In this article, you will discover the important things to look out for before buying land in Nigeria. Before I start, let me quickly tell you a story about Ben who went into trouble last year after buying land.

In July 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic, Ben met an agent who showed him the land which was meant for sale. The agent persuaded Ben to make payment immediately because they were about 4 prospective buyers. After inspection, Ben hurriedly made the payment without asking for these requirements am about to show you.

After the payment, Ben couldn’t get all that was required for him to be recognized as the rightful owner. Days and months passed by until one day when Ben visited the land, he met another buyer who was developing the land. When Ben insisted to know him, he presented all the necessary documents validating him as the real owner of the property. The long and short of it is that Ben lost his money to a fraudulent seller. To avert this from happening to you, here are the requirements to look out for before buying land in Nigeria.

1.        Land ownership documents

One thing that characterizes land transactions is valid documents. To avoid being defrauded, ask for the following documents before making payment for any land. Ensure they are available before any transaction is made.

Important documents to Look out for

i. Certificate of occupancy (C of O); this important document serves two purposes. Get the C of O or the number on it and do a proper search before buying any land.

ii. Government Gazette; this document shows the area of land that the government has given to families and communities to sell, an area where they won’t be interested in again for any reason. The number of plots allocated for this purpose is recorded in a book form called GAZETTE. It shows the communities or villages that have been granted excision and the number of acres or hectares of land that the government has given to them.

iii. Survey plan. This is a very important document you should look out for. It is the document you take to the land bureau office and do a geographical search first. This document will also help you to find out if the government has any future plan for the land, or if it is designated for future agricultural purposes.

iv. Deed of Assignment/conveyance.

Conveyancing is the process by which ownership of land is transferred between a seller and a buyer. A deed of conveyance or assignment traces the history of how the property or land and this helps you verify the real owner of the land. Without this important document, you can be deceived in many ways. A fake seller can tell you that the person he acquired the land from is dead or has left the area many years ago etc. A deed of assignment basically shows you how the land has been transferred from Mr. C to Mr. D and Mr. D to Mr. E over time. It is a written agreement between the last seller and the new buyer of a property.

This document will help you to trace who the real owners are. It also helps you to find out if there is any impending dispute as regards the land.

You need this document to know how the land was sold to the last buyer, why, and when. It is very instrumental to your property search. You can flush down your money into the toilet without a proper property search.

2.        Do a proper search

Before you hand over your hard-earned money to anyone, do a thorough search of the validity of the land because agents may not know or won’t disclose everything about it to you, unless you didn’t suffer to earn it. The land should be devoid of any impediment. Inspect the land to see if there are any physical impediments that are removable.  Find out if it’s a family or communal land. The consent of the family head must be gotten before buying a family land, while the consent of the community head and other leaders should be gotten for a family land, get the consent of the family head. The community head should give his consent if the land is a communal one.

Find out if there is a pending lawsuit. A lawsuit prevents the sale of land. However, many sellers hide this from buyers just to go ahead with the transaction. Try and find out if there is an impending lawsuit on the intended land.

3. Location of the land.

Location is a major determinant of the price of real estate. The road network, the power supply, commercial activities, economic profile of the occupants and so many other factors are things to look out for when considering a particular neighborhood. For instance, a land located at Banana Island will cost more than that at Ikorodu. Land located at Ewet Housing will also be more expensive than land at Ikot Ekpene Road. You may also consider the rate people are relocating to that location by reason of upcoming government or private projects that may likely turn the area into a busy area.

4. Size of the land

It is important that you understand the difference between plot, acre, and hectare because this will help you to know the size of the land. A plot is a portion of land kept for development. It could be used for building construction or farming. In Nigeria, 50 by 100 ft is the recommended plot for house construction. An acre contains 6 plots, with each plot measuring about 60 by 120 ft. it is bigger than a plot. A hectare contains about 15 plots. It is the biggest. A hectare is 10,000 square meters (100m x 100m). There are variations in hectare measurements across all the states in Nigeria. Basically, knowing the difference between the three will help you to know when an agent is trying to play on your intelligence.

In conclusion, there are lots of fake sellers out there, so to ensure that you get the most out of your money, always use this as a guide. Don’t allow any fraudulent seller to reap where he didn’t sew.

PS: Instead of dealing with just anyone you probably do not trust, Stainerz Properties’s Land acquisition department is offering you a property acquisition service you can count on. We will literally work with you starting from sourcing the property, inspection, document validation, legal searches, payment processing, and even communal settlements to avoid conflicts with the host community where you buy land. Kindly, reach us on 09090690690 or send us an email at [email protected]

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