Do you how to buy land? Millions of men and women around the globe look forward to buying their own homes but to build a house, you need to buy land upon which the house will be built. Buying land is not as complicated as quantum physics; neither is it as simple as buying cookies at a local store.
Before you buy land, you must understand that it is a process. In this piece, we will walk you through everything you need to know about how to buy land in Nigeria.
What Kind of Land Are You Interested in?
This stage of buying land covers things like the size of land you are interested in. Do you want a lot of lands or would you prefer an acre? Do you prefer a land in Magodo over one in Surulere? Are you going for land that is close to a tertiary institution or are you more interested in the neighbourhood’s road network?
You should arm your real estate agent with your preferences before the search for land even commences. This will guide the agent to get you precisely what you want. For instance, if you want a plot of land in a posh neighbourhood like Banana Island in Lagos, you don’t expect your agent to give you a list of available land situated in a place like Ijora.
What is Your Budget?
What is the maximum amount of money you are willing to spend on acquiring land? The price of land is strongly dependent on several factors such as whether the land is situated as well, amenities that are available, history, character, commercial drive, road network as well as the kind of people who can be found there.
For instance, while a plot of land in Mowe and Ikorodu might cost you less than N1 million, the same size of land in Ikeja would run into several millions of naira.
Have You Inspected the Land?
When you eventually find a land that you are genuinely interested in, you have to carry out an inspection and you should consider doing this in the company of the real estate professional you are working with.
The purpose of the physical inspection is to confirm that the land you are about to buy is precisely what you have been told it is. Viewing videos and photo galleries of the land is good but it’s not enough. A physical inspection is essential.
Will You Carry out a Search?
By search here, we do not mean searching for a land to buy. Rather, what this means is the process of verifying that the seller of the land is the actual owner of the land. Your search should be carried out at the relevant land registry.
Find out if the land is under dispute or if the land is under the radar of government acquisition. There are several cases of land scam where Nigerians find themselves buying land that is so deep in dispute that the contesting parties drag themselves into the puddles of legal battles. The situation gets worse when the land belongs to a family and one or two individuals within the family try to cut corners.
How Do You Carry Out a Search?
To find out if the land you are interested in is one under family dispute or legal battles, you start by submitting an application to the land registry. Attach a sworn affidavit of your status as well as the purpose of the search to the document
Have You Executed the Deed of Assignment/Conveyance?
The Deed of Assignment is an agreement between the seller of a land or property and a buyer of that land or property. The Deed of Assignment shows evidence that the seller has transferred all his rights, his title, his interest and ownership of that land to the buyer.
This document is also known as the conveyance, which is the act of transferring an ownership interest in real property from one party to another. Conveyance also refers to the written instrument, such as a deed or lease that transfers legal title of a property from the seller to the buyer.
Both you and the seller need to sign the document to make it valid. Never make payment for a land without this document.
Do You Have the Certified True Copy of Title Document and Survey Plan?
The next step for you in your quest to buy a land is to obtain the certified true copies of the vendor’s title document and survey plan.
What is a survey plan? A survey plan is a document that provides the coordinates of the land and is expected to fit within the state’s official map. This document also highlights the boundaries of the property.
Pay special attention to these documents and the reason is simple – The certified true copy of the title document and the survey plan form part of your requirements at the point of applying for the Governor’s consent.
To legally own a land, you need proof of identity of the land. This explains why you need a certified true copy of the survey plan. This document has to be approved by the town planning authority.
To obtain a certified true copy, you need to submit an application letter and a sworn affidavit that states your purpose.
Should You Pay For Charting, Endorsement and Form 1C?
Before you can even apply for a Governor’s consent to buy land in Nigeria, you need to pay for charting, endorsement and the Form 1C. These fees are to be paid at the state’s designated banks.
You take the receipt issued to you at the registry along with the slip issued to you at the bank and then pay the fees with a bank draft payable to Lagos State Government.
How Do You Process Governor’s Consent?
The Land Use Act identifies state governors in each state of the federation as owning all the land in Nigeria. What this means is that before you buy land, you need the consent of the governor of that state to legally take ownership of landed property.
To obtain the Governor’s consent, you send an application to the Directorate of Land Services.
Below is a list of documents needed to obtain the Governor’s consent:
- Covering letter
- Completed Form 1C
- Certified True Copy of title documents of assignor (vendor)
- Current tax clearance certificates for you and the assignor
- Four copies of the deed of which consent is sought
- Copy of the approved survey plan
- Evidence of payment of charting fee, endorsement fee and Form 1C
- Evidence of payment of land use charge
- A picture of the property
- A copy of the applicant and/or his agent’s identification
Have You Paid Your Registration Fees, Consent Fees, Stamp Duty and Capital Gains Tax?
The next step is to pay for the notice and payment of stamp duty, pay your registration, consent fees and Neighbourhood Improvement Charge.
After the true value of the property has been established, the registration fees you are expected to pay will be communicated to you. This is followed by payment using a certified cheque. Thereafter, a receipt will be provided to you and you make copies of this before submitting the original copy at the land registry.
Have You Obtained Title From the Land Services Department?
This is the point where the Attorney General and Commissioner for the State will grant you consent. They will do this on behalf of the governor of the state and sign on the submitted Deed of Transfer.
When Will Your Deed of Assignment be Stamped?
The Deed of Assignment gets stamped at the Stamp Duties Registry. This process includes receipts that authenticate payment of the stamp duty.
When Does the Registration of Deed and Title Conferment Happen?
The next stage in your process of buying land is to get your stamped deed filed with the cashier at the Lands Registry. This should be accompanied by the receipts and paying-in slips, which stand as evidence of payment. An officer would then be assigned to you. The land officer’s job is to enter the deed into the records of the registry.
Do You Have a Budget For Settling Traditional Issues?
Securing the necessary document and paying for the land are not the only important things you have to do when buying land in Nigeria. You need to take the cultural idiosyncrasies of the seller into consideration.
A community might request for a goat or drinks while another community could request for a specific amount of wrappers. These requirements cannot be bypassed especially if you want to be at peace with its decision makers and league of influential personalities.
We have cases of families being particularly specific about items that they request for. Rather than quarrel with them, it is often wiser to accede to their accede to their request. In other words, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.
Do You Have Plans For Landgrabbers?
Landgrabbers, also known as Omo Onile in Nigeria are known for their brute nature and exploitation. What they do is simple – They come to you in groups and demand for money from you. You can do one of 2 things – You can give them what they want or you can refuse to give them money and tell them it is outright extortion.
Regardless of which option you settle for, it comes at a price. Paying Omo Onile gives you the freedom to build your house while your refusal to feed their demands can be met by despicable acts of violence.
Have You Secured Your Land?
Paying for a land that you are interested in is just one side of the coin. After you have bought the land, you should secure it by building a fence around it. You can also consider building a well and depositing building materials especially sand on the land.
Hiring a security guard for the property would also be a good idea.
The procedure for buying land might be spelt out clearly within the Land Use Act of 1978 but you still have other crucial things and people you cannot overlook. The peculiar demands of communities and Omo Onile (Land grabbers and touts) from you are two good examples. Before you make any decision, always remember to weigh your options.