Acquiring Land in Ghana: What to Watch Out for
Acquiring land or property in Ghana isn’t something to worry about, if you go about it in a systematic and legal manner. Yes, it may be more complicated than buying land in many other countries, but approach it knowing the various aspects of ownership, which include type of land to the paperwork, and you may soon be in the possession of an appreciating asset sans the headaches.
Know The Land Type
In Ghana, there are 4 types of land; Government land, Vested Land, Customary/Stool Land and Family/Private Land. If you want to purchase Government or Vested land, one must apply to the Executive Secretary of Lands Commission or the Regional Lands Officer. Customary Land on the other hand belongs to the different communities that were granted the lands at the establishment of the 1992 Constitution. These are special lands and can hold no other interest. However, if the customary land was granted to a private individual before the establishment of the Constitution, then it is considered Private Land. When a private landholder decides to sell his land, then the following comes into play.
Know The Seller
One thing you definitely to know is that in Ghana one can only attain land on a leasehold basis, which means that you can own the land for limited time. The timeframe is different if you are an expatriate or citizen. While citizens enjoy 99 years of ownership, expats are limited to 50 years. That’s why you need to know the background of the person you are buying the land from. Is his/her lease still valid? You should do a background check of the seller at the Lands Commission and know if the land he’s planning to sell is his own or not. The various different types of lands in Ghana can make ownership tricky, so it’s better to do this extra legwork to avoid any problems in the future. People are even known to put inquiries in newspapers to see if anyone puts claims on the land that they plan to buy.
Know exactly what is being sold
The seller should have the land he or she is selling right down to the co-ordinates, so that there is not dispute in the future. Ask for these plans beforehand. Only after a professional has overseen this step, should you engage a lawyer to proceed with the paperwork and financial transactions.
Know how to seal the deal
Along with your lawyer, you need to create a purchase and ownership transfer contract a.k.a Deed of Conveyance that you along with the seller will sign. Make the transaction and make multiple copies of the agreements and other important papers that are to be stamped by a legal land professional. Register the land and deed with the Lands Commission and get your title certificate. You are now the owner of your property!