Editor’s Note: Saheed Akinola Esq, the Managing Partner of Choiceland solicitors, in this latest article, explains the reasons why it is important to engage a lawyer when buying a house/landed property in Nigeria
Saheed is a legal practitioner, property lawyer, human right crusader and business advisor. He could be contacted through +2348032493960, lagoslawgurus@gmail,com
Buying a landed property/house requires a lot of due diligence to avoid being scammed, therefore, it requires the judgment of a property lawyer who is seasoned in the field. That is why in practice it is essential for every prospective buyer to get a real estate lawyer to conduct a search in relation to the property and give his opinion based on his findings in form of report
Let us consider some of the reasons why hiring a property lawyer might be important from both buyer and seller’s perspective
What does a property Lawyer Do?
A property lawyer is first of all qualified to practice law as barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria having satisfied all the conditions precedent and called to the Nigeria Bar. In addition to this he has garnered sufficient experience and expertise in real estate transactions. A property lawyer is familiar with all aspects of the land/home purchase process and can represent buyers, sellers or lenders.
Some people will wait until when the deal is concluded before they contact a lawyer who will prepare the deed of assignment for them so as to reduce the expenses.
This is not good enough, It is better to hire a lawyer early in the process, to handle such matters as search, review of the document, giving of legal opinion, draft contract of sale and deed of assignment.
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When Would I Need a property Lawyer?
There are several situations in which a property lawyer can be helpful in the home-buying and selling process, from conducting a search, reviewing the purchase contract in a typical sale to dealing with a uniquely complicated one.
Contract of sale
It is better to engage a lawyer from the inception so that he will be in the know of the mode of payment of the consideration and some other agreed terms which will warrant the draft of contract of sale that will be based on the terms agreed upon by the parties. There are some contracts that their complexity may require to be drafted by a lawyer.
Engaging a lawyer at this stage will help you avoid potential problems down the line by making the contingencies as favorable to you as possible.
The contract is the one of important documents in the home sale process, and it includes several negotiable issues. Some of the most important issues in the purchase contract involve:
- Timing. Your timeline for closing on the property could be affected by the sale of your own property issues largely outside of your control, such as unexpected lender delays.
- Inspection. A home inspection can uncover many problems, and a seller and buyer could end up negotiating on who will pay for repairs. In some cases the buyer—if the contract allows it—could withdraw from the contract without penalty.
- Title. A title search is routine before a purchase, and might turn up a lien on the property you’re selling or buying, which a lawyer can help investigate.
Closing on a home sale or purchase involves dozens of pages of legal documents to review. A lawyer can help both the seller and buyer navigate the review, which can be especially intimidating and confusing to a first-time home buyer.
It is the duty of the lawyer to negotiate the repairs, monitor the financing and review the title when representing the buyer, At closing, the lawyer explains all the mortgage documents to buyers.
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Scenarios where a lawyer’s opinion is essential
Here are some situations that are unusual and might require an attorney’s advice and negotiating skills:
- You’re buying a home that is part of a special type of sale, such as an estate sale, short sale, auction or purchase from a bank
- You’re purchasing a home that’s in another state
- You’re selling a home that is a central part of a divorce settlement
- You’re selling a home that was owned by a family member and you are in charge of the estate
- You’re buying or selling a property that has major issues, such as structural damage
- You have major financial issues and are trying to sell a property that has liens on it
- You are buying a house whose owner is dead
- You are buying that is owned in common or jointly owned property
- You are buying a landed property that requires ratification from government.
- You are buying a property that is owned by an incorporated company or incorporated trustees.
Drafting of Deed of Assignment
It is only a lawyer that is empowered by law in Nigeria to prepare, frank and seal assignment document, therefore, the importance roles of a property lawyer in land/house sale transaction cannot be over emphasized. For more enquires on landed property contact Barrister Saheed Akinola on +2348032493960