Kenya is a beautiful country with many opportunities for those looking to purchase land. Whether you’re interested in buying land for investment purposes or for personal use, it’s important to understand the process of buying land in Kenya. This guide outlines the steps involved in purchasing land and offers helpful tips from expert realtors on how to make your experience as smooth and stress free as possible.
Step 1: Research The Properties Available
To begin with, it’s important to do your research and understand the different types of land available in Kenya. You can purchase land for residential, commercial, or agricultural use. It’s also important to be aware of any restrictions on the land you are interested in buying. These may include zoning laws or environmental regulations.
In the kenyan constitution, land ownership is classified into three categories i.e public land, community land and private land. Public and community lands cannot be individually owned, only private land can be transacted on.
First, let’s have a look at the different types of private property available in Kenya and what use cases are allowed. There are three basic types of land in Kenya,
- Agricultural land
- Commercial land
- Residential land
Agricultural land in Kenya
According to the land control act, CHAPTER 302 Revised Edition 2012  agricultural land is defined –
(a) land that is not within— (i) a municipality or a township; or (ii) an area which was, on or at any time after the 1st July 1952, a township under the Townships Act (Cap. 133, 1948 now repealed); or (iii) an area which was, on or at any time after the 1st July 1952, a trading centre under the Trading Centres Act (Cap. 278, 1948 now repealed); or (iv) a market; (b) land in the Nairobi Area or in any municipality, township or urban centre that is declared by the Minister, by notice in the Gazette, to be agricultural land for the purposes of this Act.
Commercial land in Kenya
Commercial land use is intended for structures like warehouses, shopping malls, shops, restaurants and office spaces. Commercial zoning laws control the kind of operations a business can perform and the category of business allowed in a particular region.
Residential land in Kenya
Land for residential use is specifically zoned for residential housing where people live and takes up the most space around a city or town. Housing density is high close to the city centre, with a high proportion of flats and apartments to single dwelling units further out.
Depending on your investment goal, whether you want to farm, build a residential unit or invest in a commercial development, you must first understand the type of land that will work for your goal.
Step 1.2 Understand the Typography of the Land
At the beginning of the land-buying process, it can be useful to use online tools, talk to friends and family, or look into Google Earth’s visualization feature in order to get a sense of the location without seeing it in person.
While at it, ensure that you check if the land you are about to purchase is on riparian land. When constructing a home in Kenya, it is important to take into account the legal implications and avoid construction on riparian land as doing so may necessitate relocation.
A surveyor can provide information about the location and boundaries of a piece of land, including any nearby water sources. that way you wont end up loosing your home during the rainy seasons as a result of floods.
Step 1.3 Know the Amenities Available
Before buying vacant land, consider the convenient availability or need to install utilities such as electricity and water – the seller might have taken care of it for you! If you are purchasing land to develop, you may want to consider the costs associated with additional utilities such as installing a borehole. Knowing these costs in advance will assist with budgeting.
One important thing to find out is if there are pathways or roads that lead to the land in question? Before you invest, make sure you can actually get there; create a path if none already exists!
It is important to understand that if the road to the purchased property runs through land owned by someone other than the seller, additional information may be needed before purchasing. We recommend that you visit the property in person is before any purchase decision is made.
It’s also important to be aware of any restrictions on the land you are interested in buying.
Step 2: Consulting an Experienced Real Estate Professional
Once you have determined the type of property you would like to purchase, the next step is to find a reputable real estate agent. Ask for referrals from friends and family, or search online for experienced agents who have experience in the Kenyan market.
When you’ve selected an agent, it’s time to start looking at properties. Your agent will be able to provide you with listings of properties that meet your criteria, as well as information on the surrounding area. It’s important to ask questions and gain an understanding of the local market before making any decisions.
Step 3: Make an Offering
Once you’ve found a property you’re interested in, your realtor will help guide you through the process of making an offer and negotiating the terms of purchase. Your agent can also provide advice on financing options and help you with paperwork such as title searches.
Step 4: Obtain the Necessary Documents
Obtaining the necessary documents is a key step in the process of buying land in Kenya. Typically, this involves obtaining a Transfer Form, Consent Form, Sale Agreement, and other related documentation. It is important to ensure that all paperwork is authentic and up-to-date.
The buyer should also seek legal advice on the content of these documents and sign them in front of witnesses before submitting the documents to relevant government authorities for approval.
Step 5: Verifying the Ownership by Doing a Land Search
Land search is one of the important steps when buying land in Kenya, as it helps to verify the ownership of a particular piece of land. The procedure for verifying land ownership in Kenya involves looking into records at the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning. This process involves getting an Acknowledgement Letter and conducting a physical search on the respective Title Deeds registry.
During the physical search, a signed and sealed copy of the title deed search is obtained which helps verify or confirm the actual ownership details and also legal conditions associated with the property. Doing a title deed search before purchasing any land in Kenya is wise and will save you any future problems such as ownership disputes.
If you are looking to buy land outside of Nairobi then be sure to pay a visit to the Survey office in that county, for example if you were visiting Kisumu – and with some luck, you may find the perfect property spot outside of the city, then visit the Survey of Kenya offices in Kisumu. You will notice that different counties charge differently while doing land search.
As part of your search, it’s important to determine if there are any unpaid taxes or rent due for the property. If so, the seller should settle these obligations prior to the transfer of ownership. Ensure that you obtain the copies of land rent and rates clearance certificates and receipts which demonstrate no outstanding payments.
Step 6: Get Good Legal Advice and Support
Finally, make sure you understand the legal aspects of buying land in Kenya. It’s important to make sure all documents are in order and that there are no outstanding issues such as unpaid taxes or fees. Your realtor will be able to answer any questions you may have and provide advice on how to navigate the process. Not all lawyers are versed with conveyancing, so be sure to pick a law firm that has specific expertise in land conveyancing to avoid any snags.
Step 7: Get Survey Maps
When buying land in Kenya, it is essential to get survey maps to make sure the seller is actually selling you the property they show you. Survey maps show boundaries and other information regarding terrain, water features, nearby streets, etc. They help one identify the property on ground, in real life. There are incidents where fraudulent people will try to sell property with falsified documentation and one way to catch this is by buying the map and visiting the plot to establish its actual beacons.
Getting the survey maps can save potential buyers from fraud or misunderstandings with sellers since legal documents usually include these details and having them before purchasing can help to ensure that all parties involved are truly on the same page about what is being sold.
Step 8 : Make Deposit Payment – Pre Land Transfer Inspections
Before the title deed of a property in Kenya is transferred to the new owner, a pre-land transfer inspection must be conducted to ensure all the land transfer paperwork is in order along with any other local or regional zoning restrictions.
Additionally, prospective buyers must make a deposit payment. Depending on the value of the particular plot, it can range from ten percent (10%) up to one hundred percent (100%). Once this process is complete, the buyer can proceed to complete their purchase and take legal ownership of the land.
Step 9: Sign The Sale Agreement Document
The final step in the process of how to buy land in Kenya is signing the Sale Agreement document. This document serves as an official and binding testament between the buyer and seller that confirms their agreement to proceed with the purchase and outlines both parties’ rights, responsibilities and obligations.
It also states the agreed upon price and method of payment, when each party will perform their respective parts or obligations of the transaction, and other conditions required for completion. And after all that, it must be signed by both parties so that everything is legally binding.
Signing this document is a very important step since it secures your rights as a buyer, provides legal documentation for government records, and facilitates transactions if you choose to sell the land at some point down the line.
The sale agreement is a legally binding document that benefits both parties. It is typically prepared by the seller’s lawyer. Find out everything you need to know about title deeds.
Three copies of the agreement will need to be completed: one each for yourself, the seller, and the lawyer. It includes.
- Information on buyers and sellers.
- Property description.
- The price of the land and payment schedule.
- Who foots the bill during the process?
- In the event of a breach of contract, what consequences follow?
Stamp duty is 4% of the value of land in urban areas and 2% for rural areas. Legal fees vary depending on the value of the land, starting from Kshs 35,000 for lands valued below Kshs 5M.
These costs are outlined in the sale agreement.
Once all payments have been finalized, the seller will prepare and sign the land transfer documents. It is advisable to have a lawyer present during this process to safeguard that expectations are met.
Step 10: Finalize the Purchase of the Land
When buying a piece of land, it is absolutely vital to make sure that the seller has all the necessary consents before you go through with the transaction. Different types of land require different consents and it is here where a lawyer can help you in ensuring that everything is properly taken care of. It is important to take your time to verify all documents regarding the consent and make sure they are authentic.
In addition, always remember to check with local authorities if further permissions need to be obtained from them or if there are any government regulations that need to be satisfied before going forward with the sale.
Buying land in Kenya can be a rewarding experience with the right preparation and guidance. With the help of an experienced real estate agent, you can be sure to make a wise investment and enjoy your new property for many years to come.
Now that you have a better understanding of the process of buying land in Kenya, it’s time to start looking for your perfect property. Here are some tips from our realtors on getting the most out of your search:
- Make sure you understand the local laws and regulations before making any decisions. This can include zoning laws, environmental regulations, and other restrictions.
- Research the local market to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible. Look at recent sales of similar properties in the area, and compare them to what’s available on the market now.
- Utilise all your resources. Speak with friends and family who have purchased land in Kenya, or look for experienced real estate agents who can provide insights into the local market.
- Take your time and do your due diligence. Don’t rush into any decisions when it comes to buying land in Kenya. Make sure you understand the process thoroughly before signing any contracts.
We hope this guide has given you the information you need to get started on your journey of buying land in Kenya. With the right research and guidance, you can be sure to make a wise investment and enjoy your new property for many years to come.
Have a look at these land for sale options in various locations in Kenya
To start you off on the right footing, here are some mouth watering options by Mkaazi Real Estate Ltd.
Agricultural Land For Sale In Kenya, Locations And Options
This is a prime 130 acre farm for sale in Ngatataek, off Namanga Road in Kajiado County. The land offers an ideal opportunity for agricultural pursuits, commercial or residential development due to its great exposure and strategic location. It features 1.3 kilometres of major road frontage and 2 kilometres from Ngatataek town. The land is gently sloping with virgin soil and a clean title deed.
So if peace of mind, convenience and comfort is what you’re looking for, consider this 8.5 Acres. Invest today in this rapidly appreciating property which offers you the best value for your money.
This is the perfect opportunity to buy 8.5 acres of prime land, located along Limuru Road. Located only 2 kilometres away from Limuru Road and 15 minutes away from Limuru Town, it is located in a quiet neighbourhood with beautiful views. It is also just an hour away from the Nairobi Central Business District and conveniently located near Tilisi Development, one of the most sought-after gated communities for high networth people in Limuru.
Located on the banks of the Galana River, this 71-acre farm for sale offers investors and farmers alike a unique opportunity to purchase an untouched piece of agricultural land ready for farming. The well-drained soils are suitable for growing a variety of crops, including watermelon, mangoes, cashew nuts (korosho), bananas, peanuts, cereals, legumes, cassava, maize, pepper and pawpaw.
Due to its easy access to irrigation water from the river and fertility of the soils, this area is now becoming increasingly popular due to investments in irrigation farming projects encouraged by the ongoing Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme. This is a fantastic chance to buy prime land at an attractive offer price starting at KES 75000 per acre with clean title deeds available.
Narok Ewaso Nyiro in Kenya is a picturesque piece of property with beautiful panoramic views. Twenty acres is currently up for sale, located near the Ewaso Nyiro river, with level ground amidst rolling hills and approximately five enclosed acres planted with acacia trees.
There is plenty of wildlife, such as antelopes, buffaloes and elephants, plus lions and hyenas. The area has good infrastructure and electricity, making it an ideal location to invest. Submit your offer today before it’s too late!
Residential Land For Sale In Kenya, Locations And Options
This amazing ranch located just 8km from Malindi CBD is a great opportunity for discerning investors. It has all the necessary requirements such as ownership documents, no squatters, beautiful fences and gates, mature trees and deep well drained red soil. Power is also present on site with a farmhouse as an added bonus. It’s a perfect setting to start commercial farming or even subdivision and real estate development due to its expansive location allowing easy access.
Shela, Lamu Island
This incredible 21 acre parcel on Lamu Island is the stuff of dreams. Sitting in the exclusive neighbourhood of Shela, this land boasts magnificent views and stunning sand dunes which make it an ideal choice for anyone looking to build a destination hospitality product. Lamu is world-renowned for its untouched beaches and authentic charm, so there’s never a dull day when you live here!
You can relax at floating restaurants as you watch the sun set over turquoise waters or take in the ambiance of riding a donkey through town without shame or judgement. For those looking to invest in an unforgettable piece of paradise, this property on Lamu Island is truly one of a kind!
Happy Houses Residence
There is a prime 1.5 acres along Casuarina Road in Malindi is a great opportunity to get into the property market. It has frontage onto the road allowing you great visibility and easy access, as well as being just 250 meters from the beautiful beach. It features mature trees, fencing and a walled perimeter which makes this an ideal place for either residential or resort development. The title deed is clean and the neighbourhood is serene, secure and developed as you are only 8 minutes’ drive from Malindi International Airport.
Kwanza City is the perfect location for anyone looking for land for sale in Malindi Municipality. The plots are strategically located at Ganda Neighbourhood and only three kilometres away from the Central Business District. Additionally, it has easy accessibility to Tsavo West National Park, beaches on the Indian Ocean, and Malindi International Airport which is only 8 minutes away.
The neighbourhood offers a great combination of commercial and residential development opportunities. This could be a great opportunity to own prime land in Malindi Town and takes advantage of the city’s natural beauty while becoming part of one of the most sought-after locations in Kenya.
Commercial Properties For Sale in Kenya Locations And Options
This is an excellent opportunity to buy commercial land along the bustling Thika Super Highway. It’s a 2.5 acre plot of flat land located just behind Spur Mall and next to NIBS. With a major road frontage, mains electricity and water for connection, it’s an ideal place for setting up any kind of business. The plot has clean ownership documentation and beacons in place. Don’t miss out on this great chance to purchase your own lot of commercial land so close to the Thika Super Highway!
These four adjacent eight acre commercial plots for sale in Malindi are the perfect opportunity for anyone looking to develop a commercial property. These plots, located near Superfill Petrol Station and touching the cabro road, boast major road frontage, clean title deeds, power and piped water onsite, and a developed neighborhood. Situated within the Malindi CBD and selling for Ksh.5M per 50 by 100 plot, this convenient location makes these properties an ideal investment.
If you are looking forward to investing in more specific areas in Kenya like the coastal region, then have a look at the ultimate guide to buying land in Malindi.