Things are not looking well for real estate developers and promoters as Nigerians have come to liken them to ponzi scheme promoters.
Our correspondent gathered that the major grouse Nigerians nurse towards real estate promoters is their penchant for painting a glossy picture of cheap and flexible real estate offers, only for them to turn around and bill the client more than the initial sum that was promoted.
Kayode Atiba, who bought a land in Epe area of Lagos, told our correspondent that he spent double the amount that was promoted.
He said: “As soon as I completed payment for the land, they started telling me about other charges like infrastructural development fees that were not included in the initial offer.
“This, in addition to other fees, added up to almost the amount I paid for the land.” Lamenting further, Atiba said: “It is very frustrating because at that stage I had paid for the property, I paid in installment, over a period of 12 months.
“The option of getting back the money has not occurred to me because I know real estate property appreciates and I may not be able to afford outright the going rate for the type of property I bought.” Layomi Udemegwuna, who blogs about property, explained that infrastructural fee is one of the hidden charges in real estate promotion.
“This type of fee is usually paid when buying apartments in newly built apartment complexes and in developing neighborhoods. The fee is used to develop the area’s infrastructure.
“In order to be able to use the modern facilities available, you need to contribute to the creation of the infrastructure,” she explained. She advised prospective buyers to consult the real estate developer to find out if there are any mandatory infrastructural development fees and how much it is, adding: “If there are, ask the developer to include the fee in the final version of the purchase contract so that there are no additional fees and charge.”
Udemegwuna identified other hidden charges as service fee, which she said could be a whole lot of money depending on the size of the property, age, location and other features.
Our correspondent learned that while there are genuine real estate companies who conduct their business by the books, there are also many who rip clients off this way as soon as the client has finished paying for the land. Also, a real estate lawyer and promoter, Ikenna Dike, shedding more light on infrastructural fee, said: “These are fees on the conclusion part of owning property, especially when you buy from estate structured lands.
He said most of the estates had associations and when you build, there is a development fee you are charged as your own contribution to develop the estate and build an earth road or interlocking bricks.
“Some companies, which you bought into their estates, will use that your money to do the earth road and the perimeter fencing that is done to provide security. “If you are buying from Omonile you will pay for all kinds of things.
“Part of the development of the estate involves building drainage and other infrastructure that the estate would need,” he added. Other mandatory fees paid at the conclusion of a property ownership include Deed of Assignment and Survey fee, Dike said. He added that the developer or real estate promoter had a duty to inform the clients about these charges.
“They are by no means hidden, they are statutory fees that have to be paid,” he added. Out of majority of the real estate properties promoted to buyers, some are ceded property and an innocent client could pay for this without knowing, only to have the property demolished by government without any compensation.
Femi Olakunle, who claimed to know the gimmicks played by some real estate promoters, said: “Do your due diligence and be sure it’s void of Omo onile or land grabbers.
“Ensure the terms of conditions, if you’re paying in installments, is well understood. I have seen cases where buyers were asked to pay more over what was agreed abinitio. “Be ready to start off immediately you make payment and demand for all documentations No oral agreement. Have both pictorial and video recordings of your discussions if possible and let them be aware of this.
“Most of them have the police working for them. Land issues are outside police jurisdiction, but they have a way of bringing in the police when they’re willing to defraud you.”
Meanwhile a notice circulating on social media platforms has warned people to be careful about buying land in Pakuro, Mowe or Lotto, adding that the Federal Government wants to build power line and interchange link like the one at Shagamu around the areas listed.
The notice read in part: “And the road will link to Akute and Ikorodu, It will affect the part of RCCG, Deeper Life, Bala house and lots of homes. “Right now people in those areas are selling their lands and houses to those that are not informed. Make research before you venture into property.’’