Buying a house as a foreigner in Kenya

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Buying a house as a foreigner in Kenya involves several research and due diligence, finding the property and legal access to the property

Buying a house as a foreigner in Kenya

Buying a house as a foreigner in Kenya involves several steps and considerations. Here’s a general process to guide you through:

1. Research and Due Diligence

  • Understand the Market: Start by researching the Kenyan real estate market to identify the areas that are most appealing and suitable for your needs.
  • Legal Restrictions: Be aware of any legal restrictions for foreigners owning property in Kenya. Typically, foreigners can own property in Kenya on a leasehold basis, with leases available for terms of up to 99 years.

2. Find a Property

  • Hire a Real Estate Agent: It’s advisable to work with a reputable real estate agent familiar with working with foreigners. They can provide valuable insights into the market, help you find properties that meet your criteria, and guide you through the buying process.
  • Property Viewing: Schedule viewings for properties that interest you. Take the time to visit and inspect each property thoroughly.
  • Hire a Lawyer: Engage a Kenyan lawyer to help with the legal aspects of the purchase. They will conduct a title search to verify the seller’s ownership and ensure there are no encumbrances on the property.
  • Sales Agreement: Once you’ve chosen a property, your lawyer will help draft a sales agreement, which both the buyer and seller will sign. This agreement outlines the terms of the sale, including the price, payment schedule, and any other conditions.

4. Financial Arrangements

  • Opening a Bank Account: If not already done, you may need to open a bank account in Kenya for the transaction.
  • Payment: Follow the payment terms agreed upon in the sales agreement. This often involves paying a deposit to secure the property, followed by the balance upon completion of the sale.

5. Government Procedures

  • Stamp Duty and Transfer: Your lawyer will assist with paying stamp duty, which is a tax on the transfer of property. After payment, the property can be officially transferred to your name.
  • Registration: The final step is to register the property in your name at the Kenyan Land Registry. Your lawyer will handle this process, ensuring that you receive the title deed or lease certificate.

6. Post-Purchase

  • Utilities and Insurance: Once you own the property, set up utilities in your name and consider purchasing home insurance.

Tips:

  • Due Diligence: Thorough due diligence is crucial. Ensure the property’s legal status is clear and that there are no hidden charges or disputes.
  • Professional Advice: Seek advice from professionals at every step of the process. This includes real estate agents, lawyers, and financial advisors familiar with Kenyan property law and taxation.
  • Understand Costs: Be aware of all costs involved, including legal fees, agent fees, stamp duty, and any maintenance charges if buying in a managed estate or apartment complex.

This process can vary based on specific circumstances and the type of property you’re purchasing, so it’s important to consult with professionals who have current and comprehensive knowledge of Kenyan real estate laws and practices.

Article By Francis Musili.

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