One of the fastest growing sectors in Nigeria today is the real estate sector. Unfortunately, like all good things in Nigeria, there is a proliferation of fraudulent scams by real estate companies.
There’s nothing in this article that is made up, the information in this article are as a result of my experience as a property lawyer verifying land being marketed by real estate companies in Lagos.
Excision is under processing.
This is the most prominent of all scams by real estate companies. About 80% of all real estate companies engage in this. They fail to tell subscribers the stage of processing which their ‘excision’ has reached. From experience, some of them simply commence the process and abandoned such excision at Alausa once the land is sold out.
Fraudulently lying to subscribers that their estates fall under C of Os and Gazettes.
This is actually an old trick they learnt from Omoniles but have perfected the art and now marketing same to their subscribers. They have a parcel of land and market it claiming that it falls under a Certificate of Occupancy. However, when you take a Registered Surveyor to obtain the coordinates and chart it at the Surveyor General’s office at Alausa, it would indicate that such land falls outside of the C of O paraded by such real estate company.
No Omonile Wahala.
Most real estate companies claim that upon purchase of their lands, you’re free from the usual foundation, fencing and roofing fees by Omonile. What they fail to tell you is that such fees are now collected by these real estate companies in the form of building fees and hidden charges.
Hidden charges and undisclosed fees.
Here is one of the most notorious scams by most real estate companies. At the time of purchase, they’ll market plots of land to subscribers at certain ‘affordable’ prices, but fail to disclose to subscribers that there are extra fees to be paid after purchase of the land. Ironically, it’s not uncommon for these extra fees to be more than the price of the land. For instance, you buy a plot of land from an estate at Two Million Naira and you’re billed to pay the following extra charges:
250,000 for Survey fees
150,000 for Legal fees
100,000 for Architectural drawings
1,250,000 for Estate Development fee
100,000 for Security fees
100,000 for Supervisory fees
Selling more land than paid for.
This may sound incredible, but it is very rampant with some real estate companies. After I made a post here on Nairaland concerning these real estate companies, a senior staff of one of these companies called me in confidence and informed me that he just discovered that he’s in serious trouble. He recently discovered that his company paid the Omoniles for less than 24 Plots but had sold more than 400 plots to subscribers. The catastrophe awaiting these innocent subscribers is better imagined.
Fraudulently selling government committed land.
This is very important and is commonplace in with real estate companies as well as Omoniles. Committed lands are government-acquired lands and committed for a particular purpose by the government. Such purposes are roads, markets, schools, hospitals, police stations, barracks, etc. These are the worst kinds of land to buy as the government would demolish anything on the land when it is ready to start such project. It is not uncommon for real estate companies to sell lands proposed for public infrastructure. Some companies sold portions of the land for the 4th Mainland Bridge project and some are already selling portions of land committed for government estates in Ibeju-Lekki.
Giving unreasonable condidions aimed at preventing subscribers from taking possesion of their plots.
This scam is unknown to many subscribers and even the agents who market the estates to innocent subscribers. All real estate companies have conditions for living in their estates. However, some of them give extremely rigorous conditions which the average subscriber can’t meet. The more callous the management of the real estate is, the more ridiculous the contract is.
For instance, one of the most prominent real estate companies in Lagos has a clause in its contracts that after payment for the land, you don’t get allocated your land until you show intention to build. For you to show intention to build, you must provide extra sums which amount to about 150% of the cost of the land, and other funny requirements. The problem is that anyone who buys from such company is going to only have paper to carry about, but not a single grain of sand to show as Land.
Most of these mushroom companies are run by profiteers who have no professional certification in real estate. They are only out to collect as much money as possible from innocent Nigerians before moving on to the next victim. Unfortunately, since these corporate quacks have no professional body regulating them, they have no professional sanctions handed them as a result of their fraudulent mix of crimes.
Don’t be deceived by their glamorous packaging, it’s all a smokescreen to make innocent Nigerians fall for their scams.