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How to purchase land in Kenya

Posted by Jane Wachanga on February 11, 2020
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Land purchase in Kenya is not as complicated as many may think. Like any other purchase, real estate purchase has a clear process/procedure that one should clearly stick to failure to which you will be susceptible to be conned.

You should NEVER be in a hurry to close a deal. Always have this at the back of your mind.

Alright, lets dive in already…

a. People needed.

  1. Lawyer (Should be registered with LSK and have updated practicing license which you can check here)

Duration: This usually takes a maximum of one week.

The lawyer will draft the sale agreement and witness the signing of the same by both the seller and buyer after the official search at the land’s registry.

He will do official search at the land’s registry (You can do the search on your own at the registry)

The lawyer will help to check and confirm if the copy of the title deed from owner is genuine by doing an official search at the land registry where the land is domiciled. The search will also indicate the land is registered and the seller is the owner.

Purchase an updated Registry Index Map (RIM) from regional survey office where your land is located. You can check the locations of survey offices in Kenya here.

Once you have the search back, check for the following:

  • Check that the search is stamped and signed by the registrar.
  • Ascertain that the seller is the registered owner of the property (You can ask the owner for their original identification documents to countercheck with the search results.)
  • The measurements indicated on the title are a match.
  • Nature of the title eg absolute/ freehold or leasehold.

2. Land Surveyor (Should be registered with ISK)

The surveyor will help in ensuring that the beacons on the land are in the right place and the title for the parcel you are buying corresponds with what is on the ground. (He will use the updated RIM from the survey office.)

3. Land valuer

You can engage services of a valuer to determine the actual cost of the land you intend to buy. This will help you determine whether the sale price is exaggerated on not and also guide you on negotiations.

If everything is fine upto this level, get into an agreement with the seller. Pay ten percent (10%) of the agreed purchase price and clear the balance in ninety (90) days unless in circumstances where the title will be processed earlier than the expiry of three months. The deposit could be held safely by the lawyer as a stakeholder.  Also, the sale agreement should be signed and stamped to authenticate the contract.

b. Documents needed.

From the property owner.

If buying from an individual:

  • Three copies of his/ her passport-size photos,
  • Copies of his/her personal identification number (PIN) certificate
  • National identity card, which should all match the documents.
  • Spousal consent filled and signed (Attach ID card, pin and Three passport size photo)

If buying from a company:

  • Copies of a certificate of incorporation,
  • The company’s PIN certificate
  • The PIN certificates and IDs of its board of directors
  • Practicing license

Once these procedures have been completed, the lawyer can prepare the land transfer documentwhich is signed by both the seller and buyer. The spousal consent should also be filled and signed by the spouse of the seller. The passport size photos are attached upon which the next phase of transfer begins. The documents including the original title are filed at the registry and the Land control board date given where the seller together with his/her spouse should physically attend and consent to the transfer.

 After transfer is effected at the lands office and the title transferred to the buyer. The buyer’s lawyer can release the balance to the seller’s account or lawyer.

The buyer should do another search at the land office after the completion of the sale to ensure that what is reflected in the file at the registry corresponds with the title he/she has in hand.

Make copies of your title and also have them in soft copy

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