Buy or Build in Lagos – Which approach works better for you

——  October 26, 2021

Investing in Real Estate in Lagos, especially in terms of owning one’s own home in the Lagos area, remains a major objective for most individuals. In this regard, there are two major modes of property acquisition in the Nigerian property space. One could acquire a property through outright purchase of an already developed property, or on the other hand one could build a property to one’s particular tastes.

Whilst the thrust of the majority of our discussions in our various blog articles is towards those desirous of acquiring property through the purchase of already built-up properties, we do acknowledge nevertheless that there are still quite a few individuals interested in acquiring property either for personal use or Investment who do give serious consideration to taking the alternative route of purchasing undeveloped land and building to their own specifications. Consequently, we would want to look at the pros and cons of either approach and highlight the circumstances under which one may be preferable to the other and also provide some guidance for those who may still be undecided as to which approach would work best for them. Elsewhere we will discuss our top tips to owning you own home in Nigeria, navigating the house buying process and the importance of title search, as well as strategies for selecting the right builder.

Factors Influencing Property Acquisition Modalities

Over the years, the preferred mode of property acquisition for majority of individuals in Nigeria and Lagos in particular has generally been in correlation with the prevailing economic and social conditions in the country at any given time and have apparently been generally influenced by the four key factors enumerated below;

  • Relative availability and access to Government led interventions in public housing.
  • Availability and ease of acquisition of land within and around the Lagos metropolis.
  • Relative availability of building construction and consultancy expertise in Lagos.
  • Ready availability and affordability of Construction inputs and materials.

An understanding of how the above factors have affected property acquisition modalities over time would help situate our recommendations regarding the optimal property acquisition mode to adopt for one’s purposes.

To Buy or To Build – Determining What Works Best For You

Although the the preponderant mode of acquiring property in Lagos now seems to be through purchase, there still remains a significant percentage of people who still prefer to travel the construction route. And having now acquired a better understanding of the current state of the factors affecting Real Estate acquisition, the following are guidelines to consider in deciding which route may best be suited for one.

Buying a Property in Lagos – Either Fully Completed or Off-Plan

property in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos


The following points outline why a completed or off plan property in Lagos could be your ideal form of buying a property. It should be noted that this won’t suit everyone and it is ultimately down to your personal preferences. Here are some points you might want to take into account when deciding which type of property to buy in Lagos: 

  • Buying either a fully completed or off plan property in Lagos is the ideal option for anyone who wants a more or less typical house without any features that are specific to his/her taste or lifestyle. The key requirement to be considered in this case is thus that of deciding the particular house type desired. This could be a detached duplex, a semi-detached one, a terraced apartment or a flat. Notwithstanding however, the potential buyer may still want to ensure he is able to make some modifications to the generic house type he is buying and this may also be a factor in deciding which particular developer to work with in this regard.
  • This method of property acquisition is also perhaps the more obvious option for someone acquiring property for investment purposes as it reduces  involvement in the acquisition process to the barest minimum. If you are looking for a quick property investment then buying a fully completed or off plan property will suit you best.
  • Thirdly, for someone with a specific budget and not willing to take the risk of possible price fluctuations or variations that usually occur during the construction process, buying the property outright is usually the better option.
  • Finally, for anyone not cut out for devoting the time and energy required for tracking and administering the design and building construction process, buying a property outright is also the most appropriate option.

Building Your Desired Property to Your Specification

Property under construction in Osapa, Lekki

The other way to own a property house in Lagos, is to look at building the property to your specification and taste. Again, this could not be the most suited choice for you but you might want to consider it as an option. The following points should be taken into account if you are thinking of owning a property in Lagos but don’t know if to buy or build it.

  • For anyone desirous of acquiring a house that would be designed to their own tastes and for their peculiar needs, direct construction would be the most optimal approach to take.
  • Secondly, if one does not have funds to make an outright purchase but would prefer a situation where payment for the acquisition of the property is spread over a significant period of time, buying land and building on it is the most viable option in that case.
  • In taking this route however, one would be well advised to acquire land for the proposed building within a well laid out estate and from a reputable company or individual. Such a piece of land should in addition be well investigated to ensure it has a sound title before any money changes hands. In this regard, you might want to read our post about the importance of property title search.
  • An individual going this route is also well advised to employ the services of qualified building consultants who will help guide him or her through the entire building procurement process, ensure all necessary technical diligence is carried out and advise on the relative merits and demerits of the multitude of building materials and components now available on the market.

Acquiring a property in Lagos either to make it your home or as an investment is never an easy decision. One of the early questions that one makes is to whether to buy or build the property. In this post we have outlined why you might want to buy a fully completed or off plan property in Lagos or build your own to your desired specifications. There is no right or wrong but you need to make an informed decision of which choice is best for your own circumstances and preferences. 

After reading this article, we hope you have a clearer understanding about which option to go for and if you decide to buy a fully completed property, we invite you to check our residential real estates in Lagos and the Lekki area, you might find exactly what you are looking for! At Beachway Homes we are proud of being one of the leading property developers in Lekki (Lagos)