In the recent years, many Kenyans have fallen victim to crook businessmen purporting to sell land.
According to media reports, most of these real estate companies either sell nonexistent land or issue one land to multiple people.
A expose published on the Daily Nation put Lesedi Developers in the spotlight after it emerged a section of investors had lost money in the Thika-based real estate company.
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Elsewhere, Cytonn Investments Managing Limited owes 4,000 investors more than Ksh 14 billion with the court recently ordering a liquidation to recover the funds.
In this article WoK looks at easy and sure ways to verify the legitimacy of a land before making transactions in order to avoid being conned.
Existence of the land
The first step is to confirm if the land exists.
Here a buyer should contact the seller and organize for a site visit to confirm that the land in question exists.
At this point, it is also advisable to talk to locals in the area to do your own investigations about the land before engaging further.
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Visit the land’s office
After the site visit, the buyer should also consider visiting the land’s office to confirm that the seller is the actual owner of the land.
By requesting a copy of the land’s tittle deed, a buyer will see the actual owner of the land, if the land is restricted for sale or not and if the title has issues.
The land search results are conducted by the land control board who meet at least once every month, a buyer can book a meeting with them at a fee.
After a meeting with the control board, they will avail search results after a few hours or days depending on the urgency.
It is important to note that legitimate search results are sealed by the Registrar of Lands.
The process of land search can also be done online via eCitizen.
A buyer will need is to access their eCitizen account and click on the Ministry of Land, Housing, and Urban Development.
Once there, one will be provided with the option to insert the land registry title number, after which the buyer will be prompted to pay for the services using a credit card, debit card, bank transfers, or via Mpesa.
Upon the confirmation of payment, the applicant is allowed to print the results, and the records will remain available in the personal portal, hence you can access it each time you log in.
Visit county offices
The next stop is the county offices.
Here, a buyer will confirm with the county government if the land in question has any unpaid rates.
In an event where the land has unpaid land rates, a buyer should engage the seller on who will clear the debt.
Hire a surveyor
The next step is hiring services of a surveyor for purposes of ground verification.
The surveyor will help the buyer confirm the dimension from the map drawn to scale to prevent arguments over the size of the land after purchase.
With the help of a lawyer, a sale agreement will be drafted and signed by the buyer as well as the land seller.
Before approval, it is important to certify that the information on the agreement meets the ones confirmed at the land’s ministry.
At this point, unscrupulous land dealers provide contradicting data that results in a difficult situation after settling the payment.
After a successful transaction, the buyer will request a tittle deed from the seller after signing the land transfer forms, and it is prepared at the land’s ministry.
After the seller has signed the land transfer forms, the buyer will go to the ministry of land with the consent from the land control board, three passport-sized photos, KRA PIN certificate and other required documents.
This process is followed by the payment of stamp duty based on the value of the land.
A while after purchasing land, it is important to conduct a post-purchase activity where you visit the land’s ministry to confirm that the land now reads that you are the owner.
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