BEST LAND BUYING GUIDE IN LAGOS: ALL YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
For most people, purchasing land or developed property is a pipe dream. It can be both an exciting and terrifying prospect. This is especially true in Nigeria, where there is always the risk of fraud. Certain considerations must be made before purchasing any property. Understanding this process is critical because it allows you to make more informed decisions. As a result, the purpose of this tip is to assist anyone interested in purchasing property in Nigeria. These are the guide’s key points:
- Budget. Purchasing a home is a huge step that requires a significant long-term financial commitment. As a result, it is always necessary to research the cost of purchasing land as well as all other associated expenses. A budget acts as a guide, allowing you to make the best use of your resources. Extra expenses to consider when planning your budget include legal fees which is usually 5% of the cost of the land; agency fees which is also 5% of the cost of the land; survey plan depending on your location; the cost of putting up a fence to secure your land after purchase (you don’t want to leave it bare); and the cost of obtaining all other required documents, such as the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) and the Governor’s consent. These are some of the extra costs you should factor into your budget from the start to avoid financial problems when purchasing land or a home.
- Location. If you plan to buy a home, make sure it is in a location where you will be able to stay for an extended period of time. However, purchasing real estate is not the only option. Many factors are considered before making a purchase, one of which is selecting the ideal location for your property. The location is critical to the overall value of the land. The price of real estate can vary depending on a variety of factors, one of which is location. Real estate in Abuja would be more expensive than real estate in Ogun State. Another factor to consider when deciding on a real estate location is the area’s potential growth and the safety of the neighbourhood.
- Land Area. This is something else you should be aware of if you plan to buy land. You may have heard terms like plots, acres, and hectares and wondered what they meant. They are different land sizes that influence the prices of land and houses. You must become acquainted with the sizes of the land and how they are priced. A plot is a large piece of land used for farming or construction. To avoid being duped, it is critical to understand the size of a full plot. A typical plot of land is 100 ft x 100 ft. =30 m x 30 m = 900 square meters, with half of the plot being 50 ft x 100 ft. =15 m x 30 m =450 square meters. Always request sizes in square meters for easy comparison. An acre is a larger unit of measurement than a plot. It’s nearly the size of a standard football field, which is the standard unit of measurement used by most land vendors. An acre is typically divided into six plots measuring 60 x 120 feet (4,046 square meters). The hectare is the largest of the three sizes. A hectare is approximately 100m x 100m (328 feet x 328 feet) or 10,000 square meters. A hectare of land is approximately two and a half acres, which is approximately 15 plots. It is critical to note that these measurements differ across Nigeria. Though the sizes listed above are standard, factors such as land location, possession, and the circumstances surrounding the transaction can all affect the measurements.
- Inspection. When you or your agent locates a potential piece of land that meets your criteria, it is best to conduct a physical inspection to ensure that the property is as described. You can hire a real estate professional. Before or during the physical inspection of the land or property, it is also critical to request copies and title documents. To avoid being duped, conduct a thorough inspection of the land before making a payment. To avoid unnecessary issues with the government or land grabbers, never enter into a deal where the vendor cannot provide proof of ownership.
- Investigation. Following the inspection, the next step is to locate the relevant land registry (you can get a lawyer for that). This search is necessary to determine whether the vendor is the rightful owner of the land, whether the title presented is genuine and whether the property is in dispute or been acquired by the government. Unfortunately, on several occasions, property has been sold to an inexperienced purchaser while the property title is still in dispute, most notably when the land is family land. To conduct an investigation, an application letter is typically submitted to the appropriate land registry, along with an affidavit of the applicant’s status and the purpose of the search. However, as previously stated, you can hire a lawyer for this part.
- Perform an independent appraisal of the property. If you are purchasing a house or land, a property valuation may be necessary. On the other hand, if the valuation reveals that the amount is unreasonably low, the transaction should be avoided. It would be beneficial if you asked the agent and the owner more questions, particularly about the reason for the sale. You can also ask your neighbours questions.
- Payment and documentation. Following your investigation, which must have confirmed that the property’s title presented by the vendor is genuine, you and the vendor must agree on an acceptable price. When you are satisfied, you make the payment and sign the Deed of Assignment. The Deed of Assignment is executed when both parties (vendor and purchaser) complete and sign it. The contract details are spelt out in the deed of assignment including the date when ownership is transferred from one person to the other and the specific description of the property location. A Deed of Assignment is an agreement in which the vendor pledges to transfer ownership of the land to the purchaser as of the date of the assignment. The deed of assignment is not the only document that must be signed and returned to you; the contract of sale, land survey, Letter of Allocation, Power of Attorney, and payment receipt must also be signed and returned to you. Purchasing property or a home without these documents is a recipe for disaster. They are part of the paperwork required to claim full ownership of the land purchased. As a result, if you do not receive these documents, the transaction is incomplete. The deeds are usually presented for stamping at the Stamp Duties Registry, along with receipts confirming stamp duty payment.
- Government consent processing. This step must be completed immediately following payment. A deed of assignment signed by both parties in the agreement must be registered. In the case of land, no one may sell, mortgage, transfer possession, or sublease without the Governor’s consent. When a piece of land with a Certificate of Occupancy is sold to someone else, that person must now get the Consent of the Governor before the Government will consider the sale legal. A Governor’s consent means that the governor agreed to the sale or transfer of ownership of land with a certificate of occupancy from one person to another. As a result, a deed of assignment is executed between the purchaser (assignee) and the vendor (assignor) following the land of sale. The purchaser will now take the work a step further by registering it as Governor’s Consent or registered Deed of Assignment. You will need the following documents to obtain the Governor’s approval:
- A cover letter
- Form 1C completed
- Certified True Copy (CTC) of the assignor’s title documents (vendor)
- Your and the assignor’s current tax clearance certificates
- 4 copies of the deed for which permission is sought
- A copy of the survey plan that has been approved
- Proof of payment for the charting fee, endorsement fee, and Form 1C
- Proof of payment of the land use charge
- A picture of the property
- Identification of the applicant and his agent
The Directorate of Land Services receives the application. As a result, a Certificate of Occupancy will not be issued to someone who already has a Governor’s Consent on the same property.
- File your New Property Documentation with the State Government. If the property has never been registered in the land registry, a certificate of occupancy should be issued as soon as it is determined whether the property is developed or bare land. The state and the Surveyor General of the Federation (on federal land) must then chart the ground to determine if it is free of government acquisition and, if so, under what acquisition. A Certificate of Occupancy would be issued only if there is no record of the land with the land registry and no form of title has ever been issued (Land Certificate, Conveyance, or C of O) on that specific land prior to the present application. You should get your C of O processed as soon as possible.
Here are some of the documents needed to obtain a C of O:
- A formal letter addressed to the Land Use Allocation Committee’s Executive Secretary
- A receipt and a completed Certificate of Occupancy Form
- A Land Information Certificate accompanied by a receipt
- Four unique survey plans (2 in cloth and 2 in paper)
- Four white-background passport photographs
- A rough map of the location
- Receipt for purchase duly stamped
- Evidence of income tax payment
- The current development tax
- A N10,000.00 publication fee
- The capital contribution fee which is limited to N30, 000.00.
If a building plan is created, it must be approved.
- Taking ownership of acquired Land. The last thing you want to do after paying for it and completing the paperwork is leave it unguarded simply because you paid for it. This is a decision that many people have come to regret. Omo Onile (miscreants with a strong network of notoriety in Nigeria’s real estate circle) and scam agents are constantly on the lookout for unguarded land. They falsify documents and sell such land to a number of other people. There have been reports of people paying for land only to return months or years later to find someone else erecting a structure on the land they legitimately paid for. You can avoid this by erecting a perimeter fence around your property. The wall informs other potential purchasers that the land has been purchased. The government has approved a 21-year prison sentence for anyone charged and found guilty of land grabbing as long as you have all necessary documents proving you are the landowner.
Before you pay for any Real Estate, you must conduct extensive research and work on proper documentation. Working with a reputable real estate agent and keeping these steps in mind will guide you through the process of purchasing real estate and a home in Nigeria while minimizing the risks involved.