4 WAYS TO SPOT A FAKE REAL ESTATE COMPANY
The desire to acquire decent and affordable housing has lured a lot of Nigerians into temptations that at times cost them their life fortunes. Nigerians are therefore prone to the activities of these fake estate developers, agents, and companies who do not stop at anything to swindle their victims.
However, most people are swindled because they fail to look before they leap. Those who look are bound to find some facts that could confirm the authenticity of the estate developers who would give you accommodation. Some of the ways of identifying genuine estate developers as enumerated by some analysts include:
1.Document verification and authentication
The moment you resolve to buy a property, the first thing is to hire a reliable lawyer to oversee the property documentation and verification. The lawyer would do the verification to ascertain the legitimacy and authenticity of the real estate agency. There are a lot of required documents to be ascertained and verified before payment. Hiring a lawyer could be an added cost but, in the end, it serves the purpose.
You can as well handle the property verification by visiting the Abuja Geographical Information Systems (AGIS) or Alausa Land Registry Lagos or the various state land registry departments to verify the property location. You can discuss with the agent on a special service for property verification. Of course, a genuine real estate agent would never associate himself with properties and transactions tainted with fraud or dispute, therefore he must have verified the property/transaction himself. To be more satisfied and secured, you must not rely on the agent’s property verification; you must do the verification yourself, your lawyer, or chartered secretary.
2.Company registration and official website
Asides from having a company name, every genuine and qualified estate agent must be registered with the Nigeria CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) with a brand name. There must be a registered company/brand name with a verified company registration Number. Do not deal with individuals by preference.
All genuine real estate firms are happy to publish and provide you with their registration numbers at any given time. The registration number is always found on the company’s profile (About Us) on their official websites. Of course, you can request the company’s registration number. Every genuine and qualified company must provide you with its official registration number upon request. You can verify the company’s Reg. Number by visiting the CAC office in Abuja. You can also hire a trusted lawyer or chartered secretary to do the verification. All these must be done before payment.
A genuine real estate agent must be registered and recognized by at least one of the Nigeria estate boards – Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Estate Surveyors, and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON), among others. Most genuine real estate agents are often interested in advertising and publishing their brand names and websites.
All related communications must be conveyed through the company’s registered communication points. Ensure that your email communication is being conveyed through the company/brand name. For instance, firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not communicate/send and receive emails from any agent using a free email account such as Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc. Insist on using his/her company’s email account. It could be, email@example.com when his name is Adewale Okafor and not firstname.lastname@example.org when his name is Adewale Okafor.
The email address must quote exactly the company/brand name and website. Every genuine and qualified real estate firm must operate with an active official phone number (landline/table phone). You can verify this from their official website. Please be wary of real estate agents operating with only mobile phones.
There must be an official contact phone (landline/table phone) and not a mobile phone. You must try to differentiate between the two. Most fake agents operate with only mobile phones, which easily enhances their illicit acts. Although there could be personal/private contact numbers between the workers, ensure you initiate first phone communication through the company’s office phone (landline/table phone set).
Most fake agents do not have a standard and conducive office. Ensure that you engage most of your related communications in the company’s office. Avoid meeting with an agent in a restaurant and fun places. Request for the showing of the property afterward. All related communications and transactions must be done in the supposed agent’s office. Ensure that you are at the right office and not in a connived environment. Ensure that the office address you visited is the same as the address listed on their official website.
A genuine and qualified real estate agent does not incorporate or attach his career to a different profession. For example, some offices placed on the website or advertised in a magazine might finally turn out to be another thing altogether. A genuine and qualified real estate agent stands out firmly and cannot operate under any other office. Although some lawyers do engage themselves in estate management, the genuine real estate agent can deliver a satisfactory service and information about estate management.
The lawyer has some specific services to render in estate transactions.