Building vs Buying a Home in Kenya: Which One is Cheaper?

As you make a decision on whether to build or buy a house, you need to be properly informed. Read about cost breakdowns, pros and cons for each.

Buying vs Building in Kenya. Which option is better? Which one should you choose?

Investing in a home for your family is one of the most important tasks that you will have to undertake; should you buy an existing home or build a new one?

Both options have advantages and disadvantages, so before making that important decision, ensure that you do proper research and see what works for you and your family.

READ ALSO: Buying Your First Home vs Investment Property

Below, we look at what the pros and cons of each of the options;

Building a New Home


  1. The biggest advantage of building is having a home customized especially for you, with everything made according to your specifications, interests, tastes, and preferences. If you want modern finishing or a new design you saw in a property magazine, this is where dreams are literally turned into reality. The best part of it is the house will have your personal touch.

    READ ALSO: A Beginner’s Guide to Building a House
  2. Another advantage of a new newly constructed home is that the property will not require a lot of maintenance when you move in. This will save you costs that keep popping up when trying to repair broken fixtures and fittings in an existing home, given that everything is new.
  3. Another financial benefit of a new house also comes in case you want to re-sell the house after a period of time. A new home will be more appealing to potential buyers and will, therefore,  be easier to sell compared to an older home, and with higher ROI.
  4. New homes are also likely to incorporate new/latest technology like cable, CCTV, alarm systems, UPVC windows others. The use of new construction materials also makes the home more energy efficient, which translates to lower utility bills.

READ ALSO: Cost of Solar Panel Installation & Regulation in Kenya


  1. Building a new home takes more time than buying an existing one. You will have to deal with frequent inspections, construction issues, and delays due to bad weather or striking workers. In short, if you decide to build a new home, then you have to fully commit to the process. You can decide to hire a project manager to handle the project but either way, it is advisable to frequently visit the construction site.
  2. Building a new home also comes with the expense of acquiring land first. You will have to deal with a whole other process just to acquire land like title searches and verification from Ardhi House and enter into a Purchase Agreement. Finding land in a perfect location e.g closer to Nairobi CBD or Kilimani is also much harder than buying an existing apartment within your budget.
  3. New technology and upgraded fixtures could also mean higher construction costs for you, as the features don’t come cheap. The contractor you higher will also want to get a mark–up on the materials bought, which means you end up paying more. Try and have a local supplier in place that can help you get discounts on materials to help you cut on costs.
  4. You might also experience limitations when constructing a new home based on financial constraints. The style you will adopt is most likely to be determined by the amount of money you have.

READ ALSO: All You Need To Know About Building a Home In Kenya

Buying an Existing Home


  1. A big advantage of buying an existing home is the quick turnaround time. The overall time taken from the beginning of the searching process to the acquisition is significantly lower in comparison to a time taken when constructing a home from scratch. Homeowners can take as little as two weeks to fully own a home.
  2. Another advantage of buying an existing home is the possibility of finding a home in your preferred location. Construction, on the other hand, means that you have to first get available land in the location and make a purchase. If not available, then that means you may have to settle for an alternative location. There is also a wider choice of where to buy a home from as compared to where you will get land for construction.
  3. Another advantage of buying an existing home is the potential of finding a house that you can readily move into, for example getting a home from an expatriate who is moving back to their home country, you could end up buying the house with everything in it. Of course, there is always a possibility of doing renovations later to ensure the home suits your needs and that of your family.

READ ALSO: A Step by Step Guide to Buying a House


  1. It could end up cost you more to change what you don’t like about an existing property as compared to rebuilding. Ensure that you work out the cost implications of the renovations you would like before taking settling on buying an older home; this should also include the cost of hiring specialists for the job e.g contractors, engineers and quantity surveyors.

    READ ALSO: 10 Common First Time Homebuyer Mistakes to Avoid
  2. Another disadvantage of buying an existing home is that you could end up compromising. You can get a perfect house but in the wrong neighborhood, or vice versa. Or get a house with the perfect kitchen but a really small bathroom. Depending on what is on your list of preferences, try and be open-minded so that the whole process does not become frustrating to you.
  3. Existing homes could end up coming with unforeseen problems if not thoroughly inspected. A home could have been built on government land or encroach on a public road. This would eventually cost you in terms of reconstruction or altogether losing property that you had already invested in. Ensure you do a thorough inspection before making payment.

READ ALSO: Buying a House: Are You Aware of These Hidden Costs?

Whichever side you lean on, whether new or old, look at important things like affordability, location and investment opportunities to help you chose what to go for. Ensure that you do your due diligence and work with qualified and experienced professionals to guide you through the process. Happy house hunting!

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