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This is the ideal process you should follow when buying land in Kenya

  1. Visit the area where you hope to buy land
  2. If it pleases you, express interest of purchase and request for a copy of the title deed from the landowner and present it to your lawyer.
  3. Your lawyer will then take it to the land registry and conduct a land search.
  4. Ask the owner to show you the beacons on the property which mark the land’s boundaries.
  5. Depending on how large your land portion is, it would be advisable to get your own surveyor to ensure that the beacons on the land are in the right place and the title you are buying is what is on the ground.
  6. The seller then drafts the sales agreement once you have discussed the terms of the sale. The prescribed standard is 10 per cent deposit and the 90 per cent balance in 90 days.
            a. Special conditions in the terms of sale that need to be included are the passport photos of the seller, copies of his PIN certificate and ID, which should all match the documents.
           b. If it is a company, it should provide you with a certificate of incorporation, the company PIN certificate and the PIN certificates and IDs of the company’s board of directors.
           c. It is easier to get this information at the negotiating stage before you sign the sale agreement.
  7. Sign the finalised sale agreement and then make the agreed deposit.
           a. The deposit could be held by the lawyer as a stakeholder and held safe.
           b. Alternatively, you can write an agreement to have the money paid directly to the buyer, however, if something goes wrong during the process, getting your money        back might be difficult.
  8. Once the sales agreement is signed, ensure you take it to a Huduma Centre and have it stamped. That authenticates the contract.
  9. You then raise the balance over the agreed upon time in the contract.
  10. Your lawyer prepares the land transfer document. Not that you need to go before the Land Control Board if the land is located in rural areas. In major cities, you go to the land commission to get consent from the land registrar to consent to the transfer of land.
  11. You go before the board, which sits once a month, and fill in the required forms. Both the buyer and seller sit in or can send representatives to get consent for transfer. You cannot transfer land ownership without the consent from the board.
  12. Once you get consent, you then sign the transfer documents and attach the pictures of both the buyer and seller. You then come to the date of completion.
    a. Date of completion is the date you finally exchange documents and make the final installment.
    b. Balance is normally paid by bank transfer to the seller’s lawyer’s account
  13. Once the transfer is successful at the Lands office and the title is successfully transferred to the buyer, the seller’s lawyer then releases the money into the sellers account.
    a. If the buyer is unable to register the transfer at the Land’s office due to a dispute on the land, the seller’s lawyer may have to refund the buyer the final deposit.
    b. It is normally advised to the seller of the land to ensure that all interested parties on the land such as the seller’s children or wives sign a sales consent form with the buyers.
    c. Land has to be valued by a government surveyor to agree on the parties’ sale that determines the stamp duty value which is 4 per cent of the property cost in urban areas and 2 per cent of the property cost in rural areas, which also affects the price of the property.
  14. At the end of the land sale process, carry out another search at the Lands office to ensure that what is reflected in the file at the registry matches what you have in your hand.