It’s no debate that real estate investment is one of the safest and most assured investments anywhere in the world, with high potential for profit at minimalistic risks. Little wonder Louis Glickman muted that “the best investment on earth is earth”.

Nevertheless, there has over the years been a repetitive cycle of people losing their hard-earned monies in their sincere attempts at investing in real estate. And this is not peculiar to Nigeria, although the causative factors are often different.

More often than not, most attempting investors in real estate in Nigeria lose their monies to fraudulent transactions which could have been easily avoided if they knew the right approach and how to engage it. Today’s real estate market in Nigeria is replete with mouth-watering offers, some outrageous and unrealistic, and these sometimes make some gullible people fall prey. Real estate is not for the gullible, greedy or ignorant. It is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Investing in properties is a long-term investment and requires understanding of basic requirements, market dynamics and regulatory injunctions.

Furthermore, it is not unlikely to hear of cases where one property was sold to more than one buyer. It is also not unheard of that government agencies demolish ongoing or fully constructed structures for breach of regulatory provisions. And in all these cases someone or some persons are losing money. Again, real estate investment is not for the “blind”. You must have eyes that see. However, the eyes mustn’t necessarily be yours; you may “borrow” eyes when investing.

Robert Kiyosaki once asserted that his real estate agent and his property lawyer are among his closest allies and he takes pleasure in paying them handsomely because they help him make money. You may know that Kiyosaki is a diehard investor in American real estate—and a proponent of smart real estate investing. Therefore, it is wisdom to acquire a quality lawyer and a quality real estate agent when considering investing in real estate.

A good agent recommends properties in good locations for you to invest in whilst a good lawyer makes sure you invest smartly and safely. The job of a lawyer in such situation include, but not limited to, investigating the company or person(s) offering the property and the validity of their title documents and construction approvals from appropriate authorities, confirming regulatory provisions for the location where the property is sited, mediating the negotiation process, drafting all necessary agreement documents, and of course standing in for you in the event that something goes wrong later.

Most people are averse to involving lawyers because they are averse to paying the legal fee. This could be detrimental to you. Think of it thus: if lawyers are meant to remedy damages, wouldn’t they do better off at preventing the damage in the first place? Remember, prevention is always better than cure.

Whether you’re buying a primary residence or investing large scale, whether buying from a company or an individual, whether buying off-plan or built-up, always involve your lawyer from start. Don’t buy real estate with blind eyes.

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