Many people in Kenya have fallen prey to unscrupulous property dealers posing as property owners or brokers during the Process of Buying Property. Here are matters to consider when buying land in Kenya:
- Get to Know your agent/broker
The first point of contact when you are looking for land to buy is likely to be a property agent or broker. Request for and keep record of proper identification including their identity card and confirmation of their registration with the Estate Agents Registration Board.
- Know the seller of the property
When you are buying land insist on meeting the seller if they are not represented by an advocate. If the seller is represented by an advocate, the advocate should make a full disclosure of the seller’s details. Request for and keep record of the sellers’ identity card or passport. If the seller is a company, get a copy of their registration certificate and identity card or passport of the directors. With these documents, you or your lawyer if you are represented can undertake due diligence on the seller.
- Confirm that the property exists
You should hire a licensed surveyor to confirm the property exists on the relevant maps and if its dimensions and position on the ground is in order. The surveyor should also confirm beacons have been properly placed and if they are not in place he should place beacons. The surveyor should confirm that the property was not a public utility, earmarked for repossession or set aside for a public utility.
The surveyor will require a copy of the title document and access to the property to undertake his due diligence.
- Make Enquiries
Talk to people in the neighborhood. Often, they know who owns what property and whether there are disputes. Talk to the local administrators including chiefs and Members of County Assembly. They are likely to be aware of any dispute that may not be available in the lands records. Make a historical land registry search in Kenya for the property.
- Get an Advocate
If you are represented by a competent advocate, you stand a better chance of successfully purchasing a genuine property. An Advocate will also help you in drafting and negotiating the terms of the agreement for sale. It is advisable to make payments through your lawyer who should ensure that the purchase price is not released to the seller before successful registration of the transfer in your favour.
- Be patient and Alert
Never rush to close a deal. If a deal feels wrong, it probably is. Walk away from a deal that doesn’t seem right.
Although real estate is the preferred investment option for Kenyans, it is also high risk.
In 2016 there were over 6,000 cases of land fraud, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
By: Andrew Wanga