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30.10.2019 Feature Article

How Land Title And Escrow Companies Operating In Ghana Can Support The Work Of The Lands Commission

How Land Title And Escrow Companies Operating In Ghana Can Support The Work Of The Lands Commission
OCT 30, 2019 FEATURE ARTICLE

In our modern technological era of global industry giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Airbnb who store all kinds of data we can all access around the world, even from our smart-phones, it is not beyond the capability of LAND TITLE COMPANIES to also keep tons upon tons or terabytes upon terabytes of REAL ESTATE DATA in any economy that they operate.

That is why in a country like the United States of America, Title Companies such as Chicago Title, Fidelity National, First American Corp, Old Republic National Title, Stewart Title and various regional, independent title companies are able to keep terabytes upon terabytes of real estate data in the 20.49 trillion dollars US economy, with a population of 330 million people!

If these companies can do so in the gargantuan US economy and population, why can’t they do the same in our tiny country of only 30 million people and a GDP of only 66 billion US Dollars? Why not?

Only if our Parliament will have the courage and conviction to pass legislation that allows Land Title and Escrow Companies to operate in Ghana, can we see a rapid transformation of the real estate transaction process currently burdening our Lands Commission of Ghana?

How can Title Insurance Companies operating in Ghana help our Lands Commission?

I am absolutely certain that even the Chairman of the Lands Commission under the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Stephen Ayensu Ntim, himself will admit that his outfit doesn’t have the most sophisticated database storage system in the world. Not a chance! So, respectfully Sir, why not join us in this fight to bring global industry giants in Land Title and Escrow Services into the Ghanaian real estate universe, to help support you in the huge task President Akufo Addo has assigned you? For your information, Sir, the following results will occur in the immediate future if you join this fight to get Parliament pass legislation that allows Land Title and Escrow Companies to operate in Ghana:

1. As practitioners within the same industry, Title companies will support your work and collaborate with you to improve upon the data storage systems you currently have.

2. Title Companies will bring into the real estate space their very sophisticated systems that enable them store and distribute tons of data almost at the speed of light.

3. Title Companies will store the same data you have labored to collect and store all these years into the huge database systems from which SEARCH RECORDS can easily be sourced in the chain of title on each property you’ve ever recorded at our land documents registry, the Lands Commission.

4. When this happens, being armed with their huge databases COMPILED FROM YOUR SOURCES at the Lands Commission, Title Companies can now do their own SEARCHES from your records via their LINKS to your database systems. The technical people within their systems will teach you and your gallant officials at the Lands Commission how this marriage of databases can be achieved and you will find your work a whole lot easier than you do now.

5. Respectfully, Sir, I can tell you from personal experience, having spent 20 years of my life as an industry practitioner in the US, that GHANAIANS WILL NO LONGER NEED TO FORM LONG QUEUES AT THE LANDS COMMISSION TO HAVE THEIR SEARCHES DONE, OR TO HAVE THEIR SALE AND PURCHASE TRANSACTIONS RECORDED when they are involved in buying property. You can still charge the fees for your fees alright, this time, but a lot of those duties will now be performed on behalf of the Ghanaian people by TITLE OFFICERS FROM TITLE COMPANIES WHO WILL LIASE WITH OFFICERS OF THE LANDS COMMISSION in both SEARCH AND RECORDING OF REAL ESTATE DATA in the sales and purchase transaction process.

6. Indeed, respectfully Sir, the notorious “goro boys” who have been scamming Ghanaians over all these years around your offices will be thrown out of business, the same way that menace has been significantly reduced at the DVLA today.

7. Ghanaians will now simply have to ‘OPEN ESCROW” with an Escrow Company, which is usually another division of a Title Company, where the transaction process begins once a buyer and seller agree on the terms of their Sale and Purchase Agreements that have been processed by their real estate agents and real estate lawyers.

8. Escrow Companies will ensure that the right documents are processed through their offices, all outstanding liens on the property under consideration are paid, Stamp duties are paid, Property Taxes are paid, the Buyer’s deposits are held safely and securely in escrow, insurance companies are paid for their services, existing mortgage lenders are paid off, and the new mortgage lender for the buyer has the loan duly recorded as the new lien on the property involved in the transaction.

9. Respectfully, Sir, all the hustle and bustle we are experiencing today in Ghana with the issue of Land Guards and multiple sales of properties by the same owners to multiple buyers concurrently, will be a thing of the past and you can go home every night and sleep well, Sir.

10. Title companies will ISSUE TITLE INSURANCE POLICIES on the titles of properties they have copied or drawn from your own Lands Commission public record systems and store in THEIR DATABASES from which searches can also be done quickly and also through their LINKS to your own databases at the Lands Commission. With that TITLE INSURANCE POLICY in hand over the title to their properties, our fellow Ghanaians can now go home and sleep well and not worry about anyone coming tomorrow to lay any more claims on their properties. Their Title Insurance Company will now have to deal with that!

11. When this happens, Sir, all our brothers and sisters living abroad, who have lost so many lands they purchased over the years to Land Guards, chiefs and hoodlums in the Ghanaian real estate space, WILL NO LONGER HAVE TO WORRY THEMSELVES OVER LAND THEY PURCHASED BEING LOST TO ANYONE ELSE. Their Title Companies will take care of all that hassle!

I could go on and on, but this is enough, Sir. As I have told my friends in the real estate industry in Ghana, I have embarked on this campaign to get Parliament pass legislation to allow Title and Escrow Companies operate in the real estate space in Ghana. If you join us and we succeed in this effort, trust me, you and I and our industry friends will have done this for God and country and not for any personal gain. I thank you sincerely, Sir.

Peter Atsu Tsikata
CEO, Millennium Properties Ltd, Accra, Ghana.

Direct: +233-26-655-7066
Email: [email protected]

Peter Atsu Tsikata
Peter Atsu Tsikata, © 2019

This author has authored 21 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: PeterAtsuTsikata

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