Design > Understanding Property Allotment Letter, Agreement to Sell, and Sale Deed

Understanding Property Allotment Letter, Agreement to Sell, and Sale Deed

The Indian real estate market involves a series of crucial documents that mark important milestones in the property purchase journey. This article sheds light on three key documents: Property Allotment Letter, Agreement to Sell, and Sale Deed, explaining their purpose, the vital information they contain, differences to consider, and mistakes that shall not be made.

Allotment Letter

Imagine an allotment letter as a formal receipt and confirmation from the builder or developer that you’ve been allotted a specific property unit. It serves as a provisional agreement, holding your place until the final sale deed is executed. An allotment letter doesn’t transfer ownership of the property. It’s a binding agreement that precedes the formal sale.

 Here’s what a typical allotment letter should include –

  1. Property Details: This includes the unit number, floor plan, total area, and any unique identification codes.
  2. Project Information: The letter should mention the project name, location, and details about amenities promised by the builder.
  3. Price and Payment Schedule: This section outlines the total sale price, the amount already paid (if any), and the remaining payment schedule with due dates.
  4. Possession Date: The estimated date by which the builder will hand over possession of the property.
  5. Cancellation Clause: This clause outlines the terms and conditions under which either party can cancel the agreement and the associated penalties.


Confirmation of booking: Provides evidence that a specific unit is reserved for you. An Allotment Letter does not transfer ownership of the property

Legally binding agreement: Holds legal weight in case of disputes with the builder regarding delays, undelivered amenities, or violation of agreed-upon terms.

Loan eligibility: Can be used to secure a home loan from a bank, as it specifies the total cost and payment schedule.

Agreement To Sell

The Agreement to Sell, is a more formal document compared to the allotment letter. It elaborates on the terms and conditions agreed upon by the buyer and seller (builder/developer).

Here’s what a typical Agreement to Sell should include –

  1. Party Details: Names, addresses, and age of both the buyer and seller are clearly mentioned.
  2. Sale Consideration: The total sale price of the property is explicitly stated.
  3. Mode and Timeline of Payments: This section details the payment schedule, including the amount, mode of payment (cash, installments, etc.), and due dates for each installment.
  4. Delivery of Possession: The agreement specifies the conditions under which possession will be handed over to the buyer. This may include full payment of the sale price and completion of any formalities by the buyer.
  5. Rights and Responsibilities: The agreement outlines the rights and obligations of both parties. For instance, it may specify the builder’s responsibility to complete construction within a stipulated timeframe and the buyer’s obligation to pay maintenance charges.

Expense Sharing: The agreement may clarify how certain expenses, like taxes or registration charges, will be shared between the buyer and seller.


Legally binding contract: Creates a binding contract enforceable by law in case of breaches by either party.

Defines ownership transfer process: Clearly outlines the steps leading to ownership transfer upon completion of sale.

Basis for Sale Deed: The foundation on which the final Sale Deed is drafted.

Sale Deed

The Sale Deed is the most crucial document in a property transaction. It serves as conclusive proof that ownership of the property has been transferred from the seller to the buyer.

Here’s what a typical Sale Deed should include –

  1. Buyer and Seller Details: Names, addresses, and age of both parties are included.
  2. Property Description: This provides a detailed description of the property, including the total area, details of construction (flat, plot, etc.), the exact address with boundaries, and any special mentions about easements or encumbrances.
  3. Sale Consideration: The total sale price, including any advance payments made, and the mode of payment are clearly stated. The Agreement to Sell should ideally have a clause addressing delays and any compensation payable by the builder for such delays.
  4. Transfer of Ownership: The sale deed explicitly mentions the transfer of ownership rights from the seller to the buyer.
  5. Delivery of Possession: The date on which the buyer takes physical possession of the property is often mentioned.
  6. Indemnity Clause: This clause protects the buyer from any future disputes regarding ownership or hidden claims on the property. The seller promises to compensate the buyer for any losses incurred due to such issues.


Provides legal security: Provides strong legal backing in case of ownership disputes.

Conclusive Proof of Ownership: A registered sale deed offers an indisputable record of ownership, strengthening the buyer’s legal position. It serves as a shield against any future claims that might arise on the property.

Protection Against Future Claims: Registration safeguards the buyer from any future claims on the property by the seller or third parties, such as unknown heirs or creditors of the seller. This provides significant security to the buyer’s investment. This is also required for any future sale, mortgage, or inheritance of the property.

Public Record: Registration creates a public record of the transaction, accessible by anyone upon payment of a fee. This transparency can be helpful in resolving disputes or verifying ownership claims.

Example: The Real Estate Regulation and Development Act (RERA mandates registration of most real estate projects. RERA guidelines ensure greater transparency and accountability in the sector, making the process of buying property safer. In some cases, the allotment letter may convert into a Sale Deed directly, especially for ready-to-move-in properties. An Agreement to Sell is usually the norm for under-construction properties.

AspectAgreement for SaleSale Deed
PurposeFormalizes the terms and conditions of the saleTransfers ownership rights
Legal StatusBinding contractMost crucial document for legal ownership
RegistrationMay or may not be registered (varies by state)Mandatory registration
Stage in TransactionMidway through the buying processFinal stage of the transaction

Consequences of Unregistered Sale Deed

An unregistered sale deed is generally considered invalid for transferring ownership rights. While an unregistered sale agreement might act as a preliminary contract outlining the terms of the sale, it cannot be used to claim ownership in court. This can place the buyer in a precarious position if the seller decides to back out of the agreement or attempts to sell the property to someone else.

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Consider a scenario where Mr. A agrees to sell his apartment to Mr. B for ₹50 lakh. They sign a sale agreement outlining the terms and conditions. However, they fail to register a sale deed. In this case, Mr. B won’t be considered the legal owner despite the agreement. If Mr. A decides to sell the property to someone else, Mr. B will have limited legal recourse due to the absence of a registered sale deed. This highlights the importance of not relying solely on an unregistered sale agreement.

Additional Considerations

Stamp Duty: Payment of stamp duty, a tax levied by the state government, is mandatory for sale deed registration. The stamp duty varies depending on the property value and location. Each state government determines the applicable stamp duty rate.

Witness Signatures: A sale deed typically requires signatures from two witnesses to ensure its validity. The witnesses should be independent individuals who are not related to either the buyer or the seller.

Title Search: Before finalizing the transaction, it is prudent for the buyer to conduct a thorough title search to verify the seller’s legal ownership of the property and identify any encumbrances such as outstanding loans or mortgages. This can help avoid future complications.

Common Mistakes to Avoid with Property Documents in Real Estate

Allotment Letter

  • Mistake: Not understanding the significance of the Allotment Letter.

Explanation: While not a transfer of ownership, the Allotment Letter confirms your intent to purchase a property from a developer and their allocation of a specific unit to you. It outlines key details like the size, location, and price of the property.

Example: You receive an Allotment Letter for a flat but it doesn’t mention the promised balcony area. This omission could lead to disputes later.

  • Mistake: Ignoring discrepancies between the Allotment Letter and brochure/advertisements.

Explanation: Mismatches between the Allotment Letter and the developer’s brochure or advertisements regarding the property’s features, amenities, or carpet area can create issues.

Example: The brochure promised a park view, but the Allotment Letter mentions the unit faces the main road.

Agreement To Sell

  • Mistake: Signing an Agreement to Sell without legal review.

Explanation: The Agreement to Sell is a legally binding contract outlining the sale terms, payment schedule, possession timeline, and any contingencies. A lawyer can ensure the agreement protects your interests and clarifies crucial aspects like penalties for delays or unforeseen circumstances.

Example: The agreement stipulates a one-time penalty for late payment by the buyer, but doesn’t mention interest charges on overdue amounts.

  • Mistake: Not verifying the seller’s title and encumbrances.

Explanation: The agreement should confirm the seller has a clear and marketable title to the property, free from any legal claims or outstanding dues. A title search can uncover potential issues like existing mortgages or liens.

Example: The Agreement doesn’t mention a pending electricity bill on the property, which you’ll be responsible for later.

 Sale Deed

  • Mistake: Errors in property details or ownership information.

Explanation: The Sale Deed is the final document that transfers ownership of the property. Even minor mistakes in details like the property address, survey number, or owner names can cause registration delays and legal hassles.

Example: The Sale Deed misspells your middle name, which might not match your government ID.

  • Mistake: Not paying the appropriate stamp duty and registration fees.

Explanation: Stamp duty is a tax levied on property transactions, and registration fees are charged for recording the sale with the government. These vary by state and property value. Underpaying can lead to registration delays or penalties.

Example: You didn’t factor in the stamp duty cost when calculating the total transaction amount, leading to a cash crunch at registration.

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