Hey there, in this article, we’ll be discussing 7 property documents you should be aware of. As a property purchaser or as one who is seeking real estate investments, you need to be in the know of property documents and what they or are saying about the property you’re about to purchase. In a previous article “How do I start investing in real estate? Part 1” we discussed the necessary and important things needed before one takes a deep dive into real estate investment.
Life is not hard; you just need to know your way around things so you won’t be caught “unfresh”. Property documents can also be referred to as land titles, so what exactly is a land title? A land title can be referred to as the legal right or ownership one has over a property. These documents govern property transactions or dealings, it is worthy of note to know that all lands belong to the government of that state. So, what then, are the property documents, or land titles (as they are commonly referred to)? Let’s get to it!
We’ll be discussing only 7 land titles one needs to know when it comes to properties in Nigeria as they are more than that. The 7 are; Certificate of Occupancy, Gazette, Deed of Assignment/Conveyance, Deed of Mortgage, Deed of Sub-Lease, Deed of Lease, and Survey Plan.
1. CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY (C of O)
A certificate of occupancy, commonly referred to as a C of O is the document of a property given to you by the government and it attests to the fact that you have right to that property or land. The document is an official lease given by the government and as the owner of such property; you’re eligible to the property for 99 years after which you can apply for renewal.
A gazette refers to the official record book where the activity of a government is written in detail and then recorded. This document shows towns, communities or villages that have been granted excision and whatever amount of land, either in acres or hectares that the government of the state has given them. So, if anyone decides that he wants to sell his portion, it has to be within the area of the excised land.
3. DEED OF ASSIGNMENT/CONVEYANCE
This is a legal document that is used to transfer a property from one person to the other. It is an important document and it should always be at the front of your mind to request for it whenever a property transaction has occurred. The document contains relevant information for a real estate deal. For example, it contains the specific date when the possession of the property is transferred from the owner to the current owner. The document also gives a detailed description of the property that has been included in the conveyance of ownership.
4. DEED OF MORTGAGE
This is a legally binding document that allows you to use your property as collateral for loans. It allows the lender to place a lien on such property until you complete the payment of the loan. So when people say something like “mortgage” or “mortgage payment”, they are in fact, referring to loan or loan payment while the document keeps the property safe for the lender.
5. DEED OF LEASE/GOVERNOR’S CONSENT
Deed of Lease or Governor’s Consent is a document that you obtain whenever you purchase a land/property that has C of O. This is the land document that informs the Governor and every other person that the land/property involved has changed owner. It is the document that permits the rights of occupancy to that property by the new owner.
6. DEED OF SUB-LEASE
This land title document is issued by anyone who has a C of O who decides to give out a part of his/her property to a new owner or third party. This sub-lease is valid till the C of O expires, and the contract can be renewed upon the renewal of the C of O.
7. SURVEY PLAN
This property document is important as it shows that such property truly belongs to you and that it is not under government acquisition. This title document shows the boundary measures of a piece of land so that a precise measurement and detailed description of that land is given. If the property you’re about to purchase is without buildings on it, make sure you do a detailed inquiry on the land to be on the safe side.