7 Things you Need to Check Before you Purchase Properties from Real Estate Companies

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Dennis Isong

A lot of people want to own properties, live in their homes, raise a family and achieve many other things in life. This dream can be marred if the authenticity of any real estate company you want to invest in or purchase your property from is not investigated. To find a trustworthy and reliable real estate company in Nigeria is not so easy – many companies portray themselves as genuine but they are not.

Recently, there has been an increase in fraudulent activities being executed by fake real estate companies and agents. It is, therefore, important to discuss how to identity them and things you must check before investing with any real estate company. One must get to be informed to avoid losing your hard-earned money. Here are the things to check before you buy a property from a real estate company:

The Company’s Registration

Before investing with any real estate company, you should undergo thorough research on the organization and make sure it’s registered with Nigeria Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). This can simply be done by requesting for the company’s registration number.

Good real estate companies with no shady deals have their registration number and won’t hesitate to give their clients/customers it. Most of them even have the copy of the CAC paste right in the entrance hallway of the company or in their reception room. If they fail to provide you with one, then you should think twice before buying a property from the company.

License to Operate

The government always provides the license to operate, and all genuine real estate companies must have this license to function. If the company you want to invest in cannot provide you with their license, think twice before working with them. As an investor, simply request for their license to operate and make sure you’re provided with one before purchasing any property from them.

Just as I stated earlier, trusted real estate companies will like to register and be well-identified by any of the Nigeria real estate boards such as the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON) and Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria(REDAN) – they’re some of the real estate boards present in Nigeria and this is the easiest form to identify good real estate companies.

The Property Title/Documents Verification

Good real estate companies like to have a good title document for the property they want to sell. But, that’s not the only way to check because some documents can be fake. However, a good real estate company will give you the liberty to verify the document, the moment any company starts preventing you or making excuses for you not to verify the document to the property, then something is wrong somewhere, and you should discontinue your dealings with such a company. An authentic real estate company has nothing to fear, won’t be disturbed because you want to verify the documents, and may even support you on how to go about it.

Also, hire a professional lawyer for this verification. For investors in Lagos and Abuja, you can visit Alausa Land Registry and Abuja Geographical Information System (AGIS) respectively for the property verification. For investors in other regions/states, visit the state land registry office for verification. Also, for a real estate company that doesn’t have any document for its property, kindly run away from such a company and its property.

Buyer/Seller Agreement

A genuine real estate company must be able to present an investor with a buyer/seller agreement before the complete transaction of the property takes place. This is an official agreement presented to a buyer or investor to a property, and it contains all the necessary information a buyer should be aware of. It’s between the company selling off their property and the buyer making the purchase. They must state the transaction to occur, state any other fee – like development fee – and other necessary information. This must be agreed upon by both parties. Also, check that the agreement has the following information like the company’s name, logo, a signature of the company’s representative, and any other important information.

Standard Office

This is another best way to easily identify a good real estate company. Most fake real estate companies don’t have a standard office of their own, and many fix appointments in a restaurant or  any other place. Avoid such meetings. All official meetings with your prospective real estate company should hold in their official, standard and conducive office. Also, make sure to visit over and over again to ensure it’s where they truly operate from and request for site inspection too.

Customer’s Review

This may be overlooked but it’s a great way to check on the authenticity of the company. Check their official website for customer’s reviews of their property. You can also surf the internet for a property review of the company – if they’ve ever been involved in shady deals or defrauded someone, most clients will call them out online. You can also ask friends, family, or people close to you if they know about the company.

The Payment Procedure

Ensure that all payments are made to the company’s official account, as agreed on. Fake real estate company hardly own official account and this is another way to check the authenticity of the company. If you notice anything unusual, desist from making any payment until you’re cleared.

Finally, do not, because of your desire to acquire affordable housing or landed property, make the mistake of investing with the wrong real estate company. Many of them lure Nigerians with low prices for properties that cost more in the same location, and then those who pay end up losing their funds.