When buying a house in Kenya, like buying any other real estate property, you ought to make calculated moves and least get trapped in fraudulent deals. Unscrupulous real estate agents are out there hunting for their next victim. And if you are not vigilant as a home buyer, you will end up paying for a ghost house, like the Gakuyo real estate saga.  

Finding a reliable real estate agent

It is much possible to buy a house or any other type of property without a realtor.  The bright side of not having a real estate agent is that you may save a few thousand by cutting off the middleman. Agents part with a 3% commission, which is split between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent. 

Even so, without the agent in the picture, you have to do all the work yourself. The paperwork and the negotiation procedures are rigorous, all of which are the work of the agent.  

If you are not familiar with the real estate market, it is best to deal with an agent. It has its advantages. Top of the list, you will avoid dealing with cons. Also, you will have access to an expert skilled with negotiation skills and has access to a wide knowledge base on the real estate market. An agent will help you assess a piece of property before you commit.

Find a real estate agent worth your time and standards. You will avoid getting into crappy deals.

TIP: When choosing a real estate agent, don’t go with the seller’s agent. The reason being: the seller’s realtor is mostly interested in selling the property to earn their commissions. You finding an offer that meets your standards is not exactly their line of interest.

Searching for your ideal house

Next, go through the property listing of reliable real estate agents, and then identify an offer that entices you. You could be looking for land, a house, a flat, or a studio apartment.

Since you already identified a reputable real estate agent, you could collaborate with your agent to locate a property that meets your budget and needs. Alternatively, you could through property listings on websites and on Newspapers. See our catalog of market properties.

At the back of your mind, you probably now have a list of wants you want satisfied for you to dig into your pockets.

If you are buying land, you will be looking at the best location, size, affordability, and so on. Let’s say your budget cannot afford a property in the upmarket; then start with a neighborhood that meets your expectations.

 If you are looking for a house to buy in Nairobi, you could be interested in the type of house, size, roofing style, and location. Again, you may want to do some exploration and not go with the first house you come across.  

You have found a house that meets your standards – the next step is to do the legal work and prepare a Sales Agreement to quote your price. Often, an agent or a lawyer has to be involved in this step.  Unless you cannot afford one, you are encouraged to work with a lawyer to prepare the crucial documents as well as assess the property for sale.

You will need to know whether the property has any encumbrances, whether the land the property was built on was grabbed or lying on a road reserve. A professional can establish if the owners have any unpaid dues on the property put on sale.

If buying a house in Kenya through the mortgage option, the bank or mortgage lender will most probably require you to undergo a home appraisal or a land survey. You may also need to present title insurance.

The offer will include details like your name, property address, quoted price, deposit amount, and the name of the seller. Also, it may include information like a request for a property surveyor, the offer’s expiration date, and the closing day, often after 90 days.

What’s next after making an offer?

Once you prepare your offer, wait for the seller to accept it.  From there, you may proceed to the next step.

The seller may amend the offer, either asking for higher payment terms or different terms.  You may send your counteroffer negotiating different terms or accepting the seller’s counteroffer. 

Once the two parties agree, the property lawyer or agent closes the deal. The agent will have thoroughly reviewed the contract and conducted a title search for the property on sale.

Final Thoughts on Buying a House in Kenya

Following the closing of the deal, you have the last opportunity to inspect your house before you sign the title deed. You have up to 24 hours before signing the deed after the closing. Also, note that home prices vary depending on the property location. Buying a house in Nairobi may not fall in the same budget as a home or property in Mombasa or Nakuru.


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