There are several steps to follow before you get a genuine land title deed in Kenya. Buying land is not as easy as many may think, it involves more than 10 processes. Before you finally get the title deed, you have to do land verification, search whether it’s genuine, obtain a map, identify whether there are unpaid rates, pay stamp duty etc.
Many people are scammed because they don’t follow all the essential steps required. But for those who have been in this industry for long, they will guide you on every step to follow in order to get a genuine title deed.
Before investing on any piece, follow the following steps:
Land identification – The first steps is to identify land that suits your criteria i.e. location, size and soil type. While doing identification, you should ensure that whoever is directing you is someone you can trust. Some land agent may collude with lands ministry officials and produce fake title deeds which in the actual sense look genuine.
Search at the lands registry – After identifying the piece of land that you would like to acquire, obtain a copy of the land title deed from the seller in-order to facilitate the search. Search results take 2 hours after filling a search application form (attach a copy of the title). The process costs Ksh. 520.After conducting the search, visit the ground and try to inquire from neighours whether the land truly belongs to the one selling it.
Search at the county office – Once you have confirmed that the seller is the true legitimate owner of the property in question, perform another search at the county office to unearth any unpaid land rates, which should be factored in the purchase price. The fee for this search varies in different counties.
Obtain two land maps – the maps can be acquired from the Land ministry or a local surveyor at a cost of Ksh.300 each. One map is usually drawn to scale and the other is an overview of the land showing adjacent plots.
Ground verification – As a buyer visit the land together with the seller and the surveyor to verify the dimensions. Also verify the presence of beacons. This should be erected to avoid future disputes on land boundaries.
Sale agreement – The law requires the transaction to be in writing. It’s advisable to have a lawyer to draft a sale agreement.According to the Law Society of Kenya tariffs, the lawyer should charge Ksh. 300 if land is Ksh. 1,000,000 and below and Ksh. 8000 if the land is valued above Ksh. 1,000,000. Lawyer’s cost is normally shared equally between buyer and seller. It’s advisable to have the spouse of the seller present to consent on the sale. Alternatively, get the Land Control Board clearance at a cost of Ksh. 1,000. You can also schedule a meeting involving only the assistant county commissioner at a cost of Ksh. 5,000.
Sale agreement will help you in case there is a dispute between the two. For instance, if the seller decides that he is not selling the land anymore, the sale agreement will help you in court where the seller will be forced to pay extra cash for forfeiting the agreement.
Transfer and procurement of completion documents – Once the payments are made and the seller inks the land transfer forms, the buyer should proceed to the ministry – armed with the consent from LCB, land search, clearance from county, 3 passport photos, KRA pin certificate, sale agreement and the old title deed – to change ownership of the land. It takes two weeks and Ksh. 5,000 to process a new title deed.
Stamping the transfer – you will need to pay Stamp Duty based on the value of land, i.e. 4% for urban land and 2% for rural lands. This payable after a valuation of the property is made. This Stamp Duty is payable online via the KRA Itax portal. If you are buying land worth Ksh1 million and it’s situated in the rural area, you are required to pay Ksh 20,000 as stamp duty.
Post purchase activity – After a week or two, you as the buyer should do another search with the ministry of Lands to confirm that the land is now under your name. Even after confirming that the land is registered under your name, wait for about 3 months and do another search.