The number of land scams in Kenya keep rising.Unfortunately, prospective land buyers seem never to learn on the do’s and don’ts when purchasing land. Most of them end up being victims of land fraud. There are a number of scams that land buyers fall victim of, they include title deed scams, lack of proper documentation, demands to send money, unrealistic return on investment, fake listings among others.
All of these land scams and other investment scams go down with millions of money and investors are left crying foul and seeking justice for years. There are several ways in which you can spot a land scam and avoid falling prey and burning your fingers.
Look out for inconsistent information on the land
Land is a tangible investment and any information relating to the land you wish to invest in should be the same throughout the conversation. This is from media advertisements, social media posts, phone conversations and the land itself.
Some important information includes the beacons, the land size, plot number, the price, title deed number, location, history of ownership among others.
For example, information shared during for land for sale in Ngong online should be the same when you go to view the property in person.
When you find out that the information you are told by word of mouth by the land seller does not match with what is on the company website, Social Media Platform or the property itself, take caution so that you do not end up purchasing a non-existing piece of land.
Lack of legal documents to prove land ownership
A title deed is always the ultimate proof of land ownership. Therefore, anyone selling land to you should have the original title deed. Further, they should allow you to conduct a title deed search at the Ministry of Land to authenticate ownership.
In addition, transfer of land is done through a legal document known as title transfer document. This is done when transferring ownership from the buyer to the seller. In between the purchase journey, you will sign a sale agreement.
Anyone who is not willing to share with you the land ownership documents for you to verify or they do not allow sign legal documents and engage a conveyancing lawyer may turn out to be a fraud. As a potential land buyer, be very keen or else you might end up losing your investment.
Absence of clear identification of the land seller
Land selling may be done by a land selling company, an individual, registered group etc. They may contract sales agents, brokers or third parties to sell on their behalf.
However, it is your responsibility as the buyer to find out the real owner of the land and avoid a piece of land on sale without a clear owner.
For a real estate company, they should at least have a physical office, website, social media pages etc. for ease of identification.
Too good to be true offers
Offers are good because they help you save but if your gut feeling says no to an offer, do not continue with the transaction.
Further, try to avoid offers with “100% winning rate” on land or a house;this could be a bait for you. Always take advantage of reasonable offers such as 5 – 20% off
Lack of property tours and visits
A tangible asset means you can see and view it. Land is an investment that requires you to see then decide. If a land seller, insists on you making payment and they are not willing to take you to site take caution.
If you are a Kenyan living in diaspora and willing to invest in land in Kenya, you can ask for virtual visits, photos, videos and a google pin location of the land on sale. You can also send a trustworthy person to go and view the property on your behalf. This will help you make an informed decision when buying land
In conclusion, caution is the best defence when looking out for any land for sale in Kenya. Even if you are proactively looking for an investment and you find what appears to be a legitimate land selling company, you still need to confirm whether it is genuine.