The most important investment decision any one can make in life is buying and owning a landed property. As a matter of fact, buying land is the first step in the journey of every Nigerians family.
As it is every family’s dreams to own a house so also it is the dreams of every land fraudsters to get people that will fall victims of their fraudulent land deals. To avoid stories that touches the heart, in your next land purchase, here are 10 things most land buyer often ignores and as a result make them fall victims of land scam in Nigeria.
1. Your Real Estate Investment Deal is as Strong as Your Real Estate Link.
It is advisable never to deal in real estate without a trusted link. Your link could be a realtor or your agent which form part of your trusted link accordingly to the 10 commandment of real estate investment in Nigeria. Other members of your real estate team include your lawyer, architect, electrician, plumber, bricklayers, engineers etc.
Before coming your money into purchase of any property, make sure you have established some personal relationship with whoever is introducing you to such property.
2. Make Proper Investigations Before Putting Down Your Money in Any Land Deals.
Investigate if the land or property you’re paying for is not under any family dispute, litigation or under any government interest.
Request for the land documents and verify the authenticity all the documents that are provided before you make any payment. This is also another reason why you need a strong team to work with in any real estate deal. The process of land document verification can be complicated and sometimes you need to leave it to professionals to handle as it is easy for them to spot loopholes.
Buying land and properties in Nigeria is an investment that involves financial transaction and to avoid stories that touches the heart, its should be treated as such.
Land Documents to request varies depending on the title of the land in questions which includes;
- Certificate of Occupancy (C of O)
- Gazette or Prove of Excision
- Governor’s Consent
- Survey Plan
- The Tax Clearance Certificate
- The Deed of Assignment
- Receipts of Purchase
Do not ever listen to a land seller’s opinions about the title and documents of land in their possession without you doing proper due diligence on them. Do not make yourself an easy target for land fraudster.
3. Ask Questions
In real estate deals you don’t know what you don’t know. If there is anything not clear to you during investigation and negotiation please ask questions.
To avoid falling victim of land scam, run proper checks on all document provided and feel free to ask as many questions as you want. I’m sure you would not want to end up paying for a particular land just because you have found a good deal to later find out such land is problematic and you end up saying had I know?.
4. Go For Site Inspection
Before paying for any land, make sure you go for site inspection to see things your own eyes, be on the look out for inscriptions so as to be sure you’re not paying for someone else property. Except maybe you are not in the country, avoid delegating the inspection of the land that you intend to buy to someone else.
If for one reason or the other you can’t visit the site, (this applies to those outside the country) you can send someone you trust to help do a physical inspection on the land before you part way with your money.
No matter how beautiful or attractive the land being advertised appears please find time to visit the place physically. Don’t rely on just pictures and sweet words because there are so many other important things the picture or advert won’t tell you such as topography of the area, closeness to major infrastructures, future prospects, ease of access etc.
5. Involve the Service of a Good Lawyer Who Has Knowledge in Land Deals
A good property lawyer is one of the most important team player you need before you buy a land. Lawyers spot loopholes quicker when it comes to land deals. Your lawyer is the only one that can prepare landed documents on your behalf that will be tenable at the Land registry.
6. Don’t be in a Rush to Close Land Deals
During land deals and negotiations, always take your time to be sure you’re dealing with the right people. If the land you intend to buy remotely makes you uncomfortable, avoid buying that land. The moment you visit a land for inspection, don’t hesitate to walk away when your personal instinct tells you to.
7. Never Pay Directly to a Real Estate Agent
During land purchase deals, avoid the mistakes of paying directly to a real estate agent, rather pay directly to the account number of the land owners or to the account number of the real estate company involved.
Properly documents every payment made on the land, spelled out in the transaction narration the purpose of payment for reference purpose should the seller wanted to start acting funny.
Please call the deal off if you’re not allowed to do this as it is the only thing that can save you from problem tomorrow in case you want to track down a fraudulent seller of land.
8. Make Proper Documentation of The Whole Process
After payment of the land, survey your land immediately and start processing all necessary papers.
The Three (3) major documents that you need to prove ownership of your land after purchase are purchase receipts from the indigenous or previous owner, Deed of Assignment and a Survey Plan. If anything goes wrong in the nearest future, you have a very slim chance of proving ownership without these three vital documents.
When making payments in your land purchase, make sure you documents the whole process. Take pictures with the people involved in the transaction, writes down your agreements, do video recordings and collect receipts, and get your lawyer to draw up your contract paper.
9. Take Possession Immediately after Full Payment
As soon as you made complete full payment of your land, please take possession of your land immediately by putting up beacons on your land or erecting small fence to wade off land grabbers or speculators looking for
Visit your land frequently to check the activities of your neighbours and the people that sold to you so as to guide against encroachment. If you are not too buoyant to start building immediately, you can hire a security person to keep watch over your land.
10. Be a wise investor!
When buying land, be on the lookout for government policies and economic indicators because they contribute to capital appreciations of landed properties. Invest in properties/land at locations closed to fringe of development and wait for capital appreciation for good returns on investment. Example of such area at fringe of development is Lekki/Ajah and Ibeju Lekki axis.
Final Thoughts on 10 Ways to Avoid Falling Victim of Land Scam in Nigeria
In your real estate investment journey, you’re going to need these guidelines in other to make the right decision when making your next land purchase. These guidelines should be adhered to avoid another story of land and property purchase scams.
It is very important to carry out a proper investigation with proper documentation before you pay for any land. Working with a trusted real estate team saves you a lot of trouble as their experience in land deals can guide you towards buying land in Nigeria and avoiding risks involved.