Adeola is the winner of the $10,000,000 cash prize in the renowned SPC Fashion challenge for fashion entrepreneurs.

In executing her next plans, Adeola decided to purchase a land which she saw a “For Sale” sign on at Ikeja. She thinks the space would be perfect for her fashion studio. 

She decided to speak to Seun, her friend who is a lawyer on what to look out for before she buys the property. They both went to see the land and engaged the owners. Here are some things Seun thinks is important to do and look out for before buying a land.

  1. Land Documents

Land documents are very useful in providing details about the land and showing who the legal owner of a land is. Therefore when buying a land, you should check the legal documents that the land has. Legal documents you should inspect include, the survey plan, certificate of occupancy, deed of assignment. 

These documents also help you when you want to conduct a search on the property. 

2. Verify the true owner of the property 

Knowing who truly owns the property you are trying to buy is very important as you don’t want to be a victim of fraud. 

In order to verify who the true owner of a property is, you can conduct a search at the Lands Registry. To conduct a search is to carry out a legal assessment of the title of the seller of the land and to ensure that the title is free from any encumbrances. 

The Lands registry is important because facts about who the current owner of the property is, the history of how the property has been transferred from one person to another can be easily ascertained. By conducting a search, you can also know if the land is being used as collateral for a loan or if it is the subject matter of a pending litigation.  

For example, the Lagos State Lands Registry located at Lagos Lands Bureau, Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja is the custodian of all registered land instruments in Lagos (except Federal Lands) including deeds of assignment, leases, subleases, mortgages, releases, orders of court/ judgments, purchase receipts, certificates of occupancy (C of O), and other land-related documents. It is therefore important for you to conduct your due diligence even if you are buying from a friend or relative so that it doesn’t end in tears. 

3. Physically Inspect the Property

It is important that you do not rely on the words of the seller of the property about the land but you also visit the property to be sure that the property truly exists and is vacant. 

You also want to check to know if the size of the land corresponds with what the owner says it is. The only way to do this is to get a surveyor who will survey the land and get the actual measurement. Do not just assume because the owner says it’s one plot that it’s one plot make sure you confirm.

4. Ascertain the Purpose of the Property 

In simple terms, ensure that you know the purpose of the property; whether it is for agricultural, industrial or commercial purposes. This is so that if the property is for residential purposes, you don’t end up building offices on it. 

A survey plan of the property can help you know this. A survey plan gives a detailed description of the land by showing the accurate boundary measurements. With a survey plan, you can know almost everything about the land. This document is also important because it is very instrumental when you want to carry out a search at the Lands Registry to ascertain whether the land is free for sale or not and whether it has been acquired by the government or not.

After you have verified that the land is safe to buy, ensure every process is documented especially the agreed purchase price, how and when the payment is to be made. Ensure that you sign a Deed of Assignment that states that the legal title of the land has been transferred from the seller of the land to you. Also, ensure that the originals of other relevant documents in the possession of the previous owner are handed over to you. 

In addition to these, you need to obtain a Governor’s Consent from the Governor of the State the land is situated. This land document let’s the Governor and the general public know that the land has changed hands. 

Conclusively, your lawyer should be involved in every process. DON’T BE HASTY WHEN BUYING A LAND. 

Consult a lawyer today via our DIYlaw Engage platform.