Our Top Tips to owning your dream home in Nigeria

——  February 13, 2020

One phrase that resonates in the mind of many when it comes to land/housing matter is “Buyers Beware”. Many individuals look to invest in the Nigerian real estate market but are scared of getting involved in wrong transactions as there are countless stories of people that have lost their Real Estate investment.

You buy a land/landed property today and in a couple of months or years, you have some land touts knocking at your gate, demanding you pay an additional fee because the leader of the family that sold the land to you is dead or they just won a court case and are now the new “Landlords”.

In a true life story, Mr. Tope, who happens to be a close relative, had lived in his house for close to 10years but got home from work one day to find that a portion of his fence had been bulldozed and his main gate was lying on the ground. Shocked to see this, he made inquiries and was informed that a family, different from the one that sold the land to him, just won a case in court which confirmed them as the new customary owners of the land in that neighborhood and they were demanding that every home-owner in the neighborhood pay a certain amount to ratify their ownership over a land that they bought over Ten years ago. A tale of the absurd perhaps but many similar or worse ordeals have been heard of.  So before you make that land purchase, here are 5 tips that could come in handy;

Determine what you exactly can afford: Everyone desires to own a home but might not have the capacity to purchase one. It is important therefore for the buyer to count his/her cost to be sure you can afford the payment for that home either through personal funds or a bank facility. Do not get in and then get stuck halfway. However, if the funds are fully available, you may proceed with your purchase plans.

Research the market you are buying into: This is a step in purchasing a home that many people ignore but that is very important. Except one is buying to occupy, investment in Real Estate is all about Return on Investment (ROI). Therefore market knowledge can help in good decision making. Understanding the market you are buying into can help you project returns based on market dynamics. Poor knowledge of the market can lead to a bad real estate decision. Where you cannot find the information you require online, you can contact a Real Estate professional.

Ensure you do a proper title search: When making a decision to buy land or landed property in Nigeria, one very important consideration is the “Title” that covers such property. This is an area that gives a lot of individuals concern, and we will expand more on the issue of Land title in subsequent blogs.

A “Title” simply connotes the bundle of rights in a piece of property. A popular maxim that buyers should be aware of is – Quicquid Plantatur Solo Solo Cedit, that is, in simple terms, “whatever is affixed to land becomes part of it”. To avoid what happened to Mr. Tope, it is important to do a proper title search and in doing this, you should ensure you employ the services of a qualified lawyer who should be able to determine there are no encumbrances on the property Title.

A common mistake many people make is using inexperienced or unqualified people to help with a title search especially when the buyer is resident outside Nigeria. As simple as confirming the authenticity of title seems, it is a step that should not be compromised as interest in land/landed property is probably the most important aspect of the purchase.

Buy within a serviced estate community – Though some people may hold a contrary view, from personal experience, there are many advantages to buying a property within a serviced estate especially the ones developed by seasoned developers. This include;

Good title – Experienced developers of communally owned estates pay keen attention to legal title. So, if you buy into this type of schemes, you are rest assured that the title will be good. Kindly note, it is of importance that you know much about the developer before you buy into such projects (this will be discussed later).

Communal security – Most, if not all, serviced estate make use of professional security guards. This automatically means that there is an eye on your investment at all times as opposed to when your property is a stand-alone and you need to send people to the property every now and then in order to keep an eye on your investment and monitor its condition.

Preserved ROI – Scheduled and daily maintenance of properties within serviced estates helps preserve property value. As discussed earlier, investment in Real Estate is often for ROI and if not properly maintained, property loses value which in turn affects expected returns.

Research the developer – Identifying the right development to buy into is a key decision. It is therefore expedient that you do a little research on the developer before you make that decision. Track record of the Developer goes a long way in real estate matters. 

Kindly note, once purchase has been concluded, do not forget to appoint a professional property management company to help safeguard your investment.

Good luck in making that Real Estate decision!

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Posted in GeneralTips