Buying land in Kenya is not only a tedious, but a risky process. It involves doing an extensive due diligence on a property that is on sale, site visits and involving a lawyer to protect your investments. The industry is also faced by various concerns including overpricing of properties and duping of clients hard earned money.
Recently, many companies have ventured into the real estate sector with the intention of benefiting from the lucrative venture. The problem however lies on identifying a genuine company to invest with. This has made some potential investors to turn to individuals, but this is a big mistake as narrated by Ms. Gladys Situma, an employee at Fanaka Real Estate Company
Ms. Situma recounts her ordeal when she decided to buy land from an individual a few years ago. She says she was conned hundreds of thousands, which she had saved for a several years with the hope of securing a better future for her family. This is what she went through:
Long transaction process
When purchasing the piece of land, the seller did not have the title deed. Instead, he only had a certificate which took him a few weeks to deliver.
I had to make numerous trips to the Ministry of Lands office to conduct a search on the piece of land. The whole process turned out costly and time consuming.
If I had entrusted my money with a real estate company, they would have conducted the search on my behalf much faster and at no additional costs.
Higher transaction cost
I ended up bearing all the transaction costs. Buying from an individual meant I had to pay for the land to be surveyed, legal fees and stamp duty. All these made the final cost of the land to be very high.
The land was not ready for development
To my surprise, the piece of land was located quite interior and very far from the tarmac, there were no occupants nearby.
If I were to buy from a real estate company, I would have gotten a well serviced plot; ready for construction with amenities such as water, graded roads and electricity among others.
Limited to a given location
Unlike in real estate companies where they have prime plots spread across different geographical areas in the country, buying from an individual meant there was only a single piece of land and no varieties to choose from.
I lost thousands of my life savings after the individual I was buying the land from disappeared in the thin air right after making the payment. It turned out the land he was selling was not his. I spent many weeks tracing him and up to date, I have never come across him.
There is no doubt that land is a big issue in Kenya. In fact, it is one of the hottest debate topics currently. Potential real estate investors must be very careful to avoid being duped. By comparison, it is safer to purchase land from a well-established real estate company as opposed to buying from an individual.