Buying land is one of the biggest financial
decisions you will make in life. You need to make this decision with all the
details necessary to safeguard your money. There are so many stories of people
who lost their money and I do not want you to be one of them.
I have listed below the key steps to follow
when you are finally ready to buy land. Whether you are buying
land from an individual or a company, follow the steps below.
Letter and Signature.
Step 1. Land Identification
The first step is you need to determine the size, location, budget, and purpose
of the land that you need to buy. If you need to buy land for
building your home, then this is residential land. Commercial land is where you
can put up a rental property. Agricultural property is used for farming. In
Kenya, we also have areas that have been zoned for industrial use. The article
below gives you more details.
Important: Categories of RealEstate in Kenya
The budget determines the location and size
of land you can afford. Generally, bigger land sizes attract a higher price.
Locations close to towns or social amenities attract a higher price.
Nowadays, most people start their search online. Here is a list of 7
real estate listing websites in Kenya. Other people rely on real estate
agents. The agents browse these listing platforms and narrow the list down for
them. If you have friends who have purchased property, you may reach out
to them for advice and guidance.
Once you have identified land that meets your criteria, plan to conduct a
physical visit. This visit will help you check the surrounding area and
the layout of the land. I have seen cases of people buying land in swampy areas
because they never made a visit. Visiting the land will help you also see the
layout so that you do not buy land that is too steep and will be hard to build
When you visit the land, ask neighbors questions about the seller or the
history of the land. This will help you identify if there are disputes over the
land. Neighbors are well placed to inform you of any boundary issues or any
If you are dealing with a real estate
agent, please verify that the agent has the authority to sell the
property. There are instances of agents selling land yet the owner did not
ask them to. Agents usually have the authority to
sell letters from the owner. For some properties, this letter is not issued
particularly for the lower end of the market.
of Authorization to sell in Real Estate with an example.
Step 2: Conduct a search in the land's
Once you decide on the property you intend to buy, ask for the title deed and
details of the owner. The copy of the title deed helps to conduct a
search of the land at the land office. A copy of the national identity card is
used to verify the identity of the seller. You can verify the details at the
Registration of Persons Bureau.
At the land office, you will use the title
to confirm ownership of the land. Additionally, you will learn if the property
has any claims or has accrued land rates. The cost of these checks will vary
from county to county. This search process usually takes three days. Fr
properties in Nairobi, searches are being done online through Ardisasa.
to Conduct Property Search through Ardhisasa
You do not need to visit every county to get a search done. Your real
estate agent or lawyer can do that for you. Searches cost around Ksh 500
and under if you are doing it yourself. Agents and lawyers may charge Ksh 2,000
to help in the process.
While at the land registry, you can buy 2
types of maps. One map is an overview of the land and adjacent plots while the
other is a map drawn to scale. With the two maps, you then engage a surveyor to
verify the dimensions of the land. The surveyor will confirm if beacons are
there and replace any missing beacons. They will also ensure that all
beacons are in the correct location. The standard cost of placing beacons is
less than Ksh 5,000 per beacon. For a plot with 4 beacons, the price will
be about Ksh 20,000.
Step 3: Preparation of offers and price
If you have verified all details, you then
make an offer. If you are not a real estate expert, we recommend that you
engage a lawyer to prepare an offer. The lawyer will then prepare an offer
letter detailing the terms of sale.
You will need to meet costs for your
lawyer. These costs are based on a percentage of the sale price. The Advocates
Remuneration Amendment Order, 2014 provides the scale.
Please ensure that all key details
discussed are included in the contract. The agreement may include the need to
pay a deposit. Deposit if any should be made to the seller advocates account. It is advisable to wait for clearance from
the Land Control Board ( explained in the next step) before paying
any deposit. This ensures that if LCB does not approve the sale, you can
get your money back.
Step 4: Clearance for the Land Control
For the sale of any land to occur, there
must be approved by the local land control board. The board exists to ensure
that land transfers in are transparent. This includes ensuring that the land
being sold is not communal land or subject to a land tussle.
Membership to The Land Control Board is
comprised of county staff and area elders. The boards usually hold monthly
meetings. Special board meetings can be held but for an extra cost.
Once you have been cleared by the LCB, you
will need to pay for land rates. Once you make any rates that are due you will
be issued with a Clearance Certificate. At this point, you can make the payment
for the land and get signed transfer forms from your seller.
You now have several documents needed for
the title transfer process. These are:
Step 5: Transfer of Ownership
When you apply for a transfer of ownership, a valuer will visit the land and
place a value on the property. This value may be different from the amount you
paid. The value determines the stamp duty payable to the Kenya Revenue Authority.
Depending on the value of the property, a
Capital Gains Tax may apply. It is your responsibility to pay the stamp duty.
This is paid by the seller. Stamp Duty is charged on the property value or the
sale price agreed upon; whichever is higher and is:
4% for land/property within a municipality
2% for agricultural land or property
outside a municipality
This article explains RealEstate Taxes in Kenya. Refer to this detailed guide on Stamp
duty payment for real estate transactions in Kenya.
You will be responsible for the cost of registration of titles in your name.
The county governments will review the submitted documents. if the documents
are complete, a new title is issued.
The law also provides that agents must be paid the agreed service
fee/commission. The fee is on a scale capped at 3% of the property's value.
The agent is paid by the party who instructs them. The seller will pay the
agent they instructed to market their property. the buyer will pay the agent
who linked the buyer to the seller.
Estate Agents Remuneration in Kenya: Understanding what Commissions to Charge
It is important to follow up after one week
and conduct a search the same way you did when buying the land. This will help
you confirm that the property details at the ministry of lands are now showing
you as the new owner.
You may consider fencing the land and
notifying neighbors of the change in ownership. Fencing will restrict
encroachment on the land. The neighbors will also help ensure no one tries to
sell the land without your consent.
I hope the above step-by-step instructions help you in purchasing your next
property. In case you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to your
real estate agent, advocate or let us know. You may also comment below, and
other community members will be on hand to offer you their thoughts.
What are the Requirements for a Foreign National to buy a piece of land in
Are you a foreigner wondering how to own land in Kenya? The legal process of
buying land in Kenya remains the same whether you are a Kenyan citizen or a
foreigner. There are a few restrictions. Please read this blog that covers
of buying land as a foreigner.