Purchasing a land or a developed property is one of the dreams of most Nigerians. It can be a so exciting and a scary expectation at the same time.
This is mainly so because in Lagos state, Nigeria, there is always the possibilities of fraud. Hence, this write-up is meant to explain the factors everyone who is searching for a property in Lagos should consider before purchasing such.
When searching for a property in Lagos, it can be time consuming, and also need a lot of ﬁnancial dedication. For every person in the city, ‘property hunting’ is the second thing they search for most.
Searching for property you like can take up to days, weeks, or months depending on how fortunate you are.
Below are the factors to consider when searching for a property in Lagos.
Make A Decision On A Budget And Location
Buying a property is a huge decision involving a considerable long-term ﬁnancial commitment, so you just have to think very well about what your money can buy.
In addition, if you are considering living in the property, then you need to be sure that it is in a location you love and you are happy about and that you can be for a very long period of time. Immediately, you decide on a budget and location, then you are ready to go.
Hire A Skillful Lawyer
Not all lawyers are experts or skilful or accomplished in property transactions and its laws. It is one thing to hire a lawyer, an it is another to hire one with vast knowledge on property law.
Agreed, all lawyers have one or two ideas about property law, but there are some issues which someone who is not an expert in property matters would easily miss.
Hence, it is unfavourable that the lawyer you lease can prove to you that they know what they are doing. You will need a good lawyer in all the next stages, so it is very important that you lease the right lawyer.
Let your decision to lease a lawyer be based not on convenience or price, but on the competence and experience of the lawyer.
Look For The Perfect (Or The One You Love) Property
Immediately you hire a lawyer, the next thing to do is to begin the lookout for properties which is suitable for your budget and the location.
At this stage, you can look into getting yourself an estate agent, the real estate agent duty is to look for properties which match your criteria, create a list for you, and then arrange for you to view the properties listed.
Your lawyer can also help you in getting a trustworthy estate agent, if your lawyer is into many land transactions, he/she should have many real estate agents they work with and can recommend one or two to you.
Investigating The Seller
When you ﬁnd a property of your choice, you should always make sure that the person you are dealing with is the real owner of the property or a person who is justifiable to sell the property to you.
Many at times when you are dealing with property in Lagos, you hear or have to deal with fraudulent individuals who try to sell property which does not belong to them unsuspecting buyers.
At this stage, your lawyer begins his/her work fully, the lawyer will conduct the proper researches, ask the right questions, and request for the right documentation to determine if the person you are speaking to about the property in Lagos, is the real owner of the property.
This is very important especially when the property in question is family land (belonging to a family).
Investigating The Property You About To Purchase
If you did well in number 4 and you can conﬁrm that the person you are speaking to regarding the property in Lagos which you want to buy is the real owner of the property or has the authority of the owner, then you can move on to this stage.
In this stage, your lawyer will also play a very important role. The lawyer will conduct the necessary researches and conduct the proper documentation to make sure that the property is free from any obstruction or pending lawsuit, that the property is not the subject of any Government accession, and that the property is not subject matter to any overriding interests.
View The Property You Want To Purchase
At this very level, if you have conﬁrmed that the person you are dealing with is legit, and the property is free from any problems, then you should go to the land to physically check it out.
You Start Negotiating
This stage is self-explanatory, here both the buyer and the seller are satisﬁed with themselves that the deal can move forward with the land purchase.
It is at this period a matter of agreeing on an acceptable price for the land. Your lawyer will be very involved here as well, as the lawyer will also be able to give you a great sign of what future liabilities will incur for you (stamp duty fees, other government fees), so you can get that in when making any offer.
It is also a very good idea to have an independent valuation of the property carried out in order to have a genuine guide conerning the value of the property and whether the amount being negotiated represents fair market value of the landed property.
Documentation Of The Property
Perhaps the negotiation goes well and the offer is accepted, then your lawyer and the seller’s lawyer can move to the stage of putting everything together and negotiating all the completion documents.
In a land transaction in Lagos, there are 3 main documents you need, they include: the contract of sale, the receipt, and the Deed of Assignment.
The lawyers will take care of all this, and ensure that the interests of his client are achieved.
Completion, Exchange & Possession
At this very stage, the land transfer process is gathering pace, the buyer and the seller have signed and exchanged contracts, and the buyer is now in ownership of all the original file documents and transfer documents.
The obtainable price of the property has also been made at this stage. Immediately, all that is complete, the buyer becomes the owner of the property and can take ownership of the property
Immediately, the buyer has taken physical ownership of the property, the next important step is to ﬁle all the valid documentation with the suitable government authority and then start the process to obtain Governor’s agreement of the transaction.
Once Governor’s assent is obtained a Certiﬁcate of Occupancy (C of O)is issued, and the property transaction is then complete. Then you can enjoy your property.
Please beware that by virtue of the provisions of the Land Use Act, ownership of all property in State rests on the Governor, and a right of occupancy is given to a person for a maximum of 99 years.