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Top 5 Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Land In Nigeria, Don’t Fall Victim!

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In real estate, doing due diligence (investigation), probing the validity and authenticity of a property is essential thing before paying money. It allows to avoid falling into a scam or acquiring series of liabilities with the asset in question. Many had fallen victim of fake lands or land with fake papers. There are cases of lands sold by scam estate agents which were discovered later to be someone else’s land.

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The purpose of this article is to help you avoid such common mistakes which might lead to loosing your money.

Serious Reasons to Make Investigation Before Buying Property

Investigation is essential thing as it can disclose a lot of problems and secrets behind a land or other property for sale. Here are just a few examples:

  • It reveals hidden costs or unpaid fees like accumulated land use charge, tax and so on.
  • It allows to get trusted info about actual size and topography of the land in question.
  • It helps verify the real owner of the property. You do not want to give your money to someone who has nothing to do with property you are buying, right?
  • It reveals the exact location of the property and the neighbourhood it is located (current one and future one), the social amenities surrounding it and potential problems which can appear in near future. For example reveals the possibility of acquiring land close to or under powerline route, oil or gas pipeline route, filling station, gas station.

How to Do a Due Diligence (Investigation) for a Land in Nigeria

Below are 5 amazing basic steps to trace-back…

1. CHECK CAREFULLY OWNER’S DOCUMENTS

To be more specific, you need to request from seller following documents (or good quality photo copies of documents):
Certificate of Occupancy (C of O)
Power of Attorney (if you are buying not from the owner)
Tax Clearance Certificate
Survey Plan
Deed of Assignment. A deed of conveyance or assignment traces the history of how the property or land has reached the present owner till date.

It is very important that you have a good property lawyer before embarking on land/property purchase. Reason being that your lawyer is the one who ensures that you don’t run into legal trouble with land/property documents after purchase. It’s your lawyer’s job to verify the authenticity of any title document backing the land/property.

2. INVESTIGATE TAXES AND OTHER FEES

Check for the payment of land use charge by the owner on the land. Any land with C of O attracts this charge on an annual basis. If the owner refused to pay this charge it will accumulate and would be inherited by the buyer. You might want to check this out before making payment. Finally find out any other charge or fee on the land. Only when having full info you can decide how to proceed.

3. MAKE A PHYSICAL INSPECTION

After verifying the authenticity of the documents request to be taken to the location of the land or any other property – house, apartment etc.. Confirm the size and condition of the property to find out if it is the same with what is in the documents. Also pay attention to following things:
– Filling station: be sure your neighbor is not a filling station or someone who wants to build a filling station after purchase.
– Proximity to the highway: There is government regulation as to the distance from the road to properties. Confirm to discover these because sometimes in the future road enlargement could mess up your property.
– Power-line route: Check the distance between the land and power-line route because there are specific guidelines as to the how close a property should be to power-lines. Apart from regulations it is dangerous to build under a power line route.
– Oil and gas route: Check the proximity of the land to an oil and gas pipeline so as not to contravene the law against closeness to one of these.
– Waterways: ensure the land is not located on or dangerously close to a waterway or major drainage because of governmental regulation and flooding.
Infrastructure and other advantages listed by seller – condition of the roads, neighbours etc.

4. VALUE ASSESSMENT AND INVESTIGATION

Assess the land further to discover its price in relation to others in the surrounding. Ask the owner of a similar land near you to discover if it is within the same price range or outrageously above. In real estate location of a property or land is a determining factor in the price. For example the value of a land in Lekki is different from value of the same size of land in Ikorodu. It is common place for lands in the same zone/neighbourhood to be on the same price range. Furthermore, inquire about the supposed owner of the land from neighbours in that area to be sure they own the property.

5. ZONING / LAND USE CONTROL

Confirm that the land is not located in an area assigned to be used as business district or industrial estate if your intention is a residential building. If you contravene this law your property is doomed for demolition.

And finally, if everything is okay – make sure you collect the genuine receipt after paying for your property fully.


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