By Benita Ayo
According to a wise saying, “don’t wait to buy real estate, buy real estate and wait”. It is common knowledge that real property investment is a wise and sound move on the part of the investor as it is one asset that never depreciates even with time.
Numerous property transactions take place in the country every given day. However, before a transaction is consummated, either by making full or part-payments, there are crucial steps a purchaser will do well to take into consideration before making a purchase.
Things to Consider
As hinted above, there are a couple of steps a prospective purchaser must take into consideration before money can change hands in a property transaction and it is foolhardy not to consider them.
Get Legal Consultation: It never ceases to amaze me when clients approach me with property deals gone bad and stale only to intimate that they went into these deals without legal consultation. I am like ‘why would you do that?’ They always explain their actions on the exorbitant fees charged by lawyers. Let me state here that such actions are nothing short of economic and financial suicide. Getting a legal consultation prior to investing in real property is always a lifesaver. A good lawyer would advise if it is safe to proceed with such purchase or not. One can always negotiate a legal fee with the counsel, so no big deal.
Ask questions: While consulting with a lawyer is a must, one mustn’t be shy to ask questions. Let your lawyer know whatever misgivings you may have and how best to proceed with each step in the transaction.
Have your lawyer draw up necessary documentation: This is VERY important. According to relevant statutory provisions of the Nigerian Law of Property, all contracts relating to the land (particularly in urban areas) must be in writing otherwise such transaction is void. The purport of the requirement of writing is to avoid situations where a purchaser having paid for a property find it difficult to take possession as a result of the seller’s inability to put them in possession (a very common occurrence in Lagos State).
Finally, as a word of caution, do not try to impersonate a lawyer by drawing up the land documentation yourself in a bid to short-change him/her. While such action is deemed fraudulent, and a criminal act at that, it will only come to bite such person later on especially when the document is subjected to scrutiny under cross-examination at trial.
The end result is that you wouldn’t be able to use a fraudulent document to sustain a claim for a declaration of title to land.
(Benita is a seasoned and experienced Legal practitioner with a particular speciality in Property Law and Practice. She can be reached via WhatsApp @09043673638).
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