From the onset, it is important for the buyer to know that he or she only acquires legal ownership of the purchased land after acquiring a registered title of that land. If one has the purchase agreement, they only have equitable interest in the land which is not the same as complete ownership.

Buying the land
Abdu Nasir Mugisha, the director Man Property Service Limited, says site visit is the first and most important step in purchasing land. He says visiting will help you to know the area’s economic aspects and social infrastructure. You will get to see the neighbourhood and geography.
Mugisha says: “Once satisfied, get to know the property type, tenure system, the price and know the details of the real owner of the land. Local council leaders have all this information and will be of great assistance.
“The information you gather from such people will give you an overview of the property and the steps you will need to take to fulfill the purchase.”
For the case of low-lying areas that look swampy, contact the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) for a report regarding the use of the property.

Get an advocate
A professional advocate is very crucial almost at all stages of land purchase. The lawyer will help you to verify the authenticity of the title and its ownership in the land office. You will need a photocopy of the land title deed from the seller to carry on the search properly.
The Lands office will offer a Search Report, which must show the names of the owner in question and other details as indicated on the title.

Registry search
“In case you are buying land from a company or an organisation, carry out a company registry search at the Registrar of Companies to ascertain whether you are dealing with an appropriately incorporated company.This way, you will establish and identify the company directors and shareholders selling the property.
Searching assists you to ascertain the right property ownership, its genuineness, establish its existence plus identifying the conditions, caveats, pending rates or encumbrances on the title,” says Mugisha.

Negotiations
Once you are contented with the search results from the lands registry, you can meet the owner for price negotiations. You must meet the real owner of the property and in case of anyone who is not the owner he or she must hold the Power of Attorney which gives him the mandate to transact on his behalf.
It is important too, that you verify the size of the land before carrying out the transaction.
Hire a professional registered surveyor to carry out the surveying and measuring of the land and confirm the size and shape as indicated on the title.
This will help you to identify the boundaries and mark stones and must give you a survey report in that respect.
The sale agreement is drafted when a seller and buyer agree on the terms of the offer. It is important for the buyer to understand all the clauses in the sale agreement and their implications.
Let there be eye witnesses to sign.

Title transfer
When the transaction is concluded, the transfer of ownership process has to commence immediately, according to Catherine Kembabazi Acom, a freelance property consultant. The applicant, in this case who is the buyer, has to have a title search conducted on the land, a procedure that should be conducted by a certified surveyor.
Acom says: “This procedure is important in ascertaining the details of the existing certificate of title; the property’s legal owners and establishing; the actual location and size as well as establishing whether the land has any encumbrances on it or not.”

Land evaluation
The evaluation of the land is also one of the key activities that should be conducted to ascertain the value of the land. It is important to use a certified evaluator for this activity to avoid any mishaps.
“If no inconsistencies are discovered during the title search, the purchaser can then go ahead and pick transfer forms the local council authority offices which should be filled in along and attached to the consent forms from the seller. A photocopy of the duplicate certificate of title and two passport photographs of both the seller and the buyer will also be required for the process to be successful,” Kembabazi.

URA assessment
The assessment for the stump duty by URA is then carried out. Stump duty is the tax that is paid by the buyer during the transfer of the certificate of title. The applicant should check with the valuation division after three working days to pick the forms and proceed to pay the stump duty and registration fees in the bank.
Stump duty is one percent of the value of land, registration fees is ten thousand Uganda shillings only as well as title search letter fees. Assessment for payment of registration fees is done by the respective district cashiers.
She warns that, “Fees should be paid in the bank to obtain a receipt and after the transfer forms have been endorsed, they should be submitted along with rest of the documents and receipts to the Lands Registry. The photocopy of the certificate of title to be transferred will be stumped ‘Received’.”

Certificate of title
To receive the new certificate of title, the applicant should present identification documents and the photocopies of the already submitted documents. The applicant then signs for the title and the photocopy of that title will be stamped “Returned” on completion of the process.
Ordinarily, the entire process should last from a week’s time to approximately two months depending on the workload that the registry is handling at that particular time of the year.
“To avoid being cheated, applicants should employ reputable real estate companies or a law firm to handle the entire process,” she cautions.

The steps
1.Buy the land
2.Secure purchase agreement
3.Launch caveat to property while you process land title
4.Start processing of land title at URA. You will need;
•LC letters of where land was bought
•Photocopy of land title to be transferred
•Purchase agreement
•Taxes due (percentage) payable in bank, present receipts
5.Fill forms for transfer, submit them and wait for 10-20 days

Genuine land title
According to the Access to Information Manual produced by the Lands Ministry, genuine land titles must bear a seal of the office of titles, a print deed showing the map of the land in question, its actual location and survey marks and other survey details describing the land.
It must have a reference number and an instruction to survey, both of which if verified will clearly show the actual piece of land in question