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What to know before buying a property

Before commiting your hard earned funds to real estate investments, you must be on the lookout to ensure your investment is secure and the property you are investing in is not a sham. Many Nigerians have fallen victim to real estate developers who either sell lands without government approval, or which infringe on state or federal regulations.


Do not be swayed by smooth-talking agents who will promise you high returns in real estate value over a few years, carry out research on your own on the area where the intended property is located and talk to real estate investment experts in the area. You must also be realistic in your projections; those who see real estate investments as a quick fix often get burnt. While some real-estate investments allow a short-term turnover, significant turnover in real estate takes years.


It is also very important to choose a credible real estate company; one with a track record of satisfied clients and quality delivery of properties. Nigeria is filled with various characters who posture as real estate agents, but who are in fact fraudulent characters looking to swindle real estate investors of their money. Find out as much as possible about any real estate company you intend to deal with and verify that the property is actually where it is said to be located.


Most importantly, be sure of the land title. Once you have the right land title, most other issues around the security of your real estate investment can be resolved easily. The ultimate land title that guarantees safety from omonile issues or litigation issues is the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O). Avoid lands with the ‘excision in process’ land title, irrespective of how juicy the deal might seem.


Lastly, make sure everything about your investment is out into writing. There must be documents to show that the transaction is legitimate and to serve as proof in case of any issues in the future.



Identifying Secure Real Estate Investments


Like all kinds of investments, security of investment is very key when considering real estate investment as a means to grow your income. While many investors follow hypes and trends, smart and savvy real estate investors make sure certain boxes are ticked before making the  decision to invest in real estate.


Make sure that the real estate developer is credible and has shown a strong record of meeting obligations to investors. If possible speak with previous clients to be sure that the company is what it says it is.


Check the location where the property is situated and ensure that there are no issues with zoning, right of way or government ownership. Many investors have had their properties demolished or taken from them because developers built on land owned by the government or situated on land earmarked for other uses.


While reclaiming land from the sea or waterways has become a common practice in Nigeria, it is important that you check the condition of the property you are buying to mitigate against destruction in future.


Never be swayed by juicy offers on properties, make sure that the value at which you are being offered the property is commensurate with property values in the area. Many people have fallen victims of scams because they believed they were getting a great deal on properties.




How to Know If Your Property Will Increase in Value


Many people take it for granted that the value of real estate will always go up; while this is the case most times, there are also instances where the value of a real estate development depreciates. There are so many ways to know if the value of your property will appreciate, and while this is not to be construed as expert advice, here are some simple ways through which you can ascertain if your investment will increase in value over the years.


If your property is in a good location, say close to a busy business area or around a commercially viable part of your location, chances are that the prices will go up as commerce usually brings more people to an area and increases demand for accomodation.


You should also be on the lookout for new developments in the area; with more developments in an area, there is a strong indication that property values in that area will go up in a matter of time.


One rarely considered indication that the value of a property will increase over time is the average age of your neighbours. New home buyers with small children often avoid locations with older homeowners who will not provide playmates for their little ones. As these new home owners usually flock together, you will find that demand for properties in that area will shoot up and by extension property values.



How To Buy Your Next House (or property).


Having money to buy a house is one thing, but knowing how to go about buying real estate in Nigeria is an entirely different ball game. As always it is advised that you speak with experts and get yourself a lawyer, but there are certain steps you must take before engaging in the process of buying a house or property.


  1. Make sure you have a good enough budget for the property you are interested in. While it is possible (and even advisable in some cases) to get mortgages to finance the purchase of a property, it is important that your cash flow is able to accomodate the cost of buying real estate. Beyond the cost of the property, there are other costs you will encounter such as taxes, levies and commision and you must be prepared to fund all these.
  2. Before you buy, make sure you are aware of the real owner of the property. Stories abound of investors being duped by those posing as real owners of properties and you will do well not to fall victim to such people. Ensure you carry out a search on the property by verifying from the state government if the property in question is within government acquired properties or not and whether there are any pending litigation or other issues on the property.
  3. All monies to be paid for the property must be made to the property owner and you should be issued a purchase receipt,  the contract of sales, the building plan and originals of other relevant documents in possession of the previous owner. This is important to forestall any issues relating to your rightful ownership of the land in future.
  4. The most important step is to ensure that you are noted as the legal owner of the property by documenting it with the state government.   If the property already has a C of O (certificate of Occupancy) then it means you already have Governor’s consent If it does not, then you must start the process of getting a C of O so the government is aware that you are the new owner of the property.

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