In Nigeria, purchasing property can be an exciting yet intricate process. With the right guidance and understanding of the steps involved, you can navigate through the complexities and secure your dream property successfully.

This step-by-step guide will walk you through the essential phases of buying a property in Nigeria, from finding the right one to perfecting your ownership title.

Finding a Property to Buy

The first step in buying a property in Nigeria is to identify the right one that meets your requirements and preferences like property location, property type, size and nature, etc. Here are some ways to find a property to buy:

Real Estate Listings: Start your search by exploring real estate listings. Websites dedicated to property listings like De Donnies Homes often provide detailed information, including property type, location, size, and price.

Real Estate Agents: Engage the services of reputable real estate agents who have in-depth knowledge of the local market. They can help you find properties that match your criteria and arrange inspections.

Networking: Tap into your network of friends, family, and colleagues who may have information about available properties or know a reputable real estate agent who does. Word of mouth can sometimes lead to hidden gems in the market.

Confirming its Authenticity

Once you’ve identified a property of interest, it’s crucial to verify its authenticity to avoid falling victim to fraud or legal disputes. Here’s how to confirm the legitimacy of a property:

Title Documentation: Request and review all relevant title documents, including the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), Deed of Assignment, Survey Plan, and Building Plan Approval. These documents provide vital information about the property’s ownership history, boundaries, and legal status.

Physical Inspection: Schedule a visit to the property to inspect its physical condition and surroundings. Pay attention to any signs of structural damage, encroachments, or environmental concerns that may affect its value or suitability. Ask neighbours questions about the property status.

Land Use and Allocation: Verify the land use status and allocation of the property with the appropriate government authorities. Ensure that the property’s designation suits your purpose (residential, commercial, or agricultural purposes) as per the zoning regulations.

Conduct a Land/Property Title Search: Obtain a search report from the land registry to confirm the property’s title status and identify any existing encumbrances or pending litigation.

Due Diligence: Conduct thorough due diligence by consulting with real estate experts. Seek their advice on potential risks or red flags associated with the property and its transaction.

Executing the Transaction

Once you’re satisfied with the authenticity of the property, you can proceed with the transaction process. Here’s how to execute the purchase:

Negotiation: Enter into negotiations with the seller or their representative to agree on the purchase price and terms of sale. Be prepared to counteroffer and negotiate until both parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

Sales Agreement: Prepare a comprehensive sales agreement or contract of sale detailing the rights and obligations of both the buyer and seller. Include clauses related to title transfer, property condition, warranties, and remedies in case of breach.

Payment: Arrange for the payment of the purchase price through a secure and traceable means, such as bank transfer or cheque. Avoid making cash payments to prevent potential disputes and ensure transparency in the transaction.

Title Transfer: Get a receipt and a Deed of Assignment from the seller. The receipt is evidence that payment was made for the property and the Deed of Assignment implies ownership has been transferred to you. Request for the registered survey if it is available, or get your surveyor to get it done if the seller doesn’t have it. The survey plan has coordinates that shows the exact location of the property, as no 2 properties has the same coordinates.

Perfecting Your Title

After completing the transaction, it’s essential to perfect your ownership title to secure your rights to the property. Here’s what you need to do:

Transfer of Title: Apply for the transfer of title in your name with the appropriate land registry or government authority. Submit the necessary documents, including the Deed of Assignment, proof of payment, and identification, to initiate the transfer process.

Stamp Duty and Registration: Pay the required stamp duty and registration fees as prescribed by law to legalize the transfer of ownership. Obtain stamped copies of the Deed of Assignment and other title documents as evidence of compliance.

Registration of Title: Register the transfer of title and any other relevant documents with the land registry or land bureau in the jurisdiction where the property is located. Registration provides public notice of your ownership rights and protects your title against third-party claims.

Governor’s Consent: There is a standing real estate law that states that, “all transactions relating to the transfer of ownership of landed property in Nigeria must be approved by the governor of the state where it is located”. Thus, registering your land certificate with the land registry and getting your governor’s consent are the final stages of perfecting your land title.

Update Records: Don’t forget to update your records with relevant authorities, including tax authorities and utility providers, to reflect your ownership of the property. Ensure that you fulfill your obligations, such as property taxes and utility bills, in a timely manner to avoid penalties.


Buying a property in Nigeria requires careful planning, due diligence, and adherence to legal procedures. By following this step-by-step guide, you can navigate through the complexities of the buying process with confidence and secure your investment for the future.

Remember to seek professional advice from qualified real estate experts and conduct thorough research before buying a property. With the right approach, you can turn your dream of property ownership into a reality in Nigeria’s vibrant real estate market.