USEFUL TIPS TO ACQUIRING LAND IN GHANA
Land in Ghana is grouped into four main classes:
- Family or Private land
- Stool or Customary land
- Vested land
- Government land
Due to how these four categories are owned and dispensed, they are classified under two main wings:
Family or Private Land:
These lands are open to be privately owned by individual or families. To acquire them, you need to visit the
particular family or stool that owns the land and buy it. These are customary lands where the chiefs who own
the property are the ones responsible for giving out the land to prospective buyers.
Vested /Government Land:
This is land owned by the government i.e. power has been vested in the government to be in charge of dispensing
or allotting the land. To get this property an application must be submitted to the Executive Secretary of the Ghana
Lands Commission or the Regional Lands Officer conditional on where the land is located.
Each category has its own technicalities and challenges of acquisition, therefore classified website Donkomi.com.gh or simply Donkomi is
here to share industry best practices to securing land:
Perform Due Diligence
Before acquiring a plot of land, there is the need for basic checks and enquiries. According to the Ghana Lands Commission,
there is no standard procedure to acquiring land in Ghana. This increases the risk of buying litigated land. Should this happen,
the next course of action is court action which can take years. You can never be too sure who is a fraudulent dealer and who
is not. The best advice to securing a land is to deal directly with a lawyer or real estate agent who have clear cadastre of the
land you are interested in. If you believe this is expensive make sure whoever is selling the land to you has the needed paperwork,
documentations and agency stamps. Take steps to ensure that you are convinced without doubt of the dealer. Be careful of land
merchants who insist on a cadastral payment plan.
Perform A Search
After undertaking your background check and you are convinced of the dealer (whether of vested land or stool/family land), there
is the need for a double countercheck with the Ghana Lands Commission to ascertain whether the land legitimately belongs to
that group or individual. At a minimum, this process takes two weeks to establish true ownership of the land. Looking at the
period of time a legal process may take, this is worth the wait.
Obtain the Site Plan from The Agent or Dealer
The next step after identifying the land you wish to acquire is to plan a meeting in an open safe location with the agent to discuss
further paperwork. Demand politely to see the site and cadastral plan of the land drafted by a licensed/certified surveyor.
This plan indicates the exact location and geographical coordinates of the portion of land. It also helps avert disputes over
ownership or litigation with land guards. Licensed Cadastral Plans always have a copy registered in the archives of the Ghana
Lands Commission Office. This gives you the legal and necessary paperwork to prove your ownership of the land. Registered
land would not be sold to another and should it be, the one with the registered documents would win the case in court.
Engage the Services of a Licensed Surveyor
The site or cadastral plan is a strong indication that the land available is yours although it is not a guarantee. To reduce the
risk of disputes, hire an independent licensed surveyor to cross-check the land against the site plan.
Lands in Ghana Are Sold by means of Leasehold
Properties sold by leasehold mean ownership is for a limited period of time. The maximum ownership duration for foreigners
or expatriates in Ghana, is fifty (50) years while for Ghanaians, is ninety-nine (99) years. As a prospective buyer, it is necessary
to note that buying or owning land in Ghana can only be on a lease-hold agreement and not a freehold one.
A freehold agreement means owning land, property or an estate for life.
Purchase and Transfer Agreement
The paperwork is not over yet. Before any funds are transferred ensure that you draft and sign a purchase and transfer agreement
between you and the land agent. It is beneficial to seek legal professionals to help you draft this document.
The document is binding on both parties and is a protection of your interests.
Register with Ghana Lands Commission
The last leg of securing your land is to ensure you inform the Ghana Lands Commission about the purchase. Thereafter apply for
transfer of ownership and registration of the land or property. After your application, you would be awarded with a land title
certificate and cadastral plan from the Ghana Lands Commission.