You’ve probably heard this public pegged misconception: the legal aspect of owning property in Kenya is an undemanding exercise. Incorrect!
Property investment is significant because you want to make the right decisions when it comes to spending your money. For this reason, having an adept conveyancing lawyer is the rational thing to do. They will give also give you investment tips to help you get value for your money.
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Tips to Help You Find The Right Property Advocate
Finding the right property advocate, also known as a property lawyer, is crucial when dealing with legal matters related to real estate transactions. Here are some tips to help you find the right property advocate:
- Determine your specific needs: Before you begin your search, clarify your requirements and the type of assistance you need from a property advocate. Are you buying or selling property? Do you need assistance with property disputes, contracts, or zoning issues? Having a clear understanding of your needs will help you find an advocate with the right expertise.
- Seek recommendations: Ask friends, family members, colleagues, or real estate professionals for recommendations. Personal referrals can be valuable as they come from people you trust. They have firsthand experience with a property advocate.
- Research online: Use online resources to search for property advocates in your area. Look for reputable law firms or individual advocates with expertise in real estate law. When searching for an advocate/lawyer in Kenya, look through the official Law Society of Kenya website to confirm that he/she is an active member of the society, their physical address, years of practice and their specialization of work.
- Check qualifications and experience: Ensure that the property advocate you consider has the necessary qualifications and experience in real estate law. Verify their credentials, such as their education, licenses, and any specialized certifications.
- Discuss fees and billing: Inquire about the advocate’s fee structure and billing methods. Some advocates charge an hourly rate, while others may work on a flat fee basis. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the costs involved before making a final decision. A legal advocate in Kenya charges an average of 2% of the property value depending on the extent to which the advocate handles the transaction for representation according to the LSK Remuneration Order, however, ask and confirm with your advocate before you begin any transactions.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Property Advocate
Once you have found an advocate, here are the tasks and role he must play to help you complete the buying property transaction sale.
Property advocate manages your transactions
A property advocate plays a crucial role in managing transactions by providing legal expertise and guidance to clients. They review and draft contracts, conduct due diligence, and ensure compliance with legal requirements. They negotiate on behalf of clients, represent their interests, and coordinate the various parties involved in the transaction. Your property advocate is the person who will interact with all the people involved in the transaction process. He will liaise (physically and electronically) with the Seller’s Advocate, Seller’s Agent, Financier, Local Authority, Valuer, Surveyor, Property Manager and Physical Planner extensively.
The property advocate resolves any issues or conflicts that arise, communicates with clients, and oversees the closing and settlement process. By managing risks, protecting client interests, and ensuring a smooth transaction, the property advocate helps clients navigate the complexities of real estate transactions with confidence.
Property advocate conducts research and due diligence
Your advocate will conduct due diligence and get all the information relating to the property you are buying. He should get a copy of the title and National Identity Card of the seller. He should then conduct the requisite searches both for the property at the lands office. that of the person named in the title as the registered owner at the Registration of Persons Bureau. A search at the company registry should be undertaken if the person selling the property is a company. This will confirm that the purported seller of the property is either the real owner or an impostor. It will also confirm the nature of the title, its tenure and any encumbrances, restrictions or prohibitions on the property.
Other duties will include;
a) Confirming the proposed use of the property (relevant to planning, zoning, survey, valuation and development, policy legislation and any restrictions that may affect the proposed user).
b) Confirming the seller’s documentation in full: addresses, telephone contacts and the advocates representing them.
c) If there is more than one buyer, he will advise on co-ownership and joint ownership.
d) Find out how your purchase will be financed and the likely completion date of the transaction.
e) Confirming the property occupant (relevant third-party rights and vacant possession)
f) Ensuring all outgoing costs (rates, service charge, rent, electricity, and water) owed by the Seller to the relevant authorities are settled.
g) Making sure there is no conflict of interest in the purchase.
If the search results are satisfactory, he should check that the land is on the Ndungu Land Report under the section on illegal and irregularly allocated property.
Advice on legal matters
Your advocate will advise you on the consequential results of the due diligence and the way forward. He must make you aware of the important dates during the course of your agreement. If it is not possible to meet a deadline, he will negotiate for more time to meet any necessary requirements.
Your property advocate will help you to end the contract if there will be any need to end it. If there are any issues with the last inspections, your advocate will negotiate on the remaining work needed from the seller. On occasion, he will negotiate holding of the funds in the event that the property needs any repairs or reduce the price because of the repairs.
If the ownership of a property moves to a company, family trust or a partnership, he should advise on the ownership structure. Sometimes, he will give advice on a couple that wants to own property jointly. Your advocate should be able to explain to you what you need to do in terms of meeting the bank’s requirements and how the process of lending works.
The custodian and transactor
A property advocate must oversee the transfer process to the satisfactory completion of the purchase. He must put together the purchase price and outgoing costs in the Advocate’s trust account on time. If you want a mortgage, he should communicate with your financier. They will also ensure that you meet the requirements to help you get the mortgage on the completion date.
Your Advocate will prepare, review, amend, and attest the Agreement for Sale and Transfer documents executed by you. He will then arrange to transfer the deposit of the purchase price, ownership details of the property into your names, and advice on stamp duty payable. Stamp duty costs- (normally 4% of the purchase sum or 2% for freehold/agricultural land) together with any outgoing costs. Thereafter, he will transfer the balance of the purchase price to the seller, and give you together with the financier an updated copy of the title certificate and the mortgage. Lastly, he must arrange for the handover in liaison with the Vendor’s Agent.