Buying a land is considered one of the oldest forms used to determine how wealthy a person is in Nigeria. In times past, it is not unusual to see people measure a person’s wealth by the amount of land they own. Times have passed, and people now understand that there are a thousand and one more ways to determine this. However, the value placed on land cannot be undermined. For some, buying a land is one of those goals to achieve before a certain age or retirement.
At some point in life, you might consider yourself buoyant enough to be your own landlord. One option often considered by a lot of people is buying land to build a house i.e their dream home. Also, to the real estate beginner or pro, buying land for investment is considered one of the surest ways to make profits in the real estate industry. There are, however, different reasons why people decide on buying a land. Whether it is a plot of land or an acre, there are definitely, however, things to consider when buying a land.
A lot of consideration has to be in place because buying a land does not come at a penny cost. Either it is your life savings or spare cash, you would want to safeguard your money from fraudsters and at the same time make the best decision on your investment. It is not enough to bank on your relationship with whoever is selling the land, you should be concerned about if it is legit or not. It is in the same vein that you don’t just on buying a land because you like the area, there are certain things to consider also.
Therefore, the article is aimed at giving an expository on how to make the best decision and avoid being scammed.
1. Budget Is Important When Buying A Land
The budget is the first thing to be considered when buying a land. It does not matter if you have determined to buy a land in Lagos or any other part of the country, the most important thing is having a budget. It is not about just having the desire to buy a land, the real question is do you have the budget for it? No matter the amount you might have saved, it is always important to make research on the cost of buying a land and the extra expenses that are associated with it.
A budget serves as a guide, it allows you to make the best use of your funds. Examples of the extra expenses that you might want to consider when planning your budget are; legal fees: this is usually 5% of the cost of the land; Agency fees are also around 5% of the cost of the land; survey plan: depending on your choice of location, it is usually in the range of N100,000 to N300,000; the cost of putting up a fence in order to secure your land after purchase (you definitely don’t want to leave it bare); and also the cost of getting all the required documents such as Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), Governor’s consent etc. from the government. All these are some of the extra costs you definitely want to add to your budget from the onset to avoid a financial headache when buying a land.
2. Location Of The Land
Definitely, there is more to just buying a land. A lot of things are considered before making a purchase; one of which is choosing the perfect location for your land. Like many other real estate properties, the location plays a vital role in the overall value of the land. The amount a particular land might be sold for is dependant on many factors as earlier stated, however, one of those factors is the location of a land.
The price of a land in Lekki would definitely be different from that of a Land in Ikeja. Another thing to be considered when choosing the location of the land is the potential growth of the area. You would want to ask yourself what the growth of the particular area would be like in ten to twenty years time. Inasmuch as land does not depreciate, having a strategic location would increase your chances of making more value on future sales.
3. Land Sizes To Consider When Buying A Land
This is likely the first thing you want to know as a landowner to be. You might have come across various terms such as plots, acres, hectares etc. and probably don’t know the difference. They are different land sizes and also play vital roles in the prices of a land. It is the same as buying a unit product for let’s say N30, buying 6 units of the same product means N30 multiplied by 6. This means the total price for 6 units of the product is N180. You have to be aware of the appropriate size of the land, hence, familiarizing yourself with the definitions is a good way to start.
A plot is described as a marked piece of Land for the purpose of farming or building. A plot is an arbitrary term used to describe a land division set out for developmental purpose. Also, it is not unusual to see adverts like property for sale or plots of land for sale. It is, however, important to know the size of a full plot in order not to be duped. The size of a plot vary for different reasons but according to Nigeria’s land division, the recommended plot for a house construction is 50 x 100ft.
An acre is a bigger size compared to a plot. It is almost the equivalent of a standard football field – this is the standard unit of measurement used by most land sellers. It is one of the land sizes to consider when buying a land. Identifying an acre by its measurement is easy, it is the product of a rectangle plot of land that is about 4,046 square meter or 43,560 square feet. An acre usually consists of 6 plots, each measuring about 60 x 120ft. However, an acre is roughly 40% of a hectare.
The hectare is the largest of the three sizes. A hectare measures about 100m x 100m or 328 feet x 328 feet or 10,000 square meters. A hectare is about two and a half acres which are usually about 15 plots. What the size of a hectare should be, has been a bone of contention between prospective buyers and real estate developers.
It is important to note that these measurements vary across Nigeria. Though the above measurements are standard, but due to factors like land location, possession, and circumstances leading to the transaction, there are different variations in measurements. Before now plots were approximately 1000 square meters but as the value and prices for land rose you get the same quote per plot but it can be 400 square meters or less in government reserved areas in cities like Lagos, Kano, Kaduna etc.
Other cities in Nigeria like new layouts in Calabar offer about 1,100 square meters for commercial plots. In places like Niger-Delta where issues of land are usually tensed it is always hard to get anything above 450 square meters. This does not in any way mean that there are no states that offer the standard measurements – 60’ x 120’, 60’ x 100’, 80’ x 120’ etc.
Lagos for example, the standard measurement for a plot of land is 60’ x 120’ – 18m x 18m i.e 648 square meters. Other cities in the country also offer 50’ x 100’ measurement for a plot of land. For instance, the standard measurement in Edo and Port Harcourt is 50’ x 100’. There are also other considerations to be put in place; while a 50’ x 100’ plot of land might fit a building in Benin, it might not be allowed in Delta or Lagos State. This is because of the longer setbacks needed for the road – 6 meters and 9 meters respectively.
It is very important to take notes of these variations in measurements as they affect each state. You should know whether a land seller is trying to dupe or not.
4. Land Appreciation
A land is arguably the only asset that does not depreciate over a given period of time. A plot of land in Lekki will always remain the same if not tampered with. It is nature’s gift to man and does not depreciate. Buying a land is one of the surest ways to invest in the real estate business. As rural areas develop into urban areas, those who have invested by buying lands in those areas tend to get five folds of their investment because the area is now developed.
This is why it is important to put enough consideration into the location in which you are buying a land in Lagos or any other part of Nigeria. The rate at which lands appreciate and never depreciate is what makes it one of the simple ways to invest in real estate.
5. Purpose Of Buying A Land
Before you decide to buy a land anywhere in Nigeria, it is essential to have a purpose for the land. When buying a land, you definitely want to make the best of values of your investment. The question you then need to ask is; “what purpose would the land serve?” This will help you decide on many things when the purpose of buying a land is defined already. We have divided the purposes into two and things to consider for each.
As the name implies, the purpose of buying the land is for commercial purpose. This means you are buying land for investment. It is actually one of the smart ways to ensure quick returns of your investment. You can decide to build a structure and put it up for rentals. By doing this, you have ensured a steady flow of income. This is one of the many reasons people decide to invest by buying a land. In order to expand their sources of income.
Buying a land to build a house is another reason people buy lands. As mentioned earlier in the article, buying a land, for many people, is top of their must achieved goals before retirement. It is the guarantee of having a roof over your head after retirement. Then, there won’t be a reason to panic about when the next house rent would be due or not. For some, it is just the fulfilment of living in your dream home and being your own landlord. Whatever the purpose of buying a land is, there are still few things you would want to consider.
Proximity To Market
Whether the purpose of buying a land is solely residential or commercial, the proximity to the market is very essential. For instance, buying a land with the aim of turning it into a commercial property for sale or rent would need the consideration of many things; one of which is the market. The market in this case, if you are looking to build shops, for example, is the number of people around the area.
If you are building shops for people, there must be need by people for the shops and those ready to patronize them when they do. It is the same if you are buying land to build a house. Before buying a land, you should ask yourself how close you are to the market. This saves you from future problems long after you have moved in. It is not unusual to see people who have moved to their own house, buy all they need while they are coming from work or the bus stop.
This is because they didn’t consider the proximity to the market in the first place. It is one mistake you should avoid now, in order not to grumble when you need to get something very urgent.
Availability of Social Amenities
The importance of these can never be overstressed. No matter the purpose in which you are buying a land, i.e either commercial or residential, you want to ensure the basic amenities are available in the area. For instance, is there a regular power supply in the area? Whether you are buying to build for commercial or residential, nobody would want to move to a place with no power supply.
It is the same with roads, hospitals and other social amenities. The location of your land, is it well networked by road? It shouldn’t be an area where people have to park their cars miles away before getting to your area. If you are building for residential purpose, ask yourself how close you are to hospitals. This should also be the case with other social amenities.
What is the news about the area? Is it safe now? What is the crime rate in the area? Is it somewhere you would still want to stay in 5 to 10 years? These are some of the questions you need to tackle before buying a land. It does not matter whether you are buying for a commercial or residential purpose.
It will be unwise to be aware that a particular area is experiencing unrest, and yet insist on buying a land in the area with the hopes of building your dream home there or not. The security of an area also adds value to your property. No one wants to leave in a neighbourhood that they would be able to sleep at night or a place whereby they are not sure if their businesses would still be there the next morning.
This is more focused on buying land to build a house. If you are thinking of building your dream home and becoming your own landlord, you probably want it to be in a conducive area. If it is your getaway place after retirement, you surely want to have rest of mind and peace. This is why it is important to consider the area’s serenity before buying a land there. Another thing about the environment is if it is conducive. Being close to an industrial area can be a potential health hazard in the future.
Another thing to consider when buying a land for a commercial purpose or residential purpose is the lifestyle of the area. This is very important if you are considering to build for a residential purpose. You need to consider what the lifestyle is like. For instance, if you are looking to set up a family there, is it the kind of place you would want to raise your kids?
6. Get The Necessary Documents When Buying A Land
It might sound like the silliest of things to forget, but people still fail to get the necessary documents needed in order to claim ownership of the land they have purchased. It is one of the common mistakes or traps people tend to fall into from fraudsters or land grabbers. Buying a land without getting the necessary documents is a recipe for disaster. The reason why you would request for a certificate after the completion of a course is the same reason you need to get the necessary documents needed.
There are certain documents that are needed in order to claim complete ownership of a land. It is not just showcasing adverts of various lands in different parts of the country. The big question when buying a land is, does the land seller have the authority to sell the land? Are they the rightful owners? A fraudster can easily take pictures of land, tag it property for sale, and pose as the owner in order to dupe people.
It is essential you ask for the proof of ownership from the seller before carrying out any transaction. If a seller cannot provide enough proof, it is a red flag pull out from the transaction. There are chances that it is a fraudulent transaction you are getting into. This is possible because he/she does not have the right to transfer the property.
No matter what you do, do not go into a deal in which the seller cannot provide the proof of ownership. It is also in the same vein that you must ensure you have all the documents required after the transaction, in order to avoid unnecessary issues with the government or land grabbers.
7. Mode Of Payment When Buying A Land
The mode of payment when buying a land is vital and might just be the only reason you are duped or not. No matter what you do, DO NOT PAY IN CASH when buying a land. You must ensure everything is properly documented from the cost of the land to the receipt of survey fees. The only way you can save yourself from unnecessary stress in the future is by documenting all the payments.
No matter how small the payments you have made, it is important to document all of it. This is in order to avoid future hiccups as early mentioned. Instead of paying in cash, and possibly losing your hard earned money to fraudsters, it is advisable to pay through cheques or bank transfers. This way you can easily track your payments made when buying a land from any agent in case things go south.
It is also important to engage a lawyer in order to prepare a purchase receipt in which all parties can sign to acknowledge payments through any of the bank channels. This cancels the possibilities of a seller denying the exact the amount paid, when it was paid and for the purpose it was paid.
There are no templates to identify a potential fraudster by his/her skin colour or face. One of the common mistakes people make is believing or trusting their relationship with the land seller when buying a land. It is not unusual to see people in court with cases of the relatives or sisters duping them over a sale of land. It is important to consider this when buying land for investment or any other purpose in order to avoid any possibility of being duped.
When you pay through bank channels, you can track your payments when things go south. It also serves as a tiny piece of evidence that can be used in court. Unlike when you pay in cash an the land seller denies any knowledge of the transaction.
There you have it! The above are some of the things to consider when you decide to buy a land.
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