Authority Wit Brand Mark - Light

The Ultimate Guide to Nigeria's Online Real Estate Investing

By Diaspora Investment Advisory Team
Updated August 20, 2022

Either you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, in this guide, you will find all the information you need to get started (or continue) investing in Nigeria's online real estate market.

How to Search for Property Investment Prospects Online

To start, you need the right keywords to use in your search. With the right keyword, there is no limit to your exploration. I recommend you use only on verified websites such as PropertyPro.ng and Jumia Deals to avoid falling victim to scammers. Going on these websites won’t —remain vigilant. 

You can detect if a website is legitimate by:

  • Checking for Google’s user reviews of high-traffic sites. To do this, type the website’s name into the search engine. Google usually gathers reviews of common sites near the top of the search result.
  • Making sure that the website is secure: A secured website’s address starts with ‘https’ while an unsecured website starts with ‘http’. The difference is the ‘s’ at the end, which stands for secure.
  • Looking out for a green or black padlock on the left of the website’s URL.
  • Assessing the website’s URL

This step also helps in facilitating your decision on which aspect of real estate you would like to invest in.

Hire a Professional Online

While you can invest in the comfort of your phone, it is also important to be cautious. Hence, the need for a real estate lawyer or a real estate agent.

To talk to seasoned professionals, we recommend booking a time with Nigerian-based experts to help your search. A real estate lawyer is your foot soldier. They will offer the following services, among others:

  • Conduct physical inspections
  • Conduct research on property and documents
  • Offer professional advice
  • Legal representation
  • Oversee investments

Your lawyer or agent should always physically verify whatever you have researched online.

How to Conduct Market Research for a Nigerian Property

Now that you have narrowed down your choices and hired a professional, the next step is to research the market with your lawyer or agent.

This is to ensure that the property is well located. I’m certain you desire good returns from your investment. So, you can’t take chances on the location of the proposed real estate investment.

If you are considering rental investment; either commercial or residential, location is important. You need to check if the location is habitable and perfect for development. Check if the location is growth friendly for your investment returns. If you want to flip the properties, you need to be more strategic and consider the rate of development in the area in tandem with how soon you want to see your investment return.

You can easily view the location with Google Earth or 3D on Google Maps, but your lawyer or agent also has to visit the location in person.

We include details of the location of most property in our free Nigerian Real Estate Due Diligence report.

Verifying Documents

Verification of the title documents to a property is a crucial and indispensable step.

Location of a property determines the type of title you will possess. Location in terms of whether it is in a freehold area or Government reserved area (GRA). For GRAs, you get a Deed of Sublease/Assignment with a governor's consent. While you get a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) for a freehold.

The deed of sublease/assignment grants a 99 years’ lease on the land after which the Government takes over. You can verify the authenticity of the documents at the Ministry of Lands and Housing of the state where they are situated. 

In some states like Oyo state, you might get a deed of conveyance for old properties. This is okay, as it is the equivalent of a C of O.

Other necessary documents are:

  • Registered survey
  • Sale agreement
  • Receipts

All titles will have to be searched for at the land registry and subsequently perfected where need be; the Governor’s consent is a major prerequisite to a perfect land title in a GRA. States like Lagos state and Oyo state have websites where you can make inquiries. 

Your lawyer should confirm from the search that the property is not a subject of any lawsuit. Book a free virtual session with a Nigeria-based lawyer that can help with this.

Determining your Source of Funding 

This is a major step in determining the aspect of real estate to invest in. It could determine how soon you get returns (profit) from the investment. 

  • Out of pocket: This is the safest way of funding an investment. It’s all yours, so there are no interests to pay back or conditions to fulfil. You also get to make your profits as soon as you realise capital.
  • Utilising payment: Some property developers offer payment plans to buyers. You pay a certain amount upfront and spread the balance over a specific time. Developers like Cosgrove and Landwey Properties offer such plans. This is good if you can’t pay in full for the property.
  • Group funding/cooperatives: This is a partnership between a group of people with a common interest. It is an easy way to pull resources together to fund big real estate projects. This could guarantee the fast completion of such projects. It also protects the members from having to fulfil certain stringent conditions that could be associated with taking a loan. 
  • Joint ventures: You can enter a joint venture agreement with a property developer where you can inject funds into a project for a stake in it or for some other pre-agreed incentives.
  • Mortgage: The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) recently launched a scheme for Nigerians in the diaspora. The National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme is to enable you to buy properties easily in Nigeria with the aid of the FMBN. It is required that you should make contributions for at least 12 months to qualify. 

You can also approach other mortgage banks, like FirstTrust Mortgage Bank. Some of these mortgage banks also give out mortgage loans to Nigerians in the diaspora. Before you proceed with any bank, carry out thorough research to understand the terms and conditions of the bank.

Buying your Nigerian Property Online

Next step for you after sorting out funding is to buy. Do not pay into a personal account if you are buying from a company. Be sure to pay for the company’s bank account. Your lawyer or agent should be at the company’s office or at the property location on the date of payment to ensure the company hands over all documents.

It is safe to conduct your payment transaction in a bank if you are buying from an individual. So, it is good to have a Nigerian bank account. Your Banker and your lawyer or agent will be your witnesses. Seller should hand over all documents to your lawyer in the bank the moment they or their representative confirms receipt of your payment. 

Your lawyer should send all original documents from your property to you after the purchase. You could allow your lawyer to keep copies that are needed for title perfection.

Get Property Insurance for your Nigerian Property

Most property buyers don’t understand Nigeria’s insurance schemes. Insurance helps you guard against financial risks and unplanned hazards. The following are some benefits you get:

  • Liability Coverage: This will protect you against lawsuits and other claims. You will also be covered in case of any financial losses from an accident or tragedy. It is best for commercial properties.
  • Flood and damage insurance: This covers you against flooding, earthquakes, fire outbreaks and some other natural disasters.
  • Art and Jewellery Insurance: In the circumstance that you have expensive possessions in your home, you get cover for a specific amount to be paid to you if they go missing from your house. This, however, requires adding a floater policy to your property insurance.
  • Monetary value is being offered for any loss or damage caused by theft or an uncontrollable problem.

Insurance covers you, especially in case of disasters. Some insurance firms in Nigeria are; Leadway Assurance, Jaiz Insurance, etc. You can choose by comparing the benefits. Your lawyer can also help with picking a good insurance plan for you for you. Talk to a Nigeria-based legal expert now for a free 30-min virtual session.

Managing your Nigeria Property Business online

One tool I didn’t mention from the start is on your phone. 

It is video calling. Research shows that video conferencing fosters collaboration and trust. Use this tool to monitor your property and all ancillary transactions with the help of your lawyer or agent. You can use video conferencing apps like Zoom. Even your WhatsApp or Telegram video calls will do.

Another tool is structure. It is not a physical tool, but it is important. You and your agent or lawyer must have a system for periodic reports. You need to ensure proper documentation of all information for rental investments. Your lawyer or agent should document rental fees, renters’ information, dates, etc.

You can use Google's workspace for this. It is free. You and your agent or lawyer will have access to the documents. And you will see any changes made.

Ask questions. Clarify any doubts you might have about the information you get. Ask until your mind is at peace.

If you wish to expand your investment, repeat the steps again.

Having gone through the steps to take before investing in Nigerian real estate, you can do well in Nigeria’s real estate scene. Follow this guide to invest safely and monitor your investment strictly. 

What else could stop you from investing? 

Let us in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Stress-free legal solutions to grow your Nigerian business
Learn
Company
Connect
©2022 Authority Wit