Purchasing a property without consulting a lawyer. The importance of a lawyer in every land transaction cannot be over-emphasised. A lawyer is the person to conduct due diligence on the land to ensure the land is free from any encumbrance, documents are valid and refers to the said land. It is also the duty of the lawyer to ensure the transfer of title is done legally and he registers the title at the appropriate land registry after the successful transfer of title.

Purchasing a property without consulting a licensed Surveyor. Next to hiring a lawyer, one must also hire a licensed Surveyor to check or chart the survey plan showing all the beacon numbers, the survey plan number, the name of the Surveyor who surveyed it, the year it was Surveyed including proof of lodgement of the red copy at the Survey-General’s office.

Sending money back home to an unreliable agent / family member to buy land or build houses. This a mistake majorly made by those not in the country. They either send money to relatives or un-vetted real estate agents to help them procure a land and/or build.  They come back home to find, to their shock, that the money sent was either wasted or spent carelessly. Most of the time, when this kind of family theft happens, the family member who was sent money to help buy land does not end up buying any land. If it was bought, there were no checks made to see if the property actually existed or that description of the land intended for someone who lived abroad could be very different from what had been purchased. Sometimes they fall prey to dubious agents themselves.


  • Get the services of a lawyer and a surveyor ahead of time, so they handle the transaction legally for you by doing due diligence and making a proper survey plan.
  • Know exactly what you want to buy and be firm with your choice, so you are not convinced to buy something inferior.
  • Make sure you talk or are in communication with all parties involved. Don’t assume someone will take care of it on your behalf.
  • We live in a digital age where regardless of your location, one can request a video recording or hop on a video conference call to survey the land as well as its surrounding street and houses and progress of its construction. Do this to decide if you want to buy the land or not. Also ensure you ask for pictures of the said land to be sent on regular basis to ensure everything is in order.
  • Use an accredited bank to send the money, so there is a money trail when needed as proof.
  • As soon as the land is purchased, ensure physical possession is done by erecting a fence or putting a security person in charge. Do not leave the land vacant to prevent omo-onile’s from taking adverse possession. Even after erecting a fence, make sure someone goes to the land regularly to check on it and to ward of scammers.
  • Always ask questions about how your money is being spent. Do not be quiet as there is no such thing as being polite because of family ties.
  • Have an impartial person in place to serve as a check on the relative you sent money to purchase land or build a house for you.

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