I Want to Buy Land. Should I Buy from a Real Estate Company or from an Omonile?


Now you are ready to buy a land in Nigeria and you couldn’t make a decision whether to buy it from a real estate company or to buy an Omonile land.

In Nigeria of today, especially in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, the rate at which land fraudsters are springing up daily and with new tactics is so alarming. This, in turn, has become a burden on interested buyers, who are afraid of losing their hard-earned money to land fraudsters. This really has brought up some kind of confusion among property buyers as to which one is better to buy from.

This then brings us to the question of the day; is it better to buy an Omonile land or to buy into an estate?

Well, there is no place that we don’t have bad eggs but as an informed real estate consultant, I will try my best to help you make an informed decision that you will not regret at the end of the day.

First of all, let us talk about who Omoniles are and who real estate companies are. I am sure this will help with your property purchase decision.


Omoniles, a Yoruba word meaning ‘one that owns the land’, are supposed to be the indigenous owners of land in a community who have the rights to the land and can sell same to whoever is interested. However, the term ‘Omonile’ has changed to something else.

A lot of hoodlums (which are now popularly knowns as land fraudsters or omoniles) have infiltrated the medium by defrauding unsuspecting prospective land buyers off their hard earned money. They do this by selling the same piece of land to multiple people and selling of government unsuspecting buyers.

Some of them are also an expert in faking land documents just to dupe their buyers. Omoniles are also known for forcefully collecting building fees at the site of construction, from the foundation to the point of roofing.

However, it doesn’t mean that there are no trusted Omoniles out there. In fact, trusted ones still exist and they sell genuine lands too.

Real Estate Companies

Real estate companies or developers are corporate bodies that specialise in real estate development. They buy land from the indigenous families or community leaders, finance it and build projects from start to finish.

Though these real estate companies take huge risks, they make huge profits from the land deals and from developing it into private communities. Also, not all real estate companies are trustworthy.

So, answering this troubling question of which is better between buying a land from real estate companies or Omoniles, I will like to list some of the risks and benefits associated with buying landed properties from either a real estate company or from an Omonile.

Pros of Buying Land from Omoniles

  1. Omoniles are easily seen almost everywhere with land of all sizes and in different locations.
  2. You have the opportunity to deal with the original owner of the land.
  3. You can confirm the status of the land by conducting some searches at the Land Registry.
  4. You can negotiate the price of the land directly with the owner.
  5. Immediately you pay for the land, you can start building without having to wait for any document processing or anyone dictating when to build you.
  6. Omonile’s land comes a bit cheaper if you are a good negotiator.

Cons of Buying Omonile Land

  1. You can’t buy land from Omoniles and go to sleep. You must either start building immediately or at least build a fence around your plot or else you risk losing your land.
  2. If you are buying land from an Omonile, you should note that it is a very risky deal. You should do your own investigate properly to ascertain the true status of the land.
  3. Buying land from an Omoniles might mean you are buying a committed land or someone else’s land. Do your due diligence before making payment.
  4. Some issues are common with Omonile land such as family dispute, court case, reselling of another person’s land, etc. This is why you should conduct your due diligence before buying.
  5. When you buy land from an Omonile, you are the one that will process all land documents necessary for the land.
  6. With Omonile land, you need to pay some unnecessary fees like agency fee, omonile signing fee, legal fee and you pay foundation fee, roofing fee, drainage fee, etc during the course of building.
  7. Most of their agents can be so annoying and hard to work it.
  8. Even if you think you are smart, tough and a no-nonsense person, you can still be defrauded by an Omonile while buying land from them.
  9. With Omoniles, you can not pay for land in instalment or else your money would be gone.
  10. You must be careful and mindful of who you make your land payment to. After payment, another member of the family can come to stop you from building saying the person you paid to is not the right person. They might ask you to pay again or you lose the land.

Pros of Buying Land from Real Estate Companies

  1. Most real estate companies and developers are registered companies.
  2. Buying land from a real estate company means your land will be in a private community with a perimeter fencing so you have no business with outside noise.
  3. Buying from them means you will have access to basic social amenities like good roads, drainages, green areas, sports center, security, electricity, etc.
  4. Omoniles won’t disturb you and you won’t be paying any sort of Omonile money while building.
  5. You can buy and go to sleep with trusted real estate companies without the fear of them reselling your land.
  6. Land documents are done by the companies.
  7. Some of these companies provide commercial amenities like parks or children playgrounds and presence of schools, supermarkets, hospitals, etc within or by the estate gate.
  8. While buying from real estate companies, you have the option of spreading payments for months or years without the fear of losing your money.
  9. While paying in instalment, it is possible to get a refund if you decided to back out of the deal. Although this comes with a deduction of some certain percentage as administrative fees.
  10. Even though the companies are the ones that process land documents, after buying you can personalize your land document if you wish.

Cons of Buying Land from Real Estate Companies

  1. Land documents that most of these companies present may not be genuine. Some may claim that their land has a C of O but when you do your search you may find out that it is all lies.
  2. Most of them sell government acquired land and will tell you that the title of the land is under processing like the popular excision in progress you see around.
  3. With some of these companies, physical allocation of land takes years.
  4. Some give cheap and nice promo on their land sales with options of spreading for years. At the end of the day, you might find out that it is just like an esusu that you may not collect.
  5. Some of them have hidden charges which they will not tell you.
  6. Some of them may not follow the proposed layout of the estate at the end of the day.

As it is, I have given you an unbiased comparison between real estate companies and Omoniles.

However, as your favorite informed real estate consultant, I still prefer buying land or properties from a real estate company or developer.

The only task is fishing out a trusted and genuine one, something I have done for you already. See the list of Top 10 Trusted Real Estate Companies in Nigeria.

When you buy land from any of these top 10 companies, you are buying peace of mind. Due diligence has been made by my team and I and so far my blog readers who have done business with any of these companies through me do not regret doing so.

With any of these companies, land documents are real and can be verified at the state’s Land Registry, physical plot allocation is instant after full payments (except for land undergoing excision) and no hidden charges because all statutory fees will be spelt out to you before you commit financially.

I also have some of their lands listed on my recommended land to buy listings on this page here.

In conclusion, whether you are buying from an Omonile or buying land from a real estate company, always do your own due diligence by employing the service of a licenced surveyor or property lawyer to ascertain genuity of the property and its status. This will make you feel safe.

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    Oyedepo John is the MD/CEO of Landicon Realtors Ltd. He gives professional real estate advice and helps smart investors make profitable real estate investments for high ROI, thereby creating wealthy landlords.