How to Protect Yourself from Real Estate Fraud in Nigeria

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Real Estate is a legitimate and sustainable business but as is found in most businesses, people still find ways to corrupt the system and take people’s funds illegally. This is why it is very important for you to learn how to protect yourself from real estate fraudsters and scammers.

Real estate frauds are usually hard to recover from because of the size of funds that are used when investing in real estate. The last thing you want to experience is losing a bulk of your money to real estate scams.

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What is Real Estate Fraud?

Real estate fraud is any range of unethical activities that fraudsters get involved in to rob investors of their money. It usually involves falsifying information to deceive other people during transactions.

There are so many ways through which real estate fraud is carried out. It could be by pretending to be property owners and selling the property to unsuspecting buyers, sometimes multiple buyers without any of these buyers having legal claims to the property.

Fraudsters can also get involved in rental scams, illegally collecting rent fees from first time tenants for a property they have no control over or that does not exist at all.
They can also get involved in selling property with fake documents, selling government acquisitions to buyers, deliberately omitting important information and cyber fraud which happens online.

See also Beginner Tips for Real Estate Investors

Steps to Avoid Real Estate Fraud

You have to be very cautious when carrying out real estate transactions so you do not fall into the hands of these scammers. Here are five steps you should follow to protect yourself from Real Estate Fraud:

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Carry out proper investigation: You should carry out investigation on the real estate agent or whoever you are investing with. You can never go wrong with asking questions. Ask as many questions as possible, this would reveal information that you might not have knowledge of before then. If you notice any irregularities that cannot be straightened out, you should not go on with the transaction.

Avoid rushing through any transaction: Agents who are always trying to rush through the transaction or encourage you to make a down payment for the property are red flags. Same goes for agents who are particular about you paying cash. Do not pay in cash for any transaction as it might not be traceable if any issue arises. Use cheques instead when paying for transactions.
Whether you’re buying or selling, you should not hurry through the process. You are about to make a real estate investment and should take your time to conduct proper analysis.

Conduct Proper Verification of Agents: When working with any agent, you should ask questions that would help you identify if he is genuine or fake. It is best to run checks on the company both online and offline to be double sure. Have physical meetings with the agent and as much as possible avoid online transactions via emails or phone calls. This would protect you from cyber fraud.
At MKH, we have certified real estate agents to guide you through any real estate transaction you want to make.

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Carry out Property Inspection: Before making payment for any house, property or land, be sure to carry out proper inspection so you can see things for yourself and detect any foul play. Agents who do not have access to the property or are reluctant to conduct a property inspection are also a red flag in your transaction. 

Check out Property Inspection Checklist for Nigerians

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Hire a trusted Legal Practitioner: When carrying out real estate transactions it is advisable to get a lawyer that you can vouch for. Lawyers that are knowledgeable about real estate transactions can help you detect any foul play and protect you from scammers. If the seller or agent is unwilling to provide documents in the name of privacy, you should put a hold on that transaction.

This is very essential when buying land in Nigeria. All documents such as the C of O, Deed of assignment, Survey plan and every other necessary document should be made available and properly vetted before carrying on with the transactions. 

Read more on Everything You Should Know about Certificate of Occupancy in Nigeria, 2021

Real Estate Fraud is not just a problem in Nigeria but around the world as well. It can happen to anyone but taking due diligence to do all you have read so far would help you protect yourself. MKH is concerned with creating viable opportunities for you in the real estate sector. We can help you to make the best decisions and investments without losing your money to fraudsters. You can contact us today by clicking here.

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