Property News, Tips and Advice

The Lagos state Government is undoubtedly walking the talk with its housing g initiative called Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (Lagos HOMS). We told you a while ago in one of our articles that Lagos HOMS will offer Lagos residents an opportunity to own their own homes through mortgage payments spread over 10 years.

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Things are really looking up in the Nigerian Real Estate sector with various Stakeholders churning out programs aimed at providing affordable homes especially for low income earners. The latest in this fray is the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) which is gearing up to commence work in different parts of Nigeria beginning with the New Town Project in Bwari, near the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

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Prompted by a prevalence of building collapse in Nigeria, I penned an article titled - "Stemming The Tide of Building Collapse in Nigeria". I wrote that Piece a couple of days ago not knowing another building collapse was in the offing at Enugu State. In the aforementioned essay, I sought the opinion, input of experts in identifying the causes and proffering solutions to the recurring trend of building collapse in Nigeria.

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In my article - "Making the Process of Buying  Property in Nigeria Less Cumbersome", I posited that by virtue of the Land Use Act of 1978, all lands in the respective States of Nigeria, belongs to the State government. In the light of this, it is the prerogative of the State governor/government to determine what a piece of land can be used for. It beggars belief that via a fiat, a State government will displace an entire community that have lived in a particular place for hundreds of years, in some cases, with little or no compensation or alternative arrangement for the displaced people. When there is compensation, corruption makes it impossible for the money to trickle down to the rightful beneficiaries.

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For a lot people within and outside Nigeria, it is a country that is relies on oil through and through. We would be nothing without oil, right? Well, you will be pleased to know this is not true, especially today. Did you know, for instance, that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by about 6.9% in the third quarter of 2013 largely because of the increased contribution of the non-oil sector? What is more, real estate services hold a significant position in this particular sector.

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Some folks don't just get it when we whine about the prevalence of unscrupulous property agents and property scams in Nigeria and the need for one to 'shine his/eyes well well' before parting with his/her hard earned money in the name of renting, buying a property. One hundred Lagosians have become the latest victims of a well-orchestrated property scam. In their petition to the Inspector General of Police, EFCC et al published on Nigerian Guardian Newspaper, the victims recanted how they got duped by a 'smooth talking' property developer who absconded with a total of about ₦52 million he collected from them (the petitioners). In a petition signed by the trio of Uche Arinze, Innocent Odenga and Victor Odiete on behalf of the other petitioners, the victims allege that one Mr. Sameul Adeniyi Ogundana a.k.a Prince and his accomplice, Mr. Adetayo Olatunbosin, defrauded them of the said amount under the guise of renting them apartments at No. 8, Igbesa street, off Ashimowu Bakare Street, Itire, Lagos state.

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Prevention they say is better than cure. In the light of this, this essay is an attempt to tack together, some salient and not so salient points to note and where possible to avoid while shopping for a real estate. It takes an old hand to swiftly decipher loopholes or issues that may rear their ugly head after a prospective buyer of a property may have taken the plunge.

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As I wrote in Part (1) of this series, there is a plethora of nasty tales resulting from paucity of due diligence before buying or renting a property in Nigeria. As we say in our local parlance over here, "shine your eye well well" before you part with your hard earned money for a property or before you sign the dotted lines. Here are issues, booby traps you must consider and sort out before you take the plunge:

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Citing his governments desire to encourage low income Lagos residents to own homes without much stress, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola on Monday 03/02/2014 flagged off the Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (LagosHOMS). Mr. Fashola said LagosHOMS is part of his administration's solution towards reducing the acute housing deficit in Lagos State. According to Fashola, "the economic realities had made house ownership almost impossible for most income earners". He went further to say, "for many years, our people have had to acquire houses, often times being required to pay cash once and for all, as if they were buying a shirt or a pair of shoes in a shop. This approach in part, explains why a large number of ordinary middle class and working people, cannot afford to acquire homes on the basis of their legitimate income derived from hard work. In Lagos, we are of the view that a home is not something you buy in one day, but over time in a way that your ability to acquire is tied to your income and continued prosperity".

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In one of my earlier essays, I hinted that plans were in the works by the Federal Government to introduce an encouraging mortgage regime that will be accessible to many Nigerians especially low income earners.

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