Lack of knowledge can really mess up a buyer, especially if you are a first time buyer. The bible itself notes that people suffer for lack of knowledge. Due diligence when buying land in Kenya makes the difference between a person who will end up in the hands of conmen and the person who will go home with a genuine title deed.
It’s unfortunate that most buyers do property transactions, fingers closed that no issue will arise later. This is the most dangerous thing to do as a buyer since hope is not enough;who knows, you might already be working with con men. Doing thorough research on a land before buying it is a critical step that most people ignore.
Also, people make a mistake by underestimating the smartness of conmen. As more of these fraudsters are caught, the uncaught improvise new ways to stay in the market without being noticed. This means that research only might not help you but digging deep into the details of the land. For example, a title deed land might show the current owner of the land but not the history of the previous ownership and other pertinent information about the land . You might be surprised to find out that you are not the only person the land might have been sold to at the same time. It would be more pleasant to find this out before you buy the land, escaping the pain of losing your money.
Ready to own a piece of land? The following are the guides to make sure you are the person that goes home with a genuine title deed.
- Ask the neighbors
Buying a piece of land requires one to be on a high alert as anyone may pretend to be the owner. There are cases where a person is sold to a property by someone pretending to be the owner, only to escape with the buyers money.
To avoid such cases, you can start with the easiest ways which are asking the neighbors. These are people who have familiarized with the land and most probably the real owner of the land. you can even go further to asking the chief of the location for those buying land in the rural areas. Chiefs have a better historical background of landowners in their localities.
Being extra careful when buying land is one of the things that I recommend. This means hiring a professional such a trusted real estate agent to make sure there is nothing fishy going on.
- Legal representation
Those who are wise enough to read all our articles have a clear picture of the legal steps that one should follow when purchasing land in kenya. Most of these steps are complex and will require you to get help from someone who is experienced and has skills specifically for conveyancing or property transactions. The person, maybe a lawyer or an agent, will guide you through on the process and make sure you are making the right decision.
Also, getting a lawyer will help you in making sure the transactions involved are up to the laws of the government.
- Land search
Ever heard of a scenario where one was sold to land, the later came to his or her notice that the previous owner had pleaded the land inorder to take a loan or mortgage? You don’t want to end up in such a situation.
A land search shows if the land has any form of attachment to a bank or dispute in the land ownership. Land search gets deep to the change of ownership through deeds and legal dues in relation to the land of interest.
In Kenya, a land search is conducted through the Ministry of Land office in the county. A search certificate shall be issued with the history of the land. Also. you will get a green card to confirm the information on the land search document. This clears any doubts with the land as any issues between the seller and the land office will be highlighted.
- Agreement with the land seller
During this step, your agent or lawyer will do most of the work. If you are fully satisfied after the above steps, then you should pay a deposit as the first step to land ownership. Do not be in a hurry to pay the full amount at once as you will be putting at risk a huge sum of money. According to the Kenyan laws, 10% of the agreed price of the land is the recommended and recognised value for a deposit.
Also, remember to get other necessary clearance before purchasing the land. These include land rates and clearance certificates which are acquired from local government and the ministry of lands office respectively. Failure to get these documents may lead to transactions being canceled by a court order.
- Corporate seller
If the land of interest is owned by a company , a sacco or a land buying enterprise; it is important to ask for the registration certificate to prove they are legally active. Also, a pin certificate is necessary to confirm the legitimacy of the company or its board. If by any chance you find that one of the board members has a history of fraud, it is therefore wise to opt from the transaction for a genuine deal.
Finally, make sure you get the necessary documents from the corporate including the title deed and the clearance certificate,just like you would do from an individual seller.