EXPLAINER

How to buy land in Kenya

Certain important procedures must be followed to ensure proper ownership

In Summary
  • Many Kenyans have complained of being conned when purchasing land, or getting a raw deal.
  • Below is an explainer which could assist you in buying land.
Grass seed farm.
Grass seed farm.

Land is perhaps the most valuable fixed asset that you could possibly own today.

Many Kenyans have complained of being conned when buying land, or getting a raw deal.

Below is an explainer which could assist you in buying land, as there are certain important procedures which you should follow to ensure proper ownership.

The first step to purchasing land is conducting a search and inspection of the title.

Once you identify the land, it is recommended that you visit the lands registry to conduct a search of the parcel.

You will need a copy of the land title deed from the seller to facilitate the search.

Once the buyer is satisfied with the search results as presented by their advocates from the lands registry and the company registry, there will be the preparation of offers and price negotiation.

The advocate should prepare a letter of offer or intent showing the details of the seller and purchaser, the description of the property on offer, and the proposed purchase price and modes of payment.

The third step is the sale agreement and deposit payment. When the buyer and the seller agree, there is a need to ensure that the offer has both the terms and conditions included. It is usually drafted by the seller’s advocate and presented to the buyer’s advocate for approval.

Upon the execution of the sales agreement, the agreed deposit is paid by the purchaser through their advocate to the seller’s advocate’s account.

After the land payment, the buyer is supposed to pay land rates to the city or municipal council involved before completing the transaction. 

The fifth step is where the seller’s advocate prepares transfer documents that will be executed by both the buyer and the seller.

The transfer documents are only executed after consent to transfer has been issued by the commissioner of lands.

The sixth step is valuation. For purposes of stamp duty, an application for valuation is made to the government valuer. The official makes a site visit to enable her to prepare the requisite valuation report. Stamp duty is important as it is used in registering the property.

The payable duty is determined by a government valuer and the valuation is done to determine the true value of the land on the open market as at the date of transfer.

The intention is to gauge the value declared in the instruments presented for registration for purposes of ascertaining whether the value declared in the instruments will be raised or not.

The buyer is then supposed to pay the stamp duty, a tax levied on all lands. Once the registration process is complete, the ownership of the land shall have legally changed hands.

Finally, upon receipt of the complete documents from the seller, the buyer is obligated, in exchange for the documents, to pay to the seller the entire balance against the land. The payment is done through the advocate to finalise the registration of the documents after paying the requisite stamp duty.