Buying land in Kenya should be a relatively straightforward process. However, there are pitfalls if you aren’t careful you might lose your money in a split second. Land buying in Kenya is a very sensitive matter and you must proceed with caution or suffer the same fate some land-buying victims have gone through. The land is one of the most valuable assets you can own. The Kenyan constitution gives every Kenyan citizen the right to own land anywhere in the country provided you have complied with the legal procedures of buying land in Kenya. Foreigners are also allowed to own land in Kenya but they also have to follow the set legal procedures laid out in the Kenyan constitution. Here is a step-by-step guide for buying land in Kenya.

1. Land identification

When you decide to buy land you first need to identify which piece of land are you interested in. Ask yourself such questions, does the location of the piece of land suit you? Does the size meet your needs? How about the soil type? You must also think of the surrounding areas, social amenities availability, and other factors that have to be put into consideration.

2. Searches and inspection of the title deed

Now that you have identified the land you are interested in, you should meet up with the said owner and be served with a copy of the land title deed which will enable you to do a search on the lands registry. A search usually reveals details such as the owner of the land, the location of the land, and the size of the land. The process usually costs between Ksh 500 and Ksh 1000. The results of the search will be revealed to you in less than six hours after filling out a search application.

3. An offer should be prepared and a price negotiation

Once a search has been conducted on the said land, the prospective buyer is satisfied then an advocate can prepare an offer. The letter should have an intention of buying the land, a quote of the purchase price, details of the buyer and seller, and the description of the land which is the subject. Also, modes of payment should be included in the offer letter.

4. Search at the County Office for land rates

When buying land you have to visit the land’s county office where you can be able to unearth any unpaid land rates. Remember these unpaid land rates should be shouldered by the seller so they should be factored into the purchase price. You might have seen property being surrendered to the city council for it has failed to remit rates and they have accrued for months or years. Remember payment of land rates is a legal obligation of all landowners and a failure to follow such law would mean one is breaking the law. A certificate of clearance should then be awarded so that you can now proceed with the purchase of the land in the subject.

5. Obtain Maps of the Land

After the handover of the land rates clearance certificate, you need to acquire the maps of that particular area specifically the ones that pinpoint where the land is. They can be found in the Ministry of Lands or in a surveyor place with a cost of less than Ksh 1000. You will be given a map drawn into scale while the other is an overview of the land. When served with the maps the buyer and the surveyor should visit the land to verify the dimensions of the land. Beacons should be elected or marked as their whereabouts for identification purposes.

6. Offers and Price Discussions

Once the buyer is certain that all the details of the land are satisfactory, they will then ask their advocate to prepare a purchase offer.

The letter of offer should include details of the buyer and the seller, a clear description of the land on offer, the proposed buying price, and the method of payment.

7. Sale agreement and deposit payment

When all the details of the land are satisfactory to the buyer then a sale agreement is drafted by the seller advocate which has details about the buyer and the seller, a clear description of the land, the proposed buying price, the mode of payment agreed by the buyer and the seller and also the documents that will facilitate the registration of the transfer of the land to the buyer. The buyer advocate should represent his or her client during the signing of the sale agreement. Usually, at this point, the seller may ask the buyer to show some commitment by paying a 10% deposit. However, it’s always advisable not to pay until the land control board gives a clearance.

8. Land Control Board Clearance

When buying land you need to consult the Land Control Board which is comprised of elders and county commissioners. The role of his board is to ensure that the sale has been conducted in a transparent manner. This is usually important to avoid future disputes, especially in cases where the husband sold the land without the wife’s consent or its family land.

9. Transfer documents and consent to the transfer

This is one of the most important steps in buying land in Kenya. The seller advocate prepares a land transfer form which is signed both by the seller and the buyer. Then the buyer visits the National Land Commission with a booking form, rates clearance by the county, sale agreement, the old title deed, consent from LCB, KRA pin, and a transfer instrument to facilitate the consent to transfer. The process takes about 9 days or less. Remember the transfer document must be approved by the seller advocate before it’s handed over to the land’s office for stamp duty assessment.

10. Valuation (Valuation and Payment of Stamp Duty)

In regards to the stamp duty, one has to make an application for valuation and it is addressed to the government valuer who in response makes a site visit and makes a requisite valuation report on the land. The stamp duty is the one that is used in the registration of the property. The duty to be charged is determined by the government valuer and a valuation must be done to determine the true value of the land as of the date of transfer. The stamp duty is usually payable at the rate of 4% of the land value in urban areas and 2% of the land value in rural areas.  Do note also private valuers can undertake valuation but at a cost.

11. Payment of Stamp Duty

After the valuation is done, the buyer should pay the stamp duty tax fee.

12. Registration of transfer

When the registration process is complete then the land can be said to have legally followed the due process of changing hands.

13. Exchange of documents

When everything else above has taken place the seller can now hand over the documents to the buyer and the buyer is obligated to finalize the payment through his/her advocate. All the stamped documents are then forwarded to the registrar of lands office, and the particulars are land clearance certificates, an original title deed, consent transfer, and rate clearance certificate. This process will take about two weeks or less.


Buying and selling of land in Kenya is an exercise in which one should follow the law to avoid future problems. As a buyer due diligence is important before you commit yourself, and ask opinions from an expert just to avoid future disputes. We hope you have learned a few things in our article he on the legal steps for buying land in Kenya. see properties on sale here.


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  2. […] Buying land in Kenya is among the best investments one can undertake but also one of the riskiest. Always involve the services of a lawyer so that you as the buyer your interest are well protected. Follow the due process according to the law step by step and you will never worry about a dispute arising from the land you legally bought. The above is a complete guide of things you should know before buying land in Kenya. […]

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