Being a house owner is one of the dreams of many people & one of the ways of becoming one is by buying a house. A person can buy a house directly from the house owner or through an agent.
In buying a house legally, there is a lot of paperwork involved. This is to ensure that the buyer has the necessary documents or title deeds that claim ownership of the property. More so, it prevents the buyer from being swindled by swindlers who may pose as owners of the properties.
In this article, we discuss some of the most important documents to consider before purchasing a house.
CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY
The Certificate of Occupancy, popularly called the ‘C of O’, is the most important document to property buyers and landowners. It certifies the legal ownership status of any land or property in Nigeria irrespective of its use. The document is issued by State Governments and it verifies that a person owns the land or property in question. The C of O is not usually applicable to all properties. It is usually issued to persons who have owned a property in Nigeria before the enactment of the Land Use Act 1978 or to people who are getting direct property allocation from any government. Only the governor can sign a C of O. Upon issuance, the holder gets fresh 99 years right of occupancy from a commencement date stated in the C of O
An Individual who subsequently takes over land by way of sale does not require a new certificate of occupancy but rather a deed of assignment with the governor’s consent.
DEED OF ASSIGNMENT
It is a really important document, which should be prepared by either the seller or buyer of the land after the conclusion of the transaction. This document is essential, as it transfers ownership of land or property from one party to the other. The seller of the property is known as the assignor , while the buyer is referred to as assignee . The seller and buyer need to have an agreement.
Also known as a registered Deed of Assignment, a governor’s consent is the approval or attestation of a state governor by himself or through its designated commissioner to any property transfer. A landed property is different from any other kind of asset that can be sold at the discretion of the owner. No one can sell land, mortgage, transfer possession, sub-lease, or otherwise without the consent of the Governor. Hence, after selling a land, a deed of assignment is executed as discussed above. The buyer must now take a step further by registering the assignment for it to be known as Governor’s Consent. This is applicable under the Land Use Act of 1978.
A Survey plan is a document that measures the boundary of a parcel of land to give an accurate measurement and description of that land. It determines and delineates boundary locations, building locations and physical features and other items of special importance.
The location and size of landed property are depicted on a survey plan. It is easy to examine or search whether the land is genuinely under any government acquisition or not using the descriptions and coordinates on the survey record from the office of the Surveyor-General.
THE MOTHER DEED
Mother deed is another important document on the list of important documents when buying a property. It’s the very first registered title of the property. This document traces the origin of property as well as all other relevant conveyance deeds. Ownership of a property changes hands through a series of transactions. Therefore, it is very important to trace the ownership of a property. This document is required by banks when a buyer wants to get a loan.
An individual may approach the right authorities for help while creating this document. To avoid fraud in the purchase of property, conduct appropriate checks and ensure that all necessary documents are available and authentic.
POWER OF ATTORNEY(POA)
The POA is a document that authorizes a particular person to act on the behalf of the real owner of the house. The things that your attorney can do depends entirely on how much power you give them as indicated in the document. This also applies to the duration of the authorization which determines how long the power such a person has over your property.
Although the person you give this power to is called your “attorney,” it does not mean that they are your lawyer. Most often, your attorney is your spouse, a relative, or a close friend.
Generally, the POA in Nigeria does not have a fixed cost. It is subject to the extent or contents to be contained in it; also subject to the experience of lawyers hired to draft the POA.
RECEIPT OF PURCHASE
A land purchase receipt is a typical receipt or document that confirms receipt of money for a specific property or piece of land. The seller typically gives the buyer a receipt after the sale of a property. The reception provision, however, may be waived in cases when it is part of the land transfer agreement.
GRANT OF PROBATE & LETTER OF ADMINISTRATION
When buying the house of a deceased person, the buyer needs to request for the grant of probate or letter of administration – a legal title in respect of any land or house owned by a deceased person. This is because after the owner of any property has become late, all the property’s documents of such a person become invalidated to convey title in the said property or transfer any interest in the assets left behind by him or her. The Probate will now be the only recognized legal documents to prove the title to such property. The document will name Executors or Administrators, as the case may be, who can sign any document transferring the interest in the property called Assent.
DEED OF MORTGAGE
A mortgage is a loan from a bank or other financial institution that helps a borrower purchase a home. A mortgage deed is a legally binding document outlining the terms of a mortgage that puts a lien on the house until the lender repays the loan in full.
If the borrower fails to pay back the loan, the mortgage deed may grant the lender the legal rights to foreclose or take ownership of the real estate, usually following litigation.
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