“OPEN HIDDEN TREASURES IN THE EARTH——- “REAL ESTATE”——— THE WAY TO GO!

INTRODUCTION:

There is this popular saying that “where your treasure lies, there your heart is”.

Historically, “Real Estate”(with all its right and attachments) pre-dates the human existence and incontestably possesses ALL tendencies to outlive the human being.

One is tempted to unconditionally agree with the basic definition of the Blackslaw Dictionary of Real Estate/Property” as “land and anything growing on, attached to or erected on it, excluding anything that may be severed without injury to the land. It is not restricted to the solid part of the Earth’s surface, but also the space covered by waters.

Howbeit, as Terrestrial beings, it is highly unbelievable how we still tend to underplay the leading value of land and landed properties (as a most viable source of investments in the World today) with rhetorics like “Only the rich buy properties” “That place is in the bush” “The location of the property is quite far”, “There is no money in Nigeria” and the likes.

Real Estate has over the centuries been regarded majorly as either a “Symbol of status” or “a viable source of investment”. Consequently, to own a land or a house/developed realty has been seen as one of the greatest feats a human being can ever achieve given the “open treasures” that are hidden in this aspect of the human life.

Hence, the question that readily comes to mind is—How do I fully exploit the scarcely-tapped ‘open treasures’ in the world of Real Estate? :

  1. Be Open-minded

To fully tap the myriads of open treasures in Real Estate, you need to open your ‘eyes of perception’ by indeed seeing “Real Estate” as a “super-worthwhile venture”. Just like Donald Trump, the newly-inaugurated President of the God’s own state—the United States of America, had rightly stated while being expressive about it(Real Estate)—– “It’s tangible, it’s solid, it’s beautiful, it’s artistic, from my stand point and I just love Real Estate”.

In Africa, so many people are still living in the prisons of their own built by their minds—- still living in a primordial world filled with never-true stereotypes and fallacies!

Really and truly, now is the time to broaden your horizon of perception and reflection. Real Estate now ranks as the No.1 most viable and quickest source of investment in the world (with incredibly amazing returns like no other), ranking way higher above Oil investments and Stocks.

So, open your mind!

  1. Know what you want

A man with no sense of purpose, they say, is likea rudderless boat trapped in the middle of the ocean, being tossed around by the wind of the High Sea”.

Generally, as humans we have aspirations (some of them reasonable and some unreasonable, some noble and some ridiculous!) but it is quite unfortunate that several of us have not actually understood the thin line between “wishes” and “wants”—- Just like the popular aphorism “if wishes were horses, beggars would ride”! Many a time, I have heard people say “I can’t buy land in that bush, I want places like “Osborne foreshore Estate”, Park view Estate, Victoria Garden City”, Ikeja G.R.A, etc. and yet they live on barely Two-Dollars per day. How is that possible with such a meagre income! Of course, please do not get me wrong!— It is possible spiritually (with resort to faith), but is it not much smarter to look at the range of what you can afford and whatsoever package that fits into your aspirations/intentions (not even now that we have several players in the Real Estate Industry in Nigeria who have devised much more flexible Property acquisition packages for intending subscribers), rather than wait for the future to unfold for you to achieve your desires? By that time, you already have a security for your investments (with much higher returns) and you might decide to dispose it or keep it as soon as you have the wherewithal for your “noble desires”.

However, let me be quick to warn you not to rush! Take your time but be smart about it.

Ask yourself what you really want—— Do you want a virgin land? Or a partially developed land with good structure/design on it (that could reduce your building costs vis-à-vis your intended use of the property)? or do you want a fully developed property —-singly structured or a terraced property? You need to know what you want and weigh you options before making a decision.

 

  1. Be Your Own Critic

After ascertaining what you want, you need to be your own critic by accordingly critiquing the result of your search exercise based on the property’s/realty’s individual features and entanglements (if any), coupled with sampled opinions on their value and genuineness (which is actually where the professionals come in) and which leads us to the next tip.

  1. Never Walk Alone

As juicy as the treasures in Real Estate could be, the matters and transactions regarding it can really be quite delicate. This is where you need the invaluable assistance of Real Estate professionals such as registered land surveyors, honest realtors, highly competent lawyers (with a considerable depth of experience in the practice of real property law and allied real estate matters), architects etc.

With the increasing prevalence of job unemployment in Nigeria and the ‘recessionary’ economy, which has concomitantly led to the surge in the rate of crime (more particularly land scammers and fraudsters), you have to be sure you are dealing with the right set of professionals.

Your surveyor must be a known and registered surveyor with registered office (known to all). Be a private detective of your own! His (the land surveyor’s) job is to help you obtain the co-ordinates of the land/property you intend to buy so as for you (or your lawyer) to do the background verification at the necessary quarters.

The noble duty of your lawyer is to ascertain the genuineness of the property and ensure there are no defects in the title of the property. He/ She does this by requesting for the title documents (copies) from the prospective vendor/seller and conducting necessary searches at the:-

  1. Surveyor-General’s Office
  2. The Land’s Bureau
  • The Courts to find out if there is no pending litigation
  1. The Banks
  2. The Probate Registry etc.

As an aside, need I mention that we still live in the country where people still tend to underplay the significance of lawyers to real estate transactions. Few years ago, I had a prospective client who felt I was demanding too much as professional fees and decided to dispense with the professional assistance of a lawyer and went ahead to consummate the transaction on his accord. He later came back recently to tell me how he lost the property and the huge amount of money invested, as the property was in a “committal zone”.

That error could have been avoided even if he had even consulted another competent lawyer (rather than my goodself) to undertake the brief —–consequence of tight-fistedness”!— We spend so much on getting a property, but we passionately refrain from spending a small fraction to secure our title(i.e. our most cherished investments.)— That’s the time we pose questions like “wetin lawyer dey do sef?”

  1. Take the Giant strides

Having done the foregoing and with your lawyer further ensuring that it is the right people (with the power to sell) that are selling, through series of meetings (as may be needed), and that it is safe, free and genuine, then it is now more expedient that you take the giant strides.

However, before you do that you may want to discuss the issue with your close confidant or your wife (if you are married) just to ensure someone (at least) is aware of your plans.

Thereafter, let the lawyer prepare the necessary documents and create the perfect atmosphere for execution as payment is made.

Consequently, upon full and outright transfer of ownership to you (the new buyer), please timeously ensure you take constructive possession of your property/land. If it is a virgin land/partially developed land, get an Architect to give you a beautiful drawing/design of your taste and apply for a building approval plan (before developing) in accordance with the Town Planning Laws of your State.

Let me be quick to mention that you must take constructive/active possession even if you do not intend to develop it (at least a gate house/small apartment with a fence and constant routine checks of the property from time to time to forestall encroachments).

  1. Perfect Your Title

This is where you finally seal up your transaction and guarantee your explored treasures. Let your Lawyer do the necessary things to perfect your title. If the property/land does not have a Certificate of Occupancy(C of O), apply for it and launch the processing(with the legal innovations and strides in the Lands registry of Lagos State and same being replicated by other States, C of O processing is now incredibly faster than you can ever imagine.) Moreso, if your newly acquired property does not have a survey, get your surveyor to prepare one based on the land particulars and lodge a record copy at the lands Registry of the State of location. If a C of O has been earlier gotten in respect of the land/property or part of it, get your lawyers to apply for Governor’s Consent (which shall reflect your name as the new buyer/assignee/sub-lessee/owner of the said property).

Conclusion:

This is not to say that this is fully exhaustive of all the secret tips to exploring and exploiting the Gold mine in Real Estate. It is however a quick but loaded summary of the important tips you need to know.

Howbeit I would like to boldly underscore the fact that there is nothing like bush” in Real Estate. In the bush” is where you have the treasures— Remember, the developed Realties in the cities of today used to be the bush of yesteryears— So Real Estate grows, the value grows, the returns sky-rocket, your investments grow and most importantly your cash flows!

Never give an excuse of a “Recessionary Economy”. In fact, did you know that it is during recession times and fiscal throes that you need to invest more and secure your future so that you can harvest plenty?— “…the future is now!”

Written by:   ‘Femi Oluwadimu Esq. (“The Agbejoro”) (08138859419, 08059767260)

‘Femi Oluwadimu Esq. is a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, an ardent Real Estate lover and consultant with enviable depth of experience in the practice of Real Estate, He is a budding entrepreneur, a Prolific writer and a Peoples’ Advocate who passionately believes that “Justice is an undeniable end of the people”. He is the Principal Partner, Femi Oluwadimu & Associates and Head, Legal Advisory Services, Stockland Homes And Properties Ltd.(a foremost Real Estate Firm in Nigeria).

 

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