Make sure your agreement to buy land is in writing

Generally speaking, contracts can be made quite informally and orally. But contracts for sale of land or sale of an interest in land must be evidenced in writing. The objective of this is to prevent fraudulent claims based on false evidence. Why is this important for you living in the diaspora? Many times, you may come home for a few weeks after months or even many years away. In that time your schedule is jam-packed with visits to relatives, attending to family matters, following up on some business issues and even buying a piece of property. When time is so limited it may be tempting to let money exchange hands without any evidence that a property transaction has taken place, especially if the seller has been introduced by a trusted family member or friend.

But, how will your rights be protected if there is no evidence of the land transaction? Hence the requirement for there to be written evidence of the sale of land. Interestingly, the agreement to sell land in and of itself need not be in writing. A note or memorandum of it is sufficient evidence that the parties agreed to the sale of land. The note or the memo doesn’t even have to be in any special form provided that it contains all the material terms of the contract such as names of the parties (including some form of adequate identification of the parties), the description of the subject matter and the nature of the payment. So even letters can constitute the contract or written evidence of the sale of land, as can several documents when read together.

Although any type of rudimentary note or writing can be evidence of an agreement to sell land, it is a huge advantage to you to have a contract that is properly prepared and spells out all the terms of the purchase. This will clearly outline each party’s obligations and even include certain milestones that have to be met. This provides a ‘road map’ of the transaction, letting you know where you are in the process and what other steps need to be taken in order for you to be the legal owner of the land. At Diaspora Connect we put you in touch with legal professionals that ensure that any property you buy has the backing of a legally recognised contract that protects you. Contact us today for more information on how you can buy property back home in a safe and reliable way.

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