This is a story based on real-life events.
Segun Abeju is a businessman who decided to invest in real estate. His decision was based on the need to secure a long-term investment and a retirement plan. After talking to an old friend about his plans, his friend came up with a fantastic idea that could save him some good money. Apparently, his friend claimed to associate with a family who was selling out parts of their large estate at a give-away price at Sangotedo.
Segun saw this as an excellent opportunity to cash in, coupled with the fact that his friend was handling the transaction. Right away, he made the first deposit of N4,000, 000 to his friend’s account. Later that week, his friend scheduled a site visitation to inspect the land. Segun noticed the shabby signboard at the entrance, but his friend argued that it was a family property, hence it’s shabby nature. Segun didn’t mind, after all the land reportedly had a C of O; he didn’t know much about land verification process and he really didn’t want to bother himself with all that stress.
Two weeks passed after the site visitation and Segun hadn’t heard a word from his friend. He tried calling him yet no response, it became one story after the other. But, after about a month of no response, Segun decided to take matters into his hand and went out to check the land and get in touch with the family that owned the land.
To his surprise, everything had been an act; there were no signboard and even the man. His friend had brought claiming was the first son of the family was nothing but a paid actor. It turned out the land belonged to the government.
For months Segun struggled to get a hold of his friend, which he later found out had travelled out of the country. Segun couldn’t believe it, in his words, “God will punish all those people, it will never be well with them. I cannot believe my own so-called friend did this to me.”
As sad as it sounds, Segun is just one out of the many Nigerians that fall into the trap of fraudsters. When it comes to acquiring property, verification is a crucial process. It doesn’t just end at inspecting the property. You need to ensure the land you saw falls within the coordinates of the survey plan.
Recently, we had another client who had been previously cajoled into buying property he thought had a C of O. It turned out the land document he had seen belonged to another property, completely different from the property he had inspected.
How is this possible? You might ask.
Benefits Of Verifying Land Documents:
- It assures proof beyond doubt of the validity and ownership of the property.
- It acts as a form of insurance.
- It also gives you the freedom to do anything you wish to do with the property; be it construction or re-selling.
The fact is, it goes beyond a site inspection, and it’s about longitudes and latitudes. Precision! Always ask for a copy of the land documents.
How to Confirm the Authenticity of a Property Title
- Ask for a copy of a survey plan and get a Surveyor to ensure the site you’ve visited fall within the stipulated survey plan.
- Ask for a copy of the land document. Check the authencity of land documents at the Land Bureau at Alausa.
- Schedule a site visitation; ensure the land you visit falls within the coordinates stipulated on the survey plan. At the site, ensure you go with a Surveyor or use a GPS to pick the coordinates of the site.
- Use the coordinates to cross check what the plot of the land has been set aside for from the Master Plan in the Ministry of Physical Planning. Avoid lands that’s been set aside for agricultural purposes or allocated for government use. Stick to lands allocated for residential purposes.
- Demand to see the layout plan and pick a suitable plot.
- Ask Questions about out if there’s any dispute or litigation over the land. Find out if the land was inherited or bought.
- Make sure dates check out. Cross-check documents to ensure they aren’t fake.
- Documentation is vital for referencing, and you should ensure the documents are detailed.
Inspection of the Land.
- Document every single part of the transactions involved in buying land in Nigeria. Every single part of the deal needs to be documented; from the cost of land to the survey fees. Keep every receipt. Treat every land transaction as it should be, a business transaction.
It doesn’t matter is the person you’re buying from or interfacing with is your uncle, aunty, boss, friend, pastor… make sure they provide all the documentation you need before proceeding to make payments.
Also, take the time to read the documents you’re given carefully.