Looking to Buy Property in Goa?: Step by Step Guide – Things to know before Buying Property in Goa
1. Necessary Legal Work to Buy a Property In Goa
If you are planning to buy a property in Goa, you need to engage a lawyer that’s based in Goa and who is also familiar with Portuguese law. It is better to engage two lawyers to get two legal opinions before you buy property in Goa.
Get someone who’s on the panel of a bank such as the panel of ICICI or HDFC or State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, etc.
The reason why you would want to do this is when you have the lawyer’s title report who’s on the panel of the bank, it is a bankable asset.
So when you are taking a loan, the whole transaction process can happen much faster.
The second would be a junior lawyer just to make sure it is a watertight transaction.
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Make sure that the real estate builders you are dealing with have obtained all necessary permissions from boards and committees before going ahead with the construction. [Related: 7 Hidden Costs To Be Aware Of When Buying Property In Goa]
Here are the necessary approvals needed:-
- Local authority approvals (Municipality or Panchayat)
- Approval from Airport authorities (If the project is within the proximity of the airport)
- No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Health department
- Necessary approvals from Electricity and Pollution control boards
- Approvals from Forest & Agriculture Department (if the project falls within a green zone)
Documents Needed for Buying Previously Owned Property in Goa
If the flat/residence happens to be previously owned, the following set of documents are needed before its sale:-
- Previous Ownership / Title documents
- Latest Nil encumbrance certificate
- Maintenance / Electricity bill / Tax paid receipts
- NOC to transfer Electricity and House tax to new owners’ name
2. Coastal Regulation Zones
Most people when they envision their properties in Goa they picture a sea-facing villa, a river touching home so that they can bring their boats here, and they have all these dreams.
But what you have to understand before is something called CRZ laws (Coastal Regulation Zones).
This means that if you want a sea-facing house, you will have to keep a setback of 500 meters from the shoreline.
If you have a river, the setback needs to be 100% of the width of the river. So if the river is 50 meters and your property is 70 meters, you have to leave 50 meters for the river.
So, what you are left with is only 20 meters for your property.
Now, some properties in Goa in the villages are 0.6, so you can build 60% while some are 0.8, so you can build 80% of the river facing property.
In the cities, it can be 1 or 2, so you will have to check that before and do your homework really well in advance.
If you have a very narrow property and it leads all the way to the banks of the river.
You will have to leave 3 meters on both sides of the river and also leave 38 meters because whatever width of the river for example is also 38 meters.
And unfortunately, if there is a highway being planned so the highway also takes up another 10 meters from your property.
This can leave you with almost nothing to build on which is why we have to let go of that property so setbacks are important and you need to know this prior to the construction.
3. Check the burial records of the Church
A lot of the land, property and estates belonged to the Catholics in the past and when they were buried, the Churches always made sure to keep a record in those big books of theirs about how they are survived by which family members.
So don’t expect that you can fool the church because the churches have their burial records and they know the entire family.
Usually, you’ll see legal reports which don’t tally up because as per the burial records, there is a sister sitting in London who has a claim in the property and for some reason has been excluded in the inventory proceedings (the procedure for claiming inheritance to an estate of the deceased and also for getting it partitioned amongst their heirs).
So, she can come back one day or her kids could come back and say that they still have a claim in this estate so you will need to be extra careful and always check the burial records.
4. Conduct a Physical Survey of the Location
It is always suggested to buyers of flats and real estate to conduct a physical survey of the property and its surroundings.
Investing in a property in Goa at a prime location with facilities such as medical stores, supermarkets, schools, public transport, hospitals is a dream for many.
It is a good idea to survey the surroundings and also ask the locals to know of other information.
When considering locations, also keep in mind the mid-to-long-term view regarding how the area is expected to evolve over the investment period.
You will also need to get a surveyor involved and their job will be to superimpose the property plans on top of the government plans.
This will help you know whether your property boundaries are encroaching on someone else’s or someone else is encroaching on yours.
So before you put down your hard-earned money and sign your sale deed, you can either come to some agreement with the neighbours or you can say this is too complicated for as tomorrow someone may raise an objection about the encroachment so you would want to step out of it before you’ve put in your money.
Regional Plan Town and Country Planning
You see this wonderful property in the middle of nowhere and are in the process of buying it and then you realize that very soon, in the next five years, the government is planning to build a garbage dump there.
Or that there’s some animal shelter that’s coming up or there’s some religious institution coming beside you.
All these things you want to check before you put down your money so that you have a safe and secure house and investment.
5. Engage with the Locals
This is something that most property buyers don’t do but it should be one of your priorities as it shows that you have respect for the locals and want to add value to the area.
You may want to build one house or maybe build several houses but the important thing here is trying to establish a connection with the locals and this effort will make them want to give you back ten times more.
In Goa, there is something called the “Comunidad” which is a community of elders and they know everything there is to know about a property in Goa.
They know about the family history, the neighbours, the surroundings and this make them a very powerful ally.
It is advised not just to come to Goa to party and own a house that is notorious for creating a ruckus.
Come here and take active steps to be a part of the community and you will be rewarded in ways that are unimaginable.
Goan people are fantastic if they are treated with love and respect. Get to know the community and foster a healthy relationship with everybody around.
6. Costs for your Approvals
What is it going to cost you to get your approvals? This usually fluctuates between 10 to 15 per cent but it can get very complicated because you have to go to five different departments and you have to go to them again and again.
You need to visit the Town and Country Planning committee, you need to get your Occupancy Certificate, at the end you need to get a Completion Certificate, you need to apply for Revision Plans.
You need to get a health certificate, you need to go to the Panchayat, you need to go to the Mamledar, you need to go to the Talati.
These guys keep coming in back and forth and before you know it your files have piled up for a property that’s just one house.
It is important to get an estimate done of what is going to cost you to get all these approvals.
Also, make sure that you know whether some of your property falls under agriculture or some of it is forest as you will need forest approval to chop off the trees or to make a path.
Make sure you do your homework on all these things beforehand.
7. Liaison (Communication between People and Organizations)
Whenever you plan to build a house, it is important that you apply to all the concerned departments so you can get your construction approvals.
This won’t be a straightforward process because you have got to go to five different departments and you will have to go to them not just once but several times.
You’ve got to go to the Mamledar, go to the Panchayat, Town and Country Planning, you have to go to the Talati and you need to get your Health NOC as well.
You need to get your Occupancy Certificate, for changes you will need to apply for revision plans, you need to get a Completion Certificate.
Doing all of this can make you go crazy so you will need to get someone to do it for you and you need to get an estimate prior to this so you know exactly what it’s going to cost.
Also if your property is zoned as half settlement, half forest or half settlement, half agricultural then you need forest approval for that too. Sometimes you may also need NGT (National Green Tribunal) approval.
So all these things need to be known prior to putting down your money.
8. Transparency of the Process
Probably the most valuable and important point that you need to consider before buying any flat and property in Goa and it’s the reason why up to 50% of deals fail to happen in the first place.
Important questions that one should ask are:-
Who is selling the property? Are they a broker? What is their interest? Have they signed some agreement with the owner? Have they introduced you to the owner? What if they are moonlighting as the owner?
Anyone who’s well informed about these things can immediately call out whether a person is really the owner or not and very often agents and brokers don’t want you to meet the owners directly because they’re scared that you will not pay them their cut.
In Goa, it often happens that some agents are not happy earning the 2% commission because they obviously put a lot of effort into legitimizing the property and that is a very valuable addition that should not be discounted.
But you need to know exactly what’s going on because sometimes an agent may have signed some MoU (memorandum of understanding) with somebody else but the owner connects with another agent and they approach you.
Now, you don’t know that the owner has signed something with this guy so at some point he can come back and say you know what I have an agreement and you owe me money.
This can very well complicate the deal and that is why it is always suggested to get complete transparency before you are given any token or anything like that.
Tokens are another thing you and the landlord should be careful about because then you are blocked, your money is blocked and their property is also blocked.
There are some people who are cunning and, for a property of one crore, they’ll give you 5 lakhs and they’ll hold you like that for the next 25 years you won’t be able to sell your property.
And for the people who are non-Goans who are investing in a property in Goa, you need to be careful because then you give them 20 lakhs and your 20 lakhs is gone.
Some points to keep in mind when finding Construction / Builder Information
- Compare past records with commitments
- Collect information about their financial health
- Check developer rating
- Visit their past projects
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