One of the gravest mistakes land purchasers make when they buy a land in Lagos or Ogun or other parts of the country where land transaction have become mostly controversial and fraudulent in nature is lack of planning to take possession of the land they paid a hefty sum for. They get emotionally attached to the location, the seller and the cost of the land without considering the fact that land fraudsters have no ounce of human sympathy when it comes to defrauding innocent land buyers once they fail to take the first and most important step which is securing the land. Here are critical reasons why you must take physical possession of your land immediately you make a payment.
80% of land cases can be traced to trespass on empty virgin plots of land because the buyer had happily bought the land but intend to fence or commence work on the land at a later date. These evil land swindlers secretly patrol these vacant lands and once they see a land without any form of protection, they immediately work out modalities with their cronies to market and re-sell the land to other unsuspecting buyers who would easily believe the land is a virgin land. Considering this fact, it is only advisable that as a land buyer, you follow these steps, take possession of the land immediately, so you don’t suffer the same fate of so many persons who have lost so much money to land fraudsters.
Before you buy any land, please check your pockets very well. Land transaction in most parts of Lagos and Ogun State for example has so many K-Legs and hidden fees to make you run mad but if you prepare yourself in advance it would be a piece of cake. So it important that you budget adequately for what we call hidden charges and miscellaneous expenses. If you are planning to buy a land of N1million, at least budget the sum of N1.2million. The extra N200k to take care of hidden charges that will not be presented to you at the initial stage of the transaction.
DIG DEEP INTO ALL COSTS
It is important that as land buyer, you know the cost of conducting a search on the land, the amount the land goes for, the agency fees, the legal fees, cost of doing a survey plan, the cost of signing your documents, the cost the family would collect for signing your form 1c and issuing you a receipt, the cost of fencing in advance, clearing the land, cost of settling the omoniles and foundation fees. Most of all these fees are negotiable and once you have a good price, act swiftly and pay for all these things to clear yourself from any future issue. Delay in land transaction is extremely dangerous because once the seller (s) or Omoniles have exhausted the money and you haven’t sorted out most of the things that has been listed, that’s when the devil would begin to play tricks with their minds to make life difficult for you and prevent you from taking possession of the land.
ENGAGE THE SELLERS
Once payment has been made and the lawyer has executed all necessary documents in your favour, meet the seller or Omonile and engage them in future deals to help clear the bush or supply materials for the construction of the fence. This effectively makes them interested parties in the protection of your land from future trespassers or land robbers and you have an official night guard to watch your land because they are benefiting indirectly. Make sure you have small pocket change to share for the street urchins or community youths so that they are also aware of the fence construction. It may be necessary that you buy drinks/gifts for the community elders and package small brown envelopes for the Neighborhood Elders so they know you exist and can act as witnesses in case there is any marauder trying to lay claim to the land.
GET A FAMILY RECEIPT
Make sure you are given a Family Receipt in the name of the family. The Family Compound Name and Address should be on the Receipt to show proof of payment for the land. Most communal land sellers or Omoniles are not too learned so the only thing they recognize is the Family Receipt above all other documents in proving ownership of a land in case there is a controversy on that land tomorrow.
TAKE PHYSICAL POSSESSION
It doesn’t matter whether you make your fence so high or not too high with just 2 or 3 layers of block, the most important thing is that it should be obvious to even a blind man that someone has started work on this land and it belongs to someone else other than the seller or Omonile. Also endeavor to take pictures or videos when you are constructing the fence to act as evidence tomorrow. Make sure you include the Sellers/Omoniles in the pictures so that they would either act as credible witnesses for you or you can use it against them if they feign ignorance in the future.
DON’T WAIT TO GET GOVERNMENT TITLE
Even if Government Agents come to your land to disturb you for Building Plan or Governor’s Consent, don’t be deterred. Engage them positively and make them know that will be sorted out at a later time. The fact is that Governors consent alone would not prevent these land fraudsters from re-selling your land without any form of physical protectionor possession.
REFLECT HUMAN PRESENCE
It is also advisable that you build a small gate house at the edge of the fence to show that someone is occupying it. If you can afford it, hire a night-guard or what we commonly call a “maiguard” to keep watch of the property for you. His job is to alert and ward off any intruder on that land while he may even be using the land to graze or some form of subsistent farming.
START PROCESSING YOUR GOVERNMENT TITLES
Once you have constructed your fence to an appreciable stage,you should immediately commence the processing of your government title documents. The documents you obtain from the government coupled with the fence would help you protect the land further away from land scammers. Even though you have built a fence, please try to visit your land regularly. If you leave it unattended for a very long time, you would only invite these thieves you have spent so much to avoid. Let them know you can visit your land at any given time and when you visit, tip the locals to give you more information about your land and what is going on in the community that affects you too.