Owning your own home in Kenya is everyone’s dream come true but the process might be challenging to many especially for the first time buyers.
One can opt to buy a house and be a home owner through various real estate developers or buy an already existing home from individuals who are giving it out on sale. But before you can write that check and get the keys to your house, there are quite a number of factors and dos and don’ts one should be aware of. Here are 10 things you need to know before buying a house in Kenya.
Things You Need to know before buying a house in Kenya
To avoid incurring losses, being conned or getting involved in future land tussles here are some of the things you should look for from the developer, agent or seller before you can buy the house.
- Accessibility to Social Amenities
- Establish Ownership
- Rates Clearance
- Hidden Costs
- Get a reliable Developer
- Involve Professionals
- Down Payment
- Insist On the title deed
Now that you have decided to buy a house and make your own home how will the factors above affect you and why do they matter?
The location of the house should not only start and end with where the house is, but land structure and topography. In as much as many will prefer relatively flat land topography, issues related to flooding can be a pain in the neck especially during the rainy season. Am sure you have witnessed land and house buyers who have regretted their decisions months after buying their dream homes.
Make sure the drainage system in the area is up to standard and there is no flooding. Buying a home during the rainy season is the best catch as you get to experience the flooding situation of the location before buying it.
If you intent to practice farming in your home, then the soil type and the weather pattern of the area are some of the key factors to give a consideration as well.
Accessibility To Social Amenities
Having a family means essential amenities such as schools, hospitals and shopping centers should be within reach. You should also be connected to reliable running water. By having these facilities around you, you are assured of quick and efficient services. Your children commuting to schools should not be a time consuming event like a lifelong journey to Mecca. In times of emergency you need immediate services that should be readily available.
In the world of digital revolution we are leaving in you no longer need to live at a place where communication network is a privilege to only those who can afford to climb tall trees. Reliable network and fist internet speed should be factored in your plan.
Buying a will cost you an arm and a leg and for others, you will need to add a kidney. Buying a house is one of the biggest financial decisions you are ever going to make and it will have a significant impact on your finances. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you have the finances to afford the house you want to buy. This is why it is absolutely essential to determine what you can truly afford.
Having enough savings to buy a house can be the best idea, but since most of us have no strong financial muscles, you may need to get a loan to top it up.
Taking huge loans should be avoided at all cost and in many cases these has resulted in properties of individuals being auctioned months after acquiring them. Get advice from your financial institution and also negotiate with the developer or seller so that the price and mode of payment can easily accommodate you.
Dealing with a third party may be the last option for anyone who wishes to buy a home. If you are buying from a developer, deal directly with the developer, get to know their history and projects they have done. Their history should give you a blue print on whether they are trustworthy or not.
If you are dealing with individual house owner, doing a background check to determine the authenticity is key. Get crucial documents from the owner before sealing a deal. You will also need to involve your lawyer to help you with property legal issues.
It is possible for someone who wants to defraud you to show you a property that belongs to someone else.
For instance, a while back, a young man looking for a house to rent in 2010 saw an advert in a local daily for a two-bedroom house in Kilimani and liked it. He visited the place, paid for the rental fee and when he visited the house the following day he was surprised to find someone else moving in the house.
Land rates is one key factor that should never be given a blind eye by anyone who wishes to buy a house and own a home in Kenya. Each county government in Kenya requires land owners to pay land rates yearly. Before you put the pen to paper, make sure you have confirmed the status of the land rates of the parcel of land the property sits on. The home owner should first pay the rates and any accrued penalties and interests before you can enter into negotiations of buying the property.
At times, real estate investors assume, ignore or forget their obligation to pay land rates, which pile into huge amounts. Among these people, are those who inherit a debt-ridden property on purchase.
Legally, it is important to obtain a clearance certificate from from the government to confirm that dues pertaining to the property are settled. Failure to obtain the certificate means the buyer inherits the accrued debt from the previous owner. A property lawyer can help one avoid such pitfalls.
The price tag for a given house or property is one thing and the actual amount you will pay before you can move into the house is another thing. In Kenya it is common to find extra charges on top of the actual price of the property. The same applies to when you are looking for a financier to buy the house or mortgage.
When negotiating for financing, the borrower should be keen to know the true cost of borrowing.
Apart from the interest rate, there are also hidden costs such as valuation fees, legal fees and loan negotiation fee among others.
When taking a mortgage, also ensure you know the implication of taking a fixed rate mortgage or a variable rate mortgage.
Also Read:Top Ten places to live in Nairobi
Get a Reliable Developer
Whether you are developing the house on your own or buying it from a developer. The credibility and profile of the developer should be critically analyze. In Kenya some developers have a tendency of promising an airplane but they deliver a wheelbarrow.
A developer who has done some already existing outstanding projects is highly recommended. Beware of some developers who use low quality or substandard building materials.
Getting professional assistance from the respective fields will help you get more insights on fundamentals areas of concern. This will greatly help you to prevent losses or problems in future. Professionals in property law and construction department will be of great help to you during the process of acquiring or developing a property.
An agreement that involves giving a down payment is much preferred and beneficial especially to the property buyer. Agree with the seller on down payment and installments to be paid over time. As a buyer, this will give you time to identify any faults or issues related to the property while at the same time giving you time to service the loan and installments over time.
Insist On The Title
In Kenyan laws, only a title deed is recognized by the government as proof of ownership. The property you are buying sits on land and therefore having the full ownership of the land should be key. Should you buy land or buy a house, make sure succession process is not complex and initiate the title transfer to your name immediately. Factors such as unsettled payment with the seller or developer may hinder you from transferring the title immediately, however, after you have settled the property payment, you should initiate a title transfer process.
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