FAQs on Real Estate
Why should I buy, instead of rent?
A home is an investment. When you rent, you write your monthly check and that money is gone forever. But when you own your home, you can deduct the cost of your mortgage loan interest from your income taxes, and usually from your taxable income. This will save you a lot each year, because the interest you pay will make up most of your monthly payment for most of the years of your mortgage. In addition, the value of your home may go up over the years. Finally, you’ll enjoy having something that’s all yours – a home where your own personal style will tell the world who you are.
What are the Tax Advantages of buying a home?
In most cases, the mortgage interest (and property tax) may be itemized and deducted from your taxable income, lowering your overall tax bill. This can make your after-tax cost of home ownership lower than renting. However, there may be tax implications if you later sell the home at a profit. Please consult your tax adviser regarding interest deductibility.
Should I talk to a Lender before I start shopping for a home?
Getting pre-qualified for your mortgage is an important step before you shop for a home. It tells you how much home you can buy and therefore what price ranges you should be shopping in. Furthermore, when you find the home you want to buy, including a pre-qualification letter with your offer, makes your offer that much stronger and appealing to the Seller. Feel free to contact me if you would like some names of local lenders with buyer’s thumbs up!
Should I use a real estate broker? How do I find one?
Using a real estate broker is a very good idea. All the details involved in home buying, particularly the financial ones, can be mind-boggling. A good real estate professional can guide you through the entire process and make the experience much easier. He or she will help you figure the price range you can afford and search the multiple listing services for homes you’ll want to see. With immediate access to homes as soon as they’re put on the market, the broker can save you hours of wasted driving-around time. When it’s time to make an offer on a home, the broker can point out ways to structure your deal to save you money. He or she can explain the advantages and disadvantages of different types of mortgages, guide you through the paperwork, and be there to hold your hand and answer last-minute questions when you sign the final papers at closing.
When I find the home I want, how much should I offer?
Again, your real estate broker can help you here. But there are several things you should consider: 1) is the asking price in line with prices of similar homes in the area? 2) Is the home in good condition or will you have to spend a substantial amount of money making it the way you want it? You will want to get a professional home inspection before you make your offer. Your real estate broker can help you arrange one. 3) How long has the home been on the market? If it’s been for sale for a while, the seller may be more eager to accept a lower offer. 4) How much mortgage will be required? Make sure you really can afford whatever offer you make. 5) How much do you really want the home? The closer you are to the asking price, the more likely your offer will be accepted. In some cases, you may even want to offer more than the asking price, if you know you are competing with others for the house.
What if my offer is rejected?
They often are! But don’t let that stop you. Now you begin negotiating. Your broker will help you. You may have to offer more money, but you may ask the seller to cover some or all of your closing costs or to make repairs that wouldn’t normally be expected. Often, negotiations on a price go back and forth several times before a deal is made. Just remember – don’t get so caught up in negotiations that you lose sight of what you really want and can afford!
How Much Is My House Worth?
The big question. You can’t get too far selling your home if you can’t put a price on it. If you hire a full-service real estate agent, they will use “comps”, short for comparables, to help draw an accurate picture of what your home is currently worth. Agents also draw upon years of experience and local, neighborhood insight to price your home.
If you’re a FSBO (For Sale By Owner), you can do some homework online and come up with a listing price on your own. Visit sites such as MagicBricks, 99Acres, CommonFloor and search for homes in your neighborhood or town. Compare your home to the homes for sale or recently sold, and make your own valuation based on square footage. You can also spend a few bucks and hire a home appraiser, who will give you a full report and a number.
How to Find a Seller’s Real Estate Agent?
The most common way sellers (and buyers) find a real estate agent or Realtor is through referrals. You either ask family or friends if they’ve had a good experience with a particular agent. Or, sometimes friends and family find out you’re selling your home and refer agents to you. Either way, having someone you respect and trust vouch for an agent goes a long way in making a choice.
Another thing to look for is local knowledge and experience. Ask neighbors or people in your community about any agents they know. You can even drive around and look at for sale signs in your neighborhood. Does one agent have the majority of listings in the community? Seek out these “neighborhood specialists” and put them on your short list. Many times these agents actually live in the neighborhood themselves and have special insight into selling homes there.
How To Sell A House Fast ?
Please understand that “fast” is a relative term in the real estate industry. For example, you could receive a great offer on day one. If you accept it, you could still be looking at anywhere between 30-45 days until the deal officially closes.
To help streamline the process to that best offer, there are some things a seller can do to sell their home “faster”: hire an agent, list the property on the listing portals, price the home accurately, dial up the curb appeal, get a storage unit for clutter, paint the interior, stage the home like a pro, take great photos, remove pets and their odors.
What Do Seller’s Agents Do?
Bottom line, if you’re a home seller, you want a real estate agent who sells your home as quickly as possible for as much as possible. But what specific actions does the agent take to achieve that goal?
An agent or Realtor’s first step is to price your home correctly. Next, they will help the seller with recommendations on decluttering, curb appeal and small repairs. Then they will list the home and market the home through a mix of traditional and digital channels. Staging and showing the home comes next, followed by (hopefully!) helping the seller negotiate with buyers.
Of course, the above list is a highlight of the main things a seller’s agent will do in any successful transaction. However, there are many other details and duties an agent will complete on your behalf.
Who Pays Realtor Fees When Selling A Home?
The seller pays for a real estate agent or Realtor commission fees after the sale has closed. The seller and the agent agree to the commission fee, usually a percentage of the final selling price. This number (usually 3%, but it varies and is negotiable) is basically split up between the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent.
How To Sell A House Without A Realtor ?
Most sellers, just over 90%, hire a real estate agent or Realtor to sell their property. Being a successful FSBO (For Sale By Owner) takes time, effort and patience. Here are four main areas you’ll want to concentrate on:
Prep And Pricing: putting your pad up for sale means doing plenty of prep work. You have to fix, clean and repair everything possible. Accurately pricing your home for sale is also key. Use information available on home listing sites such as MagicBricks and 99Acres to make your own “comps.”
Listing and Marketing: you need a digital presence to compete in today’s real estate market. Be sure to list your FSBO home on the MLS and in addition to flyers and signs, market your home via social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Showings and Open Houses: as a FSBO, you’ll be giving tours and holding open houses of your own property. The remaining objective will be your number one priority.
Negotiations: stand your ground and make a counter offer—it’s in your best interest!
How Long Does It Take To Sell A House?
The un-official, the statistical answer is 65-90 days. However, this is one of those questions where more than one answer applies. The best of those being, “it depends.”
In a hot, seller’s market, agents will tell you that a home shouldn’t last more than three weeks. In a buyer’s market, homes might sit for a month or two before an offer comes through. Again, it all depends on factors such as inventory, the economy, the zip code, the season, if it was priced too high, etc.
How To Increase Home Value
There are many ways to add to your home’s value, including simply making your monthly mortgage payments!
Some of the more popular moves to make include making small upgrades to the bathroom and kitchen: change out handles and fixtures, put in low-flow toilets, and paint or stain cabinets.
Go green by adding solar panels and consider putting in a tankless water heater. A relatively cheap way to spruce up your landscaping is to revive your lawn by laying new sod. A fresh coat of paint and new flooring will also go a long way in justifying your asking price.
What Is A Title Search?
A title search is typically conducted by an advocate, via the buyer and their agent. The main goal of doing a title search is to let the buyer (and their lender) know that the seller is indeed the rightful property owner and has the right to sell the property.
Title searches involve looking at the history of the home and the owner and determining if any liens or encumbrances have been placed on the property. A lien is a type of hold, placed on the property to ensure payment for one of several things, refinanced mortgages, etc. Most of these types of issues are cleared up when the home sells and the liens are paid off or they’re removed entirely
As A Home Seller, How Long Do I Have To Respond To An Offer?
Unless the buyer spells out a specific time frame to respond in their written offer, a home seller can take as long as they want, or simply not respond at all.
However, it is customary and polite for the seller to respond to the buyer within 24-48 hours of receiving the offer. A seller can accept the offer, make a counteroffer, or simply reject the offer altogether. Flat out ignoring a buyer’s offer and offering no response at all should only be considered if the offer was super low. Not replying is considered to be an insult to the seller.
What Should I Disclose To Potential Buyers?
Beyond your legal obligation, it’s a good rule of thumb to disclose everything you know to the potential buyer.
That doesn’t mean you have to seek out things to disclose. However, if you know of a problem or risk that the home inspector didn’t catch, it’s still a good idea to be honest and forthcoming to your buyer.
Here are some things to always disclose:
Environmental issues such as lead paint, asbestos, radon, and mold.
Pest infestations such as rodents, insects or reptiles, especially termites or carpenter ants.
Natural hazards such as flood zones or drainage issues.
Construction defects or system problems such as electrical, plumbing, etc.
What Is The Difference Between A List Price And Sale Price?
A list price is how much the seller lists the home for, also referred to as their “asking price.” The sale price is the amount the home actually sells for.
Should I be present when buyers view my house?
“NO!” says Johnson. (Hey, no need to shout. We’re right here!) “There is not any situation in which this is appropriate. Having the owner in the house makes the buyers uncomfortable. They feel as though they can’t make comments or ask questions that could be offensive. The owner—who has a history and attachment to the house—has the tendency to argue if a potential buyer makes a comment that could be a little negative. This can turn off buyers and lose you offers.” Got it.
Who is an NRI?
A person residing outside India who is a citizen of India or a person outside India who is of Indian origin is an NRI. The definition of Person resident outside India is defined under section 2(w) of Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 as “a person who is not resident in India”
A person shall be deemed to be a person not resident in India in the following cases: –
Person residing in India for less than or up to 182 days during the preceding Financial Year.
Person who is residing abroad or residing outside India, in either case
For or on taking up employment outside India, or
For carrying on outside India a business or vocation outside India, or
For any other purpose, in such circumstances as would indicate his intention to stay outside India for an uncertain period
Who is a PIO?
The Definition Of ‘Person of Indian Origin’ Is Defined Under Section 2 (B) Of Foreign Exchange Management (Borrowing And Lending In Rupees) Regulations, 2000 And Under Section 2 (Xii) Of Foreign Exchange Management (Deposit) Regulations, 2000 As Given Under: –
Person of Indian Origin’ Means A Citizen of Any Country Other Than Bangladesh or Pakistan, If
He at any time held an Indian passport; or
He or either of his parents or any of his grandparents was a citizen of India by virtue of the Constitution of India or the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955); or
The person is a spouse of an Indian citizen or a person referred to in sub-clause (a) or (b)”
Person of Indian Origin (PIO) For the Purpose Of Acquiring Immovable Property In India As Given Under: –
‘Person of Indian Origin’ Means an Individual (Not Being a Citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh or Sri Lanka or Afghanistan or China or Iran or Nepal or Bhutan), who at any time, held an Indian passport; or
Who or either of whose father or mother or whose grandfather or grandmother was a citizen of India by virtue of the Constitution of India or the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955)
Who can purchase immovable property in India?
Under the General Permission Available, The Following Categories Can Freely Purchase Immovable Property In India:
Non-Resident Indian (NRI) – that is a citizen of India resident outside India
Person of Indian Origin (PIO) – that is an individual (not being a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh or Sri Lanka or Afghanistan or China or Iran or Nepal or Bhutan), who
At any time, held Indian passport, or
Who or either of whose father or grandfather was a citizen of India by virtue of the Constitution of India or the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955). The general permission, however, covers only purchase of residential and commercial property.
Can a NRI acquire a commercial property in India?
Yes, under the General Permission granted by the Reserve Bank of India:
Properties other than Agricultural Land/ Farm House/ Plantation Property can be acquired by NRIs provided
The purchase consideration is met either Out of Inward remittances in Foreign Exchange through normal banking channels or
Out of funds from the purchaser’s NRE/FCNR accounts maintained with banks in India and a declaration is submitted to the central office of Reserve Bank in Form IPI 7 within a period of 90 days from the Date of Purchase of the Property/Final Payment of Purchase Consideration.
What is a Power of Attorney (POA)?
A Power of Attorney (POA) or Letter of Attorney is a written authorization to represent or act on another’s behalf in private affairs, business, or some other legal matter, sometimes against the wishes of the other. The person authorizing the other to act is known as the Principal, Grantor, or Donor (of the power)
A Power of Attorney is not an instrument of transfer in regard to any right, title or interest in an immovable property.
A Power of Attorney, or Letter of Attorney, is a document that authorizes another person known as the Agent or Attorney-In-Fact, usually a legally competent relative or close friend over 18 years old to handle any combination of financial, legal and health care decisions. A Power of Attorney is also referred to as a POA.
Generally, one chooses a POA as a provision if he or she becomes incapacitated.
*Types of Power of Attorney
Power of Attorney (POA) is an instrument that is used by people to confer authority on somebody else to legally act on their behalf. POA are of two types. –
Special Power of Attorney (SPA): While an SPA is used for transfer of a specific right to the person on whom it is conferred.
General Power of Attorney (GPA): The GPA authorizes the holder to do whatever is necessary.
There is no sale clause of immovable property mentioned in POA (Notarized). Registered POA from registration office allows sale clause and POA to anyone.
Below mentioned are the essential things to be considered while executing the POA:
Customer prepares POA as per defined format.
Person, who executes requires to paste his/her photograph along with signature on each page.
Authentic/ Adjudicate the POA from Indian Embassy or Local Authority.
Send authenticated/ Adjudicated POA in India.
In India, the POA holder has to paste his/her photograph along with his/her left-hand thumb impression and signature.
This document must be stamped for Rs. 500 (ESBTR, Franking, and Stamp Paper) and notarized from a registered notary. Ensure that a stamp of “before me” is affixed on the document.
POA holder and executants photo ID attach before notary.
Can a NRI obtain a loan for purpose of acquiring a residential or commercial property in India?
Certain Financial Institutions has been granted general permission by the Reserve Bank to provide housing loans to NRI nationals for acquisition of a NRI House/ Flat for self-occupation subject to certain conditions. These financial institutions are HDFC, LIC Housing Finance Ltd., etc and other authorized dealers.
Norms regarding the purpose of the loan, margin money and the quantum of loan will be at par with those applicable to Resident Indians. Repayment of the loan should be made within a period not exceeding 15 years, out of inward remittance through banking channels or out of funds held in the investor’s NRE/FCNR/NRO Accounts.
What is the loan sanction process and documentation required?
The documentation needed to be submitted by the NRIs differ from the Resident Indians. Resident Indians are required to submit additional documents like copy of the passport and a copy of the works contract, etc. While NRIs are required to follow certain eligibility criteria to get home loans in India.
Power of Attorney (POA) is another key document, which is required during the processing of NRI Home Loan. The POA is essential because the borrower is not based in India. Therefore, the home finance company would need a ‘representative’ ‘in lieu of’ the NRI to deal with and if needed. Although, not obligatory, the POA is usually drawn on the NRI’s Parents/ Wife/ Children/ Close relatives or Friends.
Can a NRI/PIO acquire agricultural land/plantation property/farm house in India?
Since NRI/PIO are not granted with the general permission to acquire agricultural land/plantation property/farm house in India, such proposals will require specific approval of Reserve Bank and the proposals are considered in consultation with the Government of India.
Tax on Income from immovable property selling/ renting. What is the Tax treatment for income generated from property selling or renting for NRI/ PIO/OCI?
The mere acquisition of property does not attract Income Tax. However, any income accruing from the ownership of it, in the form of rent (if it is let out)/annual value of the house (if is not let out and it is not the only residential property owned by that person in India) and/or capital gains (short term or long term) arising on the sale of this house or part thereof is taxable in the hands of the owner
Do NRI/PIO/OCI have to file return in India for their property rental income and Capital Gains Tax?
The Government of India has granted general permission for NRI/PIO/OCI to buy property in India and they do not have to pay any taxes even while acquiring property in India. However, taxes have to be paid if they are selling this property. Rental income earned is taxable in India, and they will have to obtain a pan and file return of income if they have rented this property. On sale of the property, the profit on sale shall be subject to capital gains.
Tax on income from immovable property selling/renting?
If they have held the property for less than or equal to 3 years after taking actual possession then the gains would be short term capital gains, which are to be included in their total income as tax as per the normal slab rates shall be payable and if the property has been held for more than 3 years then the resultant gain would be long term capital gains subject to 20% tax plus applicable cess.
How does the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement work in the context of tax on income and Capital Gains tax paid in India by NRI?
India has DTAA’s with several countries which give a favorable tax treatment in respect of certain heads of income. However, in case of sale of immovable property, the DTAA with most countries provide that the capital gains will be taxed in the country where the immovable property is situated. Hence, the non-resident will be subject to tax in India on the capital gains which arise on the sale of immovable property in India. Letting of immovable property in India. Would be taxed in India under most tax treaties in view of the fact that the property is situated in India.
Does capital gains TAX (CGT) apply to NRI/PIO/OCI?
Yes. Long-term and short-term capital gains are taxable in the hands of non-residents
How does double taxation avoidance agreement work in the context of CGT paid in India on the foreign tax treatment?
In case the non-resident pays any tax on capital gains arising in India, he would normally be able to obtain a tax credit in respect of the taxes paid in India in the home country, because the income in India would also be included in the country of tax residence. The amount of the tax credit as also the basis of computing the tax credit that can be claimed are specified in the respective country’s DTAA and is also dependent on the laws of the home country where the tax payer is a tax resident
How is rate of CGT computed?
Type of asset: assets like house property, land and building, jewelry, development rights etc. Rate of Tax Deduction at Source (TDS)
Long term – 20.6% Short term – 30.9%.Exemption available (only for long term capital gains) the long-term capital gains arising on sale of a residential house can be invested in buying/ constructing another residential house, within the prescribed time. The exemption is restricted to the amount of capital gains or amount invested in new residential house, whichever is lower. If the amount of capital gains is invested in bonds of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). (NHAI) or rural electrification corporation, then the entire capital gains is exempted, else the proportionate gain is exempted. As per the financial budget 2007-08, a cap of Rs. 50 lakhs have been imposed on investment that can be made in capital tax saving bonds