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Realty Scenario in Goa by Amit Chopra

June, 14, 2016

The Reality of Realty


With its highs and lows, knowing the current and future scenario of real estate in Goa will help you map your investments better: By Amit Chopra


Alas, there is but one…

GOA!The very word transfixes and transports one to a magical world.Goa has so much to offer; the World Heritage Sites of Old Goa and Fontainhas, some amazingly preserved Heritage Portuguese Houses, the churches & temples (many of them being more than 500 years old),beautiful beaches, stunning views, meandering rivers, charming islands, Bird & Wildlife sanctuaries, verdant fields, sweeping meadows of grasslands, wooded hinterlands, the amazing Sayadhari Mountain Ranges and a wondrous green cover.

Not to forget the deliciously celebrated variety of catholic and Hindu vegetarian and seafood offerings along with an eclectic array of restaurants that serve international cuisines of the likes that attracted Master Chef Sarah Todd; Goa is a real Foodies Heaven.


To Goans it is their home,the place of eternal succor; whileto others, a land of dreams and fun and parties.The culture and the people living the sussegado life is what makes Goa unique.

Goa is one of India’s most literate states with the highest per capita income. It’s home to some top colleges & institutions like Goa Medical College, BITS Pillani- Goa Campus, Goa College of Engineering, Goa Institute of Management Sciences, myriad Hotel Management Institutes, and of course, the-soon-to-be-opened IIT Goa.

No wonder this all makes Goa the cake, pieces of which are desired by all leading to the factor that governs Realty; ‘DEMAND'. Goa is a small state with over 80% of the land reserved for green areas. India is the world’s fastest growing economy with high population densityin the urban areas so everyone wants to take a break in paradise once in a while, and everyone who comes to Goa wants to live here forever. This is in turn leading to an ever increasing demand for homes of all varieties and massive investment opportunities.The demand for beds/rooms to fulfill the rise in the tourist footfalls has lead to construction of newer and better quality of Hotels/Resorts of all kinds be it Star, Boutique, Mid-Range, Budget, or even Backpacker. While earlier the focus was dominantly towards the Beaches, now the hinterlands are also becoming hot destinations with Eco-Tourism slowly becoming a very lucrative segment. Another segment that is gaining ground is Medical Tourism which is driven by Goa's sunny moderate weather for those wanting to escape the biting cold. Moreover, with affordablemedical facilities in India, Goa is starting to develop as a base for Medical Tourism and for facilities like Holistic Health Centers and luxury Retirement Homes.


All these factors are however coupled with the fact that there is very little developable land on offer at any given point of time making Goa the best destination to invest in. The huge demand and sparse supply will ensure the stability of the market and fuel further growth.


If the market holds true, it is predicted that the boom can start as early as middle of next year with growth as seen in 2006-2008. One can choose to invest now when the overall rates are not very high or rue one’s foolhardiness when manifold increase in prices stares one in the face.


Goa offers something for everyone right from the lower end of the market to the ultra luxury segment. Good quality construction at affordable prices for the aspiring lower middle class, to unique and exclusive homes for upper middle classes, to ultra luxury products for the uber rich and celebrities are all available here. The locals, the ones wanting to live in Goa permanently, or the ones who want to make Goatheir second home; all should peek into this promising market.


A word of caution: Please engage the services of a reputed realtor whose expertise and local knowledge will help you secure your investment. Do too engage the services of a competent lawyer as it will make your life easier in the long run; the money spent today would pay off in the future by translating your investment into a lucrative, clear and marketable property.


Amit Chopra is the Director of Escala Realty India Private Limited, also the founder Chairman of the “GOA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS” and the Member of the Governing Body of the "NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS - INDIA".

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Goa as an Investment Destination

June, 20, 2016

Goa AS AN INVESTMENT DESIGNATION


“El Dorado” of the east “Goa”, is not just a dream holiday destination. It has the highest per capita income in India, and employs huge numbers in the tourism sector, medical tourism, and pharmaceutical industries. Goa is a small state with only around 3700 sq Kms of land, there are the beautiful sayadhari ranges having reserves/sanctuaries, then there are rivers, khazans, mangroves ,marshes, paddy fields, beautiful verdant spice plantations, the cashew orchards altogether in figures most of Goa is green areas approximately 80%. And out of the remaining about 5-7% is the beaches, barren fields, rocky ,No Development slopes or CRZ areas, etc, the road/rail network etc cover another 2%. Then there is Land for Public Utility or Govt buildings another 2-3% only about 8-10% is developable land i.e. Settlement Zone Land and of this land about 5-6% is already developed, approximately 2-3% is available for development or redevelopment, then we have to take in the factors of titles not being clear or the owners not being willing to sell or develop the Land so hardly 1% is actually available making clear title land or developed property in Goa a very scarce commodity which is in Great demand.

Where to Invest:

The city of Panjim offers one of the charm and beauty of the old world, with the modern comforts of a vibrant city. If one loves the party scene then Candolim-Calangute – Baga- Vagator offer the best opportunities, the pristine beaches of the extreme North and South Goa offer one serenity and beauty. Kadamba Plateau and the suburbs of Panjim & Margao offer one a chance of living near a city and its amenities in a secure gated complex.

What to buy:

If one is looking for land there are many realtors in Goa and for developed properties there are many builders and projects. Among these the more known and reputed are developers like Gera, Models, Kamat’s, Heritage, Milrock, Landscape, Nanu’s, Acron Highland and Rivera. Also there are projects like Aldei de Goa, Terra Nova etc…

Land parcels are also available in in all kinds of sizes and locations and there are even a few developers offering developed plots and independent bungalows on individual plots, but mostly one finds independent villas or row villa or apartments, mixed developments are also available. Gated complex’s seems to be the flavor of the day with amenities like swimming pools, gardens, play areas and parking being offered in the mid-budget developments and even some offering lifts and top end fittings as standard specifications. One can see a lot of these in the Kadamba Plateau, the suburbs of Panjim & around Margao. Then there are those targeted towards the holiday crowd in the vicinity of beaches offering mostly studio’s or one BHK’s with a few 2/3 BHK’s or row villas and lastly there are the high end developments with bungalows/villa’s/ apartments either in the posh areas of Panjim or with a view – mostly the scenic ‘river views’ of the Mandovi or Zuari or in few ‘sea view’. Another popular kind offers either a ‘field view’ or ‘valley view’, these kinds of developments command a premium and mostly have constructions to the best specifications, offer amazing amenities and are considered value for money, many of these developments also offer inducements like high-end cars or yachts on sharing basis or even ownership basis to the buyers in addition to all the standard amenities like club houses, spa, gym, covered parking, 24x7 security, etc.

Who can invest and how:

Currently there is no restriction on any Indian from purchasing property in Goa, PIO’s or OCI card holders can invest freely in non-agriculture properties, even foreigners with long term visas are allowed to purchase non-agricultural property as long as the money is brought in legitimately after following the RBI’s FEMA regulations.

One should list properties that suit one’s budget or requirements, personally visit the sites, and then negotiate foe a better deal. It can work out better to engage a knowledgeable realtor to guide one through the process and get the title checked from a reputed lawyer, also get the sale deed/agreement to sell drafted or verted by them to safeguard one’s interest and investment.

A last word:

The thing to remember is that even in the slump or recession the land prices Goa did not go down, underling what have been saying that Goa is the best place to invest in India and as India is considered one of the best places to invest in currently in the world we can rightly say that Goa is the best place to invest in the world.

It ids always prudent to buy when the market ids down or slow and the current financial scenario offers one a great window of opportunity for long term investment, so go for it or regret in leisure on missing the investment opportunity in Goa.

Property traditionally has been one of the best ways of investment beating even the gold or the share market in the long term, therefore educated investment in properties is a very sensible decision, there are many opportunities available for investment in Goa, broadly the main areas are:

Property traditionally has been one of the best ways of investment beating even the gold or the share market in the long term, therefore educated investment in properties is a very sensible decision, there are many opportunities available for investment in Goa, broadly the main areas are:

NORTH GOA:

Panjim

The posh areas of Miramar, Dona Paula, Altinho.

The suburbs of Caranzalem, Talegaon, Bambolim.

The North Goa Beach Belt -

Candolim, Calangute, Baga

The vicinity of Anjuna, Vagator and Arpora, Siolim.

The upcoming areas in the vicinity of the beache of Morjim, Arambol.

Kadamba Plateau i.e.; Ribandar, Baigunim, specially the area overlooking the mandovi River.

The new focus areas -

Ela or Old Goa and its surroundings.

Divar & Charao Islands

Aldona, Moira and Surroundings.

SOUTH GOA:

The suburbs and vicinity of Margao city.

The area between Dabolim Airport and sancole, specially that overlooking the Zuari River.

The South Goa beach belt -

a. Between uttorda to colva beaches.

b. Between Benaulim to varca beaches.

c. Area near palolem Beach


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Property Title Verification in Goa

June, 20, 2016

PROPERTY TITLE

VERIFICATION


The subject of title verification is very important for anybody buying a property, particularly in Goa due to the Portuguese legacy, left property issues and property inheritance laws, which make the process lengthy and not easy, leaving a lot of space for unscrupulous dealers.

In many cases you have to dive deep into the local archives, checking for any claim/challenge possible on your chosen property in the future. It is not merely examining the title record, but also tracing of the genuineness of the documents, identification of the property and notification in a newspaper. The title ideally has to be checked until 30 years before its date in order for it to be indisputable. If during this period, the ownership was changed and any questions/doubts towards the title remain, a further 30 years from the transfer date should be reviewed and so on until one obtains the desired result. If there is still a doubt in the title ownership of the desired estate, it is better not to rush into the deal as your property rights can be called back in the future, which may result in monetary and time loss, while the property is under arrest.

It is obligatory to take guidance from a reliable lawyer in the title verification process. Nevertheless, you should also know the logics of title clearance yourself, to make sure that you follow the process and understand what your lawyer does.

The simple fundamentals outlined below should help you out:

IF THE PROPERTY IS OWNED BY AN INDIVIDUAL

Define the document/s sanctifying the title

Define the document/s sanctifying the title

It can be a POA (Power of Attorney), or MOU, or Agreement to Sell, or Deed of Sale, or it can also be a family inherited property. It’s important to know if the property is transferred in the Land and Revenue Department in the names of the owners or not i.e if the mutation has been carried out or not, and if any POA was taken from the previous owners for transfer of ownership/rights, mutation, development or any other reasons. The POA should be carefully examined by your lawyer to see if the principal who has executed the power is indeed the property owner. Another thing to be careful while examining a POA is that the purpose for which it is given, can or has been carried out in its validity. It remains valid as long as it is not revoked or until the person giving the power of attorney is living. Otherwise it ceases to exist.

Check until you are able to establish undisputed title for at least 30 years

Once it is clear if it is an ancestral property or a self-acquired property, review all the previous deals (possession, inheritance, settlement, will, sale, mortgage, release, gift, etc) until finally the root title (initial title holder) is established, or at least until you get 30 years of unchallenged possession in favour of a set of owner/s and establish that the transfer further from them was legal. Finally, gather the information regarding the present owner/s: his/their identity, how the property was acquired, what title deeds and supporting documents are held. Remember that in Goa though sale deed is an adequate conveyance of title, mutation is a legal necessity. Therefore, the person in whose name the mutation stands is considered the owner and his title will be investigated as well as his right to sell being established, only then any subsequent document can have validity.

Pay attention to legal heirs of the present owners

Especially if the/any owner/s is deceased or married and/or a spouse is living or deceased. If they are majors, their presence while executing the deed of conveyance must be insured, or proper legal documents/POA may be drawn to allow exemption of presence or their representation. If they are minors, the seller has to get permission from the court before executing the deed. Ask your lawyer to request the vendor for the inventory proceedings or succession certificate and obtain the family genealogical tree. If necessary, ask for the family ration card for further clarification along with a declaration.

Make sure you get the list of the possible tenants or caretakers or houses of/on the property – they are your liability

The survey plans and I and XIV Form (Handwritten from either panchayat or talathi) should clarify this, or a certificate from mamlatdar can be obtained in case of doubt.

If there have been any tenant/s or mundkar/s (caretakers as per Goan law), they are your liability unless cleared legally before execution of conveyance. If the owners claim that they have been settled/cleared, then establish the legality of that claim as someone could claim rights on the land unless proper documentation /deeds is maintained, and in case of tenancy, court permission or orders are provided.

If the property owner has passed away without a will, request for the inventory documents

This is the norm to establish ownership unless a succession deed is drawn up.

Check for Inscription and Description

Your lawyer will check for inscription and description documents (land describing records), which can be obtained from the archives as far as possible, unless records are non-traceable or not compiled for the area by the Revenue Department.

Ask your lawyer to check old matriz number and conferment of title, if applicable

These documents and the ones above are left to us from Portuguese times and describe a given piece of land with reference to its location, boundaries and ownership. They can be ignored if the Revenue Department declares that records are unavailable or not compiled for that area. Deed of conferment might be available if the property was originally a grant or lease given by the Portuguese. Old title deeds may be applicable if the title has changed hands a number of times.

Find out if your future property is/was a part of a larger property

Get to know the borders of the site on the larger plot by reviewing partition documents. Unless a separate survey/sub-division number has been allotted to the property and a plan can be obtained from the Land and Survey Department. Also remember that new land regulations do not allow division of land into sections of less than 200 sq mtrs, though there are some old properties smaller than these, which are legal. Sometimes court orders have allowed partition and mostly these are considered adequate.

Make sure that there are no dues on your chosen property

Check the house tax receipt or the house number, no dues certificate from excise, panchayat, electricity and water departments as well as payment of taxes such as infrastructure, construction fees and conversion fees.

Check access to and from the property

It is necessary to establish the access to and from the property as sometimes there might be legal issues.

IF THE PROPERTY IS OWNED BY A COMPANY

Opt for checking the history and lawful ownership rights of a seller-company, so there is no possibility of future claims on your purchased real estate site.

Check if the company’s owner has Indian citizenship. If it is a company owned by a foreign national, then check for the proper company’s registration process, following all the rules, including if any notice under FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act)/FERA (Foreign Exchange Regulation Act) violations was served to the company, and if all relevant permissions to sell the holding before the sale deed are taken. If there is any document missing, the company or foreign direct investment is not properly registered, your rights on the property are potentially under threat of being stopped and reviewed, which could take a while.

Documents to study

· Articles of Association and Memorandum.

· Permissions sought, if foreign investment route was taken.

· Clearance to sell the holding (in case of any non-Indian co-owner).

· Clearance from RBI and, if applicable, if RBI clearance was also acquired when buying the property.

· Resolution of company authorising the sale of the property. If applicable, also check if this procedure was followed by the current seller, while buying the property.

If the property is built up or to be built

Check the permissions granted to the seller to construct the project and adherence to the norms while building it. Ensure that the building has not been served with a demolition notice.

Sanctions/Plans and NOC’s to check (as applicable):

· Town and Country Planning / PDA

· PWD

· Electricity

· Health/Pollution

· Panchayat/Municipality

· CRZ

· Land and Survey Department

· Survey Plan

Other documents:

NA i.e.; valid conversion to non-agriculture (also called sanad in Goa) land and construction license (during and after construction to establish if it is legal). The completion certificate (from architect/charted engineer) and occupancy certificate from the panchayat or municipal body, after construction and possession has been granted.

Check for Encumbrance

One should verify if the property is free of debt. If a loan has been raised over the property and is not discharged, it is an encumbrance. Apply to the sub-registrar for an encumbrance certificate to find out if a property is under any liability. A nil encumbrance certificate is issued in case of a zero liability transaction, though it is prudent to remember that people sometimes do not register such liabilities and sometimes there may be agreements/MOUs/leases/grants/allowances,etc. Therefore it is incumbent upon the buyer to thoroughly investigate.

Recommendations to readers

1. Obtain title certificate from a competent lawyer, valuer or other authority. Be patient or you may pay hard for it in the future.

2. Normally, if the property has approval for a loan from a reputed bank, the title is considered to be verified and clear, but to purchase such property which has outstanding or paid up loan, a no dues/objection certificate should be obtained from the bank, unless the loan approval is for you to purchase the property.

3. Save all the original/certified copies of the reviewed documents. It will be a tremendous help in case you want to sell your property in the future.


4. It is recommended to publish a notice in a leading English or local daily, although it is not obligatory. Even after studying all the documents, the lawyer may not be able to find out if the property is truly free from any claim. A notification in the newspaper might elicit a response from a genuine claimant. Therefore, it is one of the best ways to avoid legal problems for the buyer and it is better to incur small expenses today, than to lose your hard earned money in the future.

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