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BEFORE YOU CLOSE THAT PURCHASE

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So, I assume you have gone through the very exhausting but interesting and enlightening process of inspecting various properties (with the intention to buy) in your location/locations of choice. After much ado, your preferred option has been singled out.

However, now that you have found this property you love, do you know what to do next?

Well, in case you don’t, below are a few guidelines on your next course of action before you put down your hard earned money:

1.) Verification of Title Documents: Before you get too excite about this property, you need to calm down and do a proper verification of the title documents. You may have been told the property has a Certificate of Occupancy with such and such number of years left on the lease (you may even have a copy of same) but don’t take the seller’s word for it, do your independent search. This is extremely important. You may hire a qualified lawyer to handle this process for you (this is advisable) or do it yourself, if you so wish. But this is where you will find out if there is any encumbrance on the property and any other hidden secrets there may be.

2.) Carry out a Background Check on the Seller: Sometimes, carrying out a background check on the owner of the property can be very revealing. You have to find out such details as who they are (i.e. were they people of integrity or crooks), why they’re selling etc before committing your cash.

3.) Inspect with a Professional: Depending on the magnitude of the property you’re buying, age or even location of the same, you may have to inspect with a professional (e.g. structural or civil engineer) to ascertain the state of the property. There may be some issues with the property in question. If you’re lucky, you may only need to send the seller a few snags of corrections to be made and if not, (e.g. where there may be issues of flooding, termite infestations, or any other issues with serious implications) you may have to look for other properties.

4.) The Contract of Sale: Read through every detail in the Contract of Sale yourself and seek counsel from your lawyer on terms you don’t fully understand. Don’t leave anything to chance and do not assume. Presumptions may be too costly

5.) Outstanding Bills: This may sound a bit petty to you but you’ll be surprised at the number of bills sellers purposely leave unpaid thereby transferring huge outstanding payments on them to the buyer. You must request for evidence of payment on bills such as Electricity, Land Use Charge (or other governmental bills), Service Charge and so on. I mean, I have seen an outstanding bill of up to N7 Million (over $35, 000) unpaid before on a sold property. Of course, this automatically gets transferred to the new owner.

Please note that the list does not end here however, the above are a few to guide you before concluding your purchase. So, be safe and do more research on this matter.

Cheers.