90% of Kenyans are not aware of the process of document verification before they can purchase any property in the Real Estate sector. Much information have been released to the public through print media and main stream media on the process that needs to be used in the process of verifying documents but Kenyans are still being conned.
The following is the process of buying land and document verification
STEP 1: PROPERTY/INVESTMENT NEED
- The process of buying land starts with a need in mind of buying property/land to meet respective needs of the consumer / client either as a person or a company.
- The consumer (client/potential purchaser)have to identify the “appetite” of the product(property) whether commercial or residential.
- I refer to the use of the property as “appetite” because the actual use of the property in mind is the driving appetite to acquire the property.
STEP 2 : GENERAL SURVEY OF POTENTIAL REGION/LOCATION
- Respect to the use in mind for the need of such a property I.e. either (commercial or residential) the potential client should do a general surveying of the region he/she thinks could satisfy the need for such a land.
- In such a case on can decide one can decide to invest in areas like along Ngong Road, Thika Road, Mombasa Road or even in highland areas according to the intended use in mind.
- During such a survey it is also necessary to identify the dynamics of property pricing and the various economic drivers that result to such prices and potential project that can influence increase in prices of such investments in the future in such a region.
- It is also wise to subject your use of the land you intend to buy with the actual existing users of the land in a potential location.
- If for instance you intend to buy a residential plot for settling a family, it is necessary to get it in a place that has been controlled for residential for residential usage or a place that is not controlled but the existing users of the land have consumed the land residentially.
STEP 3: AGENTS ENGAGEMET
- It is practically impossible for you to know every property that is sold in a specific place at a specific period time.
- It is therefore necessary to engage the services of agent who can identify various plot/land for you to do comparison.
- Such agent could be companies’ brokers or friend.
- It is necessary to understand that such agent will increase in value of the land by 20% to 30% of the actual value as brokerage fee and they shall never disclose to the purchaser.
- Ensure that the agent you intend to use is trustworthy.
- Engage as many agents as possible and let them provide as many properties as possible for you to make a choice.
STEP 4: VISIT TO SITES
- After the agents provides to you list of the properties that they have, now plan to visit all the properties and subject them to your need of the plot and the existing properties.
- It is also necessary to measure the distance from the nearest main road, access to water and electricity.
- It is also necessary to check the nearest police station and administration offices.
- Check on the terrain of the land and presence of anormalies like quarries.
- Check and ensure the presence of beacons (surveying marks ) on the ground and understand the shape of the plot and its alignment with the easiest access road
- Understand the areas of the property both in square feet and square meters.
- Be able to convert such areas above into hectare and compare with the area indicated in the mutation forms and the title deed that will be discussed later.
- Always carry a tape measure and measure the area shown.
- Never visit the site at night or in secret.
- Identify the neighbors and potential homesteads that you will plan to visit later as will be discussed.
STEP 5: SETTLING
- After intense field visits, always have the best 3 plots as your choice and ensure you have been informed on the existence of tittle deed of the individual plots.
- It is wise to make your spouse or family to be part of this process.
- It is also necessary to ensure that you have someone guiding you in the process of land identification but also necessary to note that he/she can also become a broker during the process.
- Ensure therefore that you have placed the 3 plots in order of best ,better, good
STEP 6: ENGAGEMENT WITH THE VENDOR
- Incase you have been using agents; inform them that you need to have a sitting with the owner of the property.
- If the vendor is a person, insist to discuss the matter of that land within his/her compound/ homestead.
- Land deals should never be done in hotels, clubs or public area.
- This is good as it assists to know in case of any issue you have a permanent place you can get the vendor.
- It is also necessary to ensure that the spouse of the vendor is present during such a sitting and one or two of the children. This assists you to be sure that the family is united in selling you the property.
- Let the vendor provide to you the following documents
- Original Tittle deed of the plot/ land
- Copy of the tittle deed
- Copy of mutation form if the land is a product of a subdivision
- Original ID card and a copy
- Copy of KRA PIN (for both the vendor and spouse)
- Check the title number and ensure the description marches that of the respective block.
- Check the registered owner and confirm the names in the Title Deed and the ID number registered in the tittle deed are similar with those in the identification card.
- It is necessary to note that identity can be forged. to discuss it latter
- Bargain the price of the property to your best and also do general price survey later from neigbours.
- Request for the copies of tittle deed ,mutation ,ID, for both vendor and spouse
- From such a sitting understand even the person who sold to the person who is now sellint to you and the year year that he/she bought. This will be necessary in order to march with the information that will be in the green card once you obtain a copy of it.
STEP 7: DOCUMENT VERIFICATION
- With the copy of the tittle deed provided ensure that you apply for a search of the tittle deed with the respective registry.
- The purpose of the search is to understand the current registered owner and whether there is any encumbrances.
- However once you do a search confirm the following;
- Ensure the Title number that has been written on the search is similar to the one in the Title Deed.
- Check the dates when the search information was written.
- Ensure the 3 parts of the title deed have been filled with information as per the green card.
- Part A-Property Section
- Check on the nature of the title deed
- Check on the approximate area and compare with what is in the Title Deed.
- Part B-Proprietorship Section
- Check the names and addresses of the current registered proprietor and compare with what is in the title deed.
- Check the date when the details on the green card were entered.
- Check the details when the title deeds was issued
- Ensure that there is no inhibitions, cautions and restriction.
- Part C-Encumbrances Section
- Ensure that the land has no attachment or interest with any other party like banks authorities among others.
- Ensure there is no any application pending on that parcel of land.
- Officiating the search
- Check the dates when the register was signing the search.
- Check that registrar indicates the registry that provided the search.
- Ensure that the registrar has signed.
- Ensure that the registrar has stamped the search with a stamp reflecting his/her name.
- Ensure that the registry seal has been appended and check clearly he information in the seal to be that of the registry.
NB// A search confirms the current status of the land as it exists in the green card but don’t provide the history of the land. The history is provided in the green card.
- I.M (REGISTRY INDEX MAP)
- With a copy of the title deed, proceed to the nearest and relevant survey office and buy the map of the specific land.
- With the map engage the services of a qualified person like a surveyor who is conversant SSSwith that region and let him/her identify for you physically on the ground the land that you are buying.
- Ensure that the surveyor or the expert interpreting the map is not known to the vendor.
- GREEN CARD
- It is always necessary to request for a copy of the green card from the relevant registry that issued the Title Deed.
- A green card is necessary because it provides the history of that parcel of land in terms of all persons who have been owners of the said land and the dates of all transactions.
- It is also good to note if a restriction has ever been launched on the same parcel number and the person who did it.
- In such a case you can ask questions as to what necessitated such a restriction to be registered and the manner in which the solution was obtained.
- To request for a green card you request a lawyer to write a latter addressing the registrar and requesting for a copy of the green card.
- It is a necessary tool that must be used during document verification.
- TITLE DEED
- Once you get the title deed (original), ensure it has the general texture and colour of a title deed.
- However texture and colour doesn’t authenticate he tittle deed in any way.
- Ensure the following fields are correct and confirms with the particulars in the search document and the green card and R.I.M.
- Title Number
- Approximate area
- Registry map sheet No
- The current registered owner together with the ID number and postal address.
- The registry that issued the Tittle Deed
- The date when the title deed was issued
- The title must be signed by the registrar
- The registrar must put a stamp indicating his/her name
- A registry seal must be appended on the signature
- Another seal should appear on the red/maroon color on the left side of the title deed.
PAGE 2 OF THE TITLE DEED
- Check the date when the green card was opened and compare with green card and the search.
- Check the details on registration section to be similar with details in page one of the title deed.
- Check on the nature of title deed, i.e whether absolute or leasehold.
- Check whether your land or the land you intend to buy was as a result of subdivision.
- Check on the proprietorship section &confirm the dates of data entry in the Registry, together with the date the title deed was issued. Ensure that the registrar has signed on this page.
- Check whether there are encumbrances on this page. If the land has been charged for a certain loan, it should be indicated on this page.
- If the land is subject to subdivision, ensure you have access to the mutation that was used to subdivide the land.
- Ensure you can locate the land you are interested in from the mutation.
- Ensure the content of the mutation are in order.
- Request for the services of a person who can interpret the mutation incase you are not able.
STEP 8: ENGAGEMENT WITH NEIGHBOURS.
- The best way to know the details of the person selling you the land is by engaging the locals and neighbors.
- Inform them of your intention to buy and let them inform you of any dispute during the time the vendor has been in possession of the land and even before.
- Let them give you a clean consent or point of satisfaction on the status of the land.
- In areas where there could be no neighbors check the services of provincial administration like chiefs and village elders. Inform them about your intention to buy land, let them give you their word on this.
- Ensure that the vendor is known by the neighbors or immediate administration by name.
- Be sure that the person selling you the land is the person illustrated by the identity card presented to you.
- Be sure that the vendor does not fake his identity in any way.
- Ensure that you even bring together the vendor and the neighbors to be sure that the vendor is the one known by the neighbors.
- On the same note, ensure that there is no any dispute from the vendor’s family and neighbors either on boundaries ownership or use of the land.
- Never buy land where the vendor is secretly selling the land without the knowledge of the family members. You might find yourself in the middle of a long time dispute.
STEP 9: PURCHASE
- Always ensure that you have a sale agreement before paying even a single coin.
- Let this agreement be overseen by your advocate
- NB// Not that lawyers cannot provide immune from fraud in the aspect that they don’t know the physical ground you are buying.
- They just oversee an agreement between the vendor and the purchaser.
- It is therefore necessary to follow all the steps discussed before on yourself before engaging your lawyer.
- Ensure that all land rates and rent are paid before the land and that the land is free from any liability.
- The lawyer can now write down the agreement according to the formula agreed between the vendor and the purchaser.
- The title deed should be left with the lawyer until the purchase clears all the money.
- It is also very advisable to pay sum money through bank transfer for a proper follow-up later if needed.
- Never clear the purchase money at once. It is even advisable to pay 10% and make an entry on the land and see if any third party will come out of claim ownership.
- Ensure the agreement protects you the purchaser from fraud.
Warranties captured in the Agreement
- The Vendor warrants, represents and undertakes to the Purchaser that:-
- The Property is not a buffer zone, road reserve or public land, its ownership thereof is not subject to any challenge whatsoever from the Government of Kenya, any local authority (including but not limited to County Government) or any third party whatever;
- There is no law or decree or similar enactment binding on him (vendor) so far as he is aware which would conflict with or prevent him from entering into or performing and observing the terms of this Agreement.
- The Vendor is not engaged in nor to best of the Vendor’s knowledge threatened by any litigation, arbitration or administrative proceedings relating to this Property.
- There is no adverse claim on the property, dispute regarding ownership boundary, easements, rights of way or any other such matters.
- The Vendor has not given any right of way, easements or any overriding interest and has no intention of so doing;
- The Vendor has to the best of his knowledge disclosed to the purchaser all material information relating to the property;
- The Vendor has not received any notice from the National Government or county Government or from owners of adjoining properties which remain to be complied with and has disclosed all such notices received to the Purchaser.
- The Vendor will immediately disclose in writing to the Purchaser any event or circumstances which may arise or become known to him after the date of this agreement and prior to completion which is inconsistent with any of the warranties or which had it occurred on or before the date of this agreement would have constituted a breach of the warranties or which is material to be known by a purchaser for the value of the Property.
Miscellaneous captured in the Agreement
- The Purchaser may assign the benefits of this agreement to any other persons on or before the completion date in the event that such assignment is made, the transfer of the Property will be made to such appointed nominee of the Purchaser.
- No failure or delay to exercise any power, right or remedy shall operate as a waiver of that right, power or remedy and no single or partial exercise of any right ,power or remedy shall preclude its further exercise of any other right power or remedy.
- The rights and remedies provided in this agreement are cumulative and not exclusive of any rights or remedies provided by law.
- If any term or condition of this agreement shall to any extent be found or held to be invalid or unenforceable, the parties shall negotiate in good faith to amend such term and condition so as to be valid and enforceable.
- If any term or condition of this agreement shall to any extent be invalid or unenforceable the remainder of this agreement shall not be affected and the other terms and conditions shall be valid and enforceable to the full extent permitted by law.
- Notwithstanding the transfer of the property to the Purchaser this agreement shall remain in force with regard to anything remaining to be done, performed or observed hereunder and not provided for in the said transfer.
- Notwithstanding completion, all the provisions of this agreement shall continue in full force and effect to the extent that any of them remain to be implemented or performed.
STEP 10: COMPLETION DOCUMENTS
- After full payment of the purchase price, the vendor should ensure that he has signed all the transfer instruments.
- The Original Title Deed Document relating to the property.
- Transfer in Triplicate duly executed by the Vendor in favour of the Purchaser or the Purchaser’s nominee with the passport size photos of the Vendor affixed thereon and certified to be the true likeness of the Vendor;
- Certified copies of Vendor Identity Card and tax P.I.N. certificate;
- Affidavit of Consent from the Vendor’s spouse to transfer or affidavit confirming that consent of spouse is not required if the Vendor is unmarried;
- Certified copies of the Vendor’s spouse Identity card (if necessary);
- Certified copy of the practicing certificate of the Vendor’s Advocate executing the Transfer.
- The original and duplicate Land Control Board Consent for the transfer together with the original Application from duly completed;
- Such other documents, approvals as may be required to complete this transaction and affect the registration of the transfer.
- You can use your lawyer to oversee the transfer of the tittle deed to your name.
STEP 11: SEARCH AFTER TRANSFER
- Two weeks after the title deed has been transferred to your name apply for an official search to confirm that all details were well entered in the registry.