It is the dream of every person to own a property that can be called his, whether in Nigeria or in Foreign States. But owning a property anywhere inclusive of Nigeria comes with a lot of planning, preparation and following of the right procedures to get a desired result.
Acquiring a property, especially buying land in Nigeria entails many things, ranging from hiring of a lawyer, to deciding on budget and location, to investigating the seller and the property itself, (ie conducting a search), to negotiation and a host of other things.
- PROCEDURE FOR PURCHASING A PROPERTY IN NIGERIA
- Hiring a Lawyer
This is the first and most important step as this would give an assurance that you are threading the right path and also be rest assured that due diligence would be carried out before purchase of the property, so as to safeguard your money from entering the hands of Land Fraudsters or losing your land to the Government as a result of negligence or not being properly informed.
Also hiring of a lawyer is important at the earliest stage to ensure proper documentation and proper transfer of ownership and interest in the land.
- Land Search
This is a crucial step and the importance of this step are numerous ranging from:
- It helps verify the owner of the land
- It helps to know how the land devolved on the present owner
- Furthermore, to know whether the land is a good land, or whether it is underany government acquisition
- Finally to investigate all the documents the owner of the property may have on the said land.
The Land search is conducted at the Land Registry of the state where the property is located. However, certain situation may warrant it being conducted at the Corporate Affairs Commission (where the seller or owner is a company incorporated under the Companies and Allied Matters Act), or at the Probate Registry, Traditional evidence, Court (where there’s a judgment on the land, and finally through Physical inspection of the property.
- Title Insurance
It is advisable to insure the property being bought as it guides against any defects of title to the property.
- Preparation of the Necessary Documents
After the search has been conducted and everything seems to be in the proper position, the next step is the preparation of the necessary documents by the lawyer and execution of same by the parties with respect to the property sold, after all conditions as to fee or amount might have been fulfilled.
- Perfection of Title to the Newly Acquired Property
The lawyer carries this out, by applying for Governor’s consent, payment of stamp duties and registration of Deed of Assignment at the Lands Registry. Perfection is required because it is statutorily required that for any interest no interest in real shall be transferred without the consent of the governor. The process of perfection of title opens room for a governor’s consent. Besides, the registration gives a priority title to the purchaser against any other person(s) claiming through the property in future.
The above are brief guide to invest into property or buy a property in Nigeria without running into a legal ditch. Due diligence by a way of search and investigation of the title document is required before property should be purchased in Nigeria, especially in a city like Lagos with high record of property’s dispute