When it comes to land purchases, knowledge is power. The more relevant information you get, the better decisions you can make. Being one of the leading countries in Africa, with a stable governmental structure, an efficient healthcare system, and a thriving property market, Kenya has always been a safe place for property investment. Even following the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Kenyan property market continued to show growth. However, there are some factors to consider when purchasing land in Kenya so that you can plan your journey and avoid costly mistakes and delays. AFRIKTA has compiled the 7 legal process of buying land in Kenya that you need to know whether it is your first time buying or you need a refresher on what to expect.
1. Conduct a site visit
When buying land in Kenya, it is crucial to view it first to make sure it meets your needs. Conducting a site inspection will enable you to assess the location, size, neighborhood, and amenities. During your visit, you should always request a site map. If there are numerous plots for sale, you will use that map to confirm your desired property. So, even if you trust the seller, do not miss this step. The first legal process of buying land in Kenya is conducting a site visit.
2. Title Deed of The Land
A title deed is a legal document that proves ownership of a piece of land or property. The Deeds Registry of Kenya issues land title deeds on behalf of the Ministry of Lands. When you purchase land, your ownership is not instantly determined by the amount you pay for it. While full payment is part of the land buying procedure, the title deed is mandatory to become a legal owner of that land. A title deed search at the land registry is the most effective approach to distinguish a genuine from a falsified title deed. It is always possible to do it online through the e-citizen portal. Fill out the online land search form and click submit.
3. Land Valuation
Land valuation is part of the legal process of buying land in Kenya. It entails several phases, ranging from determining the location to analyzing its size and condition. A land valuer can estimate the price of land by following a set of protocols and inspecting the plot condition:
- The type of soil: The nature of the ground impacts the land value. If it is sandy, rocky, or too wet, it will not be suitable to build on it.
- Topography: The shape of your land is the topography. Is it a flat surface? Is there a significant amount of incline? What kind of access would trucks or heavy machines have?
- Underground water: If your land is on an aquifer, you will want to know before purchasing it because you may have some flooding issues.
- Oil and gas deposits: Kenya has natural resources such as natural gas, oil deposits, and other precious metals in Turkana. Is there a chance that your land may be sitting above one of these? If so, it is helpful information.
- Water availability: Water is scarce in Garissa, Mandera, Marsabit, Isiolo, and Wajir counties. So if your land has access to a freshwater supply, that is a big plus!
In addition to being a crucial step in the buying process, a land valuer can help you estimate the value of your plot. You may not be up to date on current developments in or near the land, such as infrastructure improvements or new zoning laws. Hiring a professional land valuer will ensure that you are not overpaying for your land. It is one of the most important factors to consider when buying land in Kenya.
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4. Tax Implications When Buying Land In Kenya
A good accountant will help you understand the financial aspects of your purchase, such as taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs. The tax ramifications of land acquisition can be complicated, and many people are unsure how to approach it. Some land purchasers also fail to consult reliable tax experts. That is a mistake. For instance, in Kenya, the median tax rates for municipalities and towns are different from counties. So understanding tax implications is among the legal process of buying land in Kenya. It will help you make a better decision.
5. Land price Negotiation
Purchasing a piece of land is a give-and-take deal. The vendor offers a price, and the buyer responds with a lower offer. When negotiating the price of land, it’s a good idea to ask for a list of similar lands recently sold in the area. Then, compare the prices to determine if the asking price for the plot you want is competitive. The key to a successful negotiation is to come to the table with a well-conducted research in hand. Agree on a price that is fair to all sides. However, do not exceed the price you selected as your maximum payment amount. No property is worth more than what you can afford.
6. Get Legal Representation for Purchasing Land
Be aware of fraudulent sales and forged documents. It is necessary to conduct due diligence before buying land in Kenya. The simple approach to go about it is to hire a legal representative for land purchases to assist you in investigating the land you have found and completing the necessary paperwork. An experienced law firm will be able to query and investigate the seller, the land in question, and the ownership of the land. They will also assist you through the entire process and ensure you have a genuine title deed in your name. They know how to avoid the traps abounding in land deals, ensuring that your interests and hard-earned money are protected.
7. Land Transfer
Once payments are complete, the seller signs the land transfer forms and submits them to the Ministry of Lands. Also, the land search, land clearance from the county council, passport photos, KRA PIN, agreement, and the previous title deed to change ownership are all submitted. A new title costs Ksh5,000 to process and should be ready in two weeks.
The legal land buying procedure is often a multifaceted, time-consuming process that involves extensive research, correct appraisals, and appropriate contingencies. Therefore, consulting an established real estate expert in Kenya with experience in land deals can be a plus. They can assist buyers in providing real-time guidance and insight until the sale is closed. Following the above steps while working with a real estate agent will make the land buying process in Kenya a pleasant, smooth, and efficient experience.
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