Buying land in Ghana is serious business. This may not be new to you. But often land buyers fall victim to fraud, scams or litigation lands. This is because of several reasons. However, the most important is to do what is within your power to reduce the possibility of falling victim. The 5 things which are the main focus of this article will help you to spot potential frauds, avoid litigation and buy land without too much hassle.
Buying land is a lifetime investment that should be done right the first time. Failing to do so may leave you in financial devastation that most people will need another long period to save up again. The Ghana market could be misinformative at times. Here are a few things you should watch out for.
5 Things You Should Do Before Buying Land In Ghana
1. Physically Assess the Piece of Land
The land is a physical property so it makes sense to physically inspect your potential land before making further commitments. Without seeing the land itself, you are liable to be fed false information about the land.
Locations come in different features, soil type, susceptibility to flood, etc. Visiting the location serves as a great opportunity to experience first hand what it will be like to stay there.
Another important reason for visiting the land is to make contact with others already in the area. In most cases, they will have valuable information about the seller and the land. If someone has already been brought to view the land you may get to know.
Make it a point to visit the location more than once before any further commitments especially before payments.
Be sure to let the landowner show you the dimensions of the piece of land and the boundary indicators. Boundary indicators are often in the form of pillars or land markings. Take note of numbers associated with the land if the area has already been prepared by a surveyor with all necessary markings.
2. Do an Official Search
One of the very first steps to take before considering purchasing the land is an official check at the Lands Commission of Ghana.
Sometimes land purchasers get ahead of themselves. They do this by making as much as time and financial commitments into a land that which they do not know who owns the land.
Each landowner has what is called the cadastral plan. The site plan and an indenture are also useful in conducting the search at the lands commission.
With the above-mentioned documents, you will be able to confirm if the land is indeed owned by the person posing as the seller. You can also confirm if the land you visited earlier is the same land to which the document belongs to.
3. Have Your Surveyor Do a Check
The search will often be able to confirm the location but not the exact location of the land. It will as be able to give you the registered owner of the land.
It is, therefore, a very good idea to have your own surveyor do a second check. The first is done by the seller’s surveyor when the indenture was being drawn.
When you buy it, a new indenture will be drawn hence the need to confirm the details so that you can confirm it is the same details that reflect on your own indenture when the time comes.
Your surveyor will be able to ascertain the coordinates of the land. Equipped with this information it is time to actively consider buying this piece of land.
4. Negotiate to Pay In Installments
Ideally, aim to get an instalment deal. This is because that option is flexible and you can start putting some works in place on the land.
Being able to put some work on the land is a great way to really be sure if there aren’t other owners of the land.
For instance, clearing the land and putting some pillars will surely alarm any other owners.
This will save you further financial commitments since if there is another owner, the person will surely bring the issue into a discussion.
Even if you do not plan to build anytime soon, be sure to do something that physically shows new ownership by doing something as the example given above.
At this stage, you will have your own indenture duly signed by you, the seller and witnesses from both parties. Make sure to collect and store receipts of payments.
The fully signed documents will then be taken to the court for endorsement. Without a court endorsement, the document won’t be acceptable at the lands commission for registration.
5. Register the Land and Keep all Documents
Registering land in Ghana takes a number of steps to complete. And this may be overwhelming both on your time, energy and money.
Do well to register the land as soon as possible as you have the documents needed to do so such as signed indentures.
It helps to call up the lands commission official numbers to find out the process. This will save you from people looking to deceive people who are not well informed.
This will also save you the time and money used in moving from one place to another trying to find out what you need to do.
Be careful and wary of people who say they can help fast track the process.
The seller will have to sign along with you and your witnesses the indenture which was prepared by a licensed surveyor.
In all, registering the land will make sure that your name appears in official databases that you are the rightful owner of this and this land as earmarked by the coordinates and site plans initially received from the previous owner.
As the good old quote says, better safe than sorry. The Ghanaian system has its own problems and challenges. While policies and structures are being put in place to reduce the challenges associated with the land tenure laws and systems, you as the land buyer must do the due diligence necessary to secure the safety of your investment. Be sure to make little commitments especially financially until you have conducted the search and had your own surveyor confirm the details of what you are buying.