks, or even months.
Good to know:
Once you have become a resident, you will be eligible to the same rights as Indian nationals in terms of property purchase. However, this does not apply to nationals of China, Iran, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal.
On the other hand, foreign firms having a branch or subsidiary in India can also acquire a property provided it is related to their field of activities in the country. Note that there is no limit whatsoever regarding the number of properties they can buy.
If you have already chosen the property you wish to acquire and determined the sale price with the owner, your lawyer will establish a sale agreement. This agreement should specify, namely, the terms and conditions of the sale agreed between you and the owner, as well as the sale price. Thereafter, you will have to sign the agreement and pay a deposit which is generally equal to 10% to 20% of the total sale price. A deed of transfer will then be issued before a sworn notary once all details regarding the property have been verified. The deed of transfer must be stamped at the Stamp Duty Office.
The rest of the agreed price then has to be paid to the owner before registration of the sales deed as the Sub-Registrar of Insurance whereby you will be paying a tax to the government.
Good to know:
You are advised to settled the payment via a national bank so as to avoid any type of fraud. The payment will then be unblocked as soon as the property is registered.
Buying a property in India involves several fees, namely legal and notary fees, agency fees, registration fees, as well as taxes. The stamp duty, for its part, varies between 4% and 10% of the total property price and from one city to another as follows:
- 4% to 6% in New Delhi
- 5% in Bombay
- 6% in Bangalore
- 8% in Chennai.
As regards registration fees, these generally amount to 1% of the property's value, depending on its location. Finally, legal fees generally apply at around 1.5% of the property price.
Make sure to hire a reliable lawyer, a notary and real estate agent.
Feel free to translate the related documents into your own language so as to better understand the procedures.
Request your legal adviser to confirm in writing that the property has not be mortgaged and is not subject to tax arrears, and that the latter has been registered in the seller's name.
It is best to transfer the payment amount through a national bank as you will probably have to justify the origin of your funds before the sales can be registered. In all cases, you have to notify the Reserve Bank of India beforehand.
Feel free to request for external advice regarding the property so as to make sure that the transaction is being carried out in a legal and transparent way.
Never buy a property under pressure and do not settle the payment in cash directly to the seller.
Expat.com – Accommodation in India Forum
Expat.com – Housing for sale in India
Reserve Bank of India – FAQ www.rbi.org.in
Reserve Bank of India – Buying a property in India rbi.org.in/scripts
Bureau of Immigration India boi.gov.in
Global Property Guide – Buying a real estate property in India www.globalpropertyguide.com