Basic Real Estate Terms
- Acre: A unit of measuring the size of a plot. The two mostly used area units in Kenya are acre and hectare. 1 acre = 0.44 hectres
- Apartments: Synonymous to a flat but more elegantly constructed and refers to a suite of units on one floor (Basically an up-market flat)
- Beacon: These are marks showing the dimensions, demacations or perimeter of a plot.
- Bungalow: This is a one level house on its own compound or with others (Built up on ground floor only). All the rooms are usually on ground floor. They are usually on large compounds e.g. ½ acre or more.
- Caveat/Encumbarance: Refers to a fore-warning, admonition, qualification of a stipulation on property. This is a burden on the title or a landowner. It is a right created on the interest of one's estate by economic transactions (mortgages and charges) and once these obligations are discharged, the encumbrance is also automatically discharged.
- Certificate: Is a document given to the owner of properties instead of a title deed. This only happens in apartments and town houses where several units share one title deed because they are built in one piece of land.
- Charge: Referes to a property whose ownership documents are held by a bank or any other financial institution, as the owner owes the bank or financial institution money, i.e. the property is charged to Bank. The bank keeps the title until it is discharged (when money owed to the bank is paid back).
- Deed Plan: Is a sketch showing the exact location, shape and measurement of a plot or parcel of land.
- Discharge: Is a certificate given by a Bank to which a property was charged after its debts have been settled by the owner. This simply means that property's documents have been officially handed back to the owner (discharged).
- Double Storey: Is a building that has only two storeys. They are normally on their own compounds e.g. ¼ - ½ - 1 even 10 acres.
- Ensuite: Refers to a bedroom constructed with its own toilet and bathroom (i.e. it does not share these facilities with any room). All Ensuite means all bedrooms have their own toilet and bathroom. Master Ensuite means only the master bedroom so constructed
- Flat: This is a building that has several storeys upward with different units in the same buildings. Suite of rooms on one floor. This is a block comprising of several housing units owned by different individuals. (see Apartment)
- Freehold: This refers to unlimited/perpetual ownership period of property hence no renewal is necessary.
- Hectre: This is a unit in measuring the size of a plot. The two mostly used area units in Kenya are acre and hectare. 1 HA = 2.471 Acres.
- Land: This is defined to include land covered with water, all things growing on land, buildings and any other thing permanently fixed to it. (The Registered lands Act Cap 300)
- Lease: A legal document in which the owner of a property transfers the right to use and occupy his property to another for a specified duration, purpose and for a payment.
- Leasehold: Refers to the status of a property whereby ownership is limited to a certain number of years which are renewable. This perios is usually 50 or 99 years afterwhich if ownership in not renewed, it reverts to the government.
- Letter of Offer: A document which details out main terms and conditions of a tenancy or sale to be signed by both parties of the tenancy or sale transaction and is always drawn before payments are made.
- Maisonette: These are several units in one compound with each unit comprising a ground floor and first floor. They share a common perimeter wall but sometimes the individual units have their own compounds.
- Mortgage: Mortgage is a bank loan borrowed specifically to purchase a property and is payable with interest in between 5-20 years or more.
- Sale Agreement: Is a statement being signed by both the buyer and the seller showing the type of agreement reached by both parties. It shows the mode of payment and the anticipated time the whole process is going to take. It also spells out into details terms and conditions under which the sale is being made.
- Septic: Is a large tank/pit dug and properly prepared for storage of human waste from the toilets and bathrooms. This only happens when the property is not within the areas covered by the sewer line e.g. remote localities.
- Sewer: This is a long underground network of hollow pipes collecting and ferrying human refuse to a certain central point for disposal.
- Sublease: This is created when the head lessee transfers his interest (whole or part) in the property to another tenant for a duration which is normally shorter than period of the head lease. This is normally executed upon consent retained from the lesser (Landlord)
- Tenure: Refers to the period of ownership of a property, usually, leasehold or freehold.
- Title Deed: This is a document held by the owner of a property showing the status of the property e.g. - The owner of the property, - Whether the property is leasehold or freehold and from which year it is leasehold - location of the property.
- Town House: More similar to a maisonette but more luxurious. In addition to a common perimeter wall, individual units have their own compounds, though they share a title deed. As a result subtitles are given when one buys a unit. This is equivalent to one buying one share in a company.