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Thursday, October 1, 2020

11 steps you MUST follow when buying land in Kenya

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Buying land in Kenya: BY FELISTA WANGARI: Felista Wangari is a personal finance coach and the administrator of the 52 Week Savings Challenge  personal finance group.

When you’re ready to acquire a piece of Land, there are some pre-requisites which you need to adhere to so that the land you buy is legitimate. Below, I will take you step by step on the process you need to follow when Buying land in Kenya. In every land deal, It is highly recommended that you use a Lawyer. It is costly but safest. BY ALL MEANS NEVER CUT CORNERS.

How to build a three bedroom house with Sh. 800,000 

1. Conduct a site visit

Identify the piece of land that you wish to purchase and ensure that the beacons of the land are clearly marked. Keep in mind that in ancestral land there may be no beacons. The beacons give a clearer vision of the shape and size of the land and its actual boundaries.

2. Perform an official search

Your lawyer then performs a land search in Kenya at the District Lands Office or the Ministry of Lands (Ardhi House). To perform the Search, you will need a copy of the title deed of the land and you must fill the search application form and attach the title. You pay Kshs 500.

4. Search at the county office – This one helps to unearth any unpaid land rates which should be factored in the purchase price.

5. Obtain two land maps.
These ones are obtained from Survey of Kenya after buying Kshs 300. One map is usually drawn to scale, and the other one is an overview of the lands adjacent to the one you want to buy.

6. Ground verification
Once you have obtained the maps, you should visit the land together with a surveyor to verify the dimensions.

7. Preparation of the sale agreement
Once you have verified the authenticity of the land, a sale agreement is then prepared by the sellers Lawyer.

8.Preparation of the documents

The seller must prepare all the completion documents to ensure a proper transfer. The Completion documents will include:

a. Original Title in the name of the seller.
b. Duly executed transfer forms in triplicate (must be sealed if a company is selling)
c. 3 Passport Photos of the Vendor if it’s an individual and if a company, then 3 photos each of 2 directors of the company
d. Copy of Pin Number of the Vendor
e. Copy of National ID of the Vendor and if a company copies of National IDs for 2 directors who’ll sign the transfer forms.
f. Copy of the registration Certificate if it’s a company.
g. PIN Certificate of Company
h. Rates Clearance Certificate (In Case the tenancy of the land is leasehold)
i. Rent Clearance Certificate (In Case the tenancy of the land is leasehold)
j. Land control board license.

Your lawyer should confirm that the documents are authentic and must certify the documents before presentation to the relevant Lands Registration Office

By all means NEVER pay your cash until the seller has shown you these documents. If they are not available, NOTE you will never manage to transfer the title to your name legally, unless through other dubious means.

9. Pay the full amount to the seller.

10. Payment of Stamp duty

The draft transfer documents should be filed at Lands Office for assessment of stamp duty payable on the transfer. Other than the aforementioned documents, the buyer must attach his copy of ID, passport photos and copy of PIN. After this, the government valuer conducts a site visit to verify the development and state of the property. The stamp duty is 2% (agricultural land) and 4% of land within the Local Municipality.

11. Exchange of documents

When the registration is done with issuance of a new Title deed (for freehold tenancy) or Certificate of Lease (Leasehold tenancy). The buyer’s lawyer or the buyer then collects the Title Deed at the Lands Office


  1. Thank you for sharing this detailed post.

    I just have one question regarding Capital Gains Tax (CGT). This tax came into effect January 2015. Details about it are here http://www.kra.go.ke/notices/pdf2014/Capital-Gains-Tax-Guidelines.pdf

    CGT attracts a charge of 5% of net gain. According to KRA, CGT is to be paid by the transferor or person transferring property.

    The seller should pay CGT and share this information with the buyer because when paying stamp duty through i-Tax, the process will not be complete without a CGT reference number.

    Hence my question:

    Would it be professional or okay to deduct capital gains tax from the purchase price of land so that the buyer can pay for this charge later while settling stamp duty fees in order to avoid a situation where the seller refuses to pay for Capital Gains Tax after completing the land transaction?

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