September 30, 2021

Cautionary Tips against Real Estate Fraud

We hope that you never come across such frauds but it’s always better to be cautious. There has been an increase in property scammers for the past few decades as these scammers are becoming very subtle with their wicked scheme. But worry not in this article we will show you few handful tips through which u can analyze that you are at risk.

How to identity that you are at risk?

Anyone who owns a property or is in the process of buying a home could become a target of a property fraud scam. However, some owner’s chances of being scammed are more than are more than the others. Statistics shows that fraudsters are more likely to target mortgage-free properties, especially when they are empty, being renovating, or occupied by tenants rather than the owner. Criminals are also more likely to target properties that are not registered with Land Registry – that’s properties that haven’t changed hands or being re-mortgaged since 1998 – or properties whose owners live overseas.

What to do if you are at risk?

The tips for protecting your property are listed below

Check for true ownership

           Often, there are negotiator involved in negotiations and discussions related to a property. It is vital for a buyer to find out true owner of the property so as to evade any cheating/fraudulent practice on behalf of the owner and/or broker. In case the seller possesses a power of attorney on behalf of the owner, buyer should confirm the authentication of the same and then proceed with the transaction. It is extremely important that the agreement is executed between the buyer and true owner of the property only, failing which legal obstacles might arise in the future.

Verify bank/institution approval

           There is a simple and easy way to check if the property is ‘clean’ as banks /Financial institutions will approve only legally cleared properties that possess the essential paperwork. This can prevent buyers from investing in a fraudulent property and be cheated by the developer/seller.

Confirm the title deed

         Verifying the property’s title deed is all-important if you want to confirm whether the property is in the developer’s/seller’s name and also cross-check whether the right to sell lies with him. Also, it is better to check the original deed rather than relying on photocopies provided by the developer/seller and getting it further examined by a reputed legal consultant. It is advisable to avoid buying a property if the title of the land is not clear as it might lead to legal inconveniences in the future.

Check for completion certificate

         Completion certificate is issued by municipal authorities and confirms that a building is built according to approved plans and is ready for residence or not. Else, local authorities may consider the building or its part/s illegally constructed and resort to demolishing it in full or part.

Confirm approved layout

       Buyers must obtain a copy of the approved building layout from the developer/seller of the property. Confirming that the building plan/layout and construction is approved by the authorities will reduce risks such as delay in execution or cancellation of project plans. This quick check will ensure that the plan is legitimate and the buyer is not cheated after the initial down payment.

Confirm area details Developers use terms like super built-up area, built-up area and carpet area to establish and communicate property prices. A buyer should confirm the carpet area of the property under consideration by measuring the actual area and not only relying on details mentioned in the flyers. Additionally, in order to prevent further problems, it is important to ensure that the same area details are mentioned in the agreement as well.

Check for legal dues

    Before buying a property, check if the property does not have any legal dues. The obstruction certificate should be obtained in order to check whether the property is caught up in any legal disputes and complaints. If the property is in a society (in case of a resale), a nonobjection certificate (NOC) from the society should be demanded. Checking this will safeguard the buyer’s interest and he/she will not be charged any additional charges on account of any unpaid dues.

Obtain detailed cost break-up

       At times developers/sellers might quote a lump sum price for the property. It is recommended that a detailed cost breakup be obtained, clearly indicating the nature (breakup) of cost and the tenure of payment that is included in the lump sum price. In addition, it is essential that this cost breakup is included in the agreement so that it becomes legal binding.

Enter into an agreement

        It is wise to enter into a written agreement with the developer/seller. The agreement must ensure that the payment terms and charges for amenities, facilities, parking, delays, etc. are duly written in the agreement to avoid any disputes in the future. In case the agreement is violated, necessary legal actions can be taken out to. However, as the proverb says, ‘prevention is better than cure,’ it is better to invest significant time and effort on property assessment and agreement drafting rather than taking the inconvenient route of fighting legal battles at a later date.

     There you go these are the main cautionary tips for protection against property fraud. Be safe and follow the tips mentioned above in order to buy a legitimate piece of real estate without any sort of burdens.  

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