The land is valuable because it is an infinite asset, it appreciates over time and there is only so much available on this earth, hence the quote, “don’t wait to buy land, buy land and wait.” The value of land keeps appreciating because of the ever-increasing population thus attracting an upsurge in demand. With this in mind, many people get duped in the quest to buy land. Below are 10 tips to keep in mind when buying land in Kenya.
Identify the Property
The first step to purchasing land in Kenya is to identify the location coupled with the amenities that you would like to enjoy. The price of land also depends on the location; the closer the property is to a major town like Nairobi, the higher the price. So while considering the location of the property, also keep in mind what your budget is.
Perform a Thorough Search
Once you have identified the property you want to buy, you need to perform a search to figure out the true owner of the property to avoid being duped. If the seller is a company, a search will help you know who the true directors of the company are. You will also know if the land has any bank charge restriction or caveat. You will also know the right size of the land as captured in the land reports and if there is any rent payable to the government.
Organize a Site Visit
Site visits are an important part of the process of buying land. You need to know what you are buying, and not get into it blindly. Site visits also give you a chance to figure out if you like the property or not. And in the process, you may also get the chance to meet the seller in person. Actually, with a site visit, you may request to meet the owner if possible.
Know all the pitfalls before you indulge and safeguard your finances during purchase to avoid falling into endless court cases regarding a piece of land that you purchased.
Involve a Surveyor
Once you have identified and visited the site and are convinced about the property, you can hire the services of a land surveyor. Ensure you get a licensed surveyor to confirm the availability of the land and the right boundaries. Request the surveyor to get the survey map and confirm if the land truly exists on the map. A surveyor also confirms if the land parcel’s number exists. Survey maps, unlike title deeds, are not easy to fake.
Verify the Documents
After the paramount land visit and survey, you can start the process of acquiring and verifying the necessary documents. Documents like the title deed and a survey map must be acquired from the registry. Avoid shortcuts and second-hand sources lest you get duped. Purchase of land is where most people tend to lose their money when due diligence is not done.
Work with Professionals at every Stage
When buying land, it is advisable to involve professional lawyers and surveyors other than going through the process without any of them, which is also an option. Professionals will protect your interests in case of any eventualities. The surveyor verifies the legality of the property while the lawyer drafts an agreement between the buyer and seller, which can be used in a court of law in case the need arises. You can also opt for a reputable property firm like Migaa Golf Estate, as they ideally have in-house professionals.
Buy a Property as soon as you Can
The moment you decide to buy land, ensure you strike while it is still hot. Go through the entire process and acquire the property as soon as you can. As earlier said, land appreciates and what you buy today at Kshs. 4 million might cost Kshs. 8 million in 2 or 3 years. It is always cheaper to buy as soon as possible.
Find out the Land Rates and Land Rent
After verifying the title deeds and the survey map, using copies of these documents, log into the eCitizen account and check if there is any outstanding land rent on the parcel you want to purchase. You can also go physically to Ardhi House if you cannot find the land number on the portal and have then check for any outstanding land rates. In case of any arrears, ensure they are paid before the purchase as they can stall the transaction. A clearance certificate is usually offered after this process.
Sign a Sale Agreement
Only after you have gone through the processes mentioned above and verified the land is legit should you sign a sale agreement. The sale agreement between the seller and buyer is usually in writing and is signed by both parties and a witness. Engage a professional and trusted lawyer in this process to help with the due diligence of signing the sale agreement and transfer of land to the new owner.
Fence your Property
After signing the sale agreement and a deposit paid as agreed, the property is officially yours and as you wait for the completion of registration and transfer, you can fence your land. Fencing does two things: Restricts encroachment and unearth cases of multiple buyers. If the seller was dishonest, fencing the parcel unearths the real owner(s).
Bonus Tip: Buying Land in Kenya
Avoid buying land that belongs to a deceased person before all the succession formalities are complete and avoid developing your parcel before the necessary approvals from relevant authorities.