Here are some rules and tips on buying property in Nigeria. Please learn from them because these come from my personal experience. It just goes to show that even a lawyer like myself can get caught out if I leave my guard down.
1. Trust no seller/agent until you have received your original, signed and sealed documents.
2. Don’t take marketing adverts from sellers/agents at face value – also carry out your own personal research. Bear in mind that even if an agent appears to have good track records, you might be the “first” person whom things might go wrong for.
3. For every piece of land you are interested in purchasing, always request to see the following documents:
- The Survey Plan. (Related Posts : What do I need to know about Survey Plans?)
- The Deed of Assignment and how the property was transferred from time immemorial to the present day seller. Nigerian Law Guru kindly provides a sample Deed of Assignment document, which you can view here.
- Copy of the Original receipt the Seller used to purchase the land and from whom he bought it from
- Copy of either the gazette, C of O or governors consent of the land..
If possible, visit the property personally or send a representative you trust. Never buy a property directly from a property magazine or website without you seeing it personally or sending your representative to see it and comment on it.
If a seller tells you he is not ready to release a document because its a private document, please walk away. Every landed document is a Public document of record, and as such can be requested for investigation. Anyone who maintains that the document cannot be released should be regarded with great suspiscion. RUN AWAY! Do not fall for sweet talk, as this can only land you in more trouble. If the Seller/Agent says it will take him time before he gets the document but you should fast track the transaction till he gets the document because other people are interested in the land, let him go and eat the land. Without these documents in your hands for research, you are only setting yourself up as an easy target for property fraudsters. Be wise!
Reproduced with permission from Nairaland Lawyer.