-By Peter Muiruri
Property selling simplified
The distance was simply putting a strain to their marriage. Something had to give. It was either giving up on their 14-year marriage or giving up the house they had called home for 11 years. This was the dilemma Grace Nyamai was faced with after her husband John was promoted and transferred from the Nairobi to Mombasa in 2004.
Seems a straightforward decision but not so much for Grace and John as the house was the couple’s most expensive joint project. Their three children had all been born in that house hence it had a lot of sentimental value.
As if making the decision to let go of the property wasn’t hard enough, the process of selling was to say the least a nightmare. This was after they had to endure, like many property sellers can attest, the numerous potholes on the road to a profitable sale.
The selling process
In theory, selling a property is a straightforward process. When the decision to sell is reached, an accurate valuation is the next logical step to ensure the best possible price in the shortest possible time.
With that complete, the selection of a suitable estate agent follows with emphasis being one who is registered and will ensure maximum exposure and pricing of the property. When one is identified, an agreement in the presence of a witness is reached between agent and seller who from this point on is referred to as the Principal.
In tandem, one should also engage a solicitor who will act as a custodian filing the nitty gritty of the entire process. After a suitable offer is received from a willing purchaser and the principal accepts, the exchange of contracts is conducted. The process reaches completion when all monies are transferred from the purchaser to the principal’s solicitor’s account.
In practice, however, this seemingly simple process commonly goes awry with the seller falling prey to underhand dealings. These under-hand dealings more often than not involve the parties charged with marketing the property; the agent.
Njoroge Koigi, a registered agent with Vera properties Limited, lays blame squarely on the shoulders of the numerous quacks masquerading as bona fide agents. He cautions would be sellers to only engage the services of registered agents as expressed in Section 13, Chapter 533 of The Estate Agents Act.