Investing in lands and properties are one of the lucrative ventures in Ghana. Notwithstanding the benefits of acquiring lands and properties in Ghana, it has its own challenges. Due to uncertainty in land ownership system in Ghana acquiring a land which is clean, free from litigation and other encumbrances, can be very daunting.
It is therefore imperative that the prospective buyer or investor undertake proper due diligent to minimize the risk of entering into fraudulent transaction.
CHECK IDENTITY AND THE CREDIBILITY OF THE SELLER
The first crucial point in land purchase is to check the identity and the credibility of the seller. Ascertaining the identity of the seller will ensure that you are dealing with the right person. You can do so by inspecting and making copies of the person Identity card (ID). The ID card presented must be one of the recognized national ID cards. If the seller is a corporate body ensure that the business is duly registered under relevant laws of Ghana. Further investigate their previous property or land transactions. If you are not satisfied with the above, you have to be very cautious in progressing with the transaction.
CHECK THE LEGAL DOCUMENTS COVERING THE LAND
Ensure that the property or land has all the relevant legal documents covering the property. Depending on the nature of land or property, the property or land must have the following documents: Indenture or lease agreement; land title certificate; Building permit; EPA permit etc.
Further it is important that you check the remaining lease of the land or property on the land title document or the assignment. The size of the land should be discussed and it should also correspond with the actual size on the ground.
SEARCHES AT THE LANDS COMMISSION
After examining the documents covering the land or property, the next step is to conduct searches of the land or property at the Lands Commission in Ghana. Lands commission is relevant department in Ghana that undertakes registration of land transactions in Ghana. A search at the Lands Commission will provide details of the land or property you intend to acquire. The information provided should correspond with the documents or details provided to you by the seller.
Searches at the Lands commission are done with the site plan of the property or land. It is always prudent that you instruct your own surveyor to prepare your own the site plan for the search. Fraudsters can easily provide you with a site plan or documents that does not relate to the property or land you intend to buy.
SEARCHES AT COLLATERAL REGISTRY
Another important institution to conduct search is the Collateral Registry. The department registers all collateral transactions in respect of any land or property. Searches at this registry will inform the prospective buyer whether the property has been used for collateral for a loan transaction.
SEARCHES AT THE COURT TO ASCERTAIN PENDING LITIGATION
You have to satisfy yourself that the land is not subject to any form of litigation. Therefore it is important that searches are conducted at the law court to ascertain whether or not the property is subject to any litigation.
SEARCHES AT THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
Transactions on the grounds always moves faster than the transactions at the lands commission, the collateral registering and other relevant authorities. In that regards, it is always important that searches are conducted on the grounds, that's the Neighbourhood.
It can be done by assessing the property, interviewing some of the neighbours and observing the neighbourhood and its environs.
CONTRACT OF SALE
Once you are satisfied that the property is clean and free from any encumbrances; you are dealing with the right person and the property has all the relevant document covering it, the next step is to prepare an agreement covering the transaction. The agreement should capture all the terms agreed by the parties.
CONSENT FROM SPOUSE
It is required by law that spousal consent is required in respect of the transactions covering the disposal of marital property. Therefore you have to investigate and ensure that the required consent has been sought before entering into any transaction in respect of a marital property. Failure to seek the necessary consent may make the transaction null and void.
PREPARATION OF TRANSFER DOCUMENT OR ASSIGNMENT
Properties in Ghana are transferred from one party to the other through a document called an assignment or a sublease. This document contains the site plan of the property, the lease duration, covenants and other terms. Upon preparation of the document and the subsequent signing of it, the property is deemed to have been legally transferred from the seller to the buyer.
It is important that the buyer collects all the previous documents covering the land from the seller. Those documents will be required to assist you with the registration of the property or land.
REGISTRATION OF THE ASSIGNMENT OR SUBLEASE
That final stage is register the Assignment or Sublease at the lands Commission. If the registration is done in the Greater Accra of Ghana, the purchaser will be issued with a land title certificate.
Note that the above are useful guide in purchasing land/property in Ghana. However, some of the transactions may differ depending on the nature of the property or the transaction. It is therefore advisable that you consult an expert in land transactions or a qualified lawyer to assist you with the land transaction.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.