5 Ways Kenyans lose Money on Property

In fear on losing a good deal or rather believing that is the only deal in the whole world, many property buyers have rushed to make payments first and conduct the search later. Only to discover later that they have joined the long list of those who have fallen prey to property fraudsters. Amazingly no matter how much we emphasize official searches many Kenyans still get fleeced every passing day. As you read this, at this particular moment someone is getting defrauded.

Many unscrupulous land owners have not been paying their land rates which may have ran into millions of shillings. They are well aware that county authorities are after them any moment they may very well lose their property. These owners will therefore sell the property without disclosing the land rate debt to the unlucky buyer who is left to suffer the consequences.

So you have been handing out bits of cash to the old man who is your neighbor in the village in the promise of getting a piece of his land. Then the unthinkable happens and he passes away unexpectedly. As it is in the larger African context he left no will and sooner than later his family is rocked into a bruising succession battle. Only then do realize you had been dealing with the Mzee on a gentleman’s agreement and there’s no record or witness to your transaction. Do i need to continue further?

Kenyans living in the Diaspora are an interesting lot. In their effort to save up and invest in their motherland, they heap all their trust on one relative who becomes their financial adviser, their eyes, their ears and their merchant bank. Without once second guessing them, they send their hard-earned foreign exchange to this relative to purchase and develop property in their behalf. The schemy relative transfers everything to their own names while the trusting Green-card holder keeps the dollars flowing. Trouble begins the day they travel home to check their appreciating estate just to get a shock of their lives when they discover it never belonged to them or it has even changed hands. Of course the trustee relative will turn as slippery as a fish in water until your leave expires.

Kenyans are the only animals in the planet who will pay the full amount for something they have not set their eyes on. All you need to tell them is that there is a 1st row property on a planned by-pass or on the sea-front and that the owner is dying to sell it because of a financial predicament he has found himself in. You are given ‘convincing’ reasons why you cannot see the property immediately and why you must pay yesterday or else you will lose the opportunity of your life. A colleague is still holding painfully on to useless receipts, all he has to show for a property he paid for 3 years ago without the slightest idea of its location. The date of viewing kept being pushed forward but payment was always a matter of urgency. He and tens of others where left with dropping jaws when they watched on prime time news the agent being frog marched to a police station for fraud charges.