Land acquisition in Lagos state should not be as difficult as you think – these tips will help you understand the process of buying a land from a seller and how to avoid scam.
Landed property purchases are one of the most delicate business transactions to enter; it comes with a lot of risk of ownership re-claim or government control and as such involve due diligence and right consultation. It is not a transaction you should enter as a buyer without consulting a lawyer or having a full grasp of title documents involved, depending on who the seller is.
Besides, you need to spend some time to learn the procedures, identify genuine sellers, understand basic terms in property transactions ( like Excision, Deed of Assignment, differentiate a C of O from Global C of O etc) as this will boost your confidence and put you on the right part of closing your first transaction successfully.
In this guide, I will be sharing the concept of land acquisition in Lagos state, and tailor it to first-timers who want to get acquainted with this capital-intensive business.
Important notice: Before you decide to settle for any land in Lagos state, you have to be sure that the land is free from government take-over. A land can either be free or acquired.
A free land means it is completely free from government control and available for sale to interested buyers. Acquired, on the other hand, means it is still under government control which could be committed or global. The former means that there is an intention on the land and thereby declared a no-go area for real estate developers or interested buyers while the latter can also be free or committed.
Understanding this brief notice will let you ask an agent about the land Title whether it has Excision, a term that describes the process in which government is about to release a land to a particular set of people, community or family member. Unless you are sure that the land is undergoing excision (with 90% possibility of being released), has a global C of O and an approved survey plan, don’t go ahead to the next phase of acquisition. Many buyers have lost their money to land deals that were eventually not released or exercised. You can even spot risky deals like this when your agent is delaying allocations.
Why you should ask for an Approve Survey plan:
It contains the name of the owner, address of the land, size, beacon number which you can use to check where the land starts and stops (measurement). To do your own check you can also use the coordinates to confirm and compare the actual length and breadth of the land with what land registry has at Alausa.
A lot of surveyors are involved in preparing a fake survey plan which is even worst than Omo Onile boys.
This article exposes all the trick some land surveyors use to scam property buyers in Lagos and I encourage you to read it as it is very detailed, backed by snapshot and case studies.
The next phase:
After you are satisfied with the above, then you can initiate the process of acquiring the land from a seller.
There are three categories of sellers you may be buying a land from in Lagos state; An individual, Family or Real Estate or Property Developer.
Each of these parties has specific documents you need to request for before entering into a land transaction with them; this is very vital and at this initial stage, the help of a property lawyer will save you time and keep you away from scammers or fraudulent sellers.
For individual selling property on behalf of another seller, the following are the key documents to ask first:
- Power of attorney – This document confers an individual the right to sell a land on behalf on the main sellers who could be a client. You don’t just enter into a transaction with someone that verbally claims he is acting or representing another owner, you might end up losing your money.
- Receipt – This is an evidence that payment was made by the seller to the whom he may have bought the property from.
- Certificate of Occupancy – This document is issued by the Lagos state government. It gives the seller the right to the land.
- Deed of Assignment: This is a vital document that binds two people in relation to land transactions. It is prepared by a solicitor and contains the history of ownership transfer of the land.
For a real estate developer selling an acquired hectare to several buyers, here are key documents to ask for:
- Global C of O – This is different from a C of O. It covers an expanse of land.
- Approved Survey Plan – Already explained earlier.
While this guide will you understand land acquisition in Lagos state, you can read 6 Key documents to ask when buying a land in Lagos. It contains useful details when dealing with either of the three categories of sellers.
Lastly, don’t forget to talk to a registered property lawyer for further assistance.