There are always documents involved in every business transaction carried out especially the ones involving money. Real estate transactions are no different. These documents serve as proof that a business transaction took place. The most common business document is a receipt which indicates that money was paid into an account or paid to someone. These documents secure one’s investments and make it possible to plead a case peradventure there is any dispute.
The nature of land disputes in Nigeria makes it extremely important that you have all relevant documents regarding ownership of a land or property. These titled documents are recognized by various government statues and laws on land and landed properties.
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Having all the documents required for a land purchase will help make your ownership legitimate after proper verification from the appropriate government agencies in charge of all land and land related issues in Nigeria.
Here are the documents required to make a land purchase in Nigeria:
Deed of assignment
The deed of assignment is the document that shows that you are the new owner of the land. It is always worrisome to see people buy land and not ask for this document. It is a very important document that you should of a necessity request that it be given to you at the end of the land or property transaction.
It is often time referred to as deed of conveyance however conveyance refers to the process where the seller transfers ownership of the land or property to the buyer. It is a mutual agreement between the owner of the land and the buyer. While the deed of assignment is a signed agreement where an assignor (Seller or owner) states his consent that from the date of the assignment (purchase) or any date stipulated therein, he assigns his ownership of that Land to the assignee (buyer).
The deed of assignment contains some very crucial information for a land/property transaction. Such as the date the ownership was transferred to the assignee and a clear description of the property or land.
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Once you have the deed of assignment it is very mandatory that you go record it at the appropriate land registry to serve as legal evidence to the real estate transaction. At the land registry, the deed of assignment will then be stamped at the stamp duties office before it becomes authenticated in the form of a governor’s consent or registered conveyance.
This is a document that clearly delineates the boundaries, the length and breadth of the property or land purchased. It gives accurate measurements and description of that land. It also helps to reveal if the land is under Government’s acquisition or not or whether the land is in a Government acquired or committed area.
Simply put, with a survey plan, you’ll be able to know everything about the land. It is important you request for this document BEFORE you buy the land. Request that a copy be given you so you can take it to a surveyor to help you cross check the document as well as confirm that what’s on paper is the same thing on land.
The survey plan would also help you know the purposes for the land, whether it is for residential, agricultural or commercial purposes.
A survey plan should have the following:
The name of the owner of the land surveyed.
The Address or description of the land surveyed.
The size of the land surveyed.
The drawn out portion of the land survey and mapped out on the survey plan document.
The beacon numbers.
The surveyor who drew up the survey plan and the date it was drawn up.
A stamp showing the land is either free from Government acquisition or not
With the survey plan, you can do a proper land search and know about everything concerning the parcel of land. ALWAYS request for a survey plan BEFORE you make a purchase.
Certificate of occupancy
This document certifies the legal ownership status of any property or land in Nigeria. It signifies that the owner of the property has been given legal permission to occupy the property by the executive governor of that state.
A certificate of occupancy is given to owners of lands or properties situated in urban areas, if the property is situated in a rural area; a customary right of occupancy is given by the local government council.
A certificate of occupancy is a land title document issued by the government validating the owner’s right to ownership of a parcel of land for a period of 99 years. However, some lands or properties for sale already come with a C of O, in that Case, Endeavour to ask for it. If your land or property does not come with a C of O, ensure you get one.
This is a document that proves money was exchanged in the real estate transaction. Without this document, there is no way one can proof that money was involved. It shows that the seller acknowledges that he or she received payment for the land or property.
People often make a big mistake of thinking a deed of assignment is the same as a receipt. They are NOT the same. A receipt validates monetary payment while a deed of assignment validates ownership.
A real estate purchase that does not have receipt as evidence of transaction becomes untraceable in times of problem. No one is wishing evil to anyone but then these things do happen, that’s why it’s best you have all relevant document regarding the purchase of a land/property.
A bank cheque or draft is still one of the best payment methods, and you should have someone witness the transactions. If you want to carry out cash transactions, ensure you are given a receipt right there and then, else, your payment would not hold water.
You are strongly advised to get all these documents in hand so you can easily avoid and get out of all and any problems regarding land ownership in the country. Always remember to get professional real estate advice from trusted real estate consultants like FESADEB Ltd before putting in your money into any real estate investment.