Nigeria: You Purchasing Land Or Real Estate? Here's What To Do Before Parting With Your Money

Last Updated: 16 January 2018
Article by Edoabasi Udo

Land transactions sometimes raise issues and problems not present in other transactions. Here are a few tips on how to safeguard your interest as a buyer before letting go your money in a land transaction. "Land", "building", "real estate", "real property" and "property" are used interchangeably in this article.

Have A Preliminary Engagement with The Land Owner (Vendor)

Your preliminary meeting with the land owner (vendor) will enable you inquire into the nature of the vendor's title to the land (i.e. whether the land was inherited, purchased, gifted, assented, mortgaged, leased, or acquired by the vendor by virtue of long possession).

You will have to conduct a physical inspection at the site of the land or building to reveal encumbrances, easement, restrictive covenants or constructive notices. At this preliminary stage, you can reach an informal agreement with the vendor on the fair purchase price of the building or land and on the mode of payment.

Consult A Solicitor

Where an informal agreement is reached, you have to immediately engage the services of a lawyer (solicitor) to help you avoid costly errors and future troubles which are common with land transactions and could place your interest in the land at jeopardy.

What Your Solicitor Will Do

Land transactions require extensive investigation. To enable your solicitor investigate the title of the vendor on your behalf, he or the vendor's solicitor will draw up a Contract of Sale Agreement for you and the vendor to sign, then you make a deposit of the purchase price of the land – pending the successful outcome of the investigation of the vendor's title by your solicitor.

Without a Contract of Sale Agreement, the Vendor has no obligation to prove that he has a good title in the land. By this obligation, the vendor is bound to put forward his title documents and evidence the root of title in the land and trace the unbroken chain of transactions to himself.

Your Solicitor's Due Diligence

Your solicitor will proceed to conduct a search and investigation based on the title documents presented by the vendor. The documents – depending on the nature of the vendor's title may include Deed of Conveyance; Deed of Legal Mortgage; Deed of Surrender; Deed of Gift; Will; Assent; Certificate of Occupancy; Deed of Assignment; Lease Agreement; Power of Attorney; Declaration of Trust; Survey Plan; Certified True Copy of Court Judgement; Vesting Order; etc.

The investigation and title search may be conducted at the Locus, Lands Registry, Probate Registry, Law Court, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the city planning authority such as FCDA, LASPPPA, UCCDA, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent and Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), etc. Real property may be a proceed of crime or a subject of investigation for fraud and money laundering. This may warrant your solicitor to carry-out due diligence at any anti-graft agency.

The Result of the Solicitor's Investigation

Your solicitor's investigation will reveal the status of the land and any encumbrances or potential problems associated with it. Typical title search will reveal the actual owner(s) of the land; whether the property description corresponds with description given by the vendor.

Whether the signatures and boundaries in the instrument are consistent with the ones in the abstracted documents; whether there is any break in the chain of devolution of the property; whether any part of the land has been sold to a 3rd party; whether the land is in dispute; whether the land was acquired by the government for overriding public interest;

whether there are legal or customary restrictions imposed by the prior owners of the land, whether there are problems with adjoining owners or prior owners; whether your planned improvements or developments will violate extant restrictive covenants impose by the city planning authority such as UCCDA, FCDA, LASPPPA on the area where the land is situated; whether there is easement on the land.

Whether a caveat has been placed on the property; whether the property is a proceed of crime and a subject of investigation by security agencies or has been confiscated by government, whether the land is a subject of litigation in court; whether the court judgement vesting title on the vendor has been appeal against or set-aside; etc.

Your solicitor will render to you a legal opinion in writing advising you on any of the issues affecting the land and whether you should proceed to close the transaction.

Close the Transaction

The closing is a significant event in land transaction. Where your solicitor is satisfied with the status of the land, the Deed of Assignment or Deed of Conveyance and other closing papers will be prepared by your solicitor and vetted by the vendor or his solicitor. The agreement will be appropriately explained to all parties by the solicitor(s). The deed instrument will be signed by you, the vendor and the witnesses from both sides.

Any outstanding balance of the purchase price will be paid by you. Title in the land shall pass from the vendor to you. The Vendor shall hand over to you the original title documents (and the keys – if the transaction involves a building). You will take possession of the land. Where there exist tenants on the property, the tenants shall be issued a notice introducing you as the new landlord of the property.

Perfect the Transaction

The consent of the Governor confers validity to any act of alienation in land under the Land Use Act. It is mandatory that you obtain the consent of the governor of the state where the land is situated, pay the appropriate taxes (stamp duties) on the instrument and register or file the instrument at the state lands registry (and at the Corporate Affairs Commission – where you are a company). Failure to register the land instrument renders it inadmissible in evidence at a court proceeding.

The Indispensability of A Solicitor in Land Transactions

By Section 22 of the Legal Practitioners Act, it is an offence punishable with imprisonment of up to 2 years for any person other than a legal practitioner to prepare any instrument relating to immovable property, or relating to the grant of probate or to obtain letters of administration over a deceased person estate. It is therefore compulsory in Nigeria to retain the services of a solicitor before acquiring, buying, selling or disposing off any interest in land. This legal restriction is often worth it in the long run as it helps both parties avoid common problems associated with land transactions.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions