The Kenyan real estate market is a very nice place to be. It is supportive of people in different stations of life while also maintaining a steady evolution in every aspect. Buying will not require you to sweat around Nairobi looking for cheap building materials. You will not be in a constant state of panic and frustration over unreliable contractors and masons. You will see, visit, pay then move in. You could even appoint someone to do all the tedious things you do not expect to enjoy. However, there are some factors to consider when buying a house in Kenya.

1. Specifics

As soon as you make the decision to buy a house, you will want to rush to real estate sites and shop around. Once you pollute your brain with all the dream houses online, you will have trouble coming up with a list of requirements that is genuinely you. You will unconsciously make things that you saw but do not need a part of your specs list. Therefore, before you look at whatever is on the market, take the time to come up with a list of things that you would desire in a house. Where do you want to live? How big should your house be? Do you want an apartment or a house? How big a compound would you like? How much are you looking to spend? This list will help you target the next step instead of just looking around aimlessly. This list should be conclusive. You should also divide the items by order of necessity. The top should be things that you have to have.

2. Window shopping

Once you have your list, you can look around. The window shopping step will help you add some things to your list. You will also find out if you can get those things you want for the amount you have in the location you want. Window shopping helps you make your list more realistic. It also helps you determine whether you should hold off on the buy for a while longer. While you are at it, you should read industry news. How is the market looking? Is it a buyers’ market? Is it a sellers’ market? A buyers’ market s one where the buyers have the upper hand. It means there is a high supply which in turn means the buyers have high bargaining power as well as support from the economy. A sellers’ market means that there is more demand for housing than there is supply which gives the sellers the upper hand.

3. Agent

You will need to contact a reputable real estate company. The agent will get you access to the listings. Houses to buy are unlike houses to rent. When you are looking to rent you could walk into a building and have the caretaker show you to a unit. When you are looking to buy though, you must make an appointment with the listing agent. The agent will also help educate you about the house buying process. The steps you need to take once you have identified a house you are serious about. They could even help you find a good lawyer to help with the legal steps. You should, however, consult widely before engaging an agent.  

4. Site visit

When you visit the house, take your list with you. What is on your must-have side of the list? Get down to the nitty-gritty. Do you prefer hardwood floors? Do you prefer marble over tile? What kind of table tops do you want? What kinds of doors do you want? These are the small things that many people forget to look for and then have to spend money to correct later. While you are looking for things you want you should also look for signs of break down. Is the paint chipped? Do the walls look like they have suffered water damage? Is the roof a little sunk? Are there broken tiles in the bathroom? You should keep an eye on these. This way, you know how much you will need to spend on renovations after you have bought it. Some of the damages could help you bargain the price. As long as the structure is solid, anything else is pretty fixable. Try to visit the property several times. Bring a professional on one of those times and get an opinion. Find out how much you would spend to make some preferred changes and if those could affect the structural integrity.

5. Due diligence

After you have looked around, you will need to do quite a bit of research. You should find out how much such a house would cost in that neighborhood and others. You should find out about the house. Who owned it before you? How much bargaining power do you have? How is the neighborhood in terms of safety and security? Basically, you are trying to support the decision to buy this house with facts. This research into the house will help you make a more informed decision. Do your due diligence before you make any kind of commitment. Do not go in blind. Walk into the negotiating room with some power.

6. Appraisal

Once you have informed the agent that you would like to commit, you should request to have the house appraised. An appraisal looks for issues that you could not see as an untrained person. It looks for things like structural weaknesses and poor workmanship. This appraisal will also inform you if the house is worth as much as you are paying for it. This way, you know if you are getting a good deal.

7. Resell value

You might need to sell the house one day. You should look at how easy it would be to sell the house. How quickly can you sell this house if you ever need to? Every week the house remains on the market is a week you are losing money and value. If a house stays on the market for too long then you might be forced to discount the price. You could get a sense of this by looking at how much interest the house is getting from other buyers. What are the qualities of the house? Are these qualities popular? Is the house in a popular neighborhood? These are factors that affect the resell value.

8. Renovations

Rarely will you be lucky enough to find a house that is everything you want. There will always be a house that is only very close to your perfect house. Some people will simply settle for close enough though. If you are not one of those, you will have some work done on the house. Maybe you want to change the floors. Maybe you want to join to two bedrooms and have one bigger room. Maybe you want to open the house up such that there is no distinct separation between the living room and dining room. Keep in mind that it would be dangerous to make changes that require undoing a beam. Get a professional to help you with this as well as the cost of any changes you wish to make. It is advisable to do this before you make the final decision to buy the house that way you can decide if it will be worth it.

9. Official stuff

There will be a contract involved. The contract will show your commitment to the agency and payment of fees when it falls due. You should read every word of this several times before you sign. There could be damaging terms in the fine print. There will also be a sale agreement. This is what you will get as soon as the money has been paid.  You should ask about the deed. This is a legal document that shows that you own the house. To better understand a deed to a house. Think of it as a receipt. You get a deed at the final moment as a sign that now finally the house has been handed over to you. You will not get the deed until the full price has been paid.

10. Fees

You will need to pay the agent, obviously. You will also need to pay the lawyer if you use one. You will also need to pay for the property search. Depending on where the house is located and how the perimeter is set up, you might need a surveyor who will define the boundaries for you. There will also be fees for the person who does the appraisal for you. Some contractors will charge you just to do the site visit and cost the renovations. As you are creating a budget for this step in your life, be sure to include all of these things.

Congratulations on your new home. This is a big step. Some of the elements discussed above could lose or save you a lot of money. Good luck with your new home.