There are lots of people who consider buying a property in Lagos and generally in Nigeria as a big issue because they believesuch process comes with lots of rigours. Amongst these rigours is the rudiment of confirming the title of ownership of the land, which is done by conducting a search at appropriate authorities to investigate the title of the seller and perfecting the title documents of the property. Having regards to the above, it is important to briefly summarize how to own a house in Nigeria without running into any crisis.
It is important for every buyer of a house to exercise a caution and engage in the service of a professional in order to avoid buying a bundle of litigation. The truth is that the procedure for how to buy a house in Nigeria may not be a complicated one if conducted appropriately.
The procedure of how to buy a house in Lagos is considered to be tougher, compared to other jurisdictions because of the rampant land grabbing issue by some unscrupulous people due to cosmopolitan nature of the city.
The below are the factors every buyer must consider before buying a house in Nigeria.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A HOUSE
- Professionals or experts to be consulted when buying a house
- The foundation of the house (exterior and interior)
- The nature of the house (purposely built residential or commercial)
- Location of the property.
- Nature of the environment where the house is situated
- Mode of payment the vendor may request
- The title documents the Seller has and the capacity in which he sells
- Regulatory agencies in charge of registering title documents
- The charges to be paid, if any
- Third party interest in the house (dual ownership, available tenants and other equitable interest)
- House under litigation court case
- Insurance covers attached to the house if any
- Debts attached such as mortgage/collateral and accrued utility bills.
Where there are defects in the Seller’s title in the house the buyer’s solicitor is entitled to make requisitions to clarify matters relating to the defect. A title is deemed to be defective when there is a mortgage scheme attached to the house or where there are Tenants in a house whose rent still subsists and a house under litigation etc.
In following due diligence the solicitor may on behalf of the buyer proceed to the Ministry of Lands and Office of the surveyor general of the state to conduct search on the nature of interest, description of the property, fees and charges payable on the property such as ground rent, or taxes as may be imposed by the government. Some of the defects a solicitor may also search for include any other form of encumbrances such as government acquisition, judgment of the court among others.
Negotiation for a price otherwise called the consideration sum must be done between the buyer and the seller or the seller’s solicitor and the buyer’s solicitor. Upon reaching an agreement, the buyer may proceed to make payment.
Where a buyer makes a part-payment for the house, the contract of sale of a purchasing house maybe be executed by both parties in the form of a written contract and would be deemed to have brought the contract into existence. Once a contract is entered and exchanged, equitable interest has passed to the buyer.
However, where the buyer pays up the total balance of the consideration which is the price of the house, a deed of conveyance or assignment may be executed by both parties immediately.
Upon payment of the total price and due execution (signature of both parties) of the deed, the buyer would be entitled to collect the original title documents of the house from the Vendor for the perfection of his or her own title in future.
Detailed under are some of the documents a buyer may expect to get from the seller upon a purchase of a house:
- Receipt of Purchase of the property
- Deed of Assignment
- A copy of the land survey
- A Certificate of Occupancy (where applicable)
- A Will admitted into probate (where applicable)
- Deed of a gift (where applicable)
- A Judgment of the court (where applicable)
A vendor who intends to sell his house must know he is passing a good title or that he has the right to sell. A buyer has a duty to be vigilant before committing to buy a house in Nigeria.
The process of how to buy a house in Nigeria could be challenging and pose a great risk without being properly guided. Every purchaser is expected to be thorough by conducting a due diligence on its own before buying any house, and a real estate solicitor will definitely deliver a good result to either an experienced or first-time home buyer.
Written by Real Estate Law Department at Resolution Law Firm, Nigeria
Email: [email protected]
NOTE: Resolution Law Firm assists clients to conduct a property’s due diligence or search and guide clients on buying a house in Nigeria, especially in Lagos. The Firm can be reached using the above contact details