Buying property in Nigeria can be challenging. There are multiple requirements to meet, bills to pay, documents to gather and submit, meetings to be had, and inspections to be done.
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If you’ve learnt about the steps involved beforehand, you’ll be better able to avoid the risks associated with buying land. But if you don’t know what to look out for, you may end up losing a lot of money, getting less than what you’ve bargained for, or (ultimately) the property itself.
If you would like to purchase a property in Nigeria, here are eight common mistakes you should avoid.
Not Engaging The Locals
Many people just take the real estate agent’s word for it. You shouldn’t. Talk to the people who live in the vicinity of the land you want to buy. Ask them questions about the district in which they live. They could reveal things about security, amenities, levies, communal relations, and other important details you should care about.
Failing To Ask For Help
If you’re like most people, you’re not an expert in the real estate business. Even if you are, you may still need the help of professionals in certain fields. For example, you could need a surveyor to inspect the survey document, and a lawyer to prepare or review legal agreements. Ask questions to gain clarity on any technical term or opaque procedure you encounter.
Paying Higher Than Market Price
Property prices vary a lot. But there’s such a thing as a fair price range for real estate, regardless of where it’s located. Many people don’t know what a fair price for a given property would be, so they end up paying more than the property’s current market value. To avoid this, talk to people who are familiar with property prices in the area concerned before making a purchase.
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Ignoring Environmental Concerns
If a landowner wants to sell you a plot of land, they’ll probably not tell you that there’s an environmental risk in the area. They won’t inform you that it’s flood-prone or has erosion problems. So it’s up to you to find out. Speak with the locals and inspect the area. If there’s a hidden environmental challenge, you’ll find out soon enough.
Not Checking For Government Interest
When people make this mistake, they may wind up losing the property in the future. And they won’t get compensation for this, because the land had been designated for government use in the first place. You can avoid this by verifying the status of the land at your state’s land registry.
Paying Little Attention To Title Documents
Title documents contain a lot of information about the property for which they exist. They are typically held by the owner of that property. You should examine them to see if they are genuine and if the facts they present align with each other. It’s a good idea to get a lawyer or an experienced real estate agent to inspect the documents on your behalf.
Accepting Substitutes For A Certificate Of Occupancy
If you are buying land from anyone, ensure that they provide a Certificate Of Occupancy for it. The Certificate of Occupancy is proof that the holder has ownership rights over the land in question. It’s hard to prove ownership without it. And it’s risky to buy land from a party that can’t prove their ownership of it.
Overlooking Possible Disputes Over The Property
Steer clear of lands that are the subject of ownership disputes. Even if you think it’s clear who owns them, there’s no guarantee that the tussle over them will go as you anticipate. Staying away from properties like this will save you a lot of stress and, possibly, a good deal of money too.
There are other mistakes that property buyers make. For instance, not doing a background check on the seller, or not factoring additional fees into their budget for the acquisition process. You don’t have to make these mistakes. Now that they’ve been discussed here, you’re in a better position to avoid them.
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Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.