Facts at a Glance

At first, selling your home seems daunting: Most of you haven't sold a home before, the market looks complex, and what worked for owners 10 or 20 years ago seems inappropriate today.
What steps should you take? Here's a simple list to get you started.

  1. Define your goal - Do you want the highest sales price? The bottom line: to have a successful sale you need to look at both price and terms - you must have a strong negotiator in your corner.
  2. Times have changed Today's real estate marketplace is radically different when compared with that of 10 years ago. Purchasers now use the Internet, get architects, civil/structural engineers, professional valuers etc. in the process and are routinely represented by buyer brokers. The result is that buyers are generally better prepared than in the past.
  3. Sparkle and shine Imagine going to a supermarket and seeing dusty fruit or aisles filled with old shelving and cans. You are turned off. You must make sure your potential buyer will not be similarly turned off. Get rid of things you don't want to move, organize closets and storage areas, and keep things clean. Presentation matter.
  4. Mechanics count Buyers expect everything to work. Fix and paint things now and they won't be an issue in the future.
  5. Set the stage When buyers see your home, it's 'Showtime'. They want an environment that they can relate to. De-clutter and hide knick knacks that will distract them from dreaming their dreams. Given them a show where everything is painted, arranged, and attractive; a home where the only issue is when to move in.
  6. Know the market Real estate is local. Your Real Estate Professional can explain current market trends in your community, including what's selling, what isn't selling, why and why not. This information is central to getting the optimal price and terms.
  7. Know the competition Your property will be competing with other homes for buyer attention. Ask your Real Estate Professional how to be competitive -- and how to have an edge.
  8. Be realistic Markets differ by location and time. When interest rates are low it's great to be a seller. However when times are slack and mortgage rates are rising, homes also sell. The trick is to be realistic, to get as much as market conditions will allow. If there are 1000 home sellers catering to only 300 prospective home buyers, 700 houses will not get sold. Think carefully.
  9. Have a plan Real estate marketing involves far more than an ad in the paper. Successful Real Estate Professionals use a variety of methods to attract and qualify prospects, including the latest Internet and communication methodologies.
  10. Have your documents in order Many real estate transactions fall through at the final hour due to unavailability of important connecting documents on time. Obtain a title report if possible. Ensure you have a copy of each and every document referred to in the title report in your file. Apply for local authority documents and have them up-to-date. You have to impress your buyer's lawyer with the completeness of your file.

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Prabash's Geographical Areas of Operation

We Prabash Properties hold and command the most comprehensive data base of both buyers and sellers in our geographical areas of operation. This enables us to offer our buyers the best matching properties as per their specifications.

  • - Nawala
  • - Nugegoda
  • - Maharagama
  • - Thalawathugoda
  • - Hokandara
  • - Embuldeniya
  • - Colombo 3
  • - Rajagiriya
  • - Mirihana
  • - Madiwela
  • - Colombo 4
  • - Colombo 7
  • - Battaramulla
  • - Ethulkotte
  • - Colombo 5
  • - Pelawatta
  • - Pitakotte
  • - Kohuwala
  • - Battaramulla-Koswatta
  • - Beddagana
  • - Pepiliyana
  • - Colombo 8

LANDED PROPERTIES – Tax Implications (Sri Lanka )

Purchase of land & buildings other than by non-citizens (Date: 15.10.2007)

All such purchases should be registered with the Registrar of Lands by submitting an instrument called the 'Deed of Transfer' attested by a Notary Public. Such instruments should be properly stamped as provided in the 'Stamp Duty Law'. The stamp duty is payable by the purchaser on the market value of the property @ the following rates :

• First Rs. 100,000 – Every Rs.100 or part thereof – Rs.3.00
• Balance - Every Rs. 100 or part thereof – Rs.4.00

The stamp duty is payable to the relevant Provincial Council which exercises the authority over the area in which the relevant instrument is executed. Usually, the relevant Notary Public may attend to these formalities as a part of his professional service.
Note : This document contains the general information based on the current legal provisions. Professional advice may be obtained before acting on such Information.

Purchase of land & buildings by non-citizens

(Date: 15.10.2007)

Individuals who are non – Citizens or Companies having more than twenty-five percentum of issued capital owned by non-citizens.

• Normal stamp duty – as mentioned above
• Additional duty - @ 100% of market value. (the lowest value of the property may be specified by the Minister of Finance)
• Exemptions on additional duty :

o Any property transferred to a licensed bank at an auction conducted by such bank in the discharge of a mortgage of such property.

o Any property transferred to a Registered Finance Leasing Institution upon a purchase made by such institution where the property has been mortgage to such institution as a security for lease, or in order to execute a lease and an agreement to sell or a loan and an agreement to sell.

o Any property transferred to a licensed bank or a Registered Finance Leasing Institution pursuant to an order of court in an action for recovery of a debt.

o Any property transferred to a licensed bank or a Registered Finance Leasing Institution to carry on their business of banking or finance leasing in such property.

o Any land transferred to an enterprise authorized by the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI) to setup on such land –

 a project to construct not less than one hundred residential housing units on a piece of land not exceeding ten perches for each such unit or a registered condominium property not less than one hundred units of residential or non-residential accommodation, if the value of such land is met by inward remittance of foreign currency

 A project for a construction and operation of a hospital or a hotel where the investment is not less than ten million US Dollars and the purchase consideration of the land is met by inward remittance of foreign currency.

 A project relating to infrastructure development or any other development approved by the Minister of Finance and where the investment is not less than fifty million US Dollars and the purchase consideration of the land is met by inward remittance of foreign currency.

 A project solely for the manufacture of non-traditional goods for export, for the establishment of its manufacturing plant, office, storage facilities, dormitories for workers where the investment is not less than one million US Dollars and the purchase consideration of the land is met by inward remittance of foreign currency.

o Any Condominium unit situated on or above the fourth floor of any approved condominium, if the value of such unit is met by inward remittance of foreign currency.

o Any property acquired prior to October 5, 2004 by a company and transferred to another company on the dissolution of such transferor company consequent to a merger of the transferee company with the transferor company.

Note : This document contains the general information based on the current legal provisions. Professional advice may be obtained before acting on such Information.

Title Insurance


Title insurance is protection against loss arising from problems connected to the title of your property. It is likely that the property you purchased would have gone through several ownership changes. A weak link at any point in that chain could emerge to cause trouble someday. For example, someone along the way may have forged a signature in transferring title. Title insurance covers the insured party for any claims and legal fees that arise out of such problems.

Prior to purchase, the Land Registry records are "searched" to determine the previous ownership of the property, as well as prior dealings related to it. At closing the buyer expects property that is free and clear of such claims and so they have to be cleared up before purchasing.

Occasionally problems regarding title are not discovered before purchasing, or are not remedied before purchasing. Such defects can make the property less marketable when the buyer subsequently sells and, depending on the nature of the problem, can also cost money to remedy.


Title Insurance may be required if you need a mortgage, because mortgage lenders require such protection for an amount equal to the loan. It lasts until the loan is repaid. As with mortgage insurance, it protects the lender but you pay the premium, which is a single-payment made upfront.

Who is..protected with title insurance?

Title insurance policies can be issued in favour of a new/resale purchaser, a lender, or both the purchaser and lender. Some of the risks that are frequently covered under a title insurance policy include: survey irregularities; claims due to fraud, forgery or duress; unregistered easements and rights of-way. For a risk to be covered usually it has to have existed as of the date of the policy. As with any type of insurance policy, certain types of risks such as environmental hazards might not be covered. Be sure to discuss with your lawyer what risks are covered and what are excluded.

When does the..insurance..coverage..End?

When the title insurance covers the purchaser it remains in effect as long as the insured purchaser has title to the land. Some policies also protect those who receive title as a result of the purchaser's death or certain family members (e.g., a spouse or children) to whom the property may have been transferred for a nominal consideration. When the title insurance covers the lender, the policy remains in effect as long as the mortgage remains on title. A lender covered under a title insurance policy is insured in the event the lender realizes on its security and suffers actual loss or damage with respect to a risk covered under the policy. Lenders are usually covered up to the principal amount of the mortgage

The premium for title insurance is paid once (at the time of purchase). Generally speaking, in Sri Lanka the purchaser of the property pays for the title insurance, though there can be situations where the seller pays for it.


Title insurance can help ensure that a closing is not delayed due to defects in title. And, if an issue relating to title arises with respect to a risk covered under the policy, the title insurance covers the legal fees and expenses associated with defending the insured's title and pays in the event of loss.

Know Your Documents Sell Or Buy

Abstract of Title

This constitutes a brief history of the transfers of a piece of land, including all claims that could be made against it.
An Abstract of Title is distinguished from an Opinion of Title. While the former states that all of the public record documents concerning the property in question are contained therein, the latter states the professional judgment of the person giving the opinion as to the vesting of the title and other matters concerning the status of the chain of title. Giving of an opinion of title is a practice of law, thus making it unprofessional for a non-attorney to do so.

As-Built Drawings

Drawings prepared after construction that describe the actual construction of a project.

Assessment Notice

Assessment Notice indicates the quarterly assessment rates payable to the local authority. Assessments rates are subject to revision periodically and charged for providing public amenities such as garbage disposal, maintenance of roads, drains and drainage, parks, reading rooms etc.

Blocking-Out Plan

A plan showing a subdivision with all dimensions, covenants, easements, etc. The subdivision survey plan, which legally must be prepared by a Registered Surveyor, finalises the area and dimensions of the proposed lots. All subdivisions will have to be approved by the planning committee of the local authority in the area. The applicant needs to send the subdivision survey plan to the planning division of the local authority together with the perfected application counter signed by the Surveyor. Upon payment of the specified fees by the applicant, a technical officer will make a site visit prior to forwarding the plan to the planning committee for approval.

Building Permit

A license granted by a local authority to construct a specific project on a specific site, under the terms of the permit.

Building Plan

This refers to the view of a building floor, looking down from above, showing its horizontal elements, such as, walls, doors, windows, cabinetry, etc., prepared by a qualified professional and submitted to the local authority for approval in three copies with blue print. Once approved, it is valid for one year and is renewable every year up to the date of completion of construction and until such time Certificate of Conformity (CoC) is issued.

Certificate of Conformity (CoC)

A certificate issued by the local authority confirming that the construction has been completed in conformity with the regulations in place and in accordance with the approved Building Plan and the Building Permit.

Land Registry Extract

Obtaining a Land Registry Extract has become a crucial part during the preparation process for the purchase of a real estate, since the land registry extract enjoys public faith. Due diligence requires that the buyer knows the status of the land registry. Not knowing it can also result in conflicts on the property. The extract must be stamped by the Land Registrar in order to be verified. You can apply for the Land Registry Extract of title of a property you are interested in by filling up an application and paying a nominal fee. Usually a land registry extract can be obtained within a week.

Non-Vesting Certificate

The certificate of confirmation issued by the local authority that all assessments rates have been paid up to date. This also confirms that no vesting order has been served on the property for default in assessment rates.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a document that allows you to appoint a person or organization to handle your affairs while you're unavailable or unable to do so. The person or organization you appoint is referred to as an "Attorney" or "Agent." A Special Power of Attorney authorizes your Agent to act on your behalf in specific situations only. A General Power of Attorney is very broad and provides extensive powers to the person or organization you appoint as your agent. These powers usually include:

   - Handling.-Banking,transactions.
   - Entering.Safety,depositboxes.
   - Buying.and.sellingproperty.
   - Settling claims
   - Entering,into.contracts
   - Exercising.stock.rights
   - Buying,managing.or-selling..Realestate
   - Filing tax returns
   - Handling matters related to government benefits

You also have the option to grant the following additional powers to your Agent: Maintaining and..operating business interests Employing professional assistance Making..gifts

A general power of attorney usually allows your agent to handle all of your affairs during a period of time when you are unable to do so; for example, when you are traveling out of the country or when you are physically unable to handle your affairs.

Street/Building Line Certificate

This certificate confirms whether the property is affected by a proposed road widening or any other reservations. The local authority generally issues a photocopy of the survey plan indicating the approximate position of the Street Line marked in red in case the property is affected by a Street Line. The Building Line is generally measured from the center of the road depending on the width of the roads the property is bounded by. The main purpose of imposing a Building Line is to maintain a reasonable distance between buildings to ensure privacy and sanitation of occupants.

Street/Building Line Certificate

This certificate confirms whether the property is affected by a proposed road widening or any other reservations. The local authority generally issues a photocopy of the survey plan indicating the approximate position of the Street Line marked in red in case the property is affected by a Street Line. The Building Line is generally measured from the center of the road depending on the width of the roads the property is bounded by. The main purpose of imposing a Building Line is to maintain a reasonable distance between buildings to ensure privacy and sanitation of occupants.

Survey Plan

This refers to a plan prepared by a Licensed Surveyor from field survey data and previous survey plan data according to standards and directions of the Surveyor-General. It is an assessment of property lines to determine the exact extent of land that a homeowner owns. Surveys show any easements or encroachments on a property that is noted on the title of the property. It's important to get a property surveyed after an offer is made to make sure any issues with easements or encroachments are documented on the title and resolved before closing. Make sure that the property you are buying has been approved by the local authority for its purpose of use such as residential, commercial or mixed development.

Tax Receipt

The proof of payment of quarterly assessment rates as indicated in the Assessment Notice.


Title deeds are documents showing ownership as well as rights, obligations or mortgages on the property. Compulsory registration is required in the Land Registry of the relevant area for all properties mortgaged or transferred. The details of rights, obligations, and covenants referred to in deeds will be transferred to the register, describing the property ownership.

Title Report

A written analysis of the status of title to real property, including a property description, names of titleholders and how title is held, encumbrances (mortgages, liens, deeds of trusts, recorded judgments). The history of the title is called an "abstract." Generally a title report is prepared by an attorney who has substantial experience in notarial practice or in a legal firm.


Real estate appraisal, property valuation or land valuation is the practice of developing an opinion of the value of real property, usually its Market Value. The need for appraisals arises from the heterogeneous nature of property as an investment class: no two properties are identical, and all properties differ from each other in their location - which is one of the most important determinants of their value. The absence of a market-based pricing mechanism determines the need for an expert appraisal/valuation of real estate/property. A real estate appraisal is generally performed by a licensed or certified appraiser (in many countries known as a Property Valuer or Land Valuer. If the appraiser's opinion is based on Market Value, then it must also be based on the Highest and Best Use of the real property. For mortgage valuations, the appraisal is most often reported on a standardized form. Appraisals of more complex property (e.g. -- income producing, raw land) are usually reported in a narrative appraisal report.

Define- prioritise your needs

Buying a home is a wise decision because property is one of the best and most secure investments available. Rarely, if ever, does real estate decrease in value. Buying a home may have significant tax advantages over home renting. Home equity is another consideration. The equity you build as your home appreciates in value will allow you to borrow for expenses like a new car or for business financing. Your home's equity is also the ideal down payment on the purchase of a second real estate property. Property is the most widely accepted collateral when it comes to lending.

Emotional advantages:

Buying a home has several emotional advantages. The independence of ownership means that you'll no longer have to worry about rent increases and the demands of a landlord. Another advantage is a homeowner's power to personalize! When you own your own home, you can paint and decorate as much as you want and any way you like. It's your place!

Defining your housing needs

What should your dream house look like? What are the features you must have at any cost? The bottom line is this: your housing needs will be unique. The house that you would eventually choose should depend on a host of factors - the size of your family, commuting time to work, availability of and access to infrastructural facilities such as schools, parks, shopping centres and hospitals. What people seek from homes often gets tempered with age, specifically the number of working year's left and budgetary constraints. This especially happens when other life goals such as children's education or retirement compete for limited financial resources. Family size and composition also play a significant role in determining the type of house an individual would like to live in. Another important criterion is security; 30 years ago this was a non-issue but today it is a non-negotiable. Furthermore, with the emergence of the nuclear family, the emphasis seems to have shifted from the quantity to the quality of hassle-free services. People are increasingly opting for apartments primarily because they provide comprehensive services and have in-house leisure facilities that cater to the needs of children, adults and senior citizens.

Prioritizing your housing needs

You will no doubt have a long wish list of attributes for your house. However, you will not find a house that meets all your requirements. Since this is probably the biggest investment of your life, it pays to devote some time to identifying your needs and prioritize them. You have to classify your requirements as follows: essential, desirable and bonus. This would help you understand the trade-offs between various options. For instance, one home option may mean that your child's school would be nearby and the office commute for your spouse would be very less. However, your commuting time to your workplace might go up substantially. Another home option might offer you a Jacuzzi, which may not be a priority for you, while another cheaper option might offer features that are essential. Prioritizing needs will help make decision-making easier.

Housing needs change

Ideas and priorities related to housing needs change with age and individual circumstances. While the above exercise will help you in understand your specific needs better, it is also important to think about how your needs might change over time. Do this as an exercise: ask yourself what a man's housing needs would be when he's in his 20's, the 30's, the 40's and in retirement. Now think of yourself 10 years, 20 years from now and the circumstances you may find yourself in. Factor such things into your decision.

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