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Choosing suitable estate scheme

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Maduka Nweke

In recent years, choosing a suitable estate scheme has become a very big source of concern to many Nigerian investors.

A lot of prospective investors in the housing business are most often confused on which estate model to invest. In fact, at times, the bigger problem lies in the fact that investors won’t agree to hire reputable consultants to educate them on the right estate model that would yield them good dividend. Those who acquire lands to develop an estate may get angry if a developer suggests something different from what they have in mind.

However, like in all other business pursuit, it is important to have a full grasp or understanding of the various estate schemes that abound in the country in order to derive maximum benefit from such an investment.

Below are some of the housing estate schemes in Nigeria which should serve as guide for persons contemplating of acquiring a land for the purpose of building an estate.

Family estate

The most popular type of estate scheme being built in Nigeria today is the family estate. It refers to those large expanse of lands owned by an individual who however decides to transfer it to the family members. Portions of this family land being shared to each group of family members is thereafter named after such group of family members and afterwards sold to the general populace. What anybody buying this type of residential estate housing scheme gets from the family land owners is a receipt of purchase and in some cases, an agreement of transfer of their interest in the estate to the purchaser but this must be with the consent of the head of that family.

The problem with this type of scheme is that majority of the family residential estate schemes in Nigeria are not well planned and this has adverse effect on the arrangement and patterns of land and/or landed properties being developed  in family estate scheme. The provision and management of infrastructural amenities is most times embarked upon by the community development association (CDA) of landlords residing inside the family residential estate schemes, which makes the level of infrastructural development very slow and stagnant.

Public estate

Public estate residential schemes, as the name implies, are those types of residential housing estate schemes being developed and constructed by government (state and federal) for the masses, mostly low-income earners, and generality of the populace without any restrictions to who can acquire them. Public estate schemes are of two types, namely, Site and Service residential estate schemes and Built-up residential housing estate schemes.

Site and Service residential public estate schemes are those types of public estate schemes where government (state and federal) acquire large expanse of land for the purpose of dividing it into lots/units/plots to be allocated and sold to all those willing and interested in acquiring land for accommodation purpose.

Also in the site and service residential public estate scheme, what government sells and allocates is the large expanse of bare land that has been surveyed and divided into different lots/units/plots to the masses who applied to government for such estate scheme.

Examples of site and service public estate schemes in Nigeria are Isheri-North residential estate scheme, Abijo residential estate scheme, Banana Island estate, Ayobo residential housing estate, Ikeja GRA, Ogudu GRA, Magodo residential estate phase 1 & 2, Agbara residential estate, Sango-Ota Government Residential Area, among others. It is the sole responsibility of government to make provision for infrastructural amenities (tarred road, drainage system, electrification, potable water) in the estate scheme layout.

Built-up residential housing estate schemes, on the other hand, are those types of public estate schemes where government acquires large expanse of land and thereafter constructs different classes of residential accommodations (duplex, one-bedroom, two-bedroom or three-bedroom apartments), which are later sold to the general public.

Built-up residential public housing estate schemes could be high rise units of flats, detached houses, duplexes or rows bungalow. Unlike the site and service public estate schemes, what government sells to people in built-up residential housing estates are the different classes of residential apartments/structures that have been constructed and sold per units. Examples of built-up public housing estates in Nigeria are the popular Jakande estates found in various parts of Lagos State, Festac Town estate, Millennium estates, MKO Gardens, LSDPC estates, Federal Housing Authority low-cost housing estates found in all states of the federation. The title documents, which government gives to purchasers/applicants of public residential housing estate schemes in Nigeria are Certificate of Occupancy, Deed of Assignment or Conveyance.

Private estate

The expert posits that site and service private residential housing estate schemes are those types of private estate schemes where a property development company acquires large expanse of land and thereafter divides it into lots/units/plots to be sold to the general public. In selling private site and service residential housing estate schemes to the public, the property development company, which is the developer of the estate, makes provision for different payment options when buying the estate, either through one-off direct payment option, instalment payment option, which is to be spread over certain period of time.

Unlike the public residential estates where provision of infrastructural amenities (tarred roads, street lights, potable water, drainage systems) are the sole responsibility of the government, the private residential housing estate schemes is not so as it is the responsibility of the property development company embarking on any site and service private residential estate housing scheme to provide all the various infrastructural amenities in the estate.

Developers of some private residential housing estates stipulate the acceptable building design and structure to be constructed by all interested subscribers of their estates while some permit different designs of residential accommodations in their estates.

Title documents that can be issued to successful subscribers of any of these private estate residential schemes are either Deed of Assignment or Deed of Conveyance. Examples of private estate residential housing schemes are: Victoria Garden City (VGC) estate, Victory estate, Oakwood estate, UAPDC Estates, etc. Subsequent management of the private residential housing estate scheme lies with the property development company who owns the estate.

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