How to buy land hustle free.
1. Do a physical site visit to the property.
While buying land, it is important to do a site visit as a way of verification that the property really exists. Some people have lost millions buying non-existent land/property, and a site visit should be made to avert this.
It is done after obtaining the property maps, and the visit should include the buyer, the seller, and the surveyor to verify the dimensions. The three also check the beacons, and if they are not there, they should be erected to avoid future disputes.
Individual sellers might at times not facilitate site visits so you might be required to make your own arrangements convenient for all stakeholders. As a company, however, we understand that it is important for you as a land investor to fully understand the area while gauging your option. For that reason, we offer free daily site visit Monday to Sunday at the convenience of our clients.
Our most common pick up points for the visit include but not, limited to:
- Our office, in Ruai town, Dune plaza next to lake oil petrol station
- Nairobi CBD, Kencom bus station
- Tumaini supermarket, Utawala
- Magunas supermarket Utawala
- Naivas supermarket,
One of the major reasons for conducting a site visit is to ensure that the information provided on the advertisement is true, including distance from the main road, water and electricity provision, social amenities among other issues. Also, for the simple fact that the land actually exists.
Check the distance from where the land is located to the nearest schools, police station, shopping center, and administrative offices. Also, monitor the transport system and its availability at all times.
It is important to tag along a second or third person to give you an independent opinion about the property, rather than depending solely on your opinion to make a decision. This could be your spouse or a real estate agent, apart from the seller.
Also, ask to speak to neighbors or clients who have bought land in the area. Most importantly, speak to your adjacent neighbors if possible, and also people who have lived in the area for long. If possible, get information about the land from the area government representatives.
Ask the seller for any other charges that could include legal fees, stamp duty, capital gain tax among other charges.
Questions to ask during a site visit
- Who are the original owner and the reason for selling it?
- How long it will take to process title deeds?
- what is the mode of refund in case one changes mind after paying a deposit?
- What are the zoning restrictions in the area?
- Are any portions of the land designated as wetlands?
- What is the type of soil and suitability for farming and construction?
2. Do a proper due diligence
Due diligence entails digging deeper to understand property issues that could be a cause of conflict in the future, this may include establishing the identity of the original and the current owners, the actual size of the land and whether or not the paperwork is in order.
With the upsurge of cons in the real estate market, it is important to establish that the people selling you the land are indeed the actual owners of the property, hence the need for doing a title search.
How do you establish the actual owner of a piece of land?
Proper documentation of land in the country makes it easy to establish a trail of land ownership. A simple land search in the land office in the county government with the jurisdiction over the land can help establish:
- the legal owner of the land,
- the size of the parcel,
- the location of the land and
- whether or not the land has a caution or used as collateral for a loan.
Depending on where the land is located, the search can be done online but for most, however, you will need to do it from the land office. It costs Ksh 500 and can be paid using M-pesa, Credit card or with a debit card, and the title deed number will be required.
Once a land search is done on a parcel of land, the owner is notified (since his/her details are with the land registry), ensuring that the owner is aware of any activity on his/her land.
A land search will also reveal the transactions (change of ownership through deeds) and encumbrances (legal dues), and if the land is charged to any loan.
After a land search, it is also important to establish whether there are any prevailing disputes on the piece of land, which could land you in trouble. The best people to help you with such information would be the local administration (chiefs of village administrators) or even neighbors.
Who else should you include?
At some point before purchasing any piece of land, it is also important to include experts in the sector such as valuers, real estate agents, surveyors, and a lawyer.
Valuers help you understand the actual pricing to avoid buying a property that is overpriced. Also, they note when the parcel is undervalued, an indication that there could be mischief in the transaction.
Real estate agents can help you through processes that you might be too busy to perform, or sometimes negotiate the best price for you.
Surveyors make sure you are getting the right piece of land, and help you trace borders and finally placing beacons.
Any land purchase should be legally bound through a contract, and this is the work of a lawyer, who ensures conflicts are easily resolved in the future just in case they arise. The contract and transfer of land are the final and the most delicate, and the presence of a lawyer assures that you are not coned.
Book a free and safe site visit
3. Do a title search of the property
In an attempt to become more efficient to Kenyans, the Ministry of Lands has been working to digitize all the land records in Kenya. Finally, land buyers can now perform a land search online at the comfort of their home.
In the past, land records were uncoordinated making it possible for unscrupulous people to take advantage and steal land from rightful owners. All this is set to change with the digitization of all land records in Kenya.
what does that mean for Real Estate investors especially those looking to buy land in Kenya today?
Performing a land search is an important part of doing your due diligence when buying land.
The result of a search will help establish the rightful owner of the property you seek to purchase land from and whether there are any pending issues relating to the ownership of the land.
A land search will show the full name of the owner, the approximate size of the land, and any claim on the land, e.g where the land has been used as collateral for a bank loan or a surety in a legal dispute.
How to perform an online land search?
With the recent digitization of land records, Kenyans no longer need to move from office to office when searching for land information, all this can be done with a simple search from wherever you are.
Steps to be taken to perform an online land search;
- log into the e-Citizen platform and create an account
- Navigate to the Ministry of Land and physical planning and select the land search option
- Input the title number and complete the online land search form
- Confirm that all the details are correct before submitting the form
- Select your preferred payment option, which can either be through M-Pesa, credit card or a debit card. NoCASH payment is allowed.
- Once the payment is successful, proceed to print the results
The same information can be found on your portal anytime you log into your e-citizen account.
What is the cost of doing a land search in Kenya?
A land search costs Ksh 500 and can be paid using M-PESA, Credit card or with a debit card.
All landowners are expected to register their contact details with the ministry of land by inputting their full names, ID number, and title deed number in the digital platform.
When the said details are successfully registered, the owner can be notified whenever someone searches for their parcel. This surely streamlines land transactions by enhancing transparency