Discuss your plan with close and trusted friends and colleagues whose advice and judgment you can respect and value. Discuss with land agents to get an overview about land and buildings within their areas of operations.
They can also use their network of contacts to help out. But verify whatever information you receive from land agents. This is very important because most of them are only interested in the commission they stand to get and not your satisfaction.
Builders and labourers at building sites can also give useful information as regards land, buildings, location or area. As usual, verify whatever information you receive.
Older statesmen and women who own lands and buildings can also be a source of invaluable advice in this regards. Good references could be obtained from persons who have had transactions in recent times within the area you have interest.
People living close to the land or building in most cases know the true owners and may be willing to give some useful information. For instance, there was this piece of land an agent introduced to me. It was in a good location and we discussed and concluded with the land owner. However, since I have learnt to make my own independent investigation, I went out before the day we agreed to effect payment. I talked to a lady running a shop in the next building to the land. Surprisingly, the land had been bought by her brother. She gave me the name and address of the man which I confirmed. Thereafter I withdrew from that transaction.
In another development, when another agent took me to a piece of land, also in a good location, negotiations were sealed and a date fixed for payment. As usual, 1 sent a friend to ask man living in that neighbourhood. The man told us that he had to pay for his own land three times before he eventually took possession. Based on that information, I did not continue with that transaction, since I did not even have enough money to pay for the land how much more having to pay for it three times over. In another transaction, a colleague was offered a plot of land which he liked but through asking questions, we discovered that the particular land had earlier been told to someone residing in the USA.
BENEFITS OF ASKING QUESTIONS
“He who asks questions cannot avoid the answer” – A Cameroon Proverb
- One would be able to know the price- range for a parcel of land within the area of interest.
- The credibility of the proposed vendors could also be ascertained.
- The peculiarities of the area of location would also be known. For instance, there are areas where all the land has been sold out completely but the original land owners popularly known as Omoniles’ would always try to resell such parcels of land to unsuspecting land purchasers.
Information about how these over bearing and demanding ‘omoniles’ or family members could be handled would also be obtained at this stage.
Information about the availability of infrastructures could also be obtained (Little importance should be attached to this since there is always the possibility of the place developing in the near future).
Information about the true land/building owners could also be obtained. Experience has shown that some parcels of land are owned by the individuals, families, communities or may be even under government acquisition (see chapter 4 for more on this).
Armed with this bundle of information, you are now ready to move into the next step.