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Land purchase in Kenya has become a tricky business considering all the dispute cases and fraudulent acquisitions we have witnessed in the news.

Despite all these hazards, it is still one of the best investment avenues for Kenyans who are looking for handsome return on investments or those looking to build their own homes.

To ensure your land purchase is safe guarded against any negative and painful outcomes, below is a step by step guide on how to wisely purchase land in Kenya. It is highly recommended that you use a lawyer for every property purchase as this will ensure that the transaction is legal and without any encumbrances. Also, please note that the onus of processing the title deed falls on the buyer and not the seller. 

  1. Conduct a site visit

Identify the piece of land that you wish to purchase and ensure that the beacons of the land are clearly marked. Keep in mind that in ancestral land there may be no beacons. The beacons give a clearer vision of the shape and size of the land and its actual boundaries.

  1. Perform an official search

Your lawyer should then perform a land search at the District Lands Office or the Ministry of Lands (Ardhi House). To perform the Search, you will need a copy of the title deed of the land and you must fill the search application form and attach the title. You then pay a fee of Ksh. 500. 

  1. Search at the county office

This one helps to unearth any unpaid land rates which should be factored in the purchase price. 

  1. Obtain two land maps

These ones are obtained from Survey of Kenya after paying Ksh. 300. One map is usually drawn to scale, and the other one is an overview of the lands adjacent to the one you want to buy. 

  1. On-Ground verification 

Once you have obtained the maps, you should visit the land together with a surveyor to verify the dimensions. 

  1. Preparation of the sale agreement

Once you have verified the authenticity of the land, a sale agreement is then prepared by the seller’s lawyer. 

8.Preparation of the documents

The seller must prepare all the completion documents to ensure a proper transfer. The Completion documents will include:

  1. Original Title in the name of the seller. 
  2. Duly executed transfer forms in triplicate (must be sealed if a company is selling)
  3. 3 Passport Photos of the seller if it’s an individual and if a company, then 3 photos each of 2 directors of the company
  4. Copy of Pin Number of the seller
  5. Copy of National ID of the seller and if a company copies of National IDs for 2 directors who’ll sign the transfer forms.
  6. Copy of the registration Certificate if it’s a company.
  7. PIN Certificate of Company
  8. Rates Clearance Certificate (In Case the tenancy of the land is leasehold)
  9. Rent Clearance Certificate (In Case the tenancy of the land is leasehold)
  10. Land control board license. 

Your lawyer should confirm that the documents are authentic and must certify the documents before presentation to the relevant Lands Registration Office.

DO NOT pay your cash until the seller has shown you these documents. If they are not available, you will never manage to transfer the title to your name legally, unless through other dubious means. 

  1. Pay the full amount to the seller 
  2. Payment of Stamp duty

The draft transfer documents should be filed at Lands Office for assessment of stamp duty payable on the transfer. Other than the aforementioned documents, the buyer must attach his copy of ID, passport photos and copy of PIN. After this, the government valuer conducts a site visit to verify the development and state of the property. The stamp duty is 2% (agricultural land) and 4% of land within the Local Municipality.

  1. Exchange of documents

When the registration is done with issuance of a new Title deed (for freehold tenancy) or Certificate of Lease (Leasehold tenancy). The buyer’s lawyer or the buyer then collects the Title Deed at the Lands Office.