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What to Know Before Buying Land in Kenya

To ensure that you make the right purchase and avoid getting scammed in the process, here is how to carry out due diligence when buying land.

  1. The Type of Land

Before you decide to buy any piece of land, it is important to know the intended purpose of the land i.e. if it is for agricultural, residential, commercial or industrial purposes. The seller should have this information.  In addition to that, you should know the type of ownership you will have. In Kenya, it is either:

Freehold: You’ll own the land indefinitely so long as the conditions of ownership don’t change. Leasehold: The leasehold tenure will allow you to own land for a limited time with an option of extending the tenure upon expiry. The Kenyan constitution limits non-citizens to a maximum tenure of 99 years.

Having an idea of how the land is used enables you to know whether it is a good investment.

Additionally, if you ever decide to subdivide your land, potential sellers might have different ways of using your land. Knowing the type of land will show that you know what you are talking about during the sale.

  1. Know the Typography

Within the first stages of looking for land to buy, you’ll probably search for it either online or ask your friends or family for recommendations. You won’t be able to see the physical vacant land to get a glimpse of the surrounding area.  Google Earth has a cool feature where you can visualize and analyze the location you want to invest in.

  1. What Utilities Does the Land Have?

Another crucial aspect to look at before buying vacant land is the presence of utilities such as water and electricity or lack thereof. In some areas, the seller has already installed these on the property.

You could also add these for yourself at a cost, like digging a borehole. Because most people buy land to build on, knowing this information will help you include some of these costs in your budget for better planning.

  1. Is It on Riparian Land?

You must have seen or heard sad stories about people losing their homes during the rainy season from flooding because the property was close to a river or water stream.  You don’t want to find yourself in a situation that will force you to move after building your home. Remember, building on riparian land is illegal in Kenya.

You can find out more details about the property by performing a free land search on the Ardhisasa.   You can also get a surveyor to survey the place and tell you more about the location and the boundaries to know if there is any water body surrounding the land you want to purchase.

  1. Does the Land Have Road Access?

Is there a pathway or road leading to the land in question? This might sound obvious but there are places without a road and a path has to be created to get to the land. You don’t want to invest in a place that gives you a headache trying to access it.  Even worse, is if the road is on someone else’s property. Meaning, you have to pass through their land to get to your destination. Therefore, get the finer details from the seller and visit the place for yourself before making a purchase.

Be clear on the duration of your ownership

Think about how long you want to hold the land. If your goal is to grow your savings, it is important to buy in an area that will be attractive to buyers in the future when you plan to exit. For example, when you buy a piece of land that is near a proposed development, you are likely to get higher returns and a quicker exit.

Would you like utility services in place?

Depending on your end goal, the land you buy may need to have utilities already installed. The most basic are water, sewer, and electricity. Utilities play an important role in an area’s development as well as the land’s value appreciation.

Make a plan to do a physical site visit

You must see any piece of land you intend to buy. This enables you to get familiar with the place and your potential neighbours. A site visit assures you that you are buying land that exists. Many people lose their money by paying for non-existent land. Site visits are an important part of the land buying process.

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