Buying a house or landed property in Nigeria requires someone to be clever and very smart so as not to be robbed or tricked.
Are you planning on buying a house or landed property in Nigeria?
If yes, then I have put together the step by step guide on how to go about the process of purchasing that your dream and desired property in Nigeria.
These days buying genuine properties are the biggest, secure, long-lasting, and best investment one can establish while he or she is still young, vibrant, and active. No one wants to be homeless or helpless when he or she is old and cannot work.
Investing in a property that will give a huge return on investment has to do with the location or the nature of the property in question.
Also, buying a property with the intention of living on it has to do with choice and the kind of area one intends to stay.
Properties that are in urban or developed areas tend to be more expensive to compare those ones that are in rural or remote areas.
At the same time, Property that has a good title document (such as; C of O or Governor’s consent) tends to be costlier than that which doesn’t have a title.
What to ask when or before buying land in Nigeria
It is absolutely important to ask some relevant questions before purchasing any property. Because most times there are lots of hidden information, a seller will not tell the buyer until after the purchase or verifications have been made.
These questions are better asked during the time of inspection and the time of processing the transaction, but not at the time of payment.
Also, you can either ask these questions to an agent or the seller depending on the nature of the question.
Questions to ask the seller before purchasing a land
- Are there any other fees to pay for apart from paying the land fee?
- What are the interesting things about the area the land is located (i.e neighboring community)?
- How is the access road to the land?
- What is the nature of the land? (I.e is it dry, hill, swampy or water area).
- What are the title documents that the land has?
- What is the family name or name of the owner?
- Is there any dispute on the property?
- Is there any written notice or warning from the government concerning the property?
- Is there any tax obligation on the property, if yes, have you paid them?
- If it’s residential or commercial land, ask: “is there any building plan permit on the land”?
Process of buying a house or landed property in Nigeria
Form the moment you thought of buying a property it is expected that you should already have a budget in mind. That is to say, how much you plan to spend on the property, how, and when you intend to finish the payment ( if it’s not an outright purchase).
Also, you should know the cities, area, or location you intend to purchase the property from.
Having planned all that in mind, here are the five steps to follow when buying any property in Nigeria.
Step 1: Contact a real estate agent, consultant or realtor
Before you can get your desired property you will need to contact a realtor or real estate agent that resides in your chosen location so that they can help you on your property search and possibly show you some of their different properties to choose from.
Ways to meet real estate agent or realtor
- Online: one of the easiest ways to meet agents these days is by going to google and search for the real estate agent that resides in your area of interest. This way you get to visit their website to know more about them, their office, contact address, etc.Also, you can get to meet them through any of their social media platform or sometimes when they are running an online advert on the similar property of interest.
- Referral: you can also meet an agent through referral, maybe you happen to know someone that has bought a property, or have a close relation who has bought a property in that area. In this case is easy to get their contact and reach out to them, and explain what you want.
- Going to their office: this method is not often used especially if you don’t stay in the area you plan to buy the property from. But sometimes people use this method especially if they are residing in that same area and happens to know some real estate office close by. With that, they can easily go to their office, register their request, and also enquire about the available properties.
Advice: engage an agent, consultant, or realtor you can trust.
After you have gotten your desired property of interest, the next thing is to make an inquiry about the area or location of the property and inspect the property.
Step 2: Inspection and inquiry of the property
Often time getting genuine information about a property is always during the time of inspection. (Enquiry on a property and inspection of the same property works hand in hand). This has been proven to be the best way to get proper and correct information on any property of interest.
If at the end of the inspection you don’t like the property in question, then, there will not be any need to go for inquiry. You simply need to continue another search.
But, if at the end of the inspection you become interested in the property. There and then you should look around and meet few people living around that area to enquire more information (like, who owns it, if there has been an issue on the property, what happens at that area etc.) and compare it with the information your agent must have told you about the property so as to ascertain the correct information.
Meanwhile when going for inspection of any property of your interest, is advisable you go with your architect and surveyor (if it’s land). You will definitely need their professional input on the property.
step 3: Go for Property search at the appropriate authority
Before you go for a property search at the governmental offices, you will need to get some information from the seller. For example, if you are to purchase a property from a real estate developer, and the title is C of O or Governor’s consent. You need to ask for id number from the developer.
With that id number, you can verify if the property is truly his and if he has the right to sell it to you. Every property with good title documents is expected to have a record on official government authorities. That makes it easy to verify the true owner of the property.
Also, when you go for a property search, you will get to know if the property in question is a government property or not. Also, you will get to know the name of the true owner. That is, if the seller is actually the owner, or if he or she has the right to sell it to you.
In the case of family property, you will have to verify the family name.
Thus, property search helps the buyer to know the real owner and the current situation of the property, (ie, if it is government property, if the property is for commercial, residential or agricultural use).
From your findings, you can then decide to go ahead with the purchase or not.
Note: property search can be a little bit stressful, you may want to give the job to your lawyer to do the duly diligence for you.
Step 4: Arrange a meeting with the seller to conclude the transaction
After you have done all your findings and everything is genuine, the next thing is to arrange a meeting with the seller along with your lawyer and one other eye witness to conclude the transaction.
At this junction, you are expected to have concluded on the price of the property in question with the seller, also you supposed to have discussed with your lawyer concerning the transaction.
He is expected to come to the meeting along with the prepared documents such as the deed of assignment or any other relevant document for both parties to sign. Also, he is to write the agreement in favor of the buyer.
After all the agreement & payment have been made also all documents have been signed then the transaction has taken place. The seller is expected to hand over to you all the necessary documents regarding the property.
Please note: There are other fees to pays apart from paying for the property. For example, if you are to purchase land from a real estate developer, after paying for the land, you will pay for development fees, a survey plan, etc. just like when you buy a new car, you don’t just start driving. You’ve to do your plate number, change of name, and many more.
So always inquire about other fees before arranging for the meeting and plan yourself better.
Step 5: taking possession of the property and processing the title document
If you were to buy the property let say land, from an estate developer, these are the documents that are likely to associate with the transaction: a receipt of payment, allocation letter, contract of sales, and deed of assignment.
But if you were to purchase a piece of land, from family members, the documents that are likely to be associated with the transaction are receipt and deed of assignment. That is why it is wise to immediately engage your surveyor to get the survey plan done.
After paying for the property and signing all the necessary documents. The next thing is for you to proceed to process your own title documents.
If it’s land, you will need to do your own survey plan, if it is a house you purchase you will have to legalize the title documents to your name. Also, you will need to proceed in getting a good title document. Like C of O or governor’s consent.
Although these days people tend to start construction on land after purchase, by fencing it first before any other thing. I must say that is a good idea, it shows ownership.
Advice: after you must have done the property search at the governmental entities and you ended up buying a property that has the title “Excision” or “Official government gazette” please proceed immediately in perfecting your property documents preferably in getting the c of o of that property.
Also if you are to buy land from family members, fence it shortly after payment, and proceed to get the required documents in your name.
How to perfect your property title documents in your name after purchase.
After you must have finished the transaction with the seller, it is important you change the property name to your name. This is another part you need to involve your lawyer.
Your legal representative will file a change of name by writing an application to the office of general surveyor for chatting, associated same with Completed Form 1c sworn to before a Magistrate or Notary Public and a letter for consent by the Governor.
Meanwhile, there are some documents your lawyer will be needing in other to successfully perfect the change of name. Below are the lists of them.
Required documents need to perfect your title document
- Photography of the property in question
- Four copies of the approved survey plan
- Building plan permit
- Four copies of evidence of transfer, such as a deed of assignment, contract of sales, power of attorney, etc.
- Vendors/sellers title documents
It is your responsibility to provide your lawyer with these documents for him to work with.
In Nigeria today many people tend to shy away from taking this step after purchasing a property, only the learned and wise ones acknowledge the importance of it.
Most times people take it as not been necessary because they are avoiding spending money. But the truth is that perfecting your property papers is the best action, also is the official and legal proof that you are the rightful owner of the property.
At least whenever someone goes to any government authorized body to verify the owner, they should be able to see your name as the current owner, not the seller’s name.
The truth is that it requires finances also the process can be a bit stressful. Probably that is why many people after buying a property they just continue whatever they intend to do with it without perfecting the title document.
Advice: even though I acknowledge the fact that the cost of buying a property pulse the amount it will cost to perfect the title document might be very high for the buyer, I believe in the long run and the way things are in Nigeria today, it is the best practice. The good news is that you can plan for it and do it bit by bit.
I have experienced a situation where a buyer after purchasing a property for over 2 years, he didn’t perfect the title document and dead. After some years later the seller resale the property to someone else.
Agent fee associated with buying a house or landed property in Nigeria
Agent fees in Nigeria differ from one seller to another. For example, if you were to buy a property from a family, the commission or agent fee is different from that of a real estate developer or an individual.
For instance, many real estate companies pay five to fifteen percent commission as agent fees. But family and individual pay one to ten percent commission depending on the nature of the property.
Now the question is who pays the agent fee, is it the buyer or the seller?
Agent fees are paid this way: if a buyer contacted or had an agent that found the desired property for him or her, he or she will be the one to pay the agent.
On the other hand, if the buyer has no agent, and the seller had an agent that brought the buyer to him, the seller will be the one to pay the agent.
In a situation where the buyer had an agent and the same agent happens to be working with some property sellers, in which they had an agreement based on a percentage commission.
Then it is the responsibility of both the seller and the buyer to pay the agreed percentage to the agent.
In the case where there are two or more agents from the buyer’s side or seller’s side, then the agents will have to agree within themselves on how to share the commission.
The bottom line here is, once a buyer or seller has an agent working for them and they agreed on a percentage commission, the moment the transaction toke place they must pay the agreed percentage commission they had with the agent.
I hope you find this guide helpful. If you have any questions, feedback, corrections, and suggestions please feel free to drop them in the comment box below.