Mistakes People Make While Buying Land in Kenya

How to avoid being conned when buying land in Kenya

It is no secret that many people have been conned while trying to purchase land in Kenya, statistics show that 8 out of 10 Kenyans purchasing Land in Kenya get conned. The land buying process normally seems and looks like an easy task while in reality it requires extensive research and using the help of the right professionals. In my four blog post series I will take you through; beginner’s tips to buying land in Kenya, the legal process of buying land in Kenya, and a checklist to buying land in Kenya. But first, let’s look at the mistakes people make while purchasing land in Kenya so that you can not be the next victim.

1. Failing to do a Land/site visit of the Land they intend to buy

“Even in your normal purchases like clothes, shoes, and food, do you normally purchase something that you have not set your eyes on?” (of course Not!) but many people have an exception when it comes to land and go ahead to buy Land that they have not set their eyes on. It is therefore very important to ensure that you visit the land that you intend to buy to ensure that it exists, it’s what you were looking for and it is what the seller purports it to be.

2. Failing to Secure the copy of the original title deed from the seller

This is a mistake many people make and go ahead to pay for land that they have not got their hands on the original title deed or its copy. The importance of ensuring that you get your hands on the copy of the original title deed is because that is how you will know the original owner of the Land, the acreage and whether there are any encumbrances on that land.

3. Failing to conduct an Official search of the Land at the Land registry

This is a very important step while buying Land but many people tend to skip it. The only way you will know if the person selling the land to you is the original owner of that particular land is if you conduct a search a the Land registry. A search at the Land registry is absolutely free and takes a maximum of two days.

To conduct a search at the Lands registry all you will need is the copy of the original title deed and the copy of the pin and ID of the original owner of the title in this case the seller.

4. Failing to involve the Right  professionals in the Land buying process

The best way to ensure that you are not conned while buying land is to ensure that you engage the services of professionals in the process. The professionals that you will need to deal with to ensure you are not conned while buying land include the following;

  1. An advocate of the High Court of Kenya – They come in on the stage of drafting an agreement between the buyer and the seller. To save on costs both the buyer and the seller can opt to use one advocate.
  2. Valuer – To help in doing the valuation of the Land for purposes of paying stamp duty.
  3. Surveyor -Who will do the ground verification and help in processing the required land maps.
  4. Land Control Board-The Land control board is the one who gives the LCB consent which will be needed in transferring the land from the seller to the buyer.

5. Failing to conduct due diligence, consultation, or research

Most people normally hurry the process of buying land yet it is something that will literally go nowhere, hence they fail to do any due diligence or conduct research. Ensure that you do research on the land that you are buying because for a leasehold it reverts to the government after 99 years if the owner fails to reapply for it. It is therefore important to do your research to ensure you are not being sold land that has already reverted back to the government.

6. Dealing with brokers instead of seeking out the actual landowners.

There are many people who make the mistake of using a broker to purchase land and hence end up getting conned. If you want to buy land ensure that the person that you are dealing with is the actual owner of the land. It does not matter the relationship between the broker and the seller.

7. Assuming that sellers from the village or remote areas cannot be cons

Many people always have this assumption that people in the village especially the older people are genuine people and trust them failing to do any due diligence or involve any professionals. When it comes to buying land you cannot afford to make any assumptions there is a reason 8 out of 10 people buying land in Kenya get conned. Ensure you do all your due diligence as though you were buying land in Nairobi where the majority of the people tend to be more careful.

8. Paying the whole purchase price of the Land from the beginning

This point might sound weird but it is very true, most people make the mistake of paying the entire purchase price of the land from the beginning. Under the law, you can pay 10% of the purchase price at the beginning then the rest within 90 days. However, it is always up to the buyer and the seller to decide that’s why there is an agreement. But to be safe pay your money in installments so that if the person is a con you will not lose all your money.

9. Hurrying the Land Buying Process

There are people who end up being conned majorly because they were in a hurry to purchase the land. It is very important to understand and know that land buying is a process that takes time. It is, therefore, necessary to do everything one step at a time and ensure in every step you take you do both your extensive research and due diligence.

10. Failing to secure a spousal consent

Under the law, for you to secure an LCB consent from the land control Board from a married seller there must be a spousal consent. It is therefore very important that you ensure from the begging if you are dealing with a married seller the spouse is in agreement with the transaction because without the consent from the spouse there will be no transfer of the land from the seller to you. (Remember at this point you will have paid the entire purchase price of the Land.)

Kindly Note: The content of this blog post is intended to be of general use only and should not be relied upon without seeking specific legal advice on any matter.

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