In Nigeria, it is simple to fall victim to rental scams, particularly in Lagos state where new homes are being built on a regular basis. Lagos State is teeming with real estate agents, therefore it’s important to exercise caution to avoid falling for a rental scam or working with a fraudulent agency.
Here are some tips on how to avoid falling for false real estate agents, how to protect yourself from rental scams, and how to identify real estate fraud from a mile away.
There are some giveaway signs that a real estate transaction is shady, here are 5 tips to watch out for when dealing with any real estate agent in Lagos.
There is no profession that doesn’t require certifications and a Licence. Licences are there to show the entire world that you are trusted and that you know what you are doing. The first thing to ask a real estate agent is their real estate licence to be an agent. Make sure you are dealing with genuine people and professionals. This will save you a lot of headaches in the future. It’s also a plus if they have a company or a verifiable office where you can conduct transactions. So, check their licence.
Pay Into Personal Bank Account
No real estate agent should instruct you to pay money to a lawyer or to his or her own personal account. You must be professional and ensure that you are dealing with someone who has a legitimate company into which you can pay. This will save you a lot of legal battles in the long run because dealing with a company is different from dealing with individuals. Always request to pay into a company account rather than a personal account.
No Certificate of Ownership/ Deed
A clear sign that you are about to be scammed is a lack of documentation. Whatever property you are buying or renting should come with documentation like C of O, Deed, and even purchase receipts for those that are renting properties and shops. Make sure you have proper documentation to back your claim of the property.
When you don’t get clear answers to concerning questions, be careful and double-check that you are doing business with the right person. A verified real estate agent handling the property will know everything there is to know about the property. So, when you start asking questions and you don’t get a clear answer or you get shady replies or even get questions to answer your questions, be careful and get ready to run.
You Know Little/Nothing About Them
You don’t have to know their favourite colour or what they had for breakfast but you should see the agent you are dealing with. Where do they go? Where do they work? Who do they associate with? Do they have other real estate agent friends, who are they? How can you find him if you want to? Ask yourself, if you really know the agent you are dealing with.
How To Avoid It
There are a few ways to avoid it, you can choose to do the hard work yourself or outsource it to professionals that will make the whole process easier for you.
Visit The Property In Person
If you can’t visit it yourself, send a trusted ally to help you scout the property and ask the necessary questions before you make payment.
Contact Trusted Verified Real Estate Agencies To Double-Check
In conclusion, you can avoid real estate scams by working with trusted real estate agents with verified track records of success in Lagos state.