Many people consider buying a property in Lagos “chaotic” because they believe the process comes with lots of rigors, rightly so because the process entails the rudiment of confirming the title of the seller and what kind of title would be transferred to them (as purchaser), drawing up contract of sale and title documents, plus the fear of falling in the wrong hands who ab initio did not have any genuine intention to enter into a business transaction but rather intend to take advantage of them.
Frankly, people have reasons to be concerned, not because of their imagination, but rather because of how complex the system is, and experiences of others who are on the same journey.
It is important to assure property investors not to run away from where is arguably one of the most rewarding property market in the world with expected growth profit of between 30-100% return on investment within 2 years depending on the location of the property within the state.
The first advice to buyers is to get a property lawyer, due to the complexity of land transactions, not every lawyer can provide adequate advice as it relates to land transaction, hence it is mandatory to engage a property lawyer.
Having engaged one, look out for the process your lawyer is following as a guild line, ensure your lawyer takes the following steps at a minimum to every other legal process your lawyer adopt,
- Visit the property to ensure it is as described
- Conducting a search at the appropriate authorities to investigate the title of the seller
- Draft a contract of sale between the buyer and seller
- Draft conveyance deed
- Pay stamp duties, seek Governor’s Consent and register title document.
- Or Apply for regularization of your purchase to the Lagos State Government via the Directorate of Land Regularisation Lagos State if the area is still remote
- Or Apply for ratification of your purchase to the Lagos State Government via the Directorate of Land Regularisation Lagos State if it is a built-up area
Kindly note that the approach required to be adopted in terms of title perfection depends on the kind of title conveyed to the purchaser from the seller.
To avoid buying a property with bad title documents, even when the seller appears to have the right to sell such property, the need to engage a property lawyer can never be overstated, because compared to other areas in Nigeria, Lagos in spite of the very organized land registration structure in place at its lands Registry, experience rampant land grabbing issue by some unscrupulous people due to cosmopolitan nature of the state and high value of landed properties.