10 genuine reasons why buying customary land can be a huge mistake

  •   One of the enticing factors about buying customary land is the price.

    The low price offered is so enticing, potential homeowners disregard the risks involved in buying customary land.


    Only 3% of land is State Owned freehold land.  The rest is customary land.

    As a growing nation, people are desperately in need of buying land to build their houses.  This can and has become problematic simply because of the shortage of State land in the main towns.

    In addition to shortage, most State Land have become ridiculously expensive the average working class do not have the money to buy a decent size land to build their house.

    Because of these problems, potential homeowners are looking at customary land as an option.  One of the enticing factors about buying customary land is the price.  The low price offered is so enticing, potential homeowners disregard the risks involved in buying customary land.

    So we list below some of the inherent risks in buying customary land.  It must be made clear that some have had no issues in purchasing customary land and good on them.  But it’s important to understand some of the likely issues that may pop-up after you’ve handed over the money.

    1. No legal title
      When you buy customary land, you do not have any legal title to the property.  That is because ownership  of customary land is governed by custom.  If a custom prohibits transfer of ownership of customary land to those outside of the family then it’s possible that a purchaser who buys customary land will be buying without any title to it.
    2. Risk of family feud
      Given that customary land is governed by custom and that ownership of the land stays within the family or clan, the potential for a family feud over transfer to outsiders is real. It some cases, a family member has gone to the extent of evicting a purchaser who is not a family member.
    3. Loose a lot of money
      If there is a dispute within the family over the transfer and one of them takes steps to evict you as the purchaser, you could loose a lot of money not only on the initial purchase and further if you build you could loose the house and its content too.  Even if you had to remove the house, there are a lot of associated costs and not to mention where to place the removed house.
    4. Being taken to court
      The family members who own the customary land you purchased could also take you to court. Legal fees and the possible return of the land would not only drain you monetarily but emotionally as well.
    5. Dispute over boundary
      Most customary land is divided into lots of which each lot is owned by another family member or a different clan.  As most of this land are not surveyed, a dispute over boundaries is possible..
    6. No water mains
      Many in the rural areas do not have proper water systems.  Not only can this make living a little difficult an attempt to connect to the mains is an arduous task.  The money, the bureaucracy and the wait from authorities can cause a lot of stress.
    7. No electricity
      Like item 6 above, most customary land in rural areas have no electricity.  If you can install solar powered electricity, this might assist greatly but then there’s issues of reliability too.
    8. Nasfund money to build in dispute because of owenership
      Many of us rely on our superannuation to buy and/or build.  One of the requirements for accessing your super when it comes to an housing advance is to show proof of title.  If there is a family feud over the land, what are the chances they will agree to assist you with your super requirements.
    9. Death of the Seller
      Suppose the person who sold you the property dies and his surviving family members decided to turn back on the deal made by the deceased and you as the purchaser. They could dishonor the agreement and take the land back.
    10. Seller could come back to you for more money
      If the seller of the customary land uses the money from the sale of the customary land, it’s possible that he may deviate from the initial agreement and come back for more money. In desperate situations this has happened and the seller can threaten to evict you.

    The best way to get good title over a property which you can defend in court is to buy State Lease land.  If you want to check out what State lease land is currently on sale, visit Hausples.com.pg.

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