Questions to Ask When Buying Land in Nigeria

Questions to Ask When Buying Land in Nigeria

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Owning land in Nigeria is a significant investment, and going through the process can be complex. To ensure a smooth and secure transaction, thorough research and asking the right questions are important. This guide provides a roadmap for potential buyers, outlining essential questions to ask at every stage and what you need to know before buying land, from determining your needs to finalizing the purchase.

By asking the right questions upfront, you can make informed decisions and safeguard yourself from potential pitfalls in the Nigerian land market.

Before You Look for Land: What To Consider

Before going into the exciting world of searching for land in Nigeria, it’s critical to take a step back and consider two key factors: your budget and the purpose of the property.

1. Budget:

Things to consider before you buy land in Nigeria

  • Know your limits: Be realistic about how much you can comfortably afford. Factor in not just the land cost itself, but also potential additional expenses like legal fees, surveying, and development (depending on your needs).
  • Consider hidden costs: There might be additional fees associated with the purchase, like agency fees or statutory charges. Research these beforehand to avoid surprises.

2. Purpose of the Property:

  • Residential vs. Commercial: Knowing your intended use for the land is vital. Residential needs will prioritize proximity to amenities like schools and hospitals, while commercial ventures might prioritize access to major roads and high visibility.
  • Future Plans: Think ahead. Will your needs change over time? If you plan to build a family, a quiet neighbourhood with good schools might be ideal. If you’re opening a business, consider future growth and potential expansion needs.

By having a clear understanding of your budget and property purpose, you’ll be well-equipped to find land that perfectly aligns with your goals and financial situation.

3. Location, Location, Location

A good location can significantly impact your investment’s value and enjoyment. Here are some key aspects to consider:

  • Proximity to Amenities: Access to essential services like schools, hospitals, and shopping centres is crucial for daily life. Consider the distance and ease of access to these amenities.
  • Access to Utilities: Ensure the land has access to essential utilities like electricity, water, and sewage disposal. The absence of these can significantly increase development costs.
  • Topography: The land’s physical characteristics matter. Flat land is generally easier and cheaper to build on, while hilly or flood-prone areas might require additional work and expenses.
  • Surroundings: Consider the current and future development of the area. Is it a peaceful residential neighbourhood or a bustling commercial zone? Think about potential noise levels and potential impact on your future plans.
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By carefully assessing the location and its various aspects, you can choose land that offers the right environment for your needs and ensures a comfortable and valuable investment.

4. Size and Dimensions

Knowing the exact size and dimensions of the land is required for several reasons:

  • Planning and Development: This information is essential for planning construction projects, landscaping, or any development you intend for the land.
  • Accurate Pricing: Land is often priced based on square footage or acreage. Understanding the precise size ensures you’re paying a fair price.
  • Legal Certainty: The size and dimensions should match what’s stated in the land documents (Certificate of Occupancy – C of O) to avoid future disputes.

Here are some questions to ask about the size and dimensions:

  • What is the total area of the land in square meters or hectares?
  • Are there any specific measurements for the length and width of the plot?
  • Are there any boundary beacons or markers in place?
  • Is there a recent survey plan available that accurately reflects the size and dimensions?

5. Title and Ownership

Title and Ownership

Verifying clear title and ownership is paramount to secure your investment.

Who is selling the land?

  • Individual: Request a valid ID and proof of ownership documents like the C of O.
  • Family: Ensure all family members with ownership rights are involved in the sale and agree to the transaction.
  • Company: Verify the company’s registration documents and confirm their legal right to sell the land.

Verification of Seller’s Identity

Unfortunately, land scams are not uncommon in Nigeria. Here are some steps to verify the seller’s identity and protect yourself:

  • Request government-issued identification documents like a National ID card or international passport.
  • Cross-check the seller’s name against the C of O.
  • Engage a lawyer to conduct a land search and verify ownership history.
  • Consider using a reputable real estate agent who can vouch for the seller’s legitimacy.

By taking these precautions, you can significantly reduce the risk of buying land from someone who doesn’t have the legal right to sell it.

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6. Legal Documents

When buying land in Nigeria, verifying the legal documents is very important to ensure a smooth and secure transaction. Here’s a breakdown of key documents:

  • Certificate of Occupancy (C of O): This is the most critical document. Issued by the state government, it confirms the seller’s legal ownership of the land. Ensure the C of O is genuine, hasn’t been revoked, and matches the description of the land you’re buying.

  • Survey Plan or registered survey: This document provides an accurate picture of the land’s boundaries, size, and location. A registered surveyor prepares it, and it should be current and reflect the dimensions you’re negotiating for.

  • Deed of Assignment: This legal agreement formalizes the transfer of ownership from the seller to you. It should clearly outline the details of the sale, including the purchase price, parties involved, and a description of the land.

  • Other relevant documents: Depending on the situation, additional documents may be required. These could include:

    • Governor’s Consent: This approval is necessary in some cases, particularly for land acquired from local communities.
    • Deed of Mortgage: If the seller has a mortgage on the land, this document needs to be reviewed to understand any outstanding payments that might affect your purchase.
    • Evidence of Heirship: If the seller inherited the land, documents proving they are the rightful heir may be needed.

The Buying Process

Buying land involves several vital steps:

1. Price and Negotiation: Research land prices in the area to get a fair idea of the market value. Negotiation is common, so be prepared to discuss and potentially lower the asking price.

2. Payment Plan: Negotiate a payment plan that works for you. This could involve a one-time payment, installments, or a combination. Ensure the terms are clearly outlined in a written agreement.

3. Legal Fees and Other Costs: Factor in lawyer fees, land registry fees, and any other costs associated with the transaction.

4. Contingency Plans: Land disputes and unforeseen issues can arise. Discuss these possibilities with your lawyer and have a plan in place to address them. This might involve including clauses in the purchase agreement that outline dispute resolution procedures or exit strategies if problems surface.

Additional Considerations

1. Zoning Restrictions:

  • What are the zoning regulations for the land? This will determine what type of development is permitted (residential, commercial, industrial, etc.) Building something that violates zoning laws can lead to fines and demolition orders.
  • Are there any restrictions on building height, setbacks, or lot coverage? Knowing these limitations will help you plan your project effectively.
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2. Future Development Plans for the Area:

  • Are there any planned infrastructure projects in the area (new roads, schools, shopping centers)? This could significantly impact the value and future use of the land.
  • Is the area expected to experience significant growth or development? Understanding future trends can help you make an informed decision about your investment.

3. Environmental Concerns:

  • Has the land been used for any industrial purposes that might have caused contamination? Getting an environmental assessment can help identify potential problems.
  • Are there any potential environmental hazards in the area, such as flooding or landslides? Investigating these issues can help you avoid future headaches.

Next Steps

1. Hiring a Lawyer:


  • An experienced lawyer specializing in real estate law can guide you through the buying process, review legal documents, and ensure your rights are protected.
  • Look for a lawyer familiar with land transactions in your specific area of Nigeria.

2. Land Verification and Due Diligence:

  • Don’t rely solely on the seller’s word. Conduct a thorough land verification process to confirm ownership, verify the existence and validity of title documents, and identify any potential disputes.
  • This may involve searches with the land registry and local government offices.

3. Finalizing the Purchase:

  • Once all your questions are answered and due diligence is complete, proceed with finalizing the purchase.
  • This typically involves signing a sale agreement, transferring funds, and registering the land in your name.
  • Ensure your lawyer is involved in every step of the finalization process.

Owning land in Nigeria is a significant investment, and going through the process can be complex. To ensure a smooth and secure transaction, thorough research and asking the right questions are important. This guide provides a roadmap for potential buyers, outlining essential questions to ask at every stage and what you need to know before buying land, from determining your needs to finalizing the purchase. By asking the right questions upfront, you can make informed decisions and safeguard yourself from potential pitfalls in the Nigerian land market.

Owning Land in Nigeria: Make Your Dream a Reality with Bukasin Unique Estate

Now that you have a roadmap to go through the Nigerian land market, it’s time to secure your piece of the future. At Bukasin Unique Estate, we take pride in offering a variety of properties across Nigeria to suit your needs and budget. Whether you’re seeking land for residential development, a commercial venture, or an investment opportunity, our team of experts is here to guide you through the process.

Why Choose Bukasin Unique Estate?

  • Wide Selection: Browse land for sale in various locations across Nigeria.
  • Trusted Partner: Benefit from our experience and commitment to helping you find the perfect property.
  • Stress-Free Process: We guide you every step of the way, ensuring a smooth and secure transaction.

Don’t wait any longer! Contact Bukasin Unique Estate today and let us help you turn your land ownership dream into reality. Visit this page to see our available properties and start your journey towards a brighter future.

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