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Over The Top Luxury Homes

Stretch out on a plush couch and admire your swanky sports car.…parked in your living room!

And no, we are not talking about Batman.Super luxury apartments are offering sports enthusiasts the space to park their pricey cars – right inside their homes.

  Modern Marvel – A success of design and technology this is new age luxury at its best.

Specially designed elevators move the car from the ground level to upper level apartments. Inside, custom made glass car parks house these super engines in style. Owners get to easily admire their super car whenever they want, and also ensure more security for their prized possession.If a single ‘in room car park’ is not enough, there is space for double parking and even penthouses suites that come with 4 showcase style car parking slots at a neat price tag of $24 million.

Source : magicbricks.com

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‘Noida is transforming into a luxury destination’

From being an affordable housing destination, Noida – Greater Noida is slowly transforming into a hub of luxury and high-end projects. Many developers have recently launched residential projects in this segment. Unnati Fortune World that caters to the demand of an integrated community that includes Corporate IT Park, 5-star hotel & club, manmade-lake, playing area, residential units, entertainment zone and commercial places, is one of the developers who have launched maximum projects in the high-end segment. Anil Mithas, CMD, Unnati Fortune shares insights on the demand in the luxury segment of Noida and how it is transforming into a luxury destination. Excerpts from his interview with Neha Nagpal of MagicBricks.com Bureau:

Affordable housing is the need of the hour, but you have maximum launches in the luxury segment? What is the reason behind it?
There is demand in the market for luxury products. We are trying to meet this demand by creating affordable luxury. Considering the land cost, which is now demanding premium pricing, the projects are catering to the niche luxury segment. At the same time, we also have projects like Aranya Homes in Greater Noida West, which is an affordable housing project to meet the requirements of customers looking to buy/invest in the affordable housing segment.

What do you mean by affordable luxury?
We are offering a lot of amenities including gym, pool, power back-up, parking as part and parcel of the package at very affordable rates. A lot of builders offer these separately as luxury. Hence, we believe in the concept of amenities becoming basic necessities.

What is the demand and supply of luxury projects in Noida?
The demographics of the current society suggests a generation which wants to move away from the traditional concepts in housing. This in turn has created demand and is pushing the residential segment towards the premium and luxury segment. There is also an increase in double income families wherein, people are looking at investing in the luxury segment. Also, a lot of our clientele is looking to upgrading from 2 to 3/4BHK to augment their lifestyles.

What is the profile of the buyers?
Demand for luxury housing is mainly from high net worth individuals (HNIs), who aspire to reside in spaces which are in sync with their aspirational lifestyle with traction more towards end users.

There is a huge supply in Noida and Greater Noida and the occupancy rate is low. What makes you launch maximum of your projects in these areas?

NoidaGreater Noida is slated to be the destination next in DelhiNCR. Basis our understanding of the various market forces we believe in creating solutions for the demand which would create an environment to support the potential growth in this region.

Source: Magicbricks.com, September 2013
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A correction on The Cards?

Thanks to the approaching festive season of Navratras and Diwali, considered auspicious for buying and selling of property, many prospective buyers are planning to invest in homes of their own. What they, however, need to know is if the market is ripe for a correction and if they should wait for a while before making a decision to buy, given the state of the economy.

Real estate experts confirm that there is pain in the residential real estate market which is there to stay at least till the festive season next year and that a correction in the range of 12% to 18% is expected, depending on housing projects and the holding power of developers. Freebies and discounts are likely to rule, too, as developers will be under pressure to generate liquidity from sales.

The Reserve Bank of India’s recent directive to banks to not lend money to builders under the 80:20 and 75:25 schemes has created ripples in the market as this has come close to the festive season when tractions are generally high as builders float these schemes to increase sales. This is likely to impact the holding power of developers who then may be forced to reduce prices considering the high levels of inventory they are currently saddled with.

Real time appreciation in property prices, adjusted for inflation in tier-1 cities during the last few years, has not exceeded 4% to 5%. This could dissuade developers from reducing property prices, and force developers, especially those with holding power, to keep their prices at current levels.

A marginal correction in prices could, however, be in the offing for certain projects aimed at the mid segment. “If a correction happens, it would be within the range of 12% to 18%, depending on the project and the holding power of the developer. A correction in prices beyond this level will impact developers’ profitability to a non-acceptable extent,” says Ashutosh Limaye, head, research and REIS, Jones Lang La Salle.

Anshuman Magazine, CMD, CBRE, South Asia Pvt Ltd, says that India’s economic growth prospects continued to face strong challenges from a depreciating currency, weak industrial output and a stagnating policy environment, thereby hurting investor sentiment in the real estate sector. RBI’s latest ruling on disbursement of loans on special schemes will further impact the residential market across most micro markets. “I expect the market to remain sluggish in the short to medium term,” he adds.

According to the National Housing Bank residential housing index, Residex, 22 of the 26 cities it tracked have seen a decline in home prices in the April to June quarter. Mumbai has seen a 0.5% drop, Delhi a 1.5% fall in property prices and Hyderabad a 4.6% cut in prices.

Shobhit Aggarwal of Protivity says that investor-driven markets will be largely impacted. Sahel P, vice chairman, Lotus Greens, however, has a different view. The current economic slowdown has been playing spoilsport for the real estate sector, too. Customers have been cautious about their decision to buy new houses. High inflation and increasing cost of raw material, however, has left little scope for any price correction. Projects with good location, construction quality and amenities will continue to attract buyers, he says.

Unsold Inventories:
A report by Liases Foras, a real estate rating and research firm, puts the unsold stock figure across the country at 700 million sq ft. The unsold inventory in Delhi NCR was 277.31 million sq ft, MMR was 146.10 million sq ft and Bengaluru was 88.68 million sq ft.

Data made available by Liases Foras also points out that sales in Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi NCR declined in the April-June quarter from the January-March quarter. In the April-June quarter sales of residential units declined by 13% in Delhi NCR, 12% in Mumbai and 7% in Chennai.

Inventories in the Delhi NCR market are also at an all-time high. Delhi is sitting on an inventory of 21 months, Bengaluru of 25 months and Mumbai of 48. The comfortable inventory level is 14 to 15 months of unsold supply; offloading this huge stock that has piled up is a difficult task.

Supply-demand mismatch:
According to a recent report by Knight Frank, launches and absorption of residential projects in the country’s top seven cities plummeted by 37% and 23%, respectively, during the last two years (2011-2013) thereby aggravating the structural problems in the sector. Real estate developers have been caught in a trap of ambitious expansion, decelerating sales, hardening interest rates and weakening cash flows.

Unlike earlier occasions, the sector has no bailout package, and alternative funding options have also dried up. Banks are shying away from lending as they are troubled in their own backyard with increased non-performing assets, tightened monetary policy, currency depreciation and volatile debt markets.

Private equity funds have also been seen exiting the Indian markets. The aftermath of the dried-up fund scenario is also apparent in the market, as some real estate companies have defaulted on their debt repayments. Run-up to the elections is generally characterized by a period of policy paralysis and the upcoming elections as well as the general elections in 2014 are expected to have the same impact. Realty firms are now in deep trouble, and the sector is likely to witness more pain in the foreseeable future, the report states.

Source: Hindustan Times (Estates), September 2013
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Protect your interests with ATS

An agreement to sell followed by the sale deed is a must for any property transaction. It sets out sale prices, payment timelines etc and protects the interests of both buyers and sellers.

In most transactions of sale of immovable property, parties first execute an agreement to sell (ATS) followed by the sale deed. In the ATS, the parties usually set out the advance sale price, the total sale price, payment timelines, time period within which sale deed is to be executed, conditions to be fulfilled by both parties, if any, etc. In some ATS transactions, the seller also hands over physical possession of the property to the buyer at the stage of ATS itself. In such cases, Section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (Section 53A), is of relevance to both buyers and sellers. This section deals with part performance of a contract to transfer an immovable property.

This section was enacted to protect buyers who had received possession of a property under the ATS and were facing the prospect of eviction from the seller. However, to strike a balance between the interests of both parties, the legislature in its wisdom has specified certain conditions that are to be fulfilled to seek the benefit of this statutory protection. If all the specific conditions described below are fulfilled, a buyer would be able to effectively defend and protect his peaceful enjoyment and lawful possession of the property.

  1. There must be a contract between the buyer and seller to transfer an immovable property for consideration.
  2. The contract should have been captured in writing. Hence, this protection is not available to a buyer who alleges to be in possession of the property simply on the basis of an oral agreement. Further, the written contract should have been signed by the seller or by someone on his behalf.
  3. The contract must be written in words from which the terms of the transfer can be ascertained with reasonable certainty. In the landmark case of Mool Chand Bakhru and Another v. Rohan and Others (2002), the Supreme Court dealt with a case where the parties had exchanged some letters for sale/purchase of the property.

The apex court held that the letters written by the seller did not amount to a written agreement, the terms of which have been reduced into writing. At the most, the letters could be seen as only an acknowledgement that there was an oral agreement to sell the property between the parties. Hence, the emphasis is not on simply having a written contract. The written contract should clearly spell out all the essential terms of sale and purchase of the property with sufficient clarity.

  • The buyer must have taken possession of the property in part performance of the contract.
  • The buyer must have done some act in furtherance of the contract, as well as fulfilled his obligations under the ATS.

For instance, if the buyer is found guilty of making delayed payment or non-payment of installments towards the total sale consideration, courts may take the view that the buyer was not ready and willing to perform his part of the contract in order to complete the sale transaction. If a buyer is able to prove that he has not breached any material term of the ATS, he would be able to successfully resist attempts on the part of the seller to disturb lawful possession of the buyer.

The author is a senior partner of ZEUS Law Associates, a corporate commercial law firm. One of its areas of specialization is real estate transaction / litigation work.

Source: Hindustan Times (Estates), September 2013
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‘ Work on 95% Projects will Come to a Stop’

Nine months since the National Green Tribunal (NGT) passed an interim order to stop use of underground water for construction in Noida and Greater Noida, it has taken cognizance of the violation of its orders against 12 developers. Sources reveal that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that if the Tribunal’s orders are properly implemented, work on more than 95% projects will come to a halt.

Dewatering a must for basements:
Many architects are of the opinion that the Tribunal’s order to stop groundwater extraction during construction is inconsistent with the construction plan approved by the development authorities. No basement, especially in projects close to river beds, can be constructed without dewatering the foundation.

“If you are building a 20-storey structure, you have to dig at least four metres under the ground for a basement. If you go higher, you need to dig deeper. How can a developer construct an apartment in projects close to the riverbed without dewatering the foundation,” asks AK Jain, a well-known architect and developer who has recently launched a luxury project, The Jewels of Noida, in Sector 75.

Pile foundation is an expensive alternative:
On there being a viable alternative to dewatering for basements, Jain says pile foundation is the only technique in civil engineering which can work, but the drawback is the high cost involved. “If a developer utilizes this pile foundation technique for a high-rise, he will not need to dewater the foundation. The problem, however, is that the cost of laying the piles is one-and-a-half times more than the cost for basement construction. So the total cost of the project will go up and buyers will not be able to afford it,” says Jain.

It is also suggested that since raft and pile foundations (and sometimes a combination of both) decrease the possibility of water extraction, this should be made mandatory in areas where the water table is quite high. As far as the requirement of parking in buildings is concerned, it should be provided in the upper floors of the apartment.

Says Pradeep Kharbanda, an architect and town planner, “In India any one can misuse natural resources in the name of development to earn high profits. Why do we need to go for basements and why can’t we make provisions for multi-storey parking by building one or two towers (blocks) in project/townships which will take care of all the residents’ parking requirements? Unfortunately, developers will not like this as it will reduce the salable area.”

“Some environmentally-conscious builders are taking precautions and are working towards logically dewatering through their own efforts,” says Kharbanda.

Amend Construction Plans:

  • Many civil engineering experts hold the development authorities responsible for the violation of the NGT order. “First of all, the approval of building plans for any area should be assessed on the basis of its water table.
  • “No project should be approved in areas where construction permits interfere with the water table. The development authorities should keep this in mind while giving approvals to any project in future,” says a senior professor of civil engineering from IIT, Delhi.

He adds, “Now when a lot of projects have already been approved and are under construction, the development authorities should take up each project and assess whether they can be constructed in compliance with the NGT’s order.”

Inadequate water supply from STP:
Another challenge in the implementation of the NGT order is the lack of adequate water supply from sewage treatment plants (STP) for construction. In its order delivered in January, 2013, the NGT prohibited developers to use underground water for construction purposes.

Though the concerned authorities claim to have enough STP water to fulfill every need, the developers dismiss it. “Most of the sewage treatment plants are defunct in Noida and Greater Noida. Those which are functional are unable to meet the huge water demand, so everyone is facing a difficult situation,” says Jain.

Many developers, who do not want to be named, admit that due to constant pressure by home-buyers to deliver projects on time, they cannot help but violate these norms.

“Authorities are unable to present the correct picture to the Tribunal. The industry is already under pressure due to several new developments. We are also accountable to home-buyers to deliver the project on time. The delay in delivery will invite penalty. Even if I get my building plan amended and adopt the combination of raft and piles foundation practice, how will I construct a building if I don’t get enough water supply from STPs,” asks a real estate developer.

International norms are against Dewatering:
Is dewatering for construction a common practice in other countries too? Experts say no. According to Rajesh Gulati, an NRI architect and one of the partners in DDG, an internationally renowned planning, architecture and design firm based in the US, developers should look for more innovative solutions instead of choosing the easiest way out – which is more often than not likely to be harmful for the environment.

“We have designed mixed- use projects across the globe, which are close to the ocean front/riverbeds with high water table. Building any basements in such spots is virtually impossible and definitely not practical. Diverse projects such as supermarkets, hotels, apartment towers and office buildings have been successfully accommodated in the same structure without resorting to a ‘dug-out basement’ concept,” says Gulati.

It is very common in the West to have an integrated approach to mixed-use planning. Typically, a structure incorporating parking entry ramps, lobbies of residential buildings/offices/hotels are all planned at the ground level. This practice is complex but highly successful and cost-effective, he adds.

Building experts say that there are quite a few places where height restrictions are in place, which necessitate underground construction. However, it is done with a lot of caution. “Authorities in some countries know that the cost to dewater and waterproof the basement is very high. The retaining walls too need to be designed to take water pressure from surrounding areas,” says an IIT Delhi professor from the civil engineering department.

For example, within the federal triangle area in Washington DC, no building can be higher than the Capitol Dome. Therefore, most builders have to pursue basement construction for parking. Also, there are areas close to airports where the height of buildings is restricted.

Source: Hindustan Times (Estates), September 2013
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Rent Agreement of Co-owners

Some terms that must be clear when co-owners rent out their property.

A property may be bought by two or more people jointly. More than one person may pool in funds to purchase a property. Such owners are known as co-owners.

If a property is owned by more than one person, it is called joint ownership. Under the Transfer of Property Act, a co-owner has a proprietary right to the entire property. So, any transaction needs to be with the consent of all the co-owners, unless specifically mentioned to the contrary in the agreement.

Joint ownership is a mode of ownership of a property where it is held by more than one person. All the owners have title to the property and have the right to use it without prejudicing the corresponding rights of the other co-owners.

The shares or rights of one co-owner over the property can be sold individually and separately, subject to mutual agreement.

A property owned by co-owners may be kept for their own use, meant to be disposed off later, or bought for renting out.

In case the property is rented out, the co-owners will be able to use the rental income.

All the co-owners enter into an agreement among themselves. It specifies their respective ownership shares. It specifies how much each of the co-owners is entitled to-from the regular income of the property as well as in case of its sale. This is also required from a tax perspective-in order to claim a deduction on interest.

There are certain peculiar issues that need to be taken care of while renting out such a property.

These are in addition to the usual clauses required for a lease agreement.

Some factors to be specified:
Authorized representative: First and foremost, who will be representing the co-owners has to be specified. The tenant cannot deal with all the co-owners individually. Normally, co-owners give a power of attorney to one among themselves, and he undertakes all the transactions related to the lease. He may be authorized to negotiate the terms, finalize the deal, and sign the lease agreement.

Payment of Rent:

  • In whose favour the rent is to be paid should be specified. It may be paid in the name of one of the co-owners or in case of a partnership firm, in the name of the firm. Again, it would not be practicable for the tenant to pay separately to all the co-owners individually.
  • Maintenance of building: Similarly, who will maintain the premises should be clear. There may be a need for repairs and maintenance of the premises regularly. Municipal tax also needs to be paid.

Power of Attorney:

  • Normally, the co-owners may give a general power of attorney to one among themselves and authorize him to rent out the property. He may be further authorized to receive all the payments. Further, he may also be authorized to meet expenditures related to maintenance and repairs of the property.
  • At regular intervals the co-owners can evaluate the net amount received as rent from the property.
  • The rent is shared by them, usually in the ratio of the amount of capital contributed by each of the co-owner.
  • Clarity for tenant: From the perspective of the tenant, it is important to know who exactly he has to deal with. He cannot run around contacting the numerous co-owners of the property. He needs to deal with only one or two people.

In addition, in case there is any change in the co-ownership or their inter se agreement, which has an impact on the tenant’s rights, it should be immediately informed to the tenant. Any acts by the tenant, without knowledge of change in agreement among the co-owners, may not be legally binding on him at a later date.

Source: Times of India (Property), September 2013
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Vintage look for Spaces

Designers and homemakers are drawing inspiration from older styles to create show-stopping interiors.

The concept of design has changed dramatically. It no longer features a gaudy, in your-face style, obedient to the latest trend that ends up looking dated a few seasons later. Homeowners are no longer afraid to express their personal style and this has resulted in some amazing reincarnations of design ideas and concepts, many of which are comebacks from the past.

Furniture First:
Be it the living room, bedroom or study, it’s all about highlighting certain key pieces of furniture to centre the room and give it character. Nowadays, furniture-making has been elevated to an art form and is no longer looked upon as a simple exercise in carpentry. Furniture transcends mere functionality today. A chair isn’t merely an object you sit on but an intricate piece of your home that can set the mood, reflecting identity, emotions and lifestyle.

Four-poster:
The craze for an old fashioned four-poster bed, vintage dressing table or a pair of armchairs is back. Homemakers love the old-world charm and detailing of a four-poster bed that make a dramatic style statement, helping it create a visual centre in a room.

Dresser:
Another piece quickly gaining popularity is the old-fashioned dresser. A striking vanity or dressing table can be the style statement in any bedroom. Whether it is custom-built cabin entry or a small table in a nook that becomes a dressing area, there are plenty of attractive design options to choose from. Decorate your dresser with romantic overtones in the form of framed pictures, flowers or a box filled with personal effects.

Sofa:
Before you toss out an outdated, worn-out sofa or an old-fashioned writing desk in an attempt to add some style to your home, consider some simple do-it-yourself solutions. You could easily perk up your sofa by reupholstering it in a modern fabric with a bright red colour along with a contrasting trim of lime green.

Berry-colored stripes have become all the rage as well, and add a fresh, vibrant feel to any room. Strip the veneer or polish off your old writing table and go for a paint job in any bright colour from mustard yellow to lime green. Don’t forget to change those tarnished drawer knobs for a final finishing touch.

Bare Look:
A touch of raw wood is wowing the world of interior design these days. Raw wood fits into any home decor, whether vintage or modern.

Go shopping in antique furniture stores for small items to add to your rooms, whether it is a mirror frame or a piece to accent a wall. However, don’t go overboard or your room can end up looking like a hunting lodge in the highlands.

Wallpaper wow!
If you thought wallpaper was tacky and was to be limited to your grandmother’s home, think again. This trend is back but with modern twists. Nowadays, you can choose your wallpaper from an array of shades and patterns that lend character and style and are an instant fit for any room. Rather than wallpapering a whole room, try it just on an accent wall or in a small space such as an entryway or powder room.

Light up the room:
Glamorous art deco shades or a chandelier centrepiece in the living area are fast becoming favourites with homemakers. Vintage reading lamps that are curvaceous and colourful add shape and visual weight to side tables and nightstands. Whether they are in solid colours or muted ones, these lamps effortlessly become part of any room, adding a hint of glamour and style.

Go old-school:
Old-school is the new cool in the decor world. Old school-style furniture, such as desks and benches, are being painted and remodelled to add a whimsical touch to homes these days. Textured painting and a touch of polish can transform these sturdy items into design worthy decor.

Quick Bites:
Homeowners are no longer afraid to express their personal style and this has resulted in some amazing reincarnations of design ideas and concepts, many of which are comebacks from the past.

Source: Times of India (Property), September 2013
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Wooing customers with Branded Homes

Realty companies are going all out to woo customers by offering them branded and special homes.

Even though there is gloom over the economy, realty players are coming up with new and innovative products for their discerning buyers.

You can call them as branded or designer homes. Realty major Supertech, in association with Disney India, is creating the magic of Disney at their proposed residential project, Fable Castle, part of an integrated township, Golf Country, located on Yamuna Expressway, Greater Noida.

R K Arora, CMD of Supertech Limited, says: “Disney characters and stories have inspired every generation and this will give an opportunity to all those who want to have Disney magic in their homes.”

CHD Developers, too, is in the fray of building super luxury and branded homes and is coming up with Spanish Meadows-duplex villas inspired by Spanish architecture-in Karnal. The USP of the villas is that they are ‘expandable’ and have been conceptualised keeping in mind the spiralling aspirational living of the rich, urban customers.

“The lavish villas allow residents to expand their units in accordance with their aspirational lifestyles, ” Gaurav Mittal, MD of CHD Developers, says.

Devinder Gupta of Century 21 DGS says: “These super luxury projects have many takers even during this period of lull in the market. Rich and famous Indians as well as NRIs buy branded homes. If such products had no buyers, realty players would not have made them in the first place.”

Realty companies usually instruct architects to give something unique in their designs in order to attract possible buyers; currently, kitchens are getting a lot of attention from them.

Of course, the kitchen is a space that needs careful and proper planning. Care must be taken in placing the kitchen appliances correctly and the height of the kitchen counter must be calculated accurately.

Nuzhat Alim, director of ILD Developers, says: “It is the endeavour in all our projects to make kitchens the clincher. Usually, as the lady of the house has the final say in finalizing a purchase, we put extra effort to impress them. I feel the flooring in any kitchen should be 1 cm lower than the other floors in the house, and, ideally, paved with marble tiles, ceramic tiles, or terrazzo, which are resistant to chemicals. The kitchen should have a minimum height of 2.75 metres from the surface of the floor to the lowest point in the ceiling. The counter top or the kitchen platform should be placed at a height of 30-36 inches.”

Washrooms, too, are getting a lot attention from realty companies. “If you cannot give a good washroom, it is not possible to sell your product. It is very important for us to be abreast of the latest trends in design and fancy fixtures that go into the modern washrooms and toilets, as customers are very finicky about them. Should it be spacious or cozy? What sort of layout will be best? You must know all these to impress the customers-and, yes, branded fixtures always draw sighs of appreciation,” Sanjay Khanna, director of Kailash Nath Projects, says.

“For people going for a house hunt, it will further their interest enormously if they check out photos of bathrooms from the internet, or one of those innumerable fashion or decor magazines that detail the latest trends-they can then demand these in their new homes, and get them too. Photos and images of other bathrooms can help one visualize the style and character of their new bathroom,” Nikhil Jain, CEO of Ramprastha Developers, says.

“A good bathroom design, like for any other room, benefits from natural light. Getting natural light into your bathroom while maintaining privacy from the neighbours requires good planning; many people spend a lot of their time there. Thus, we have to make it very good with all possible luxuries fitted in it,” Ajay Agarwal, director of Avalon Developers, says.

No wonder that realty companies are putting in such effort to make their products branded and attractive.

Quick Bites:
Realty companies usually instruct architects to give something unique in their designs in order to attract possible buyers; currently, kitchens are getting a lot of attention from them.

Source: Times of India (Property), September 2013
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Better Safe than Sorry

Invest in a safe to secure important documents and jewellery.

Most people find it convenient and comfortable to keep valuables at home as it facilitates ease of use.

However, even at home, one faces the risk of burglary, and damage through fire and dampness. This can lead to a lot of heartburn about where a family should safely store their documents, cash, jewellery, and other valuables.

The most convenient option is to invest in a good home safe.

Types of home safes:
There are a variety of safes that can be purchased for home use. These can range from the simple mechanical lock safes to advanced safes that are theft and fire resistant.

Three broad categories of safes:

  1. Home safes with mechanical and electronic locks: The simplest home safes have mechanical or electronic locks. The electronic locks for this range are simple digital number pad locks with four-six digit passwords.
  2. Home safes with advanced features: The next level of safes are the ones with advanced features like electronic locks that can be opened with the swipe of a debit or credit cards, and safes that use fingerprint recognition as a unique password. These safes also offer more space than traditional safes.
  3. Fire and burglar resistant safes: The most advanced safes meant for home use are burglar and fire resistant, and can withstand attacks from cutting torches, drills, and fire accidents. The duration for which these safes can withstand attacks of such nature and keep the contents safe varies, depending on the material used and the needs of the customer.

Factors to consider while choosing a safe:

Contents to be placed: This plays an extremely important role in determining the safe to choose. For example, there are safes that are built to keep laptops inside, so that any sensitive information on the laptop is protected at all times.

The safe is also provided with a charging point. In case there is a need to protect valuables, like extremely important documents, the use of a fire-resistant safe is recommended.

Threat perception: If the need is to protect valuables like small amounts of cash, gold, etc, a good option is to choose a safe that is thicker in its make and gives basic level of security. Choosing a very heavy safe and one that can be bolted to your wall or within the wardrobe will not be necessary in this case.

On the other hand, more fragile contents may require both burglar and fire-resistant safes that are large and heavy. A fire-resistant safe is advisable for protecting important documents while a burglar-resistant safe is designed to safeguard valuables like jewellery.

Frequency of use:
The frequency of use of the contents of the safe must be taken into account while choosing a safe, as well as the location that you would want to place it. In case the contents are not meant for frequent use and you wish to keep it hidden within a wall, there are safes that can be opened from the top and can easily be fitted. On the other hand, front opening safes can be chosen if the safe is being placed in a more accessible area.

Size of the Safe:

  • The safe must be chosen depending on the area that is available for placing the safe.
  • Safes that are placed in a cupboard are usually smaller in size and can accommodate a limited volume.
  • Safes that are fire and burglar resistant, on the other hand, are larger, heavier, and cannot be bolted down or carried away.

Quick Bites:
The simplest home safes have mechanical or electronic locks. The electronic locks for this range are simple digital number-pad locks with four-six digit passwords.

Source: Times of India (Property), September 2013
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Succession certificate to Transfer Property

A succession certificate is needed to transfer property in case the deceased does not leave behind a will.

A succession certificate is an order granted by an authority or court to the successors of the estate of a deceased person on the basis of an application made by them in the capacity of legal heirs, or otherwise entitled to succeed to the estate of the deceased person under certain circumstances.

If a person passes away without leaving a will, a succession certificate can be granted by a court to realize the assets, securities and debts of the deceased.

It is issued according to the laws applicable in the case of inheritance.

A succession certificate is issued to the legal heirs of a deceased person. The certificate establishes the authenticity of the heirs. It also gives them the authority to inherit the property of the deceased person and is issued by a civil court. It is required by the legal heirs to have the securities and other assets transferred to their names. The beneficiary needs to file a petition with the district court or high court where the properties of the deceased are situated or where he normally resided.

The petition should give details of the case, including:

  • Full name of the deceased Details of time, date and place of death
  • Details like the name and relationship of the petitioner 
  • Place of residence of the deceased 
  • Details of the family and other kith and kin of the deceased, and their residential addresses 
  • Names of all the heirs of the deceased 
  • Details of property and debts of the deceased

The person applying for a succession certificate has to provide proof of his rights, or establish in what capacity he should be nominated as the successor of the deceased person. The petition should be filed along with a copy of the death certificate.

On the basis of the application, the court will issue a notice in the newspapers for a given period. Usually, 45 days are allowed for anybody to represent against the grant of the certificate.

In case no one contests the petition on the expiry of this period, the court will pass an order for issuance of the succession certificate. A fee is levied by the court for the certificate in the form of judicial stamp paper. The whole process may take between three and six months.

A succession certificate gives authority to the person who obtains it to represent the deceased for the purpose of collecting debts and securities due to him or payable in his name. The grant of a succession certificate is conclusive against the debtor.

One can then apply for transfer of property, bank accounts or securities registered in the name of the deceased on the basis of the certificate.

Source: Times of India (Property), September 2013
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