Good news to real estate investors as automation of land records sets stage
By Reuben Kimani
Starting April 2019 land registration process will take a record 12 days from the current 73 according to Lands Ministry Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney. Land registration process involves title deed search, registration of title deed, land rent clearance, clearance of land rates, consent of transfer clearance and requisition of file valuation. This automation will save land owners more than two months of conducting the process thus increasing the efficiency of making real estate investment. This in the long run will make the overall transactions cheaper.
Kenyan investors have all the reasons to smile because it will now be easier to verify land records online before and after investing. In the past, some investors have been hesitant of investing due to fear of manipulation of the manual land records at The Land Registry by cartels.
- Land registration process will increase efficiency and reduce associated costs incurred by investors.
- Automation of land records coupled with innovative ways of purchasing property will make real estate investment attractive.
- The manual system soon to be rolled out made some investors hesitant of investing as the system has been prone to manipulation by cartels.
Currently, land rate clearance and requisition of file valuation are completed online, while a search of title, consent to the transfer, title registration, payment of stamp duty which takes 4 days and assessment and endorsement of the deal in 4 days are partially automated. Site visitations and reporting take 20 days, while the remainder of the process is manual. Some of the processes will be lumped up to reduce the number of steps.
Landowners and developers will have the advantage of experiencing fewer delays in between the process. This means that title deed processing duration will significantly reduce and investors will be able to develop their properties, settle in their own homes or even resell in future.
Embracing this key milestone in the Ministry of Lands, Investment companies have come up with innovative ways to enable Kenyans living in diaspora to invest directly back home. A company such as Username Investments has an automated website that allows clients to book a plot online and make direct payment to their property of choice via the available payment options.
The real estate sector will soon realize full digitization from all quarters with the combined efforts of the private sector and the government. This sector accounts for about 9 percent of Kenya’s GDP, outperforming other asset classes in the past decade, incurring minimal losses while consistently generating returns of between 25 per cent and 30 per cent. Digitization will boost these returns by eliminating cartels and building the overall confidence to both local and internal investors.
To make property investment even more attractive for Kenyans looking forward to settle their families this year, the recent focus of the company has been Kangundo Road. This area has the most affordable properties compared to other areas close to Nairobi. You will find a value added estate with a perimeter fence, estate gate, graded access roads, borehole water and electricity selling less than a million shillings a price that is all-inclusive price. Such a property has been made ready for immediate settlement.
In conclusion, automation of land records at the Registry coupled with innovative ways of purchasing property will increase the efficiency of making investments by all Kenyans across board.
The writer is the Chief Executive Officer, Username Investment Ltd.