Buying a property in Lagos state can be an exciting venture. The bustling city, with its vibrant culture and booming real estate market, offers numerous opportunities for investment.
However, amidst the genuine opportunities lie potential property scams that can lead to financial losses and heartache. To ensure you don’t fall victim to such scams, it’s crucial to stay vigilant and take preventive measures throughout your property-buying journey.
In this article, we’ll explore practical steps to avoid property scams and some common mistakes you need to steer clear of during the process.
1. Do your research:
Knowledge is your best defense against property scams. Back in the school days, our teachers usually said everything starts and ends with research, right? This is also applicable in this case. Start by conducting thorough research on the property market. Get familiar with the average property prices in the area you’re interested in.
Look up the title and ownership history of the property you wish to buy and verify the credibility of the developers and the property’s existence on-site before making any payment. How do you effectively execute your research? We’ll talk about it in the next point.
2. Engage professional help:
To be effective with your research, you might need to enlist the services of a reputable real estate agent or property lawyer. This will significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to scams.
An experienced agent or lawyer can guide you through the process, assist you in conducting due diligence, and ensure all legal requirements are met.
3. Visit the property in person:
Never buy a property solely based on online pictures or photographs. Scammers use this medium to get at vulnerable people. They can easily misrepresent properties to lure unsuspecting buyers, so always make sure you visit the property in person to inspect its condition, location, and surroundings.
4. Beware of unrealistic offers:
If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers often use attractive price tags to bait potential buyers. Be cautious and don’t rush into decisions without thoroughly understanding the property’s value in the current market.
5. Avoid cash payments and unofficial agreements:
Insist on using official channels for payments and agreements.
Cash transactions or deals without proper documentation can leave you vulnerable to fraud and disputes.
6. Seller’s identity:
Before proceeding with any transaction, make sure you have thoroughly verified the seller’s identity and legitimacy.
Request valid identification documents and cross-check them with official records if possible so that you do not fall prey to any of their antics.
7. Avoid high-pressure sales tactics:
If you feel rushed or pressured to make a quick decision, step back and reassess the situation. Scammers often use high-pressure tactics to prevent buyers from conducting thorough research. Never allow yourself to be intimidated into thinking you will lose a property if you do not grab the opportunity immediately. Carry out your due diligence and be convinced before making any payments.
8. Check for encumbrances:
Also, you have to ensure there are no outstanding debts or legal issues attached to the property you intend to purchase. An encumbrance can lead to ownership disputes in the future, and you want to avoid this at all costs.
9. Check in with others:
Seeking advice from trusted friends, family, or colleagues who have experience in the property market [If the need arises] is also very important in avoiding falling prey to scammers. Their insights and experiences may help you avoid potential pitfalls.
10. Never neglect legal advice:
Always make sure you engage a qualified real estate lawyer to review all documents related to the property transaction. This step is crucial because it will help you ensure that you understand the terms and conditions and that the property is legitimate.
Neglecting the important things you ought to pay attention to is the only reason you will fall prey to scammers. This is why you have to follow the necessary steps before purchasing any property. By adhering to the guidelines above and staying cautious throughout your property-buying process, you can safeguard yourself from falling victim to property scams. Also, remember that patience, due diligence, and professional advice are your best allies in making a safe and successful property investment.