Due Diligence refers to a measure of prudence that is undertaken as an investigation of a business, person, property or project before a decision is made. In the world of realty, basic steps ought to be taken prior to parting with money or other interest to ensure no harm (that transactions relating to properties are water tight) is done to others in relation to property.
Areas of Due Diligence
- Review Seller/Owner’s Document
- Survey Plan
- Deed of Assignment and any other relevant document
- Evidence of other statutory rates relating to the property
Check for Taxes and other fees- Check for the payment of land use charge such as ground rent, tenement rates. Any land with C of O attracts these charges on an annual basis. If the seller/owner refused to pay this charge it will accumulate and would be inherited by the buyer. You need to confirm this before making payment.
Physical Inspection- After verifying the authenticity of the documents, it is important that you see for yourself the land in question. You need to engage the services of an independent surveyor to confirm the size of the land to find out if it is the same with what is in the documents. Also confirm the following:
- Proximity to the highway: There is government regulation as to the measure of setback from the road to properties. This is necessary to forestall loosing part of the property to road expansion. Confirm to discover these because sometimes in the future road enlargement could mess up your property.
- Power-line route:Check the distance between the land and power-line route because there are specific guidelines as to the how close a property should be to power-lines. Apart from regulations it is dangerous to build under a power line route. You might want to find this out before paying for the land. It could mean demolition in future.
- Oil and gas route:Check the proximity of the land to an oil and gas pipeline so as not to contravene the law against closeness to one of these. It is safe to maintain your distance.
- Waterways:ensure the land is not located on or dangerously close to a waterway or major drainage because of governmental regulation and flooding.
Prospective Buyers should not stop at doing personal investigation particularly if you’re not a professional. Engage one; such as Lawyer, Surveyor et al.
Assess the land further to discover its price in relation to others in the surrounding. Ask the owner of a similar land near you to discover if it is within the same price range or outrageously above. In real estate location of a property or land is a determining factor in the price.
Inquire about the supposed owner of the land from neighbours in that area to be sure they own the property.
Conduct a Legal search: The need to conduct search at the relevant land registry cannot be over emphasized. This will afford you the opportunity of confirming the current status of the property .i.e. the true owner of the property, whether it is encumbered, whether the owner has transferred interest in the property to a third party, outstanding statutory fees etc.