How To Buy Land in Kenya And Evade Fraudsters


Carson O.
10 Min Read
FILECourtesy -
  • Searches and inspection of the title
  • Preparation of offers and price negotiation
  • Sale agreement and deposit payment
  • Payment of land rates

Buying land in Kenya can be a very hectic process that may end in fraud. Many Kenyans who have attempted to purchase this form of real estate testify that the land-buying process requires thinking and due diligence. Many people have lost millions of shillings in this trade. Therefore, this article will take you through how to buy land in Kenya. It will also list the potential risks and how to manoeuvre through them safely.

Before learning about how to purchase land, here are answers to two questions many people ask about buying land.

Why do people buy land?

In Kenya, people buy land for different purposes. However, three reasons have always stood out:

  • Buying land for value (Land Banking) – Statistics have shown that land in Kenya is always appreciating at a rate of 20% per annum, a rate that cannot be provided by any bank in the country. Consequently, Kenyans prefer investing the money lying idle in their bank accounts into the land. These property owners will then proceed to sell the land in future at a profit.
  • Buying land for physical needs – This group of people buy land to put a roof over their heads and their families.
  • Buying land for business and agricultural purposes – Some buyers purchase land to set up their companies, industries and farms so that they can produce and sell products to make a profit.

What is a serviced plot and why do people prefer it?

This is a piece of land that has been laid with the necessary utilities that a buyer would need to perform any operation. Such operations include building homes, farming, building apartments, industries etc.

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The utilities provided include water, electricity, security, fencing and a good road for the transport of required materials.

These serviced plots reduce the cost that a buyer would incur if they alone were to acquire the amenities.

Land-selling companies provide the amenities to a larger chunk of land, subdivide it and sell it to buyers. This provides cheap solutions to buyers whilst making profits on their side. It’s a method of killing two birds with one stone.

1. Land scouting

This is the process of investigating land, knowing its location, and dimensions and interacting with the owners. You will either have to do this yourself or hire a qualified expert that you trust to do the scouting for you.

Apart from speaking with the land owners, you will need to interview the neighbours who will give you more insight about the piece of land you intend to buy. Neighbours will provide you with critical information that includes land disputes between relatives, etc.

In addition, land scouting will give you a good indication of what the price range for the piece of land should be.

2. Meet the seller in person during your site visit

When viewing a property for sale in Kenya, it is recommended to meet the seller in person and request the following documents to confirm their identity and ownership.

For individuals:

  • Original ID Card (or a certified copy)
  • Original Title Deed (or a certified copy)
  • If there are multiple registered owners, ID Cards for each owner and a formal letter of “consent to sell” signed by all registered owners (via affidavits)
  • A certified copy of the Mutation Form that produced the property (if applicable)
  • A certified copy of the relevant Registry Index Map

For companies:

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  • Certified copy of the Certificate of Incorporation
  • Current CR12 (document listing directors and shareholders)
  • Certified copy of the company’s KRA PIN Certificate
  • Original Title Deed (or a certified copy)
  • A certified copy of the Mutation Form that produced the property (if applicable)
  • A certified copy of the corresponding Registry Index Map

3. Confirmation of seller’s identity

To confirm the seller’s identity when purchasing property in Kenya, the following steps should be taken:

  • Obtain the seller’s ID Card copy and KRA PIN Certificate
  • Confirm the authenticity of the ID Card by initiating a “search on the ID Card” at the Registrar of Persons’ office, using the certified copy or original ID Card and requesting a report. A nominal fee may be required.
  • Verify the seller’s PIN by visiting ITAX and entering it in the PIN Checker window.

This is the process of confirming with the authorities of Kenya the precise owners of a piece of land you are interested in purchasing. This is what fraudsters look at when choosing a victim to con. Failure to perform a land search yourself makes you vulnerable to land fraud.

Unfortunately for buyers, land fraud cases are very difficult to solve and you may end up losing your money to thin air. If you cannot do a land search yourself, consider hiring a licensed lawyer from the high court. Licensed lawyers must have a license number from the Law Society of Kenya (LSK). This number is proof of their credibility.  

After a successful land search, you will receive a receipt which will act as proof of having paid for a search.

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A duplicate of the receipt will remain at the lands offices and you will be issued with a Search Certificate, which will be stamped by the registrar, thus confirming that the details therein are factual.

Once you complete this process, you should also acquire a certified copy of the green card.

A green card is a piece of manilla paper that sits in the registry office. It contains details of all land owners since government ownership.

Usually, when settling land disputes, the green card will determine who was the actual owner of a disputed piece of land. Consequently, the green card is the most important document, followed by the title deed (subject to debate).

Obtaining a green card will help you ensure that the details provided to you by the land registry correspond with data from the government and that it is accurate.

Any discrepancies between the green card and your land search report are a RED FLAG and you should walk away immediately.

5. Agree on the price with the owner and pay the deposit

After land scouting and performing a land search, you will set a favourable price on the land and pay the owner a deposit.

According to the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) policies, you are required to pay at least 10% of the purchase fee as a deposit to the owner of the piece of land.

After payment of the agreed deposit, you will sign a sale agreement prepared by your lawyer and the seller will sign the document in the presence of his lawyer.

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Despite many buyers and sellers preferring to split costs and share a lawyer, it is common sense to hire two so that in case a dispute arises, your lawyer can represent you without any bias toward the seller.

6. Completion of payment

To ensure security in the transaction process when purchasing property in Kenya, it is recommended to use an Escrow Account. This is a bank account operated by a licensed advocate, where funds are held in trust while the parties complete the transaction. This is particularly important if the seller needs to subdivide the desired land from a larger parcel before it can be transferred.

When using an Escrow Account, the advocate must issue a Professional Undertaking, a formal promissory letter outlining the specific conditions under which the funds may be released to the seller.

Once the seller has fulfilled their obligations and the property has been registered in the buyer’s favour, the purchase balance can be paid to the seller to complete the transaction. It is also advisable to conduct a second round of Searches and Certified Green card requisitions after the Title deed has been registered in the buyer’s name, to confirm the accurate registration of the new owner.

Read more here.


Above are the steps you need to take to buy land in Kenya successfully. For any queries, you may have, feel free to contact us here.

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I am a multi-faceted professional with a strong foundation in Business and Finance, honed since 2020. Additionally, I possess a deep passion for automobiles, serving as an avid car enthusiast. In parallel to my diverse interests, I am also a dedicated student pursuing a career in the medical field.
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