Affordable Houses: Costly Mistakes New Home Buyers Make

  • Ksh 650 Million house located in Magnolia Hills in Kitisuru Estate in Nairobi
    Ksh 650 Million house located in Magnolia Hills in Kitisuru Estate in Nairobi
  • Kenya has recorded an influx in the number of home buyers seeking to own affordable houses.

    The government identified affordable housing as a top priority in the Big 4 Agenda and plans to have constructed over 500,000 homes by 2025. Private developers have also expedited the construction of real estate homes.

    Developers are shifting from urban to rural areas in the newest trends as homeowners prefer space, cheap land and are relocating away from decongested areas. 

    However, real estate firms cautioned new owners from rushing to purchase homes as many make costly mistakes that haunt them in the near future. Others are duped by untrustworthy agents in well-planned scams. 

    The housing units located along Park Road in Ngara
    The affordable housing units located along Park Road in Ngara, Nairobi County.

    The most common mistakes include:

    1. Location

    Most buyers purchase homes in areas that are inaccessible or distant which fail to attract tenants, in the case of prospective landlords. However, purchasing houses in well-known areas was also flagged. 

    "As much as getting a piece of real estate within a renowned address or neighbourhood is recommendable, this should not be a priority. 

    "Many people lose sight of the value for money and buy. To avoid the blind lure of crowd choices, list what your ideal home should be like as well as the ideal location," investors further advised. 

    2. Ignoring Zoning Regulations

    Location is a key factor in purchasing homes. First-time buyers are advised to conduct thorough land-use diligence for the area to ascertain regulations that may inhibit one's stay. 

    3. Not Looking Ahead - Future Year Plan

    Homebuyers purchase houses without considering the future i.e size of the family in the coming years, retirement plan and kin moving in or moving out and need to have SQs which may offer additional space. 

    4. Assuming extra costs

    The budget should incorporate other extra costs other than the cost of the house. Expenses that are easily ignored but are critical include repair and maintenance and service charges.

    "Ensure you understand how much other developments in the area cost; is the deal too expensive or is it in tandem with the market averages?" the developers advised. 

    5. Buying Overvalued Properties 

    Buyers tend to confuse the asking price with the actual market value and one may end up paying too much for the property.

    "Analysing the market and doing proper research in order to identify the range of the market values in the area that you are interested in is critical," investors noted. 

    A residential home in Tigoni, Kiambu County in a photo dated January 2021

    6. Failing to Cross-Check Developers Credibility. 

    One should ensure that the developer has a track record of quality finishes or finishing projects in time in case of a buy off-plan. 

    They should also visit the properties personally to follow up on projects or house inspections. Some projects turn out to be scams. 

    One can use registered real estate firms and government platforms such as Boma Yangu and associations i.e The Kenya Property Developers Association (KPDA) to search for affordable homes. 

    7. Envisaged infrastructure

    "Many at times, real estate agents sell property on the basis of a ‘government promised access road to the tarmac. Implementation of such infrastructural projects takes a considerable amount of time. 

    "A potential home buyer should weigh whether the benefits are worth the wait," developers advised.