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Using property experts can save you money

A picture of Victoria Gardens in Kisumu. The new units are currently out for sale located at a place where all house owners will have a view of Kisumu town and the ambience of the lake. (Photo: Denish Ochieng / Standard)

When buying or selling property, it wise to use professionals. The professionals have special skills and insider knowledge beyond that of the average buyer or seller.

Conveyancers (property lawyers), valuers, estate agents, land officials, architects, engineers and surveyors are among important experts in property transactions.

It may cost more money and time to involve a professional but it is the best way to cushion yourself from fraud during transactions.

For instance, a registered estate agent can provide an in-depth comparative market analysis, which entails comparing your desired property with others sold in recent times, and determining the right price and the right market.

Registered agents can help you find the best available deals on the market, even the ones that are not explicitly advertised.

On the other hand, professional valuers can effectively appraise and determine the value of your desired property. Valuers are not only critical when buying a dream home, but also in fulfilling requirements on mortgages.

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However, you should settle for a valuer who knows the market area to include factors that may determine the price.

Valuers who are not in tune with the current market trends of an area – say Nairobi’s Eastlands – may offer skewed property values.

Another advantage of hiring professionals is that they may be liable for negligence, should they fail to detect fraud.

Some prospective investors may want to overlook the professionals to avoid paying more over professional fees.

Experts say a home that would cost Sh6 million would eventually go for Sh7million after fees paid to professionals are factored in.

Fees charged

For instance, lawyers charge fees in line with their Advocates Remuneration Order, which would increase – in some cases – as property transactions are unique, requiring more time and professional input.

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Most lawyers look into the urgency, value, complexity and intricacy of conveyancing (transfer of property) before charging their fees.

Property transactions are generally supposed to be completed within 90 days but others drag even after payment of the 10 per cent deposit of the sale price for various reasons, including transfer delays at lands registries.

Delays in completing the transactions are costly as the interests are charged on the purchase money, which inflates the original price.

Interestingly, there are prospective investors who bargain with professionals to reduce costs which – to
lawyers — is illegal and amount to professional misconduct.

— The writer is an advocate of the High Court.

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