The setback of losing one’s or family’s hard-earned cash, savings made from real sacrifice, to land or property fraudsters has led some to even take their own lives.
But long before one has gone down the path, often seemingly harmless, designed by fraudsters to swindle money from unsuspecting and otherwise honest investors, there are steps one can take to protect themselves.
Here are several tips on how to avoid falling prey to fraudsters when purchasing property, especially land in Kenya.
- Know your buyer
Research the seller. When you are purchasing land ensure that you meet the seller especially if the seller is not represented by a lawyer. If the seller is a corporate entity such as Home Afrika, it is easy to know about the state of the company by Google searching their company.
Choosing a corporate seller, especially one listed by the Nairobi Securities Exchange, is one of the safest bet one can make in the property market. For less known corporate entities, always insist on getting a copy of the firm’s registration certificate and details of the directors.
Ensure that you don’t end up with documents signed by retired directors of land-buying companies.
If you are looking for land in specific areas, it is always wise to look for contacts of trusted land and property sellers to enquire whether they have property in places where you’d love to settle instead of dealing with companies or people with sketchy details.
Again, it is always wise to involve your advocate when purchasing property.
- Visit the property site
Many companies and individual sellers always arrange site visits with potential buyers so ask from the seller to organize a site tour. Often, many companies take many clients at once so people can always ask questions about the property from the company agents.
You should also consult a licensed surveyor to confirm that the property being sold exits on maps and ascertain its size. This is part of the due diligence that a buyer should undertake, for themselves, at an extra cost to ensure that their investment is safe. A surveyor can confirm the location of the beacons of the property and can place beacons where they should be.
Again, when dealing with specialized companies such as Home Afrika Limited, the anxieties for buyers are reduced as these firms ensure that their house is in order long before selling properties to the public.
- Ask around
Get out of your comfort zone if you are socially shy. Talk to people in the neighbourhood you’d like to buy property and ask about the land ownership and if there are any existing disputes. Some lawyers advice people to talk even to local administrators such as chiefs as they are privy to land disputes on their jurisdiction. It is better to be safe than sorry.
- Get to know your agent or broker
If you have to used a property agent, ask for their identification documents, including their ID, and get confirmation that they are registered with the Estate Agents Registration Board. Again, it is much easier, faster and safer to deal with real-estate firms that have established and proven track record. That way you can rest easy that your investment is not likely to cause sleepless nights once you part with the cash.
- Join an investment club
While they are not many, look for a suitable Investment Club where members and management are transparent.
Many people looking to buy land or homes are scared of losing money to swindlers and that is why companies like Home Afrika have formed Investors Clubs, a place where like-minded people can rely on the extensive networks and expertise gained for many years in the real-estate business.