Buying land in Ghana

Can an expat own land?

Land in Ghana belongs to tribes or the government, depending on where you are in the country, the tribe will be different. Foreigners cannot own land outright but must lease it long-term.

If you wish to buy land in Ghana you will need to triple check who actually owns the land. In the past Ghana has been notorious for landowners selling land to multiple people.

There are four types of land in Ghana:

  • Government land
  • Vested land
  • Customary/stool land
  • Family/private land

In order to buy government or vested land you need to file an application with the Executive Secretary of Lands Commission or the Regional Lands Officer, depending on the location of the land.

Stool land (customary land) belongs to tribal chiefs or other customary authorities. The 1992 constitution states there must be no free holding of this type of land. However, stool land given to families or individuals before 1992 is now considered private land.

Foreigners can own agricultural, commercial, residential and/or industrial land on a leasehold basis up to 50 years, renewal of this is dependent on the landowner. Ghanaians can lease land for up to 99 years.

How to buy land in Ghana

For non-Ghanaians for whom the process may be a little more complicated, it is recommended you buy land straight from the developer. Established real estate developers such as MagnaTerris and PS Global, are the safest option. Always check the developer is registered with the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association  (GREDA). 

The main thing you need to be aware of is who owns the land and whether they own it outright or whether it’s mortgaged. A land title search can be carried out by the appropriate government office and you can also carry out a valuation. There is usually a fee for these services which is paid for by the buyer, however, it is well worth the expense. 

Whenever you conduct a property transaction make sure you are involved in every step of the process and if possible, employ the services of an independent property lawyer to check the paperwork.

Once the purchase agreement has been made, a Deed of Conveyance is drawn up by the lawyer. Upon signing this document the land title is passed to the buyer, who pays for the land at the same time. The title is registered at the Lands Commission Secretariat. Property registration takes around 382 days to accomplish.

Further reading

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