A property without title documents is as good as non-existent. Knowing the title documents to watch out for when buying a parcel of land or property is a good step for getting value for your hard-earned money. In this article, we will detail the much you should know about land title documents in the following sequence:
Everyone interested in real estate has come across the word excision, but only a few persons know its meaning. The importance of excision should not be underestimated as it determines whether a parcel of land is under government ownership (acquisition).
Peripheral knowledge of excision does not suffice because it’s void of a clear picture of its importance. Hence, we provided you with all you need to know about it to aid your buying decision.
Before 1978, all land belonged to the locals of each community. However, from 28th March 1978, the Land Use Decree was established to vest land under the control of governors. That is, all land now belongs to the state to provide infrastructure and amenities for the general good of all.
Provision was made for the locals to own part of the land because they cannot exist in a vacuum. Such provision is called excision. Therefore, a parcel of land is excised when the government approves an application for its release for private ownership and use.
How To Apply For Excision
The community or family head, real estate developer, or their representatives sends an application for excision to the Land Use and Allocation Committee (LUAC) on their letterhead paper.
The application must include – location to be excised, historical background of the community, number of residents, proposed usage, justification for its use, perimeter survey, etc.
At the receipt of the application for excision, the LUAC will send it to the Technical Committee for processing.
Thereafter, the perimeter survey will be sent to the Surveyor-General to check if the parcel of land to be excised falls under a committed area (land set aside for amenities) or not. It will be denied if it falls in a committed area.
Based on his findings, the Surveyor-General will advise the Technical Committee. The committee will then proceed to the location for inspection and verification of facts contained in the application in comparison to the master plan for the community.
The Technical Committee will send feedback to the LAUC when it is through with the inspection.
Based on the feedback received from the Technical Committee, the LUAC will make recommendations to the governor to approve or reject the excision.
At excision, the office of the Surveyor-General will prepare the perimeter survey and description of the parcel of land. And a layout plan that was drawn by the applicants’ town planner will be sent to the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development for approval.
The applicants and government will then make an agreement that the former will pay for any encroachment by them or their representatives on the excised community jut.
The excised portion will be published in the state official (land) gazette. The gazette will also be published in a prominent newspaper.
A Certificate of Occupancy will be issued to the applicants.
All necessary information, titles, and documents will be sent by the LUAC and the Technical Committee to the Lands Bureau for registration.
Buying A Parcel Of Land Without Excision
The main benefit of parcels of land that lack excision or with excision in progress is its affordability. This is because the developer needs the buyers’ money to process the excision. But you need to know the implications. Some of which are:
The filing for excision doesn’t assure its approval.
Usually, not all the acres or hectares applied for are excised. So, if you were allocated the unapproved portion by a Trusted Developer, you will be reallocated land in another area where the developer has land irrespective of its conflict with your location of interest. Otherwise, you are on your own.
Therefore, we encourage the purchase of already excised land.
This document is one of the most important land title documents to watch out for when buying real estate in Nigeria. In simple terms, it is the publishing of the record kept on an excision.
Simply put, a land gazette is a periodic publication showing the allocation or distribution of land between families, communities, and the government itself. It indicates the area, number of acres or hectares, coordinates of land excised, and those acquired by the government.
For the purpose of a statutory and non-statutory public notice, a gazette is published to give assurance to the buyer of real estate. It backs legal processes where the need arises. To verify a gazette, a copy of the chart drawn by a surveyor will be taken to the office of the Surveyor-General to check if the parcel of land falls under the excised area.
A Deed of Assignment clearly states the date, history, description, and terms and conditions under which ownership of the property is being transferred between the buyer and seller to avoid vagueness and assumptions.
It nullifies all unknown or hidden titles of the property and transfers the ownership of all its previous documents to the buyer to prevent duplicate sales. At the end of the transaction, the buyer should document the Deed of Assignment at the land registry for legal proof and public notice.
You can download the format of a Deed of Assignment here.
Contract of Sale
A Contract of Sale is an unambiguously written and signed agreement between a buyer and a seller of a property stating all the terms under which the buyer will receive the title or ownership of the property.
This document is needed when the buyer pays for the property in installments. The buyer will receive a deed of assignment after he fulfills all financial and non-financial terms and conditions of the contract.
It is necessary to have a lawyer or real estate expert explain the implications of the contract before accepting or signing it.
The existence of a Contract of Sale prevents the seller from selling the property to another buyer. It also requires the seller to avoid all actions that could subject it to any form of encumbrances.
A Contract for Sale must not contradict any property law of the land otherwise, it will be null and void.
A receipt is a well-known transaction document that indicates that financial value has exchanged hands for goods or services. It is an evidence that cash has exchanged hands. It is also used in landed property transactions to show the date of transaction, location of the property, the amount paid, and address of the seller.
If you bought the property from omoniles, the family head and not less than one other family member should sign the receipt. That is, not less than 2 members of their family should be signatories to the receipt. However, if you buy the property from a developer, a single signatory will suffice.
A survey plan is a land title document that gives the most precise location, size, year of survey, layout, beacon numbers, plan number, and boundaries of a parcel of land through their coordinates. This is because no 2 parcels of land have the same coordinates.
This document thus makes it extremely easy for the buyer of a parcel of land to conduct a land search at the Surveyor-General’s office to discover the original owner of the land and know if it has any form of encumbrances. It also reveals if the land is under government acquisition.