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STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO PURCHASING LAND IN NIGERIA.

STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO THE PURCHASE OF LAND IN NIGERIA

 

Land has become one of the most prized assets in Nigeria. This is largely due to its near constant appreciation in value. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the Real Estate Sector has accounted for 5.28% of Nigeria’s GDP in Q1 of 2022 and is predicted to increase beyond this. The near constant increase in value of land has made everyone regard such an investment as the safest form of investment in this current economic reality.

In this article, I shall provide a step-by-step guide to purchase of land in Nigeria.

 

Step 1 – Identify the land: This is the first and primary step to take in a land transaction. This involves paying a physical visit to the location of the land. Most people (especially those in the diaspora) make the mistake of paying for lands which are not identified. Please ensure that you physically locate the land before making any financial commitment towards its purchase.

 

Step 2 – Request for the Title Documents: Always request for a valid title document to the land. This will enable due diligence to be carried out on the land. A valid title document to land is either a Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) or a duly registered Deed of Assignment. Please note that a survey plan is not valid evidence of title. Neither is a Power of Attorney. Always insist on a CofO or a duly registered Deed of Assignment.

 

Step 3 – Carry out due diligence: This is the most important part of every land transaction. The due diligence should cut across the appropriate Land Registry, Surveyor General’s Office, and the Town Planning Department. The search at the Lands Registry is to ascertain whether the land belongs to the Seller and if same is encumbered. The charting at the Surveyor General’s Office would ascertain whether the land is subject to any government acquisition/scheme. The due diligence at the Town Planning is to ascertain the designated use of properties in the area where the land is located, some areas are zoned commercial, industrial, or residential. Therefore, one cannot build an industrial facility in a residential area and vice versa. Where one intends to use the land for a purpose different from the designated use in the CofO, there will be a need to apply for a change of use.

 

Step 4 – Execute land transfer document: Upon the payment of the purchase price of the land, the Buyer must execute a Deed of Assignment with the Seller to validly transfer the Seller’s interest in the land to the Buyer. Please note that a Contract of Sale is not a valid document of transfer of interest in land. Always insist on a Deed of Assignment in addition to a Contract of Sale.

 

Step 5 – Register land transfer document with Governor’s Consent: The registration of the Deed of Assignment gives legal backing to the transaction. It is the evidence that the Seller has duly transferred its interest in the land to the Buyer and the Buyer is now regarded as the owner of the property upon completion of the registration process. The registration process is carried out at the Lands registry where the land is located. It is after the Governor’s Consent is obtained that the transfer of the interest becomes valid in law.

 

Step 6 – Pay applicable land taxes to government: The applicable land charges are the tenement rate, land use charge etc. The payment of these taxes is important to prevent applicable sanctions from the government.

 

Written by Koko Asuquo Esq.

Mista Know Your Rights.

08147312802

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