In Nigeria, purchasing a property goes beyond physical inspection and payments, the buyer must ensure that the seller has the right to transfer the property to him in order to avoid future disputes. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the buyer to demand the necessary documents, which are very essential as they are evidence to show that the seller has a good title and as such can validly transfer ownership to the buyer. Here are some of the documents to ask for when buying a property in Nigeria.
Certificate of Occupancy
The Certificate of Occupancy is one of the most important land documents in Nigeria. It can be used to certify the legal ownership status of any land in Nigeria. The document proves that an individual has been granted a statutory right of occupancy by the Governor or a customary right of occupancy by the Local Government Chairman, where the land is situated in a rural area. This document is also very essential where the property in question is on land that was acquired through a state grant.
Approved Survey Plan
Another important document to ask when buying a property in Nigeria is the approved survey plan, because it clearly marks and defines legal boundaries, helps reveal the true ownership status of a property, and also reveals if the land is under any government acquisition or committed area. This document will become even more important where the house is bought along with surrounding land.
Duly Perfected Assent
The personal representatives divest themselves of the real estate of the deceased through an assent. This is required where the house belongs to the estate of a deceased, in this situation, it becomes pertinent for the purchaser to request for a duly perfected assent from the personal representatives. He can even go further to verify if letters of administration/probate have been granted.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a document usually under seal whereby a person (donor) authorizes another person (donee) to do on his behave anything that the donor can do lawfully. Since this is an instrument of delegation, it is usually required where a person is acting for another person.
Deed of Assignment/ Deed of Transfer
Upon perfection, the document is the document transferring legal ownership of the property to the purchaser. This document is very important, the purchaser needs to ask for it when buying a property from someone who previously purchased it from another person. Although the abstract of title, the epitome of title, and payment receipt ought to have been different documents, but are in practice contained in the Deed of Assignment.
Conclusively, they are other documents, although not frequently demanded when buying a property, they may become important depending on the circumstances surrounding the sale. Such documents include; Duly perfected Legal Mortgage, Vesting order/Judgement of Court, Evidence of grant from the State among few others. It is mostly advised that a buyer of any property should buy from a trusted source and also engage a lawyer who can advise on the appropriate document required in any given property transaction.