Real Estate Developers in Kenya Must Renounce Their Ways or Perish (Opinion)

Explore the critical role of integrity in the real estate industry. Learn why project delivery is the true measure of success

Real estate developers in Kenya need to be aware and change their old habits

There is no substitute for honesty and integrity in the real estate industry.

Even an ounce of such a  thought would be a monstrous absurdity and a perversion of truth. Yet many real estate companies,  to their ultimate loss, have constantly attempted to break this cardinal life and real estate rule.

They incessantly attempt to substitute honesty for flashy marketing tools and integrity for beauty with rugged kindness. Even so, I presuppose that most of these companies, considering our ethics deficit as a country, have and continue to get away with such profound dishonesty in their business.

Fueled by modern-century capitalism and an impeccably permissive society, they get away without paying the full price of success.

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If so, then what is really ailing these companies? What is the chronic terminal illness that webs them unawares? 

The Clash Between Integrity and Marketing Tactics

It is impossible to build a tribute of success on the foundation of exquisite dishonesty.

And yes, a  good number of these companies have been built on the rock of monotonous greed and roofed within the walls of gluttony. Like Ananias and Sapphira, they have an unabated desire for dishonesty even at the altar of sacrifice.

But even this, they somehow get away with it. The substantive waterloo for nearly all real estate firms remains poor or no delivery of development projects. Look, you can sell a house as high as you can, call it free market and lie your way with heavenly promises for a  buyer to come through but ultimately you must deliver the house. No shorts. No sideshows. 

Many real estate companies have built grandiose advertisement tools. They have huge billboards on key roads, and prime-time media adverts, and their offices could easily be mistaken for modeling showrooms.

With constant roadshows, morning radio programs on key stations and regular weekend open days. It escapes no one where the heart of the company resources and attention is focused. But hardly is any meaningful attention granted to the more critical, the undisputed core,  of project delivery – construction works.

In most real estate companies, senior management spend an awful amount of time in marketing meetings and not construction site meetings.

It is actually a ceremony when they choose to visit construction sites. Little or no attention is given to the imperative ongoing construction works. In addition, they deliberately resort to cheap professionals with no much experience or quacks with questionable licenses.

Not to mention that contractor prices are negotiated to compromising levels. The result; the never-ending circus of agonizing buyers with substantially delayed or stagnated developments. 

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Charting a New Course for Success

The epitome bedrock of any successful real estate company has to be a pristine name built on impeccable personal brand ethics. Even more important, is the successful delivery of projects. This is where the majority are failing.

You can advertise all you want, and sell all you want but if you are going to deliver delayed, sub-standard mediocre projects, your entombment is yonder.

I do not in any way intend to disrespect the good work marketers do, it is indeed a real hard sweat of their brow, nor is it my counsel that companies should tone down their marketing. Nay.

For the record, marketing is important but construction is everything.

Mine is a clarion call for our real estate companies to give equal or more attention to the construction works of their projects. Just like they have done to marketing. Be ferociously ruthless with project execution.

It begins with hiring qualified experienced professional consultants and seasoned contractors. I’m aware of a well-known developer in this city who doesn’t use professionals during the construction phase of projects, their work ends in the design stage.

Ironically, both the company directors are actually trained professionals in the construction field.

What would you call that? Greed? Definitely, unprecedented greed.


I have witnessed, lately, a growing number of struggling real estate companies in our industry. Some pundits solely want to blame the market for this, I disagree. Trust me, I bet even on the devil’s innocence on some of these issues.

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The majority is their own creation; built by their own hands and modeled by their unquenched thirst for more money with no projects to show for it.

The new way brings them, once more at the crossway, let them choose a different path this time. If they don’t, we must marvel, without even blame to the market, when victory comes to make amend.


Nashon Okowa - Managing Director of Beacon Africa Consultants
Beacon Africa Consultants
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