How to Investigate a Landed Property in Nigeria

8 Ultimate Ways on How to Investigate a Landed Property in Nigeria

Buying land in Nigeria sometimes come with a lot of headache, fear and frustration. Many people do not know how to investigate a landed property in Nigeria, and if you yourself do not learn how this works, you may be a victim of;

  • Land Grabbers.
  • Property Litigations.
  • Compulsory Acquisition by the Government.
  • Demolition.
  • Do Not Construct Order.
  • Illegal Construction.
  • etc.

If you have the right property knowledge, you can carry out proper due diligence and ask the right question from your real estate broker or the family intending to sell the land or building to you. By doing this, you are already in the process of being an expert on how to investigate a landed property in Nigeria

To safeguard yourself from a property-related dispute, please seek the right knowledge or work alongside an expert in the field, and reduce your risk of being a victim of property fraud.

Carrying out proper due diligence will prevent you from losing your hard-earned investment.

Of course, I don’t need to tell you that carrying out due diligence is important before paying for a property, but I am confident that the reason why you are not doing due diligence is that you do not know how to do it professionally or probably because you do not have the right property advisor/consultant who could guide you through.

How to Investigate a Landed Property in Nigeria

This article is at your disposal to guide you through the approaches/places to carry out proper real estate due diligence before sending your money to acquire that property you are about to close.

I know you are curious to know how to do it professionally, never worry! I will explain everything to you in these order;

  1. Land Registry
  2. Probate Registry
  3. Surveyor General Office
  4. Local Planning Authority Office
  5. Corporate Affairs Commission
  6. Enquiry from the Community
  7. Physical/on-site inspection
  8. Google Search

As earlier noted, if you have the right real estate knowledge, you can save yourself a fortune in property deals. The right knowledge can guide you through picking the best property deals, help you watch out for potential red flags and property-related fraud before finalizing the transaction.

Investigating a Property through the Land Registry

Land Registry

In every State of Nigeria, the land registry is the first and most important place where you can easily search for a property. Searching or investigating property status through the land registry will reveal the important information that lets you know the situation of the property you are looking to buy.

Please check through your State Government’s Secretariat and ask for the Land Registry or the Ministry of Land.

Information that will be revealed by the Land Registry/Ministry of Land will include;

  • Description of the Property.
  • The Details of the Registered Transfer, Sale, Leases etc
  • Any Encumbrances on the Property such as Mortgages, Pledge
  • Status of Government Acquisition
  • Any Court Judgement

Please Note: 

The State’s Land Registry keeps a record of transactions to the land which has been brought to the knowledge of the state through the process of registration. They have a database of every land transaction registered under them.

When to use a Probate Registry


Probate Registry


A Probate Registry is a public record of wills and estates. You can find out if the deceased person has made a will, and if so, what it says. The registry is maintained by the Ministry of Justice in Nigeria. You can always find the Probate Registry in Every State of the Federation.

The purpose of going through the probate registry for property due diligence is to investigate the status of the property of a dead person. For example, if you are buying a property where the owner of the property is late, all you need to check from the probate registry and find out if there is a Will for the property.

Anytime they tell you that the owner of a registered title document is late, and he wrote a Will as per the property in question, always insist on the need for a probate search. This would verify the authenticity of facts as regard probate grants or letters of administration covering such property.

Please Note:

In general, you should not rely only on a probate registry to investigate the status of a dead man’s property, you should always do your search for any registered title document that you need to track down, investigation via the community is also good, and a basic google/social media search can also help out.

Approaching the Surveyor General Office


Surveyor General

If you are buying a property that does not have a registered Title Document in Nigeria, and you are interested in knowing the position of the government on the land, the best thing to do is to visit the Office of the Surveyor-General of the State where you are located. Tell them at the office of the Surveyor-General that you need a Land Information Certificate (LIC), for a certain land you wanted to buy.

Land Information Certificate will inform you about the status of the land – free, excised, acquired or committed – Residential, commercial, industrial or agricultural.


Checking through the Local Planning Authority Office

Local Planning Authority Office

You cannot construct an industry in a residential area and expect the local planning authority to approve it. An Industrial Property within a residential neighbourhood will pollute the living standard in the neighbourhood. It is important to always seek adequate information before planning any real estate development project in Nigeria.

If you have a pre-determined development intention in Nigeria, the first thing you need to do is to seek professional advice from your real estate advisor or development consultant, this approach will help you secure planning information as what to build, the requirements for building approval, how to build and conditions to build.

Adequate information on properties before purchase should be a prerequisite for embarking on any construction in Nigeria.

The local planning authority is the public authority whose duty is to carry out specific planning functions for a particular area. You should always approach the local planning authority to investigate land-use zoning and planning standards before buying land in Nigeria.

Using the Corporate Affairs Commission


Corporate Affairs Commission

In a situation where the past owners of the property is a company incorporated under the companies and allied matters Act. The Corporate Affairs Commission will help to reveal the Company’s or Organization’s trustees or if the company is registered and also get to know if it can carry out the transaction.

Never forget to use the Corporate Affairs Commission when investigating the status of a property owned by a Corporate Entity in Nigeria.

Enquiry from the Community

Enquiry from the Community

Always try to meet the principal members of the family land or community and the head of the community where you want to buy the land, especially those that are directly in charge of the property you want to buy. This will reveal whether the land is subjected to any family or legal dispute or not. This will also help you affirm that all the important consents of the land are available.

Physical/on-site Inspection


Physical/on-site inspection

Always conduct a physical inspection yourself, take photos and videos of the site, and show it to your closest associate or consultant before concluding the deal. It is of utmost importance that you check the property for yourself or via your representative before finalizing the transaction.

Should in case you cannot check the property by yourself as a result of staying outside the country or in a position of not being chanced, then you need to get someone trusted or a reputable consultant that would help check out the location and give you feedback on how good the place it.

Carry out Google Search

Google Search

The Internet is often the first place many people go when they need to do general research about something not clear to them, you can also use this same internet to investigate people, a community or learn more about the place where you want to buy a property.

Who knows if someone has reported something about the neighbourhood or the property online? that’s why you should never forget to google it.

Google Search Engine is akin to a traditional library, within millions of domain names indexed by google, you will find pieces of information you can use for your due diligence.

Within Google, there is a vast collection of information about somebody, neighbourhood or people you want to learn/investigate.

Take Note:

Generally, the Internet is a research tool, always utilize the Internet as a helpful starting point for your real estate due diligence.

Learning Review

Due to the complex nature of property fraud in Nigeria, It is always good to seek expert advice before concluding any real estate deal. Make sure you conduct proper real estate due diligence before closing the deal, you can do it either by yourself or through your reputable real estate consultant.

Whatever the approach you adopt, never forget to carry out your real estate due diligence around these sequences;

  • Land Registry
  • Probate Registry
  • Surveyor General Office
  • Local Planning Authority Office
  • Corporate Affairs Commission
  • Enquiry from the Community
  • Physical/on-site inspection
  • Google Search


The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Always do your research and consult the right experts before you take any real estate advice.


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I am Bolaji Afolabi. I created to teach you about real estate and tech-based business opportunities. I work as a full-time partner at Globalclique, a Real Estate + Technology Consulting Company. I am also a CIO at Ibugbe and Partners, a Real Estate Marketing and Development Consulting Firm in Lagos, Nigeria.

Post Note:

Should you need any real estate marketing support or development advice, we’re here and happy to help;  Ibugbe and Partners, a Real Estate Marketing and Development Consulting Firm in Lagos, Nigeria.

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Bolaji Afolabi
Bolaji Afolabi
I am Bolaji Afolabi, I am a Partner at Globalclique, we provide Real Estate Technologies, HR/Talent Acquisition/Outsourcing Support and E-Business Solutions. We are a multi–disciplinary Solution Provider.

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