Our Take on how to Avoid Land Fraud
How many times have you had to lose money in a very painful way no matter how little? Even if it is just 1000 Naira, it bites and flogs so does land fraud. Now imagine losing millions of your hard-earned Naira, by falling victim to fraudsters. No land, no money. Gosh that must hurt, something you’ll never forget in a hurry.
Well here are 5 tips to avoiding being scammed in a land deal.
Don’t Be in a Rush
One of the usual tactics scam agents deploy is that they try to rush you. Now, this is designed to place you under the mindset that the offer is for a very limited time. This makes you think that if you don’t pounce in good time, you might lose out on the deal. Scam. A good deal is not worth rushing.
No matter how mouth-watering a deal is, the agent or property owner needs to give you ample time to evaluate your choices, else it is not worth it.
As long as you have not paid for a land, the scam is not yet successful. So we advise that you should always hold on to your money. Also buy yourself as much time as you need to verify the owner’s numerous claims.
Don’t allow the owner rush you. Give explanation that you need to carry out due diligence before you make payment. Let the property owner know that you do not like being pressured into making important decisions.
Never Make Payment For a Land You Have Not Inspected
A physical inspection of a land you are interested in incredibly important. Never put yourself in a situation where you have to pay for a land that you have not inspected.
Some people might take such a risk due to pressure or assurance from the scam agent. The buyer might be lucky but this increases the chances of getting into a land fraud.
Before you pay for any land at all, you must carry out an inspection of the property. An inspection lets you know how much value you are getting for your money.
In a situation where you are outside Nigeria and you want to inspect a land, send someone whose judgement you fully trust. This person can carry out an inspection on your behalf.
Avoid Land Fraud By Asking For the Survey Plan
There are quite a number of documents that a seller could use to prove to you that the land belongs to him/her. One of such document is the survey plan.
Ask for the survey plan before you buy the land. This document tells you that the government is aware of the land in question. A genuine seller should not hesitate to show this to you.
When the survey plan is shown to you, check the name on the survey plan is the same as the name of the seller. If the name is different, he/she doesn’t have the right to sell the land to you.
Check the coordinates on the survey plan to be sure that they are the same as the coordinates on the beacon on the land you’re planning to buy.
In a situation where the seller cannot show you the survey plan, what this translates into is that the land has probably never been surveyed. It could also mean that the land belongs to someone else.
If you’re having problems getting the seller to show you the survey plan, it’s not a good sign. Don’t hesitate to walk away.
Certificate of Occupancy/ Governor’s Consent
Yesterday, we talked about how quintessential getting a survey plan is to avoid being scammed. Now 2 other important documents to have are: a C of O, or a governor’s consent. The basic difference?
The first person on a Virgin Land that has neither been occupied by another person nor under acquisition by the Government is entitled to get a Certificate of Occupancy on that land. A Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) is a Land Document issued by the State Government to officially lease any land under the state to you (the applicant), for 99 years.
If that person with the C of O decides to sell his land to another person after so many years, that person must now obtain the Consent of the Governor before that transaction can be deemed legal in the eyes of the Government. It’s this land document that lets the Governor and the public know that the land in question has changed hands. If the new buyer now decides to sell the land again to a third owner in future, that Third owner must also obtain a new Consent of the Governor and so the process continues every time the property changes hands to a new buyer.
There can only be one (1) Owner of the Certificate of Occupancy on that Land and it will not be replicated for another person once the land has been sold or transferred to another person.
Cheap Land Should Raise Flags
Buying land is not cheap. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Land in Nigeria can be affordable but not cheap. For instance, if a seller tries to sell land to you at a price that is ridiculously cheap, tread with caution.
If a land is listed at an excessively cheap price, it is probably fraudulent. One of the factors that determine how much a land sells for is its location. This explains why a plot of land in Banana Island is more expensive than the same land space in Ikorodu.
The only exception to cheap land is when the owner is someone you have a personal relationship with. For example, a wealthy uncle/aunt could sell a plot of land at a giveaway price.
Get Help From a Real Estate Expert
The safest way to avoid land fraud is to work with a real estate professional. Let an expert guide you with his/her wealth of experience within the real estate space.
A reliable property expert will ensure you get the best value for your money. Many of the things to look out for before buying land will be provided by the real estate expert.
Our Final Thoughts on Land Fraud
In addition to the tips we have shared, when buying land, avoid paying cash. Always ensure your payment can be traced. Don’t pay through a transfer through your mobile App. It might be a smart way of making payment for other things but when buying land, it isn’t a smart thing to do.
Make the payment within a banking hall. When you deposit the money into the seller’s account with a teller to show for it. The teller would contain the name of the seller. If something goes wrong, you are not left hanging.
Finally, when buying land, ask for a receipt. On the receipt, ensure ‘payment for land’ is boldly written on it.
Are considering buying a piece of land, that comes with peace of mind? Have a look at our now selling Estates and plots of Land.