Looking for a house in Nairobi is quite something. You will come across all sorts of houses and problems. If it is not the agent charging you high fees, it’s the houses with colour mismatches and tiles that are not aesthetically pleasing.
Below are some of the things to expect when you start house hunting.
If you are working with an agent to help you find a place to stay, you’ll come across different ones. There is no fixed rate that a real estate agent will charge to help you find a house. Some will charge Kshs 500 for 2 days to view properties.
If the days elapse without you going to check them out, your money will go just like that. Others will charge a fee of Kshs 3000 until you find a house. Some agents will decide how much to charge you from looking at your dress code.
If you are working with a budget and you feel you will find “the perfect house”, start by lowering your expectations. Houses in Nairobi are expensive. Especially if you want to live close to the city centre. You have to decide on what compromise you’ll make.
Do you want to live in the city centre and pay more rent or would you rather live further away in a bigger house? Living away from town means you will spend more time commuting and the bus fare will be higher compared to staying close to the city centre.
Lack of Space
When you are working with a budget, you will come across tiny houses with small bedrooms, small kitchens or a sink like this one which was doing rounds on social media. Where do you place the dishes once you wash them?
This is a hard one to tell until you move in. When you’re looking for a house, there will be an oversupply of water when you run the tap, but give it one week. You start having water problems.
One way of knowing if the place has water issues is to check the verandah and balconies. If they have “mitungis” then know you won’t have water some days or you will have to buy. You can also ask the neighbour if they have water problems before you move in. Also, if it’s an old house, chances are you will have water issues.
This is a common one. You enter a house and your eyes just can’t decide what is happening because there are so many tiles. Worse still is if they are different tiles. Zero aesthetic appeal. Other landlords will put tiles meant for the wall on the floor. Meaning they’re slippery which can cause an accident.
Have you seen a house that has a dirty toilet that puts you off? You don’t even picture yourself living in it because of the horrible state the previous tenant left it in? Some tenants don’t take hygiene seriously. Plus, they are moving, why should they bother leaving the place clean for the next tenant?
The road leading to your house matters. A house closer to the road will be more expensive but it is safer compared to the ones further in. You could find a house that is really good but the road is pathetic.
Meaning, you might have to take a “nduthi” when it rains to avoid getting muddy shoes. Then, if you find a house which is away from the main road, you have to consider how safe it is to walk from the main road. It doesn’t make sense to take cabs every single day from work to get home if you leave work late.
Once you find a house that you like, ensure that you have a list of the things you can tolerate and live with. Otherwise, you will find yourself back to house hunting within a short time.