As a potential homeowner, the journey to getting your own home is a big step and one of the major financial decisions in somebody’s life.

This can be a great decision, not only giving you one of the basic human needs and your own space, but it can lead to a bad decision, and get you into bad debt.

Property Lawyer Wambui Kiama says when you want to buy a property or a home, it’s important to do due diligence.

“Buying a home is not like walking into a shop in the mall and buying a dress and walking out with it. We don’t walk away with land, so for purposes of purchase or buying, you need to find out. Who is the owner of this home? If it’s a company, I would recommend that you do a search at the company registry to find, does this company that says it owns this house, does it exist. And the company registry will give you details including who are the directors of that company, who are the shareholders, and what kind of shareholding they have,” the advocate says.

The advocate further says, a buyer has an obligation to do an investigation of the property to determine whether he/she is satisfied. “During this time, you should conduct an in-depth analysis of the condition of the property and the feasibility of purchasing the property.”

So, when a person says, I want to sell a house, you as a buyer, must ask them for their identity documents (copies of their identity documents), copies of the title; and if it’s a new house that has been constructed and nobody has moved in, you are the first buyer of the property, you must ask for additional information i.e. registration/ approval documents from the local authority, National Construction Authority (NCA), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Change of user certificate if necessary, Occupational Certificate from the County Government, and also find out whether the architect issued a certificate of practical completion.