How To Verify Land Titles and Registration In Nigeria

How To Verify Land Titles and Registration In Nigeria
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Investing in land in Nigeria is a significant step, paving the way for a future home, business, or a valuable asset. But before you celebrate your new property, it’s vital to ensure the land title is legitimate. Unfortunately, land scams are a principal issue in  Nigeria. This guide equips you with the knowledge to verify land titles and registration, safeguarding your investment and peace of mind.

Why Verifying Land Titles is Very Important

Why Verifying Land Titles is Very Important

Imagine the disappointment of discovering, after a seemingly perfect purchase, that the land you bought belongs to someone else. Verification is one of the ways to spot fake real estate sellers and you shield against such a scenario. It guarantees:

  • Genuine Ownership: You’re buying from the rightful owner, not a fraudster trying to cash in on a fake claim.
  • No Hidden Encumbrances: The land is free from any outstanding claims, mortgages, or government acquisition plans that could restrict your ownership rights.
  • Peace of Mind: You can proceed with the purchase knowing your investment is secure and protected from future legal challenges.

See>>> Land Documents and Titles In Nigeria You Need To Know


The Verification Process: A Multi-Step Approach

Verifying land titles in Nigeria involves a series of steps, each playing a vital role in ensuring your purchase is legitimate. Here’s a breakdown of the key aspects:

1. Land Registry Search

Each state in Nigeria has a Land Registry, acting as a central repository for all land documents within its jurisdiction. There, you can find the true owner of the land and any encumbrances (restrictions) like existing mortgages or leases attached to the property. How to conduct search at land registry varies by state. It’s recommended to consult a lawyer familiar with the specific procedures in your location. They can guide you through the complexities of the search process and ensure a thorough investigation.

2. Land Survey Verification

A land survey plan is an important document that depicts the exact boundaries and size of the property you’re considering. How to check land survey numbers in Nigeria involves visiting the office of the Surveyor-General in your state. They can verify the survey matches the land you’re interested in and isn’t part of a larger government acquisition project.

See>>> Why Buying Land Through a Real Estate Company Makes Smart Sense


3. Going the Extra Mile: Additional Verification Steps

A comprehensive verification goes beyond the Land Registry. Here are some additional resources to consider for extra peace of mind:

  • Companies Registry Search: If you’re purchasing land from a company, searching Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is essential. This search reveals if the company is registered and has the legal right to sell the land.
  • Probate Registry Search: In cases where the land belonged to someone who passed away, a search at the Probate Registry is necessary. This search verifies that probate has been granted and the seller has the legal authority to sell the land as part of the estate.
  • Court Judgments Search: A search of court records can reveal any outstanding legal claims on the land. Unresolved legal disputes can complicate ownership and future development plans.
  • Physical Inspection: Don’t underestimate the power of seeing the land for yourself. Visit the site and confirm it matches the survey plan and description provided by the seller. Look for any discrepancies in boundaries, existing structures, or potential encroachments.
  • Meet the Neighbors: Talking to people who live near the land can reveal valuable information about the history of the plot, potential disputes, and any community concerns.
  • Past Deed Verification: If the land has been owned by multiple people, consider requesting copies of past deeds to trace the ownership history and identify any potential issues that may have arisen in the past.

See>>> How to get Mortgage Loans

Seeking Professional Help for Secure Transactions

How to conduct search at land registry

Verifying land titles can be a complex process, especially for first-time buyers. Considering the significant investment involved, seeking professional help from a lawyer specializing in property law is highly recommended. A lawyer can:

  • Navigate the Legal Maze: They can guide you through the legalities of the verification process, ensuring you follow all the necessary steps and procedures.
  • Conduct Thorough Searches: Lawyers have access to resources and expertise to conduct comprehensive searches across various registries and databases, leaving no stone unturned in uncovering any potential issues.
  • Ensure a Smooth Transaction: A lawyer can ensure a smooth and legal transfer of ownership, protecting your interests throughout the process.

By following these steps and seeking professional guidance when needed, you can verify land titles in Nigeria with confidence. Remember, taking the time for thorough upfront verification saves you a lot of trouble and financial risks down the road. Now, go forth and secure your dream property with the knowledge you deserve.

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