It would not make sense for a month to month regular Nairobi resident to rent out a furnished apartment. Furnished apartments are like a version of Airbnb, an earlier one at that. These are apartments where the tenants find them already equipped with furniture among other household items. They are usually in an enclosure and in most cases, the building management will provide other services like laundry for the tenants. They are popular with expatriates. For several reasons, these apartments are more expensive but they have their allure.
Most furnished apartment buildings in Nairobi are located within a small radius of the city center. Upperhill is mostly offices and furnished apartments. In most cases, depending on the class of property really, there will be a sort of concierge service that comes with the apartment. You can have someone run to the shops for you. If you like, you can have someone do your grocery shopping among other things. It is like in a hotel without the uppity feel of one. It is like having the best of home and a hotel. You will be catered to but still, kick back and be home.
Say you are staying in Nairobi for about a month or two. That is too long for you to suffer the stuck up air of a hotel. It is also too short for you to be properly settled in a regular rental where you would have to get furniture among other things. These furnished apartments are usually ready to go as soon as you have paid. You could practically sign in as you would at a hotel but live like you are home.
If you are here for business, most properties have facilities where you can hold your meetings. They also have resources that would help you with your mission from internet and conference services to helping you find a guide to show you around.
If you are staying for a long time, your hotel bill will be astronomical. A furnished apartment is paid for by the month. Unless you ask for food service, you could make your meals and keep your bill low.
If you wake up one morning in your furnished apartment and decide that you would like to change your accommodation, all you would have to do is pack up your clothes and leave. The same would apply if you had an emergency back home. If you went with a regular apartment and furnished it yourself, you would not have this kind of freedom. You would need to pack up everything and moving would be an unpleasant event.
What to Look For…
Extent of furnishing
The level of furnishing in a furnished apartment may vary. Usually, it will be dependent on how much you are paying. In some cases, you will only have some seating and beds in every room. In other cases, the house will be fully furnished with furniture, fridge and kitchen utensils down to a toaster. You should, therefore, check on this in case you might need to buy a few things. This will be useful when determining the cost of your accommodation.
You should also look at the quality of the furniture. Some people will buy the lowest quality furnishing they can find. In some cases, the furniture will be completely worn out. If you do not inspect before moving in and making note of it, the management might retain your deposit with the claim that you damaged furniture. The furniture could also be damaged at the slightest provocation due to being worn out over time.
The location of the apartment will inform the amount charged. The furnished apartments in Upperhill and Westlands are quite possibly the most expensive in Nairobi. The more affordable ones are in Hurlingham and Riverside Drive. Perhaps they are so expensive because Upperhill is close to most offices as well as easy access to the highway to JKIA. It is quiet there thus allowing for peaceful remote working.
If you are new to Nairobi, you should pick someplace convenient. You should be able to get yourself to the airport when the time comes. You should also be able to get to whatever meetings you may have painlessly. If your meetings will be in one specific place, you should probably pick an apartment that is closer to that place.
You could get a furnished three-bedroom apartment for 250,000 shillings a month. You can get the same in Westlands for about 220,000 shillings. In Hurlingham, a three-bedroom furnished apartment will go for about 180,000 shillings a month. The amount is dependent on several things, chief among them the location. It will also be dependent on the extent of furnishing and amenities offered within the building. You should compare the different options. This will be easier to get estimates as most management companies list them on their websites and real estate listing sites However, be careful not to engage people online and lead yourself into a con.
How much space do you need? How many of you will be staying at the house? Will you entertain often? How much stuff are you bringing with you? You should consider that the house will have furniture and other furnishings. Therefore a considerable amount of that space will be taken up by those things. This is where the extent of furnishing comes in. When doing a walk around, you should be able to determine if your things will fit in the space without it looking cramped. You could inquire if you are allowed to remove the furniture from one of the bedrooms to make space for some of your cargo.
What more will you get in your package? Will your laundry be done? Will your unit be cleaned? Will you be able to use the business center for your meetings and other purposes? Can the personnel on the premises help you with issues like car rentals, airport runs, and tour guides? What amenities will you have access to? Is there a gym on the property? Is there a swimming pool? Some of these amenities will make your life easier and help you maintain a routine so you should come up with a list of what you would prefer to have.
Most furnished apartments are very simply decorated with neutral colors and simple patterns. Décor is important as it enhances the feeling of home. Some people do not care much for the colors and textures of the home though. If you are the kind of person who puts a lot of significance in décor then you might want to find a place where apartments are more to your taste. Some properties have different décor choices.
It is to be expected that you will have some valuable things with you like your laptop and maybe your watch. The management of the property will assure you that these things are safe. However, you can never really take the word of a stranger on some things. Therefore, ensure that the unit has a safe or lockable cabinet where you can keep your most valuable things. No need to wait until something has been lost to start thinking about safety. You should also look at the locking mechanism for the door. Will you be able to lock yourself inside when you are home without worrying that anyone who has access to a key could ‘visit’ you while you sleep? Or that someone will walk in on your private moments?
If you are the kind of person who rents out a furnished apartment then you are accustomed to a certain lifestyle. You are used and require certain standards of excellence. You should, therefore, make sure that the property is up to par. It should not be run down. You do not expect to fork out 250,000 shillings a month for a house with a broken tile in the kitchen. You expect that everything will be top of the range. Your position on the social and financial ladder should be reflected in your accommodation.
If you are trying to compare this with Airbnb then do not. However, in some cases, you might find a furnished apartment that goes for 60,000 shillings a month especially in Hurlingham. If you compare to 2,000 shillings a day Airbnb then it comes to about the same. The expense might be increased by fees like the high deposit. In a furnished apartment, there is a lot that can be damaged. The high deposit is a way for the owner to protect themselves. You should, therefore, expect to pay more in deposit and other fees than you would in a regular rental.
Furnished apartments are kind of fancy. They are like Airbnbs that went through an international curriculum and have a posh European accent. They are targeted for a specific kind of person. If you find yourself scoffing at the rent or amenities then you are probably not the target tenant. All in all, they are convenient and well suited to a short term country resident.