No doubt, acquiring real estate is the best form of investment one could ever make. But with the alarming report of fraudulent property transactions, it’s important that anyone intending to acquire a property in Nigeria, take note of the necessary precautions needed to avoid buying a potential lawsuit.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE BUYING A PROPERTY IN NIGERIA
- CARRY OUT A PHYSICAL INPSECTION OF THE PROPERTY.
It is of utmost importance that before a purchaser acquires a property, he or she must first and foremost visit the location of the property in order to ascertain whether or not the physical aspects of the property measures up with the expectations of the buyer. Where the property does not fall in line with what was said by the seller, the purchaser is at this point having the right to state that he is not interested in the business contract. On the other hand, where the property is in fact of satisfaction to the purchaser, then the next step should be followed which is verifying the title of the vendor.
- VERIFY TITLE OF THE VENDOR THOUGH CONDUCTING A LAND SEARCH.
A defective title to the property by the vendor deprives the latter of the authority to sell the property. Hence the need for the purchaser verify the title of the vendor in order to avoid future problems is very important.
A land search could be done by the buyer or through his attorney. Where it is found that the vendor has a good title to the property and as such no impediment is on the property from being sold and the purchaser is still interested in buying the property, the the next step is to be followed which is the negotiation and preparation of land agreements.
- NEGOTIATION AND PREPARTION OF LAND AGREEMENT
The purchaser is to negotiate with the vendor on various aspects to the transaction such as; amount to be paid for the said property, mode and duration of payment. Where this is being agreed upon, both parties may go ahead to prepare a contract of sale agreement (if payment is made in installments) or a deed of Assignment as the case may be.
P.S A contract of sale is not the final document used as proof of evidence of title. In the contract of sale stage, the purchaser acquires an equitable interest in the property while a legal interest is acquired at the completion of the necessary processes which ought to be done to vest the legal interest in the purchaser. Thus, even when the buyer takes possession of the said property and has paid the full purchase price, the buyer still retains equitable interest until the necessary steps to vest legal title on the buyer are being carried out.
- PREPARATION OF A DEED OF ASSIGNMENT (AS THE CASE MAY BE)
Where parties have successfully executed the contract of sale and full payment of the purchase price has been made afterwards, the parties shall further execute a deed of assignment where the property to be sold out is a land. The deed of assignment is the primary document which transfers ownership in the land from the vendor (now assignor) to the buyer (now assignee). The deed of assignment is a registrable instrument and should be perfected and registered with the state government where the property is situated.
It’s important to state that when it comes to property transactions, a buyer must ensure that every agreement reached at any stage of the transaction should be made in writing for future reference. Furthermore, the buyer must ensure that all written contracts be reviewed by his attorney to avoid complications in the course of the transaction.
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