A Comprehensive Beginners Guide to Buying Land In Kenya


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Are you in the process of buying land in Kenya? Here is a comprehensive beginners guide to buying land in Kenya:

Step 1: Identify the Land

As a land buyer, you need to get your goals right. Consider the intended purpose of the land you plan to purchase. This will influence your decision in terms of purpose (residential or commercial), size and location. Once you’ve looked around and identified the land you can proceed to the next step, which is conducting a search.

Step 2: Conduct A Search At the Land Registry

To conduct a search, you’ll need to secure three things:

  • A copy of the title deed
  • A copy of the seller’s identity card, and
  • A copy of the KRA PIN of the seller

With these documents, proceed to the Land Registry – either at the Ministry of Lands or the local Land Registry where the land is located. At the Land Registry, get a search application form, fill it in and attached copies of the title deed, identification card and KRA PIN provided by the seller. The aim of this process is to confirm the real owner(s) of the land, the acreage of the land and any CAVEAT on the land. This search typically costs about Kshs 520.

Step 3: Outstanding Land Rates

After conducting the search on the title at the Ministry of Lands/Land Registry, ensure there are no unpaid rates attached to the Land. This verification can be done by conducting a search with the County Government’s Office where the Land is located.

The search has a fee attached and it varies from county to county.

Please note that for the title to be transferred, all land rates need to be paid up. Therefore, it is crucial to discuss with the seller who will settle the land rates, in case there are any unpaid Land rates.

Step 4: Aquire the Land Map

Once everything is in order, you may now proceed to the Ministry of Lands/Land Registry to acquire at least two land maps for the land you intend to buy. One map, drawn to scale, shows the exact measurements of the land or mutation. The other map provides an overview of land along its adjacent plots. Each of these maps will cost you about Kshs 300 to Kshs 350.

Step 5: Conduct Land Verification

After getting the maps, along with your surveyor and seller go to the actual location of the land to authenticate everything on the map.

This is a crucial step that shouldn’t be overlooked to avoid any problems in the future. Verify the land and erect beacons to prevent any future misunderstandings or disputes.

Step 6: The Sale Agreement

After all the above steps have been concluded successfully, a sale agreement is needed to proceed.

In the presence of a lawyer, the buyer and the seller need to agree on certain things that need to be incorporated into the sale agreement. You’ll need to agree on the price of the Land and the method of payment for the Land. This agreement will protect you legally if either party fails to honour the agreement.

The price of the sale agreement varies with the value of the land and the location – so says the lawyer. However, please note that according to LSK, if the value of the land is below Kshs 1 Million, you’ll pay your Lawyer Ksh 3,000. For anything above Kshs 1 Million, you’ll need to pay your lawyer Kshs 8,000.

Step 7: Land Control Board Clearance

As a land buyer, it is imperative to gain clearance from the Land Control Board. The Land Control Board, meet once monthly. The board comprises the county commissioners and the elders of the area where your land is located. The purpose of the clearance is to ensure that the land transaction and transfer is transparent. Additionally, verify there was no illegality involved during the entire process while buying land in Kenya that could nullify the outcome. It will cost Kshs 1,000 for a regular board meeting for oversight. And on special instances, in the case of urgency, Kshs 5,000 is payable for special board meetings. The outcome of the meeting is to issue consent for the land to be sold if the transaction is up to par.

Step 8: Land Valuation

Land valuation is the next step. At the Land Registry, you’ll need to fill out a valuation form to apply for Land Valuation. The lands office will compute the stamp duty to be paid. Stamp duty is often based on the value of the land and its location.

In the sale agreement, it should be stated clearly who between the seller and the buyer should pay for the stamp duty to avoid any form of confusion.

Step 9: Transfer of Title/Land Ownership

After paying the required fee on stamp duty based on Land Valuation, you’ll need to apply for the transfer of the Land. This is done through the Land Registry. Both the buyer and seller, are required to sign the required transfer forms. After which, proceed to submit the said forms to the Lands Registry.

The seller needs to provide the following documents for the transfer to be done:

  1. The Land Control Board Consent Form
  2. KRA PIN
  3. Two (2) Passport size photos
  4. The old Title Deed
  5. Sale agreement

The change of ownership normally takes about three weeks. It will cost you anything between 1,000 to 5,000 Kenya shillings which vary in different counties.

Step 10: Receipt of Title

As the new proud owner, you will receive the new title deed of the land. The title shows that ownership has been transferred and the old title deed has been destroyed. As the new owner, you will then proceed to pay the required stamp duty. Stamp duty is often based on the value of the land and its location. If the land is in the municipality you pay 4 percent of the sale value. However, if it’s in the locality you pay 2 per cent of the sale value.

When all is said and done, do a search at the Ministry of Lands/Land Registry. This way, you can confirm that indeed the land has been transferred to you.

After confirmation, you can now invite your friends over for mbuzi to celebrate.

There you have it. The comprehensive beginners’ guide to buying land in Kenya today.

Related: Things You Need to Know About Investing in Real Estate In Kenya

Image credits: Top by Helena Lopes via Pexels.

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Irene Makanga
Irene has an MBA in Finance and is an avid businesswoman, passionate about financial literacy.


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