What is Agreement to Sell, and when should it be executed?

It is an Agreement executed between the Buyer and Seller at the time of purchase. It is different from the Sale Deed. Generally, the Sale Deed is signed after the transaction is deemed to have been completed, i.e. before handing over the premises to the purchaser / at the time of registry.

An agreement to sell is an important document in the process of sale and purchase of property. This agreement contains the terms and conditions agreed upon between the parties, and bind them. An agreement to sell is the basic document on which a conveyance deed is drafted.

It is always advisable to have an agreement to sell in writing. It precedes the execution of a sale deed. This agreement is signed and executed by the seller and buyer on a non-judicial stamp paper. It has legal value and if need be can be produced as evidence in a court. The agreement specifies the procedures to be followed leading to the execution of the conveyance or sale deed. It records the understanding reached between the parties, and is binding on both.

The main clauses in an agreement to sell are:

Names of parties with age, their residential addresses, date and place of execution of the agreement, competence of parties to enter into the agreement, their rights and liabilities, brief narration with details of documents on how the seller got the property, exact location and description of the property, consideration amount, and mode and time of payment, timelines for various acts to be completed and responsibilities, production and inspection of title deeds, period of completion of transaction, expenses to be met and who will meet the cost of transfer, penalty and forfeiture clauses in case of default, conditions for delivery of possession, declaration by the seller that the property is not subject to any government acquisition.

The execution of an agreement to sell needs to be witnessed by two persons capable of entering into contract. It is advisable that the witnesses be from the sides of both parties – one from the purchaser’s side and one from the seller’s side.

The agreement is a pre-requirement for sale of property. Generally, the purchaser pays some token amount as advance earnest money to the seller, which is acknowledged by the seller in the agreement itself. An agreement to sell is required to avail finance from a bank. It also binds the parties to perform their parts of the agreement as agreed upon. It pens down the intent of the parties on paper and makes them legally obligated.

What is rainwater harvesting? Why do you need it in your building?

Rain water harvesting

Rain water harvesting

Rainwater harvesting is a technology used for collecting and storing rainwater from rooftops, the land surface or rock catchments using simple techniques such as jars and pots as well as more complex techniques such as underground check dams. Commonly used systems are constructed of three principal components; namely, the catchment area, the collection device, and the conveyance system.

Why do you need it?

Buildings with the facility of rainwater harvesting seldom face issues in water supply. The technique provides an independent water source used to supplement the main supply. It does not only provide water in case there is a short supply, but can also help mitigate flooding of low-lying areas, and reduce demand on borings and wells, which may enable ground water levels to be sustained. It also helps in the availability of potable water, as rainwater is substantially free of salinity and other salts. Thus, it helps you live in an eco-friendly, sustainable environment.


Rainwater harvesting is an accepted freshwater augmentation technology in Asia. The bacteriological quality of rainwater collected from properly maintained rooftop catchment systems, equipped with storage tanks having good covers and taps, is generally suitable for everyday use, and frequently even meets WHO drinking water standards. Notwithstanding, such water generally is of higher quality than most traditional, and many of improved, water sources used in our cities. Contrary to popular beliefs, rather than becoming stale with extended storage, rainwater quality often improves as bacteria and pathogens gradually die off.

As a residential society, buildings often execute higher pressure on the regular water supply in that area. Thus, making sure the building you live / move in has an alternative clean water supply system of its own, such as rainwater harvesting, assures an uninterrupted supply of fresh water throughout the year.

How are Maintenance Charges Calculated?

There are different procedures or methods adopted by an association or society for collecting monthly maintenance fee. Some of the important practices that are prevalent are following.

  • Flat monthly fee:
    Under flat monthly fee, apartment owner’s association or society calculates sum or total maintenance charge and divides equally among all flat owners. This system is generally followed where apartments are of the same size.
  • Per Square feet rate:
    Under this method, rate or fee varies depending on square feet owned by apartment owners. Larger the square feet owned, higher will be the monthly maintenance fee. This is widely practiced in Apartment societies with different sizes of apartments.
  • Partial flat rate:
    Under this method, association or society charges flat rate for a limited square feet and each additional unit will be charged extra. For e.g.: Flat owners who owns up to 1000 sq ft will be charged fixed rate and for addition of 100 sq ft, will be charged 2 per cent extra. In this case, all flat owners with 1000 sq ft pay equal amount but flat owners of 1100sq ft, 1200 sq ft and 1500 sq ft pay different amount towards monthly maintenance fee.
  • Mixed approach:
    It’s a central approach to maintenance charging. Generally followed in apartment societies with variable sized apartments. Here there is a per square feet charge, which is generally low plus total expenses divided equally among the flats.

The common expenses will include the amounts determined to be payable as such by the Society or Association. It includes expenses such as expense of administration, maintenance, repair or replacement of common areas and facilities. So long as there is no dispute, any system acceptable to all the apartment owners can be implemented on the basis of agreement or consensus.

Method of calculating maintenance fee varies depending on the agreement or byelaw of an association.

What are Maintenance Charges? Why should I pay them?

In real estate, the residents or owners of a property in a specific area are charged for maintenance and operations of the commonly owned property areas. This charge is called maintenance charge.

Maintenance charge is generally levied periodically. It is required to fund operations related to upkeep, maintenance and upgradation of such areas, which are not directly under any individual’s ownership.

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The main charges levied by the society can be categorised as  -

(i) Property Taxes

(ii) Water Charges

(iii) Common Electricity Charges

(iv) Contribution to Repairs and Maintenance Fund

(v) Expenses on repairs and maintenance of the lifts of the society, including charges for running the lift

(vi) Contribution to the sinking fund

(vii) Service charges

(viii) Car Parking Charges

(ix) Interest on the defaulted charges

(x) Repayment of the installment of the loan and interest

(xi) Non-occupancy charges

(xii) Insurance Charges

(xiii) Lease rent

(xiv) Non-agricultural tax

(xv) Other charges.

How are Built-up and Super Built-up Areas calculated?

In our blog last week, we defined the calculation of the carpet area of a property, which is essentially the area between the walls of a property.

Built-up Area or BUA consists of this carpet area along with the area covered by walls (thickness of external walls, internal walls and columns) and additional areas mandated by the authority such as flowerbeds, dry balcony etc.
It is typically 10-20% more than the carpet area and is also sometimes known as the plinth area.

Super Built-up Area or SBUA consists of BUA and the proportionate area under the common spaces of a building. This includes area covered by common amenities, such as the area of lift shafts, lobby, and corridor, proportionately divided among all flats using those amenities. The common usable areas, such as a swimming pool, garden and clubhouse, may also be included in it.

Living Room

Image: Anukampa Platina Terraces

To calculate the cost of a property, per square foot rate quoted by the developer is typically applied on the super built-up area. This is the reason super built-up area is also sometimes referred to as the saleable area.

A builder can place anywhere from 65%-85% of the super built-up area as carpet area. That means, if the price is quoted as Rs.1000 per sq. ft. super built-up area, the carpet area could be anywhere from Rs.650 per sq. ft. to Rs.850 per sq. ft. If this break up is not mentioned in the agreement, demand that the vendor/ builder mentions it in the sale deed.