The Kenyan government permits citizens and foreigners to buy residential or commercial real estate lands located in a town or municipality, provided they comply with the procedures. However, according to CAP. 302 of the Kenyan Law, land that is marked as agricultural land has restrictions that prohibit foreigners or privately-owned companies whose shareholders are not all Kenyan citizens from buying such land unless such transaction has been exempted from the provisions of the Land Control Act by the President under section 24 thereof.
Buying land in Kenya involves several steps and legal processes to ensure the transaction is legitimate and secure. If you are interested in becoming a land owner in Kenya, below is the process to follow:
Research of Potential Land
The first process is to identify the land you want to purchase and the purpose of the land, i.e., residential, industrial, or commercial. This is important as some residential areas prohibit industrial activities, whereas some commercial areas ban the setting up of some businesses for legal reasons. For instance, a liquor business is legally prohibited close to schools and hospitals, and some communities even restrict churches in their residential areas.
Conduct a Property Search
Conducting a property search is done by requesting a copy of the title of the land you intend to buy from the owner or company you plan to buy it from. You then search the land online or physically by visiting the land registry within the area where the land you intend to buy is. At this point, you can also enquire from the county offices if the land has any accrued unpaid rates and talk to a few neighbors about the history of the land.
Acquiring the Land Map
The next thing after the search is acquiring the land map for the piece you intend to purchase. This is usually available at land registries and with local surveyors. It helps you know the exact measurements of the land, the general overview, and adjacent plots.
Visit Potential Property
Visiting the property is crucial to verifying its suitability for your needs. Most companies in Real Estate sales offer free site visits to their potential buyers, so it is essential to complete this step.
Drafting and Signing a Land Sale/Buying Agreement
A sale agreement is signed between the seller and the buyer, and it is a vital document in land ownership. Here, all the terms are written down for future reference or in case anything arises and clarification is needed.
The contents of the sale agreement include the size of the land, the title number, where the land is located, the condition of the land, the time of completing the transaction, and the distribution of costs involved. This defines who pays for the different costs involved in the process of transferring the land to the purchaser from the vendor.
The next step is payment, which proceeds as agreed upon by the seller and buyer or as specified in the sale agreement. It is essential to ensure that the seller issues you with a receipt of payment.
Once you have cleared payment and the property has been transferred to you, conducting a final search online or at the land registry is vital to confirm that it is indeed under your name. Once satisfied, ensure to keep your title safe.
Working with professionals throughout the process, including real estate companies and agents, lawyers, and valuers, is essential to ensure a smooth and legally sound land purchase. Additionally, due diligence is crucial to avoid fraudulent transactions and land disputes. Always verify the authenticity of documents and conduct thorough checks before finalizing the purchase.
The Real Estate Stakeholders Association (RESA) aids members in buying land and property from legit companies to ensure the process is easy and hassle-free and that clients are not defrauded of their hard-earned money. Reach out to us to become a member of the Association or to enquire about registered members of the Association.