Buying real estate property in Nairobi, Kenya requires that the buyer acts systematically as explained below.
1. Identify the property and compare market rates.
A buyer one he has identified the property, will need to compare costs with surrounding properties to get an indicative feel of the market rates. For instance, if its a residential house in Runda, checking other comparables either online through sites like Olx or talking to property agents will give an indication of the costs for the area.
There are other more detailed methods for cost comparisons as explained below
2.Once the buyer is satisfied that the price is ok and they are well prepared with the budget, a technical survey by the architect in conjunction with a structural engineer can be included to ascertain whether the house structure is in order. Real estate transactions are usually to the tune of millions so its important that the buyer ensures his money doesn’t go to waste. Some buildings could be advertised for sale after the owners realized serious structural issues eg the building has unreparable cracks, its sinking to one side or is prone to flooding during rainy season.
Such situations are in most cases repairable once the new buyer works with his architect to provide a solution. The situations can then be used by the buyer to negotiate a lower sale price since the most important part of real estate is not the building, but the land on which the building stands. If the land is in a prime location, its easier for the buyer to work with his architect to come up with solutions to any problems there could be.
Some buildings could have been condemned by the local authority due to flaunting local building by laws and building code. This is a large problem to the property owner but a very small problem to an architect since its very easy to redesign the building to fit within local authority building code as opposed to complete closure as in the case of the mall below in Bangkok.
3. Once the buyer has a complete technical evaluation form his architect, land surveyor and structural engineer, he can then move to a conveyancing lawyer who will then advice on the legal steps to follow for a conveyancing.
If the buyer is not in Kenya, he can appoint someone he trusts in Kenya to hold power of attorney for him. This person can then engage in purchasing the property on his behalf as per Kenyan conveyancing laws.
In most cases, the procedure is such that after the buyer has conducted a search at the respective lands registry to ascertain status of the property, eg whether there are caveats, loans borrowed with property as collateral and name of owner,the buyer can then proceed to pay the seller 10% of the value of the property and undertake to complete the 90% balance within 3 months . The 90% balance is ideally supposed to be put in an escrow account held by his lawyer but in most cases , the buyer keeps the amount to himself until completion of the transaction.
At the point of receipt of the 10% sale price, the seller is to obtain consent to sell from the land board, usually at the area District Commissioner’s office. Once consent is obtained, the buyer or his agent is then to present the consent and the agreement to the respective land registry whereby the lands registrar alters the ownership to reflect the new owner.
After consent to sell is obtained, and signing of the agreement for sale, the buyer can then release the 90% remaining amount to the seller.
Francis Gichuhi Kamau, Architect.