Acquisition of property is everyone’s dream amidst the Covid 19 pandemic that has been characterized by massive job losses and reduced disposable incomes across all key sectors – including real estate.
It is indeed heart-wrenching hearing or watching stories in the media of people that have been swindled of their hard-earned money by agents and companies who later vanish as soon as you deposit money in their accounts.
Worse still, we have heard or witnessed stories of double allocation of property which the buyer later comes to learn about as soon as they want to develop their property after clearing their land arrears.
While real estate is the preferred investment option for Kenyans, it is also high risk. According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 2016 Report, there were over 6000 cases of land fraud.
As you prepare to purchase property that you have been eyeing for a while, it is critical to have some insights and perspective on how to properly and safely acquire property to avoid losing money.
According to NCBA Bank Kenya, here are some tips for aspiring property owners before making a purchase:
- Avoid making any payment directly to the vendor or their agents: It is better to use an advocate to help with the transactions as they will safeguard your money and ensure you get value for your money.
- Do due diligence: Conduct a search for the property which shows the property location, history of ownership, and the property clearance status. It is often at this stage that most buyers get conned. You need the services of a lawyer to help in reviewing the documents, clauses etc. It is advisable to do a credibility check on the developer and contractor.
- Visit property: This is to confirm the location and boundaries. It is important to know that you are not just buying a property but the location. Considering that you are buying the surrounding, you need to familiarize yourself with the climatic conditions, political affiliations and cultural beliefs amongst others.
- Land rates: Ensure the vendor has paid the land rents and rate. You don’t want to land on the wrong side of the law governing property ownership.
- Transactional costs: You also need to take time to find out all the transactional costs involved in the purchase of the property.
- Engage professionals: Engage professionals like surveyors, valuers, lawyers, architects, engineers, quantity surveyors. This is important because they are well conversant with properties and property laws. Engineers will play the role of inspecting your new home and looking out for defects that will save you from making costly unnecessary repairs.
While owning a property is a good thing, you must consider running the above background checks thoroughly to safeguard your money and new acquisition.
Article was written by Stella Mutai, Head of Property Finance, NCBA Bank