It’s a mistake to suppose you can’t be duped in a real estate transaction. While some sellers and purchasers are extremely trustworthy, there are other sellers, brokers, or buyers who are not.
The truth is that dishonesty is not engraved on anyone’s forehead, rather, many of these con artists are criminally inclined individuals who are taking advantage of the land scheme.
Scams in the Nigerian real estate business are true, but they aren’t limited to Nigeria. It’s a worldwide phenomenon, but there are measures to protect yourself from becoming a victim.
The major question is: how can you tell if you’re being duped in a real estate transaction?.
Common Land Scams In Nigeria
1.Forged Title Documents:
Fake documents are a frequent scam in Nigeria, so it’s no surprise that it’s spread to the real estate business as well.
When you want to invest in properties in Nigeria, it is critical to conduct a search at the land registry.
If you conduct a thorough search at the land registry, the search result will show if the documents are authentic or not.
Some fraudulent Real Estate companies also give out fake coordinates of their properties in order to confuse customers.
Some of these phony companies advertise properties without titles using Approved Excision, C of O, Gazette, Governors Consent to deceive land investors.
They pick the coordinates of another property with an authentic/verifiable title and give to buyers for verification,
After verifying with the fake Coordinates, unsuspecting buyers will purchase the property, only to discover years later that he or she was duped.
Some fraudulent Real Estate Companies in Lagos, tend to over sell more than what is available.
Due to greed, they continue to sell even after all of their plots of land have been entirely purchased.
This is a common practice and this is why you should buy from reputable real estate companies with proven track record of integrity and transparency.
So, how do their customers get their land if they’ve sold more than they have?
What they do is to launch another Estate that is below standard compared to the that was over subscribed and then come up with lies as to why the estate was changed. Some will claim that the developmental fees were not paid on time.
Its common to see most real estate advert fliers with the word INSTANT ALLOCATION boldly written on it. meaning when you pay, you’re shown your land instantly.
But, before you are allocated, you would be required to you pay the Legal and survey fees.
This is a strategy to get many people to desire to buy the property.
The big question is, do they keep to their promise of instant allocation?
Sadly some of these Real Estate Companies do not give allocation even when you have fully paid the statutory fees. There are several cases of investors not being allocated their land after several years of full payment..
This is why you must have a professional real estate consultant to guide you properly so that you do not fall into the hands of real estate scammers.
4.Excision in process or C of O in process
Most real estate lands in Nigeria, especially Lagos state is being sold with the document in progress.
The Estate Developers always include it in the advertisement fliers, to make you believe that they have started the documentation process and it will come out in due time.
You’ll see things like C of O in process, Excision in process, and so on.
It is very risky to buy lands that the documents are still in process.
This is because the land documentation procedure in Lagos is not simple; it might take months or years to process at the Ministry of Land, Alausa, Ikeja.
Also fraudulent Real Estate companies don’t apply for documentation at all or start the process and abandon the application because of lack of funds.
If you must buy a property with document in process, you have to first ascertain whether the documentation is actually in progress by conducting a search at the land registry with the file No.
This is very important, please do not over look this important step..
It is not safe to buy a land with incomplete land title because you will most likely lose your hard earned money
The truth is that you may not comprehend whether you’re being scammed, but there are warning signs and strategies you may use to protect yourself from scammers’ tactics.
Tips To Avoid Real Estate Scams In Nigeria
1.Don’t Be Hasty When Buying Or Renting
It’s not easy to find a land you love, and you’ll probably want to move quickly so you don’t miss out on the offer, but the problem with speeding up the purchase or leasing process is that you won’t have time to question the real estate deal.
Step back from such transactions and put the brakes on your enthusiasm. If the agreement appears to be valid, assess it logically. It’s easier to be safe than it is to be sorry.
2.Make Sure You Get The Land Title Documents For The Land
Sadly most land buyers do not even bother demanding for the title of the land that they want to purchase.
Its shocking to find some people in this time and age still collect only receipt after paying for a land.
Yes! Receipt is very important but it does not make you the legal owner of the land.
Before paying for a land, ask for the title covering the land.
The land titles we have in Nigeria are:
1.Certificate Of Ocupancy
Other Important Land Documents Are:
1.Deed of Assignment
2.Contract of Sale
3. Confirm the identity of the other party involved in the real estate transaction.
To guarantee that you do your homework on whomever you deal with, don’t take them at face value.
This is the internet era, therefore look up the person online, get referrals from others, and look through their previous work.
If something is wrong with the person engaged in the real estate transaction, your gut feeling tells you to take a step back and conduct some background investigation on the individual.
Don’t work with somebody you don’t have faith in.
4. Before making a payment, ask questions.
Make sure to ask a lot of questions concerning the real estate situation, especially if there is anything you don’t understand.
Questions are crucial because they aid in the discovery of irregularities in real estate transactions.
If you see any inconsistencies that cannot be resolved, you should reevaluate your participation in the real estate transaction.
5. Involve A Registered Land Surveyor
To avoid land scam in Nigeria, it is important that you take a registered surveyor to the land physically to measure and pick the land coordinates.
After charting the land, the surveyor takes it to the surveyor generals office to confirm the authenticity of the land.
This important process ensures that the coordinates on the survey plan matches the coordinates picked on the land.
Please do not trust what a sellers surveyor tells you,because there has been several cases of fake coordinates on a fraudulent survey plan.
6.Verify The Land Title
So you’ve seen the land and you love it, the next step which is very important, is to verify if the land is free from any form of encumbrances.
If you do not know how to conduct a proper search, you can engage the services of a real estate lawyer to conduct a thorough search for you, to ascertain whether the documents are genuine or fake.
7. You should never pay cash.
Please refrain from paying cash. If you are asked to pay in cash by the landlord or seller, you have to decline the request.
The disadvantage of paying in cash is that, unlike paying in a bank, the money cannot be traced; instead, you must rely on writing checks or paying at the bank, and if the transaction goes wrong, you will not be left out in the cold.
When things go wrong, you want to be able to hold someone accountable, so stay cautious and stop any transfers you can’t track.
If the agent or house owner refuses to accept cash, you must walk away from the agreement immediately.
8. Beware of Email Scams
Scams that start on the internet aren’t uncommon these days. Internet era has made our lives easier, but they are not without cost.
When you receive an email that looks irregular, double-check with your agent before doing any actions asked electronically.
Search For Properties With A Verified Real Estate Agent/Agency, realestateguider.com for example, is a reputable Real Estate brokerage company with authentic and legit properties listed on the blog.
We are trustworthy for finding safe properties in Nigeria. To avoid being duped of one’s hard-earned money, it is advisable to utilize a well-known real estate agency.
9. Make an inspection appointment.
A major red flag in any real estate transaction is if the landlord or agent tries to prevent you from inspecting the property.
Inspection is not negotiable. If there is nothing to hide, the Agent or seller should be open to inspection.
Insist on an inspection and if the landlord or representative refuses, it is best to cancel the real estate transaction immediately.
As a general rule, it’s best to avoid giving up personal or financial information over the internet or over the phone, especially if the scenario doesn’t feel right.
10. Demand That The Company Allocates Your Land To You
Always ask for a physical allocation of your property whenever you want to invest in Real Estate and get an allocation paper from them as a legal backing.
Don’t relax because you bought a land from a Real Estate Company. Always demand that they show you where your potion of land is situated.
Irrespective of the land scams in Nigeria, smart investors are still buying genuine lands with good title.
Being a smart investor means that you did your due dilligence and you work with a trusted Real Estate Consultant that will guide you to get a safe and secure property devoid of any form of scam.
Deka the real estate guider is a trusted real estate consultant that you can always call to give you an exceptional service and make the whole process of acquiring land seamless.
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