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Three golden tips for first-time land buyers

The big mistakes many people make when buying a plot and how to avoid them

Having been in real estate for four years now, Moses Muriithi, the CEO of Fanaka Real Estate better understands nuts and bolts of land buying in Kenya, especially in Nairobi where finding genuine sellers is about as hard as finding honest lawyers.
Business Today asked Mr Muriithi some of the mistakes that many prospective land buyers, more so first time purchasers, make and he looked at it differently and offered tips on what to consider before purchasing land. It turns out, ignoring these tips often results in these big mistakes.

1. Work with a budget: Gauge your financial muscle and pick what you can afford and whether you can do that on cash or instalments. Many people save up and do a one-off buy while, as it’s done at Fanaka Real Estate, you can put up a deposit and pay up in instalments.

The downside of saving is that by the time you hit your target the value of the property will have risen. What this means is that you should be able to pay for the land without putting too much pressure on your finances. Go for a seller offering competitive prices and flexible payment terms.

2. Identify the area: Location is important as it determines many other things including price, security and distance from key towns and cities. That is transport and communication.

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Source: Business Today

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Common Land Investment Myths You Will Be Glad Aren’t True

Most would-be landowners view the process of buying land as a scary venture that is risky to their finances and even life. The horror stories depicting harrowing stories of hapless land buyers duped of their life savings don’t make the situation better. However, with the right information, you can invest in real estate without as much as a scandal or losing sleep. Also, you will discover that most of your unfounded fear is based on misconceptions and myths. We demystify some of the land investment myths you might have heard from others.

Myth 1: Land is land. So, why pay higher for some land?

Land prices differ based on various factors such as the location, size, land rates, land use and other factors. Not all land is the same and you need to have all these considerations in mind as you plan to buy land.

Myth 2: I need a lot of money to invest in land

Your worry as an investor should be on why you need the land and if it will meet your current needs whether you want to build or buy a home. As mentioned above, the price of land is dependent on several factors. So, the size of the land and its location will determine the cost. Also, you can get help financing your land investment in the form of a mortgage.

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Source: BuyRentKenya

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How fraudsters connive with top State officers to evict land owners

A cabal of land-hungry, well-connected and informed individuals continues to hold dozens of families and individuals at ransom through well-orchestrated schemes to dispossess them off of their property.

By colluding with employees at the Ministry of Lands, the Directorate of Criminal Intelligence, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the police, this group forcefully takes over private land through a mixture of forgeries, coercion and if all fails threats of death and death itself.

The courts have in the past demonstrated the impunity with which these individuals — top politicians, known businessmen and women and regime wheeler dealers — close ranks to fleece or forcefully take over land from helpless individuals and families.

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Land Price Rise Hits 10-Year Low On Polls, Bad Economy

Land prices in Nairobi last year grew at the slowest pace in a decade, affected by the prolonged electioneering last year amid a slowing economy and lack of access to credit.

Realtor HassConsult says in its 2017 quarter four price index report that land price in Nairobi suburbs only increased by 3.3 percent while that of satellite towns was up by 5.4 percent, both the slowest since the index began in 2007.

HassConsult head of development consulting and research Sakina Hassanali said the slowdown in price growth indicated the value of land is no longer immune to political risk, having previously been seen as a safe haven investment whenever there was political or economic uncertainty.

“If you look at the overall trend in the last five years, land prices have been growing but at a decreasing rate. It was exacerbated last year due to the uncertainty in the economy. It is only in areas where we have infrastructure coming up that we see prices going right back up,” said Ms Hassanali. Read more…

Source | Business Daily Africa

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Tatu City Land Price Rises to Sh10.5m per Quarter Acre

The price of land at Tatu City real estate in Kiambu has jumped by nearly a third to Sh10.5 million per quarter acre over the past 18 months after the developer recorded brisk sales last year.

The developer, American firm Rendeavour, Thursday said that individual buyers snapped up 148 plots last year, or nearly half of what has been sold over the past three years, revving up demand and prices.

The residential land, dubbed Kijani Ridge, is part of Tatu City’s upcoming mixed-use development of a satellite city that will feature high-end homes, private schools, offices, shopping malls, hospitals, hotels, light industries and entertainment spots.

The land price for aspiring homeowners appreciated to Sh10.5 million per quarter acre plot from Sh8 million a year ago, according to Rendeavour Country Head Nick Langford. Read more

Source: Business Daily Africa

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Kajiado Governor Lenku Bans Subdivision of Rural Land into ‘Uneconomic’ Units

Hundreds of people may find themselves with worthless titles to pieces of land in Kajiado over the advertisement of “fake” plots for sale in the county, Governor Joseph Ole Lenku has warned.

Mr Lenku, who made the statement over the weekend, also indicated that the county will not be approving the subdivision of any rural land into “uneconomical” pieces.

“Any hawking of quarter-acre pieces of land in the heart of Kajiado is fake and will not be tolerated and that is the official position of the Kajiado County Government,” said Mr Lenku.

By this edict, Mr Ole Lenku will find himself on a collision course with land-buying companies that buy large pieces of land and subdivide it into small portions of up to an eighth and later sell it unsuspecting persons.

Most affected is land in Kajiado West, some parts of Kajiado East and Central.

The County Executive in charge of land, Mr Hamilton Parseina, gave the example of a group ranch in Kajiado West, which was subdivided and members acquired title deeds.

“Other areas in Kajiado West include, Oltinga, Ilnaroj and Saikeri,” he explained.

“In Kajiado East, we have land in Kisaju, Isinya, Mashuru and Kenyawa, while in Kajiado Central we have Matapatato and Ildamat.”

He warned people who are planning to buy land in these areas to do due diligence before forking out their hard-earned money.

“We are not going to do any approvals for whatever kind of development in these areas as it is illegal,” added Mr Parseina.

Welcomes investors

Mr Ole Lenku, however, maintained that the county welcomes investors but that land demarcation plans should be respected.

“We want to make it clear that Kajiado is an investment-friendly county,” he explained.

“We have land for industries, housing, ranching and wildlife. It should strictly be used for what it was intended for. If you find yourself in an area designated for wildlife, do not attempt to make it a human settlement.”

He said that unscrupulous businessmen have colluded with crooked land officials to short-circuit the system.

“Stand warned that if you are trying to split land beyond what the county has zoned for, know that it is an exercise in futility. If you bribed your way to get, we shall right it,” said the governor.

Mr Ole Lenku vowed to preserve the Maasai pastoral way of life.

“We want to also recognise that Kajiado is largely a pastoralist county other than for the designated areas.

“Uneconomic” units

Mr Parseina told the Nation that subdivision of land into “uneconomical units” is unlawful and that the county government has not been involved.

“Most of the land being subdivided is listed as agricultural land. What they are doing is illegal,” he said on phone.

The National Land Commission has expressed support over the move. NLC vice-chair Abigael Mbagaya said the Commission had received hundreds of complaints about plots that are 200 kilometres away from their advertised locations.

“The adverts are misleading. We urge investors to do due diligence with the county government.

Most of the small plots being hawked are unsustainable,” said Mrs Mbagaya

Source | Business Daily

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The Cost of Land in Kenya to Be Regulated

This comes as both good and bad news.

Bad news to those who want to exploit ready and willing buyers. Good news to those looking to buy land in the foreseeable future.

All this came to light during the recent state house summit on land. The government moved to regulate pricing of land to contain exaggeration of prices by speculators, especially in areas earmarked for huge infrastructure projects.

“Land value is not static. It keeps on changing and so we need experts to tell us how much a particular piece of land will cost in three months, one year or even two years.

This will help us make a decision so that when we invest, we do it from a point of knowledge and not to be surprised because the price can go up or even come down.

The Land Value Bill will assist the government in land acquisition and investment so that there is right valuation of land instead of being driven by speculation,” the PS said.

Lands Principal Secretary Mariamu el Maaey speaking to the People Daily intimated of their being a National Land Value Bill which was already in Parliament. Meanwhile the ministry is developing the Land Value Index to provide statistical information on the value of land in different parts of the country.

The PS said the ministry had mapped core areas in Nairobi using that tool and the price index will be ready by the end of the year before being rolled out to the rest of the country.

To weigh in on the matter: Transport PS Irungu Nyakera said the government had faced challenges from owners and speculators who hiked prices whenever the government showed interest in land.

“When we were building Thika Highway we paid Sh33 billion for land compensation. In the expansion of Malindi Airport, the land cost Sh4 billion while the project itself cost Sh2 billion. Acquisition of land has impacted negatively on the implementation of infrastructure projects, the PS noted.

In a related development, Lands CS Prof Jacob Kaimenyi and the National Land Commission (NLC) chairman Dr Muhammad Swazuri were yesterday at pains to defend the scorecard of their respective institutions.

We all know land to be a hot button issue in this great land. Leaders, investors and members of the public accused the two government agencies of failing to bring sanity in the sector. Speaking during the State House Summit on Land, the two struggled to explain why it had proved difficult for the government to address historical land injustices and recover public lands from grabbers. A matter of immense political implications.

The duo was also accused of doing little to prevent illegal occupation of privately-owned land by squatters, who sometimes use documents from the ministry to claim ownership.

The famous Lang’ata Primary School tussle was used as a point of reference on how blatant grabbing of public land has been a rule rather than an exception.

The Ministry and the Commission, however, said they have issued titles to at least 17 per cent of the over 29,000 public primary and secondary schools and that the issue of Lang’ata Primary has been addressed and the land reverted to the school.

“We have also recovered all the land grabbed in Karura Forest and Eastleigh market. We are now looking at Woodley to recover land illegally acquired,” Swazuri said. Nairobi Governor Dr Evans Kidero chimed in by seeking an explanation on the controversial ownership of 5,000 acres of land in Kayole.

“The County Government bought 5,000 acres of land from Kayole Estate in 1971. In the 90’s the army invaded it and took 3,000 acres without due process to any compensation and four weeks ago, they took the remaining 2,000 acres and blocked a road that passes through the land and nobody, even the police dared challenge them,” he explained.

However, Kaimenyi said his ministry “must look at the context of the background behind which the land was acquired. In law, the government can compulsorily acquire land for health purposes, for security and for all other good reasons,” he said.

In summary, those looking to acquire land in the foreseeable future will be well placed to do so.

This regulation, will go a long way in doing away with the xploitation of land owners by both buyers: who offer monies for land way below the market prices. As well as for sellers who quote exorbitant prices in lieu of making profits.

Source | People Daily