Shelter as we all know is a basic human requirement. In Nigeria where this has become more of a luxury, most people are desperate to own their own personal homes. This situation has made a lot of people fall prey of land speculators (omo onile) and realtors most especially in urban areas. Quite a number of people who have spent money on landed property, have become victims of fraudsters in situations where the supposed owner of the piece of land was not the actual owner or where a piece of land was sold off to several buyers. Experts say that this is not only peculiar to individuals, but that it also happens to corporate bodies as well. Below are a few steps to take before making that payment.
A very important factor to guide planning should be that a prospective buyer should have a location in mind. This will let the prospective buyer have an insight into the amount the piece of land will cost, the class of people he/she wants to live among and the minimum lot required for his/her building. Some folks buy land for investment, if so, a buyer must evaluate the potential growth in investment at a location he/she intends to buy. It is estimated that the range of growth in investment is usually between 5% and 30%, so be wise and choose good locations.
Experts say that lands in developed areas are lands that already have road networks, water mains, electricity, drainage and other basic utilities within them. Undeveloped areas, however, lack most of the basic utilities within them. They say that a prospective buyer or an estate investor must understand what it takes to buy a piece of land in an undeveloped area, as the total cost of developing such land could be much higher than that of a developed area. The ability for you to be able to identify the capital available for spending is important to determining the type of property that suits your project best, experts say.
INVESTIGATE AND VERIFY THE TRUE OWNER
Hasty purchase of a piece of land must be avoided at all costs, say experts. They advise that an investigation should be done and a number of visits made to the piece of land before parting with your money. There are lots of illegal dealers and land speculators in urban areas when compared to rural areas, these people should be avoided at all cost. Experts note that it is difficult to know genuine landowners. However, a proper investigation involving the appropriate professionals and authorities in the industry will be of valuable help. Conduct an extensive search on the ownership of the piece of land, a process by which you verify from the state government if the piece of land is within government acquired land or not and if there is any pending litigation on the piece of land. They say you should involve a lawyer and only pay when you are fully satisfied with documentation and other things.
GATHER ALL THE RIGHT DOCUMENTATION
Once payment has been made to the landowner, you need to collect a purchase receipt, a contract of sales and originals of other relevant documents from the landowner. If the piece of land already has a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), good for you, you already have the approval of the State Governor. If not, then you need to start the process of obtaining your own C of O as soon as possible. This legally makes you the owner of the piece of land in the eyes of the law.
PREVENT ILLEGAL SALE OR OCCUPATION
You have paid for the land and obtained a C of O and so the land is legally yours, however, beware of illegal sale and occupation of your land. If you do not start any type of development on your land, land speculators or fraudsters may sell the land to other people or an illegal occupier may start development on the land and claim ownership. In Nigeria, legal proceedings on land disputes can take decades before a judgment is reached. So, to avoid any legal disputes, start some kind of development on your land as soon as possible. You can demarcate your land by constructing a fence around the area to highlight the boundaries of your piece of land. If you do not have the funds to develop the building you intend to develop on the land, you can build a small apartment and rent it out so that at any point in time, there is someone on the piece of land to monitor any illegal activities.
Well, I do hope that the few pointers above will serve as a useful guide when you eventually decide to go and purchase that piece of land you had always wanted. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment, thank you.