Mistakes Land Buyers Make When Securing Title Deeds

Samples of title deeds
Samples of approved title deeds shared by the Ministry of Lands on October 2021.
Ministry of Lands

Most land buyers often demand to see the title deed before buying land. However, a majority end up losing their hard-earned money in the process, despite acquiring the document. 

According to Solomon Wangwe, a real estate developer, the title deed can, on such occasions, be considered a 'useless' document. 

Wangwe says that Kenyans often forget to look for other relevant documents that complete the land-buying process and focus on the title deed, which can be forged. 

Among the key documents to analyse include a mutation form (in case the land was part of a large parcel), an index registry map, and a green card.

A view of Ardhi House along Ngong Road in Nairobi.
Entrance of Ardhi House along Ngong Road in Nairobi.
Ministry of Lands

Consulting an Advocate 

Wangwe argued that Kenyans ignore the importance of involving a licensed lawyer in the land-buying process

"I advise Kenyans to involve a licensed advocate when buying land. The advocate can check the legitimacy of the title deed.

"Also, ensure he is certified, an unlicensed advocate can cause you a lot of money," he argued.

Failure to check the title deed online 

Through the e-citizen platform and the Ardhisasa platform, land buyers can validate their title deed online

In these platforms, you only need to input your title details, and the system will revert feedback.

Failure to know the different types of title deeds

There are three main types of title deeds sectional (shows ownership of a single unit in a building), leasehold (shows ownership of land capped at a maximum of 99 years), and freehold (shows ownership of land without restrictions).

It is wise to understand the difference in the title deeds.

Can't Differentiate Fake and Genuine Title Deeds

To verify the genuineness of the title deed, consult a professional like a law practitioner. You can also visit the land registry to check if the title deed is registered 

Ensure you confirm the location of the land parcel or property you purchase. 

Verify the identity and background of the company or individual you are buying land from.

Incorrect Names

If you have a different name or nickname on the title deed, you can invalidate your land ownership. 

Ensure your names match those other government documents.

Other errors made on the title deed include incorrect consideration amount, lack of notary seal and subscribing witnesses, defective acknowledgments or missing witnesses, missing acknowledgment and marital status of grantors on a non-homestead statement, and failure to obtain joinder of grantor’s spouse on the deed to homestead property.

A signpost showing land for sale
A signpost showing land for sale.
Land in Kenya