Thursday May 18 2017

Who should you buy a house from?

Ensure that the property company you are buying

Ensure that the property company you are buying from is registered and if you are buying from an individual, ensure that you carry out a proper background check.  

By EDGAR R. BATTE

In 2015, Eddie Douglas Okila, a visual artist and director of House of Talent, had saved some money and his dream was to acquire land. He knew that with the Shs25m he had saved, he would be able to buy a plot of land in Gayaza, Wakiso District.
So he went out looking for property agents and individuals who had land for sale. Although he came across a number of individuals willing to sell him land, Okila decided to buy a 50 by 100 feet plot of land through a property agent.
His decision was informed by an experience he had when he purchased a piece of land from an individual in Nsambya.
“Some time back, I bought land from someone in Nsambya but after the transaction was completed, family members came out to dispute the sale and I am still battling with the family in court. I advise that before you make a transaction to buy, make the necessary background checks,” Okila advises.
Predicaments like his, have always begged the question whether it is safer to buy land or property from an individual or through a property company. Not unique to individual land or property dealers, the integrity of a number of real estate companies has been cast in doubt.
In December last year, Akright Projects Limited Chief Executive Officer, Anatoli Kamugisha was arrested and subsequently sent to Luzira Maximum Security Prison over land fraud.
The plaintiff, Moses Twinomugisha, took him to the High Court, saying he had defrauded him of Shs40.5m, a sum of money he had paid to Kamugisha in 2014 to acquire land in one of Akright’s projects.
Abiaz Rwamwiri, a communication expert says that he is particular when it comes to land issues. “For example, I would rather work with an architect to design my dream home than buying an already built house. I would also prefer buying from an individual because real estate agents are like brokers, they add mark-ups,” he argues.
Denis Jjuuko runs a real estate company called VIP Ventures and advises that whether you are buying from an individual or a company, you need to verify that the person selling the land is the owner and, or authorised to sell.
“You need to establish whether the seller has ownership and the land ‘exists.’ You need to physically verify that you are talking about the same land. A surveyor can verify the boundaries for you,” Jjuuko argues.
“You need to establish the status of the land and ensure it is free of mortgages or caveats. You can do this by independently talking to neighbours. Ask questions such as, do they know whether the land had been sold several times or not? Have other people claimed ownership of the same land?” he adds.
As Jjuuko, Okila shares the same sentiments saying that it is important to verify permanent addresses of the brokers or cross-check with the area chairperson so that in case they become elusive, you have a way to track them down. “It does not matter if you are buying from an individual or property company, exercise caution nonetheless,” he advises.

Caution
Denis Jjuuko runs a real estate company called VIP Ventures and advises that whether you are buying from an individual or a company, you need to verify that the person selling the land is the owner and, or authorised to sell.
“You need to establish whether the seller has ownership and the land ‘exists.’ You need to physically verify that you are talking about the same land. A surveyor can verify the boundaries for you,” Jjuuko argues.

rbatte@ug.nationmedia.com

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