There are a number of crucial documents to know when dealing in land transaction ;

  • Receipt
  • Approved survey plan
  • Approved layout
  • Power of Attorney
  • Deed of assignment
  • Certificate of Occupancy ( C of O)I would categorize the people from which you can buy any parcel of land into three: An estate developer, an individual & directly from the family who claims to own the land.

If you are dealing with an estate developer (buying within an estate), you should ask for the approved survey plan, approved layout, the power of attorney and the global C of O.
If you are buying from an individual or company (one who has bought and wishes to resell), you should ask for the receipt, deed of assignment, approved survey plan and C of O.

Buying directly from the family who claims to own the land is quite tricky. This is because it is difficult to determine the true owners of the land especially when the documents showing ownership haven’t been processed.
Where the documents haven’t been processed, there are no documents to show authenticity and a prospective buyer has to really a great deal on word of mouth from the members of the community to ascertain the true owner(s) of the land in question.
When the documents have been processed, they should provide you with the approved survey plan, approved layout (where the land is a large one and is being sold on a per plot basis) and the C of O.
From my experience, families usually don’t go to the length of processing their C of O. Reason being that they hope to sell off their land in the near future thus only do the absolute minimum required to show authenticity, in this case the approved survey plan and layout, then passing it on to the buyer who would go on to perfect his/her title on the land.

NOTE: It is very important that you have a good property lawyer before embarking on land/property purchase. Reason being that your lawyer is the one who ensures that you don’t run into legal trouble with land/property documents after purchase. It’s your lawyer’s job to verify the authenticity of any title document backing the land/property.