Top 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a House in Lagos



If you are a first-timer, buying a house in Lagos without making mistakes is like trying to fish without getting wet.

You might ask, is the situation that bad? Why do people make mistakes when getting a house in Lagos? 

We will discuss the WHATs and WHYs of these mistakes shortly. However, the truth is that it is not difficult to make mistakes when acquiring a house in Lagos.

In this article, we will discuss some of the recurrent mistakes individuals make when getting a house in Lagos, why they make these mistakes, and how you can avoid making the same.


Mistakes People Make When Buying a House in Lagos

There are several reasons people make mistakes when buying a house in Lagos. 

Although, some of the mistakes are caused by the buyers’ actions or inactions, the sellers or intermediaries involved are responsible in part for others.

This is why smart people buy homes from trusted real estate developers like Victoria Crest Homes, to avoid being scammed or making regrettable property purchases.

Some of the mistakes people make when acquiring properties in Lagos include:


1. Lack of Proper Research/Due Diligence

This is one of the biggest problems that individuals encounter when buying a house in Lagos. 

You must have heard seasoned realtors sing about the importance of due diligence and for the right reason. 

A lot of people have purchased properties in Nigeria without proper research and have been sunk in

  • Ownership tussles in and out of court
  • Structural failure
  • Hidden costs and other financial manipulations
  • Future development and zoning problems

But people still fall prey or make mistakes when acquiring a house in Lagos because they haven’t ticked the correct what, where, and who in the Buy-a-house-in-Lagos Checklist.


Real Estate Due Diligence Checklist

Title and Ownership: Part of doing due diligence is to verify the title and ownership of your prospective house. 

You need to ensure that the “owner” is the real owner. 

You also need to confirm that there is no outstanding lien, mortgage, or legal conflict on the house. 

Those who have failed to do this and have purchased properties with fake titles or false owners, sooner than later find out that the property they bought is the opposite of gifts that keep on giving.


Legal Compliance and Documentation: More than half of due diligence is hinged on cross-checking the legal compliance and necessary documentation for the property you are interested in buying in Lagos.

While it is often advised that you undertake due diligence on your own, it is necessary to involve a legal practitioner to oversee and ensure all the necessary documents are available and authentic.


Financial consideration: You need a full picture that includes not just your financial standing but more importantly, the real worth of the property you’re buying through valuation, financing options, risk assessment, and other implications.


Physical Inspection: This is more important for Nigerians abroad or individuals who buy properties in Lagos remotely. 

There are several cases of individuals abroad sending money to family members or friends to purchase or build properties in Lagos. 

At the end of the day, when they come back to see the purchased or finished house, some pass out in shock.

You need to go to the property location and inspect thoroughly to ensure you’re being given value for your money. To avoid stories that touch the heart or another disappointing case of what I ordered vs What I Got. 

Also Read: 7 Best Places to Live in Lagos Island


2. Complex Legal and Regulatory Environment

The legal labyrinth of buying a house in Nigeria is wired differently. There are different hurdles, from the legal documentation to the handover process.

On top of that is the regulatory environment, which is twice as hectic for those constructing a house from scratch. But generally, this is one of the reasons people make mistakes when buying a house in Lagos. 


3. Pressure to buy Quickly

One reason people make mistakes when buying a house in Lagos is due to the pressure to acquire said property within the shortest possible time.

The pressure could be a result of relocation, getting married, high demand, market speculation, and the FOMO [fear of missing out], or a change in government policy. 

While the roots of this pressure might differ, one thing remains constant: those who make these mistakes often do so because they are either desperate or pressured in some way.


4. Over-Reliance on Agents and Intermediaries

One of the main-stays of real estate in Nigeria—and by extension, Lagos—is agents. The majority of the houses sold in Lagos are brokered by agents and similar middlemen.

But while Lagos is filled with excellent realtors, God help you if you meet one of the bad eggs who is more focused on closing the sales at all cost, than helping you get the best deal.

These are responsible for most of the mistakes people make when buying a house in Lagos.

They do this by showing you limited property options, misrepresenting facts, vouching for problematic properties, or advising you from a place of ignorance.

It is not only agents who do this, but other intermediaries affiliated with the deal. This is why it is important to use credible agents, get expert legal representation, and remember the magic words–due diligence.


5. Inadequate Property Inspection

Unlike the US and the UK, formal home inspection in Nigeria is a budding industry. 

So, most times what passes for home inspection is credible government personnel inspecting your property for zoning and other compliance. Or a realtor without a formal knowledge of the rudiments of home inspection, taking you for a tour around the property.

This is why most people make mistakes when buying a house in Lagos and by extension, Nigeria. When they go for home inspections, the focus is usually on aesthetics and basic functionality rather than a comprehensive analysis of the property. 


6. Trusting Family Members/friends’ Opinion

It is not unusual to see people call off a house-purchase deal or pursue the same based on the opinion of friends and family members. 

This invariably means the opinion of those close to us influences our decision to not buy or buy a house in Lagos.

But this is where most have it wrong. They listen to the opinions of their loved ones and get themselves into sorry real estate deals.

While of course, some of the advice we get from friends and family is stellar. The opinion of your loved ones is not and should not overshadow the opinion of experts.

Buying a house in lagos

7. Emotional Decision-making

It is true that 95% of our buying decisions happen subconsciously. This invariably means that most people buy houses based on their emotions alone. 

The question now is, if almost everyone is doing it, why do only a few people make mistakes during the process of buying a house in Lagos? And how is emotion or emotional buying responsible for said mistakes?


How Does Emotional Buying Affect Buying a Home in Lagos?

Emotional buying makes you

Ignore Red Flags: Like someone getting into a relationship with someone they love, sometimes you overlook the red flags in a property and pay for it simply because you love the property.

Like relationships too, it is when most of these people get into the property that their eyes open up and they see the defects in the property or its documentation.

Some of the red flags in properties include structural issues [cracks, sagging floors or ceilings, and signs of water damage], legal issues [title ownership, boundary dispute, and zoning violations], questionable neighborhoods, and access to amenities.


Make Hasty Decisions: Like the relationship analogy above, being emotionally connected to a property can make you jump into buying without reading the fine print.

You can love a property for the aesthetics or location alone, this can make you buy it hastily without doing due diligence to confirm the structural and literal authenticity of the property.


Have Limited Negotiation Power: When an agent or developer senses your eagerness to purchase a building or sees that you have fallen in love with a property, there is a tendency for the price of the property to automatically go up.

So, in some sense, being emotionally attached to a property can limit your negotiation power.

Also read: How to Invest in Real Estate in Lagos State


What to Look out for When Buying a House in Lagos?


The location should be one of your biggest considerations if you are thinking of buying a house in Lagos. With location comes considerations like proximity to your workplace, kids’ school, healthcare facility, and shopping centers.

Your location also determines the price of property, security, sanitation, flooding, noise, and other pollutants. 


Title and Documentation

This has been overflogged at this point, considering the foregoing. However, I would say it a million times if I had to. It is absolutely important to check the authenticity of the property document to ensure you are buying a legit building. 

Also check to ensure the property aligns with zoning regulations, to avoid the recent wave of demolition that has left many without houses and has cost businesses billions. 


Infrastructure and Accessibility 

There are areas in Lagos you shouldn’t live in if you can afford to, due to the state of the road, traffic, water supply, light, and even internet.

For any and everyone buying a house in Lagos, knowing the state and availability of these infrastructures is a must. Because frankly, you are not only buying the property, you are also paying for these infrastructures that make your house feel like a home.


Property Condition and Quality

This part is definitely non-negotiable.

You don’t want to buy a property that you think is 100% okay and discover later that it has structural, plumbing, or other problems. 

This is why it is important to physically go and see the house before any commitment. Part of the property inspection is ensuring that the property and its fixtures are standard.


Market value and price

Another thing to consider when buying a house in Lagos is the market value and price. Does your dream home fall within your budget? What is the market value of the property? Does the property have a great resale value? What is the price of the property compared to similar properties in the market?

Answering these questions will help you make the best decision when it comes to your house-buying decision.



This is supposed to be part of the infrastructure mentioned above, but due to the flooding that has affected many Lagosians, it deserves a separate mention.

There is a popular saying that the best time to buy a house in Lagos is during the rainy season, and that’s word on marble. During heavy downpours, places in Lagos get flooded and it affects the residents there. 

This is why it is important to confirm that the neighborhood you’re getting a property in has proper drainage to avoid buying a property in a location where you have to sleep with a life jacket.

Popular read: Real Estate Investment Tips for Young Professionals



When it comes to getting a property in Lagos, no one is technically above mistake. But following the directions listed above will help you avoid said mistakes.

If you’re looking to own a house in Lagos Island, click here to get in touch.



What to consider before buying a property in Nigeria

Before buying a property in Nigeria, you have to consider the location, title documentation, price, house type/size, financing options, and payment plan.

Is it better to buy or build a house in Nigeria?

It depends on your budget. If you can afford it, buying a house in Nigeria from a credible developer like Nedcomoaks is a better option. It saves you time and from land scams, supervision stress, documentation issues, and all the other disadvantages of building a house in Lagos.

However, if you are on a budget, building a house in certain undeveloped parts of Nigeria might be cheaper. If you’re intent on building and have the funds, you can also buy a semi-finished house [carcass] and build it to your taste.

How can I sell my house fast in Lagos?

If you want to your house in Lagos fast, 

  • Get a valuation of the house
  • Ensure your documents are in order
  • Take neat photos of the house 
  • Publicize the images through real estate agents and your circle

How much does C of O cost in Lagos?

The cost of C of O in Lagos is not fixed. It is dependent on a lot of factors including location, size of the land, legal fees, etc.

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