The real estate market in Nigeria is a complex and ever-changing landscape, and it can be difficult to know who to trust. Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous individuals who prey on unsuspecting buyers, looking to make a quick buck.
If you are considering buying property in Nigeria, it is essential to be aware of the common scams and take steps to protect yourself. Here is an elaborate guide on how to avoid real estate scams in Nigeria:
Do your due diligence
This is the most important step you can take to protect yourself from real estate scams. Before you even consider buying a property, do your research on the seller, the agent, and the property itself.
Check the seller’s credentials
Make sure that the seller is a legitimate businessperson or individual. You can do this by checking their business registration number or by asking for references from other buyers.
Check the agent’s credentials
Make sure that the agent is licensed and registered with the Nigerian Real Estate Developers Association (NRED). You can verify their license number on the NRED website.
Check the property’s title
Make sure that the property has a clean title and that there are no outstanding liens or encumbrances on it. You can do this by searching the title at the Lands Registry in Alausa, Lagos.
Visit the property in person
Never buy a property without visiting it in person first. This will give you a chance to inspect the property and make sure that it is what you are looking for.
Be wary of high-pressure sales tactics
If a seller or agent is pressuring you to make a quick decision, it is a red flag. Legitimate sellers and agents will give you time to consider your options and make a decision that is right for you.
Get everything in writing
Make sure that all agreements and promises are made in writing and signed by both parties. This will help to protect you if something goes wrong.
Beware of common real estate scams
Here are some of the most common real estate scams in Nigeria:
Fake documents: Fraudsters may present buyers with fake certificates of occupancy, excisions, gazettes, and deeds of assignment.
Planted individuals: Fraudsters may plant individuals in strategic locations to corroborate their lies.
Unreal images: Fraudsters may show buyers unrealistic images of properties, especially off-plan and landed properties.
Mouth-watering incentives: Fraudsters may offer buyers mouth-watering incentives, such as discounts, freebies, and promises of quick returns.
What to do if you think you have been scammed
If you think you have been scammed, the first thing you should do is file a report with the police.
Additionally, you may want to seek legal advice from a qualified lawyer.