What you need to know about buying land in Kenya

When purchasing land, you need to sift through a pile of advertisers who might be out to make the process complicated.

Granted, there are genuine companies that deal in land for sale. But first, we need to consider the land buying process.

The land buying process in Kenya

Buying land in Kenya is a straightforward process if you follow the steps outlined below.

1. Scout around for land. You can do so online or through referrals.

2. Arrange field visit. It helps you verify its existence, the topography, and the neighborhood.

3. Verify title deed. You can perform an online land search if the land is in Nairobi County. Otherwise, visit Ardhi House at the county level to have the search performed manually.

To verify the authenticity of the title, you need your national identification card, a copy of the original title, and an ‘Official Search Application Form’ that costs Kes 500.

The form should be filled out accurately. The search results take hours to a maximum of seven days. This is dependent on the region and how busy the offices are.

4. Purchase maps. They will help confirm the actual size and the neighboring estates where the land is located.

5. Engage an advocate. This is the most important thing to do to avoid losing your money to fraudsters. A lawyer drafts an agreement on your behalf, which is a form of protection in case things don’t work out.

6. Make a deposit. Depending on the land cost, you are required to deposit 0.1 % of its value with your lawyer.

7. Get LCB consent. To get their consent, ensure the spouse was fully involved during the whole process. A consent letter is issued thereafter.

8. Settle balance. You can now clear the remaining amount which gives you the power to change the title details.

9. Change ownership details.
Visit Ardhi House to transfer all details so that they are legally yours. Among other things, you will need consent from LCB and any agreement between you and the vendor.

10. Stamp duty payment
Payment of duty is done at the lands offices and is dependent on a site visit by a government-registered value who assesses its value. If the land is for agricultural purposes, the duty due is 2 % of its value. Land located in Municipalities attracts a 4 % stamp duty. At this stage, you need your identification card and PIN certificate copies.

11. Confirm change of ownership.
You can wait up to six months before visiting Ardhi House at the county level where you purchased the land. Check whether the title has all your details.

Best places to purchase land in Kenya

The best places to invest are where we have good road networks, water, electricity, together with good weather. These places also give the best returns on investment.

Incidentally, most of these places are Nairobi satellite towns. The following is a list of the best places to buy land in Kenya.

1. Embakasi
2. Upperhill
3. Thika
4. Ruaka
5. Kamulu
6. Ruiru
7. Athi River
8. Rongai
9. Ngata Nakuru
10. Utange and Bamburi in Mombasa.

Cheapest places to buy land in Kenya

Affordable places to buy land in Kenya are numerous. These places have land that is less than a million shillings.

1. Kajiado
Ngong, Isinya, Kitengela, Kiserian, Matapato, and Bisil.

2. Laikipia
Gwa Kung’u, Ngobit, and Rumuruti are some of the places. Other places are Nanyuki and especially Ol Pejeta, Mukima, Matanya, and Timau.

3. Kilifi
Malindi in Kilifi County is the best place with the cheapest land.

4. Machakos
In Ukambani, affordable land is in Maanzoni, but Kilimambogo and Masii also offer the same.

5. Kiambu
Kamangu, Lusigetti, and Nachu are a few of the examples. Others are Ndeiya in Limuru and Juja farm.

6. Nakuru
Mutaita and the Elementaita area, Kikopey, and Langalanga are some of the areas.

7. Nyandarua
In Nyandarua, areas like Dundori, Ol Joro orok, Engineer, and even Njambini have affordable land.

8. Nyeri
Examples are Kamakwa, Naromoru, and Nyaribo.

9. Murang’a
Two examples are the areas of Kakuzi, Mitubiri, and Kenol.

Most expensive places to buy land in Kenya

1. Nairobi
Land in Upperhill, Spring Valley, Gigiri, Kilimani, Muthaiga, Runda, Kitisuru, Karen, Ridgeways, Donholm, and Lavington are the most expensive, with plots running at millions of shillings.

2. Kiambu
Land in Ruaka is the most expensive in the country, according to a recent survey. Ruiru and Kiambu towns also have expensive land.

Nairobi and Kiambu towns have land which costs anywhere between 60 million to as high as 500 million for an acre.

Buying land in Kenya as a non-citizen

It is very possible to own land in Kenya as a non-citizen. However, a foreigner can only possess leasehold land whose lease expires at 99 years.

After 99 years, the owner is given priority if the national and county government don’t claim the land for public purposes.

Before anything else, engage the services of qualified legal professionals to avoid being duped.

Foreigners can apply for land ownership services as 1. Individuals 2. Via a company. The company should have a single non-citizen and the rest should be citizens. That said, non-citizens can never own agricultural land, except through exemptions granted by the head of state.

Non-residents can never own freehold land at any point in time. Any land purchased by a foreigner is assumed to be on leasehold. And though some foreigners appoint nominees or trusts to help them own property, it is illegal to do so and can lead to one losing their land if discovered.

The land ownership process for foreigners currently is under review by the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning. This is because the ministry is in the process of integrating Ardhisasa with immigration services which will allow them to verify foreigners’ personal information before allowing them to transact.

It is clear how straightforward it is to acquire land in Kenya. If you follow the outlined processes and advice above, you will have a piece of Kenyan real estate.

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