Land buying in Kenya is a tedious and tricky process. Many have burnt their fingers trying to procure land.

Buyers have fallen victim to conniving land brokers, corrupt land officials at the Ministry of Lands and at the hands of two-timing owners. Even the lawyers you are supposed to trust have been known to be manipulative and two-faced.

The good news is, the land buying process is now a straightforward process and you no longer have to deal with unscrupulous land brokers if you follow the right procedure. After you have identified the parcel of land you would like to purchase, your next stop should be at the Lands Registry, for a search. This helps to confirm the registered name of the land or property you want to purchase. When doing a search, ensure you have copies of the seller’s National ID plus a copy of the Title Deed. The search results take 24 hours and should have the names of the owner, as they appear on the person’s national Identity Card. The search also gives you the exact position of the land as well as the acreage. A search will typically set you back Kshs 500. After you are satisfied with the search results, it is time to engage an advocate who will help you draft a sale agreement that stipulates the mode of payment, the exact amount agreed and duration the two parties want the transaction to extend. “Legally, a property transaction must be completed within 90 days unless the two parties agree otherwise,” says Ayodo.

While some parties may agree to pay cash, others agree on paying a deposit, followed by installments, all depending on the preferences of the two parties. It is your advocate’s duty to check and ensure that land rent or rate has been paid before closing the deal. Land rent is payable to the Central Government, while Land

Rate is paid to the County Government. The Ministry of Lands, Housing & Urban Development gives a certificate of clearance to indicate that this is paid up. Ensure that after signing the sale agreement, the document is properly stamped to make it legally binding. Your next step is transfer of documents. You are required to fill a transfer form from the Ministry of Lands. Your advocate is supposed to prepare a transfer document, which the seller’s advocate should approve.

As a buyer, the documents you should expect from the seller include the original title deed, a copy of the seller’s certified ID, copies of their KRA pin certificate, three passport sized photos of the seller, land rent clearance certificate, rates clearance certificate as well as the consent to transfer form, the latter should have been signed by the seller. All these documents are to be taken to the Ministry along with the duly filled transfer forms. Stamp duty is the revenue paid to the government during a land transaction.

The buyer pays stamp duty to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), whenever land changes ownership. Stamp Duty is paid when taking the transfer form to the Ministry of Lands. “In urban areas, the stamp duty is four per cent of the value of the land while in rural areas, the duty is two per cent of the land value,” says Ayodo. “After the transaction is complete, the title deed should return with the name of the buyer,” says Ayodo. The final process of a land transaction is the registration of the transfer documents in favor of the land buyer. While the process of buying land seems foolproof and straightforward, it is important to realize that fraudsters are always prowling for gullible buyers to con. “For instance, when they realize that Person X owns land in South C, they will make fake Identity Cards with Person X’s name and photograph. When the buyer asks for the ID, they will gladly give you the fake ID and the search results will come out with the name of the rightful owner.

You will only realize that you have been conned after the fraudsters take off with your money,” says Ayodo.

In most cases, fraudsters will insist that the buyer pays in cash. A smart lawyer will insist that the payment be through a banker’s cheque that is traceable, or through an electronic funds transfer. Fraudsters also work with people at the Ministry of Lands to alter names from the title deeds. You are highly advised to desist from purchasing land without a title deed. “A Title Deed shows that the land is registered and where it appears in the map of the Ministry of Lands,” says the advocate. You can buy land that has a lease and not a title deed, as most plots within town are leased. A lease can expire after 30 or 99 years depending on the arrangement. While a lease is renewable at the Ministry of Lands, a title deed shows absolute ownership. So how do you determine the validity of a title deed? The truth is, you cannot really determine the validity of a title deed, but if you went for a search and the Ministry gave you fake search results, then it will be up to the State to compensate you.


Individuals in real estate will bear me witness that land transactions have changed due to a number of regulatory and operational shifts that have taken place lately.


Prior to the recent changes this year, land laws as at 2012 were repealed and replaced by central statutes that govern land management.


These statutes guide transactions. A directive had been issued on how title documentation, including transfers, leases and charges were to be drawn up by advocates, taking into account the transition period.


In Kenya only advocates can draw up land documentation. Under the Contracts Act, land sale must be in writing.


The 2012 laws introduced new provisions in the drawing up of land documentation.


Advocates had to get creative in how they draft land documentation after the 2012 laws came into place, for example, they had to remove references to the repealed laws in the title documentation and instead insert the new provisions.


An operative change has taken place at the Land registry, which might change the way transactions are registered. It is now possible to do online due diligence before buying in Nairobi.


Due diligence ascertains if the property is clear for sale as it deals with ownership and third party interests in the parcel.


Online searches were a long time coming but it is still too early to tell if the system will work. It is also possible to pay for land rent online.


One of the documentation required to complete a leasehold transaction is the land rent clearance certificate. That it can now be done online is a welcome development.


Records digitization at Nairobi registry may mean that it will cut incidents of forged searches and forged clearance documents. We wait to see how the system will work out.


Another possibly new development that will affect drafting of documents is the proposed Law Society of Kenya conditions of sale.


The LSK sales conditions are a benchmark through which land transactions are done unless provided for in individual Acts. The LSK proposals are a 43-page document. The current LSK sale conditions do not reflect the modern trends adequately.



Taxable amount

Therefore, when starting a land transaction have a copy of the LSK sales conditions to ascertain which ones can be contracted for in the individual contracts.


Many agreements drafted by advocates’ state that the LSK sales conditions are binding except where expressly omitted.


This means that in most land transactions LSK sales conditions apply. It is prudent to know what the conditions provide because in the event of a dispute the provisions will be referred to.

A final development that has affected land transactions in Kenya this year is the entry of the capital gains tax. The tax burden falls on the seller, therefore, buyers do not have to bear this cost.


The tax considers the cost that the seller spent in acquiring the property as such costs paid in acquiring the property are considered in determining the taxable amount.


Keep all records such as receipts well as evidence of acquisition cost.



Investors in the property industry are shifting to exhibitions and mall activations as preferred marketing channels to reach home buyers buoyed by research findings showing about 60percent of all potential buyers believe that face-to-face encounter is the most important source of information when making buying decisions.

Speaking as he unveiled the theme of the incoming 19th edition of Kenya Homes Expo, Mr. Daniel Ojijo, Mentor Holdings chairman and co-founder of Kenya Homes Expo, said property exhibitions are increasingly becoming more efficient, effective and inexpensive marketing channels available to most players in the real estate sector.

“The popularity of home exhibitions has been fueled by the fact that no other form of marketing can get you in a room with so many potential customers actively looking for sellers. Compared to the cost of such advertising vehicles like newspapers and television, exhibition is far much less expensive and delivers immediate and tangible results,” said Ojijo.

Exhibitions gives a developer a cost-effective opportunity to sell face-to-face to tens of thousands of potential buyers; 57 percent of whom have lauded it as the best option when obtaining accurate and concise home buying information, says a survey conducted by Home Improvement Research Institute in United State.

“Expo visitors have intentions of making purchases and 64 percent of them do so while they are at the Show. Additionally, 77 percent of attendees plan on making a purchase within six months after the Show,” the survey reported.

Nodding to these findings, Mr. Joe Mungai of Tamarind Properties Limited, located in Westlands, and who has been participating at the bi-annual Kenya Homes Expo for the last 5 years says he first interacted with majority of his clients at the expo.

“We take part in all real estate exhibitions in the country especially the Kenya Homes Expo held at KICC. 80 percent of the buyers who knock on our doors claim to have first interacted with us at the exhibitions,” said Mr. Mungai.

Mr. Mungai’s sentiments are echoed by Gideon Ngure, a marketing manager at Sigimo Enterprises who claims to be pursuing a huge number of clients his firm obtained from expos in the last 2 years.

According to Ojijo, there are more than a dozen property exhibitions and expositions taking place in Kenya every year a surge from two expos that existed before 2005.

“Every developer is keen on return on investment and none is willing to spend on unyielding channels. However, great results would come from a mix of advertising and face-to-face channels such as exhibitions and mall activations,” he explained.

Also contributing to the current shift to face-to-face marketing is the multiplicity of projects which present close or similar offering in the market as this is not only confusing but also rendering buyers unable to make decisions via advertising messages alone.

“Increased interest in the real estate sector has brought about huge competition where most developers have come up with similar or conflicting propositions and this too is making head-on selling most ideal,” said Ojijo.

The 19th edition of Kenya Homes Expo is scheduled to take place on 10th-13th April, 2014 at KICC. The expo, said to be the biggest homes show in East and Central Africa, held its maiden edition 2005 but has now come of age.

In 2013, over 200 exhibitors took part and the show received over 50, 000 visitors, at an average of 10,000 visitors per day. Due to surge in the number of exhibitors, the expo now occupies 3 halls comprising 2 floors and the courtyard at Kenyatta International Conventional Centre.According to Ojijo the expo theme in 2014 is ‘Scaling New Heights’ which signifies its effort to highlight new ways to help investors, industry players and buyers reach higher heights of their investment and buying decisions..


The Biggest Homes Expo in East and Central Africa

The Biggest Homes Expo in East and Central Africa


mpesaSafaricom Limited, an integrated communications service provider has introduced a new rent collection and payment service dubbed Lipa Kodi na M-PESA.

Customers will pay Kshs.6 for transactions of upto to Kshs. 5,000 while those paying between Kshs.50, 000 and Kshs.70, 000 will be charged a transaction fee valued at Kshs. 220.

Lipa Kodi (Kiswahili for Pay your Rent) is designed to offer convenience and cost efficiency to tenants, landlords and housing agents by providing them with a safe and reliable rent payment and collection mode.

“Lipa Kodi is yet another solution from Safaricom that seeks to broaden the financial inclusion agenda through the use of the mobile phone. Lipa Kodi is expected to redefine the payment ecosystem for Kenyans and how they meet their rental obligations,” said Safaricom’s General Manager for Financial Services, Betty Mwangi-Thuo.

Kenya’s rental market is valued at an estimated Kshs.17.2B, which is 21% of the total value of the real estate market in Kenya. The 2009 census revealed that there were an estimated 6.5 million rental households in Kenya and with the rapid urbanization, this figure is expected to be higher. Statistics from the World Bank indicate that the average rent paid in urban centres in Kenya is Kshs.5, 898.

M-PESA has since inception continued to grow in terms of revenue’s bottom-line. Last year, M-PESA contributed 18% of Safaricom’s total revenue.


Hatheru road, Lavington

Superb property in Lavington, Nairobi

Buyers, developers and related industry players in Kenya’s property sector will be coming together, for the second time this year, between November 14th and 17th in the 18th edition of East and Central Africa’s biggest homes show, Blue Triangle Cement-Kenya Homes Expo, to among other things discuss and showcase sector trends at a time when customer preference for apartments is on a notable high, having doubled in the last three months, with foreigners especially expatriates and locals drive sales.

This as investors shift to property as their preferred investment vehicle and as affordability become a defining factor in making buying decision for both local buyers, expatriates and Kenyans in the diaspora. “Blue Triangle Cement-Kenya Homes Expo prides in bringing developers and buyers together for four days to share such market sentiments that have continued to preserve their interests in the market and lay down bubble burst fears,” said Mr Daniel Ojijo, founder and organizer of Kenya Homes Expo speaking during the signing of a sponsorship agreement with the expo’s 4 years title sponsor East African Portland Cement. “The 18th edition will be an exciting one for stakeholders following interesting market revelation where among others demand for apartments between May and August 2013 has more than doubled,” said Ojijo. “We expect developers and buyers to share some of these prevailing market ideas and hence come up with more targeted projects.”

Currently, buyers seem to prefer spending an average of 20million for a luxury 3 to 4 bedroom house on an apartment rather than spending double the price in a standalone or townhouse but located within sprawling estates according to Ojijo. “Those buying for investment prefer apartments sold at off-plan compared to those already constructed as the former are selling at more than 50 percent or higher upon completion,” he added.

According to Ojijo new developers have learnt this trick hence leaning towards development of high-rise apartments as opposed to the development of stand-alone houses as they are getting double returns from apartments. For example, the 360 apartments coming up in Mlolongo off Mombasa Road has been selling an average of 30units in the last three months for between Sh4.5 and 5.5 million shillings for 2 and 3 bedroom respectively. Another project, Riviera Towers, 2 and 3bedroom luxury apartments, on Chaka Road, near Yaya Centre have only three units out of 60 remaining even after the developer raised the sale price from sh25million in February to Sh30million. 50 percent of all the sales have been in the last three months. “Due to the prevailing economic times and the political temperature in the country especially around the ICC, investors seem to prefer property market as compared to Nairobi Stock Exchange and hence buying apartments at off plan sales as they eye greater returns,” said Ojijo.

Though increased number of expatriate especially in the mining sector is also driving sales of houses, most of these high end buyers are locals with same spending power to expatriates according to Ojijo. Industry reports indicate in 2013, apartments have taken up 40.1percent of the market, Town Houses 26.5percent while Standalone houses are at 33.4 percent of the market.

The Hass Index reported in June 2013 that apartments in both duplexes and triplexes have had their values increased by 2.39 times since 2001, a 1.7percent rise from January to April this year and 6.6% rise in the last year. The average price for an apartment is currently 12.5 million up from 5.2 million in December 2000 according to the Hass property Index. “We expect the one stop shop provided by Blue Triangle Cement-Kenya Homes Expo to developers, buyers and other players to give them an opportunity to not only interact but also share market ideas while promoting real estate buying, financing and development consulting and generally keeping the industry activity at an all-time high,” said Ojijo.

With the 17th edition having attracted a record number of 40,000 visitors and a record 150 exhibitors, the organizers are already preparing to take up more space at KICC to meet increased demand for stalls. “95 percent of the exhibitors who took part in the 17th edition in May have already confirmed taking part and numerous new ones have come on board. Also, we have high number of multinationals and foreign firms coming on board especially from China, Germany, South Africa, Turkey and India,’” said Maureen Ojijo, Marketing Director at Homes Kenya Limited and lead organizer at the 18th Blue Triangle Cement-Kenya Homes Expo. “Our theme for this edition is ‘redefining your living’ illustrating our aim to bring new ways of real estate purchase by providing an unrivaled environment for clients to meet with exhibitors who will guide them on a comfortable ride to home ownership,” she explained. The exhibitors include a pool of service providers and sellers drawn from the financial sector, insurers, energy suppliers, residential and commercial property developers, industry associations and government bodies, property valuers, constructors, development consultants, entertainment, interior decorators, travel, leisure and more.

Since its launch in 2005, Blue Triangle Cement-Kenya Homes Expo has generated thousands of sales leads for selling participants and assisted hundreds of investors who after acquiring necessary market information have come up with multimillion projects according to the organizers. “This expo provides a great opportunity for Sadolin to market and sell her products as home buyers and property developers account for 60 percent of our customers,” said Jamil Virjee, the Managing Director at Sadolin Paints, one of the gold sponsors of the 18th edition. Other sponsors of the event include Hot Point Appliances Limited, Wananchi Group Limited and Standard Chartered bank who are also the editions’ gold sponsors.

Hot Point Appliances Limited’s Showroom Manager, Ms. Ritu Magon, whose firm exhibited in the home appliances in the 17th edition, is again a proud gold sponsor for the 18th edition in November buoyed by numerous sales opportunities and brand awareness the company has since obtained.

“The homes show has been a great avenue for us not only to sell our brand but gives us the opportunity to personalize our clients requirements. Most importantly, we work with all stakeholders to upgrade and redefine lifestyles of individuals and this gives us the motivation to sponsor the event,” Ms. Magon said. Kenya Homes Expo has been running for the last eight years, and it is the only expo that has created the largest housing forum in the whole of East and Central Africa where the stakeholders meet face to face in one platform twice a year. The expo is a unique one stop-shop for real estate’s stake holders presenting new products, innovative services and technology. It offers exhibitors a unique opportunity to use the strength of the brand to reach a large target and ready audience of both local and international visitors. Over the years, Kenya Homes Expo has been able to generate not only high quality audiences and sale leads for exhibitors but also great bargains for attendees.



Tactile, a brand under Tile & Carpet Center Group, has begun manufacturing tactile-a stone coated roofing tile.

Using state of the art Korean technology and high specification Italian raw materials, Tactile aims to deliver world class roofing solutions to clients across the globe.

The company offers a wide range of accessories to give your roof a perfectly finished look. The accessories are customized to suit individual roofing designs with Tactile offering a full range of colors and designs.

Additionally, the tactile system is quiet as the combination of dead air space and the stone coating minimize outside sounds. The tiles are manufactured locally to ensure that they are tailored to suit client preferences.

Tile & Carpet Centre Group, The parent company of Tactile is a market leader in the building materials industry in Kenya with over 50 years of experience.

Duma Group unveils ‘Instant’ mortar premix in 50kg packs

Duma 2

Duma Group Limited, a Kilifi based mining firm, has launched an innovative 50kg sand and ballast premix pack.

The new, Duma Premix pack that will be available in local hardware and supermarket stores is a ready to use mixture of Duma Polyhedric ballast and Duma Quarry Sand mined by the firm at its Quarries in Jaribuni, Ganze constituency.

The ready to use packs targeted at the growing domestic consumer market have been formulated to provide a strong and solid concrete mix for small to medium construction projects. By simply mixing 5 Duma Premix packs to 1 bag of cement and 20 litres of water, consumers will instantly manage to prepare solid mortar minimising the risks of cracks and building collapse.

Speaking during the launch of Duma Premix and related products at a Nairobi hotel over the weekend Duma Group CEO NajaDahmani, said the new product has been, developed, to meet the growing consumer needs in the fast growing building and construction sector.

The product, she added has also been developed to promote environmental conservation by curbing use of yellow river as part of the Vision 2030 National development goals.

“Having registered an overall economic growth of 4.8% last year, compared to a growth of 4.3% in 2011, the Building and Construction sector has been steadily growing and in turn providing a ready market for innovative products such as Duma Premix,” Dahmani explained.

And added: “The new range of Duma products formulated with the Duma Polyhedric ballast made from premium quality crushed stone is evenly shaped, consistent in size and achieves a strong and durable concrete setting with 20% less cement.”

The use of Duma Quarry Sand in the formulation of Duma Premix eliminates the need for yellow river sand, effectively helping protect the environment and save costs. As a key building and construction input, yellow river sand routinely harvested along riverbeds contributes to rapid environmental degradation. To address such environmental challenges, Duma Group has invested heavily in a state of the art crushing plant that produces 0-6mm Duma Quarry sand consisting of small, crushed stones with exceptional purity.

Alongside Duma Premix, the firm has also launched the Duma Polyhedric Ballast and Duma Quarry Sand packed in 50kg Bags for the local market. Providing a close co-relation to the market demand for sand and ballast in the local market, available statics from the Kenya national bureau of statistics confirm that last, year, cement consumption rose by 1.7 per cent from 3,870.9 thousand tonnes in 2011 to 3,937.3 thousand tonnes.

Within the same period, the vibrancy of the building and construction market is confirmed by the level of loans and advances to the sector which grew by 36.2 per cent from KSh 50.8 billion in 2011, to KSh 69.2 billion in 2012.

Ranked as one of Kenya’s largest fixed stone mine operator, Duma group has invested in a modern stone crushing plant imported from Finland with a potential to produce premium quality crushed stones at a rate of 4,200 tonnes per day.

The firm’s flagship product remains the Duma Polyhedric that is a premium quality crushed stone evenly shaped and consistently sized ballast product, which is, excavated from the highest quality basalt ore in Kilifi County.


Home-buying-101Property developers have unveiled a new way of buying houses, which seeks to protect buyers from unexpected price fluctuations, while improving on value of their investment.
The investors have particularly been advised to buy houses through off-plan purchase system, which helps cushion them from price escalations fuelled by inflation and exchange rate volatility, among other economic factors.

Under the off-plan buying system, homebuyers pay a certain percentage of the home price to a developer to reserve the property under construction.

This approach protects them from rising cost of building materials, which has forced developers to constantly adjust their prices making it expensive for potential homebuyers.

While Central Bank has adjusted upwards its benchmark lending rates to commercial banks to control inflation and protect a weak shilling, part of the consequences have been an upward revision in mortgage rates. The changes in these rates has forced leading banks to also review up their mortgage rates.

Super highway fuels development

Super H 2

The Ministry of Housing recently commissioned the Kenya National Housing Survey 2011/2012 to conduct the first survey in 30 years, in a bid to provide data that will give a better understanding of supply and demand in the property market, as well as provide solutions for the housing problem.

The property industry is arguably one of the most lucrative and fastest growing investments in the country, but it is also riddled with lack of proper, accurate data that can be used to make investment decisions. There is, therefore, need for a thorough survey that will put an end to speculation when it comes to investing in this industry.

The Kenya National Housing Survey 2011/2012 is being carried out by the Ministry of Housing with support from the Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research and Analysis (Kippra), the Kenya Property Developers Association (KPDA) and real estate consultancy Scion Real. According to Tirop Kosgey, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Housing, the current information gap in the housing sector necessitated this move, with the last survey of a similar kind being carried out way back in 1983.