Pitfalls to Note in Land Transactions

It was a Friday evening, I had rolled down my sleeves for the day. My thoughts were filled with having a relaxed evening and hearing chitchats from my toddlers.

It was a quarter to four, and I imagined in less than an hour I would be in the comfort of my home – at least, so I thought.
At exactly five minutes to four as I stepped out, two women, one carrying a child hurriedly walked up to me looking exhausted.
Amidst the exhaustion they were beautiful faces to behold.
The Lady with the child spoke first.
“Ma, we are here to see you, my husband said you are our best bet.”
Me: OK, who is your husband?
1st Lady: He is your Plumber.
Me: I smiled, (A bit surprised that He had such a beautiful fair skinned wife. My mind raced back to when we had engaged his services to work on a site, where I serve as legal consultant/project manager to the company.)
We exchanged pleasantries and got down to business.
Her Sister Priscilla who just came in from the states wanted to purchase a property.
Priscilla: I am on my way to make part payments for a land and I just need a lawyer that will follow me to site and draft the deed.
Me: OK Ma’am but have you done your preliminary investigation, to be sure that the people selling the land are indeed the real owners of the land as they claim?
Priscilla: What’s that?
Me: In Nigeria before you purchase a land you have to conduct your investigation to be sure that the owners of the land are indeed who they claim to be.
Priscilla: but you can do that after I make payment.
Me: And if the investigation reveals that the people we are dealing with are not the real title holders, what happens to your money? 🙄
(At that point I seemed to have gotten her attention)
Me: I can follow you to the site, draft your deed of assignment and be done with this deal.
But at my firm, we deliver excellent services, that sends our clients to rest after the purchase of a land.
Now, Let me educate you a little on the pitfalls associated with land transactions when acquiring a land from any source;
Firstly You need to verify that the people you are dealing with are the right title holders
Do they have documents to show they own the land?
Secondly, Does the land fall under Government acquisition, has the Government compensated the family they acquired the land from?
Thirdly, Is the land a subject of dispute between families, between the Government and families.
And last but not the least, Is it a subject of loan, pledge or mortgage, are there any encumbrance on the land?
Credits: A.C.Chibuike-Ochiuwa.

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