To avoid confusion, get yourself acquainted with some of the top real estate terms in Nigeria. It saves you the trouble of investing in a property, without understanding the underlying factors, such as the titles and the expectations of the parties involved.

Below is a list of the top 25 terms you are likely to hear when engaging in real estate transactions in Nigeria:

1. C of O

With the full meaning as Certificate of Occupancy; the C of O refers to a legal document conferring on the holder, the right to occupy and use the property for several purposes.

2. Deed of Assignment

This is a legal document required to effect the transfer of property ownership from the current owner to the new owner.

The Deed of Assignment is important because of these reasons:

  • It enables the transfer of property ownership to someone else.
  • It contains information pertaining to the conclusion of the transacting parties (buyer and seller) – and which is binding to these parties.
  • With the Deed of Assignment, you can now transfer the rights in your C of O to another entity or someone else.

3. Contract of Sale

Also called the Binding Contract – a contract of sale is a legal document detailing the agreement reached by the seller and buyer over a property.

4. Land Titles

It is also called Title Document. The Land Title is a document allot by the government to a property owner, as a way of certifying the person’s rightful claims to the property.

5. Land Size and Measurement

This refers to the size of the land or property. The size may differ, depending on these factors:

a. Units of Area

Land sizes differ by the area units. For example, a plot measures between 50ft x 100ft and 60ft x 120ft, while an acre typically measures 4,046sqm or 6 plots of land put together. The size of a hectare is put at either 100m x 100m or collating 15 plots of land.

b. Location

While the aforementioned can pass for the standard measurements; the size of the property may differ by the location.

Also Read:

6. Omonile

The Omonile is the ancestral owner of a property. It is typically to use the services of an Omonile in Lagos State, especially when looking to buy cheaper lands.

7. Gazette

This is the official record kept by State governments in Nigeria. The content includes:

  • Documentation of the villages and communities that now has excision of their ancestral lands.
  • The list and documentation of the lands that have been excised (i.e., returned to the ancestral owners).

8. Excision

This is the procedure through which the State governments in Nigeria “give back some or all of the lands” originally belonging to communities, villages and families.

It is a customary process and a way for these governments to return some of the lands that have by the provisions of the Land Use Act of 1978; being entrusted in the care of the State Governors. Take a quick look at the difference between excision and gazette land titles.

9. Survey

Survey is the process embarked upon by the designated surveyor to “chart a site” – taking note of the map or diagram of the land, the size and the boundaries.

The outcome of the inspection and charting is documented in a Survey Plan.

10. Survey Plan

This is a document where the outcome of site charting is recorded. The Survey Plan includes the following:

  • Boundaries
  • Measurements
  • Stamp to prove the property is free from government-acquisition
  • Owner’s details, such as name and telephone number
  • Details of the surveyor who drew up the survey plan and;
  • The beacon numbers.

11. Governor’s Consent

This is a direct approval from the Office of the Governor of a State in Nigeria, assenting to the sale of a property with a C of O from the current owner to someone else.

12. Freehold

This refers to a property ownership title that permits the holder to have a complete control over the property – including using and selling rights.

13. R of O

Right of Occupancy or R of O is a legal document, permitting the holder to occupy and use a piece or plots of land for a specific time. This document is usually issued for lands within the rural areas and approval is granted by the Local Government authority.

14. Development Levy

When you are done paying for the property and set to erect a structure on it; you will be asked to pay a development levy. It is the payment required by the government for the development of an area.

15. Real Estate Agent

This is an individual who serves as an intermediary or middleman between the property buyer and the owner – or a real estate company. The agent helps the buyer get information about the property and he will receive a commission for a successful sale.

16. Home Inspection

You are to go for a home or property inspection to ascertain the location and quality of the property before paying for it.

17. Property Tax

This is the tax the government charge on the value of a property.

18. Land Use Act

The Land Use Act of 1978 is a Nigerian law for the use and management of lands in the country. It also empowers State Governors to be sole custodians of lands within the urban territories.

19. Listings

These refer to the homes, lands or any of such properties publicized for sale. Listings include the following details:

  • Location
  • Price or value
  • Square footage (in the case of lands) and;
  • Number of bedrooms (in the case of apartments or buildings).

20. Landlord

This is an individual who owns a property and rents out the same for monthly or yearly payments.

21. Tenancy Agreement

This is a document stating the Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) of taking up a property or house on rent.

22. Rent

This is the payment you make for occupying and using a property. The person that pays for this rent is the occupant (tenant) and the receiver is the property owner (landlord).

Also Read:

23. Building Plan

This is a document outlining the layout and design of a building before construction starts.

24. Appreciation

This term refers to the increase in the value (price) of a property. The increased value could be because of any of the following economic prospects:

  • Structural improvements of the property.
  • Influx of more people to the location, signifying a rise in migration.
  • Government-induced projects, such as good road networks, power supply, hospitals and schools.

25. Mortgage

You get a mortgage – a loan taken to purchase a property. You can source this loan from the bank while you use the property as a collateral.


Having these real estate terms in mind, you can now be sure of getting your facts right before buying or selling a property in Nigeria.

Would you like to buy land or house in Epe, Ajah, Lekki, Ibeju-Lekki or anywhere in Nigeria? Reach out to us on +234 806 400 3456 or send an email to We are ever ready to assist you on your property ownership journey in Nigeria.