Real estate investment in Kenya has become relatively easy in today’s market, with increased adverts on digital media. Today, it is easy to stumble upon an advertisement for a “prime plot” around the country, with enticing benefits attached to make the purchase seem worthwhile. The advertisements then get photos or clips of satisfied buyers, some of whom claim to have found success having worked with whichever firm is advertising the plots. With these triggers, buyers will likely invest their hard-earned money in these plots from the comfort of their homes, especially if they get enticing discounts attached. However, buying land is a mistake because it is easy to get conned.
In most cases, the buyer is likely to trust the seller, especially if the adverts get done by celebrities. However, it isn’t easy to ascertain the condition of the land getting sold or the alleged amenities available to buyers without visiting the site. Visiting the land gives the buyer an added sense of confidence that their investment is sound. Further, it is easier to make an informed decision by seeing the land physically.
As a buyer, you should also request the seller for a copy of the title deed or just physical proof of a title deed, which you can verify that the land they are selling belongs to them. A title deed will give the seller more credibility since it is verifiable that they are the legal owner of the land. If a sale gets conducted by a broker, it is essential to communicate to the landowner beforehand, who will verify that the broker is selling the land on their behalf. Additionally, ensure that you check the validity of any documents provided as proof of ownership by the seller. It has become common for con artists to forge legal documents and present them to unsuspecting buyers. All land-related documents should get verified through the Land Control Board and the Kenya Revenue Authority, which hold the details of the legal owner(s) of the land for sale.
It is also essential to confirm that the land you buy does not have any outstanding balances on land rates or rent from the previous owner, which will transfer to you once you purchase the land. Some owners have accumulated land rates for years, which attract severe penalties, and once the transfer of ownership gets done, these balances become yours. Additionally, any pending payments to the county government for the land rent or rates may stall the transfer of ownership for the land, which could, in turn, increase costs for the purchase of your land. Ensure the seller possesses a Rent and Rates Clearance Certificate from the County and National Government, and verify them before purchasing the land.
Before buying land, ensure that you involve appropriate personnel to verify the purchase. Some of these individuals may include an advocate and surveyor. The advocate is essential in drafting the purchase agreement between yourself and the seller. Having an advocate will ensure that land transfer gets verified and legal in case of any conflicts that may arise after the transfer of ownership. A land surveyor is equally essential when buying land since they will verify the boundaries and size of the land on sale. The surveyor will verify the boundaries on the land and compare them to the maps presented by the buyer and available at the Land Control Board.
Equally important in the land buying process is to conduct due diligence on the land. Take your time to get information on the land and complete all processes involved during the transfer of ownership. You may feel the urge to hurry the purchase, leading to mistakes. Rushing to complete the purchase could also make you vulnerable to con artists who will take advantage of your avoidance of following standard procedure.