What you need to know:
- Success in this highly lucrative sector calls for a combination of factors including starting early, timing, and adding value to what you have. Inside, players in the industry offer tips on the different methods you can use to grow your business.
- To most people, acquiring property when you are still young is the ultimate dream. But how do you acquire property when you are young, given that you are unlikely to have enough resources? spoke to several real estate players, who share their experiences, which includes ways of navigating the property market and bagging yourself a lifetime investment
INVESTING IN PROPERTY now should be on top of the list for any young person. Just like in the ’90s, when the stock market was the in thing, having your own registered title deed is a must today.
“I was lucky to have been among the first who saw the potential in real estate. I got wiser and joined a Sacco. I also saw people getting into investment groups, so I put in some money and tried getting into the property market. With the growth in numbers, career and earnings, it becomes easy to acquire property, which wasn’t as expensive then at is now,” says Ms Githu. “Buying property isn’t a one-day thing. It’s something that you do over time. The difference between the time I started thinking about buying a property and actually acquiring one was 20 years.”
Most people usually acquire their first property through loans and mortgage, depending on their financial ability. However the surest way is through acquiring land then flipping it over and graduating to owning a house.
Ms Githu says that one has to start from somewhere, whether it is a bedsitter, one-bedroom house, two-bedroom house or a plot.
“All these are available options. The thing is that you can wait for too long before you start the process of acquiring the property, but once you start, it gives you an opening to other investments. Once you get the title, you can use it to acquire others. This gives you the compounded multiplication of assets. That’s the way I have done it,” Ms Githu reveals.
One thing most people are not comfortable about is being far from their investment. However, Ms Githu says that patience and strategy are key in working your way closer to the city, for instance.
“I joined a Sacco and with time was able to borrow three time my savings. I bought land in prime and strategic areas and continued saving. I used one of the properties’ proceeds and bought into a unit. I financed the rest using bank loans. That was how I started and I never looked back,” she says.
“The key thing is for young people to begin with property on the outskirts of urban centres and work their way back to the centre. You cannot afford to buy land within the city precincts asyour first property. Once you get the documents for the property and with the right timing and calculations, you can flip it and use the returns for a second property close to you.”
Alex Muema, Director, Ndatani Properties
Land has become one of the most popular real estate investment avenues in the country.
“I have been in this market for more than 10 years, and I see the appeal in land coming from the fact that once you buy, you really don’t have to do much but wait and resell it at a profit, at the right time,” Mr Muema says.
However, a major mistake people make is that they buy a piece of land and sit on it without adding any value to it, then expect to reap from it, especially in an area that isn’t growing.
“It’s important when buying a piece of land to be keen on the available amenities. Does it have electricity? Water? Roads? Is it easy to access? What is the neighbourhood like?
If it doesn’t have these amenities, then you can add value to it by having these services connected then selling it at a profit,” Mr Muema says, adding, “Land is one of the areas you cannot go wrong, but you also have to be very calculative. What’s your end game?”
Kenyans have realised the need for home ownership as an investment option for speculation purposes, or even for other economic use. Investing in land is just one of the areas whose returns are rewarding, especially in major urban areas, where the price of land has shot up.
“The value of land appreciates, depending on what happens in the neighbourhood. About 10 years ago, an acre on the Northern Bypass on the outskirts of Nairobi was going for Sh500,000 an acre. Today an acre in the same areacosts Sh25 million,” Mr Muema says.
“It’s all about strategy. Look at the immediate plans for the area, whether there are institutions coming up, road networks, electricity, water and such. These are what attract people, speeding up growth, which promises good returns,” Mr Muema says.
Harun Nyamboki, Director, Moke Properties.
Real estate is now a solid investment, with strong capital growth and as a market that is growing, young professionals can reap from its returns.
“As a growing market, all one needs to do is understand the value of the shilling and the timings of investments. The trick is always to get on board early enough so that you can reap the benefits years down the line,” Mr Nyamboki says
These professionals have avenues that can help them acquire property, be it land or houses.
“You really don’t have to put emphasis on the kind of unit you need. You can use your bedsitter to ring fence your finances and in three or four years, raise capital to buy 50 per cent of that two- bedroom unit you have always wanted,” he says.
With competitive products from the Saccos that allow you to borrow three times your savings, 105 per cent financing from the banks and much more, the market is ripe for investment. It all narrows down to one’s ability in taking the risk, hoping to maximize on the returns.
Charles Peter Mwangi, Valuer, Chief Executive, Ruby Land Limited
Investing in real estate is merely a matter of locating a potentially good investment and determining how best to leverage that investment.
“I always advise clients interested in getting into this market to start early. Then, using the advantage of the opportunities in real estate, to build their wealth,” Mr Mwangi says.
One important thing people need to understand is that the property market is always appreciating. But it’s also important to have your investment in a place that will capture that appreciation.
“I see many people investing in land, which is a good thing. But the question here is, where is the land located? Are there amenities around it? How many idle pieces are there?” Mr Mwangi notes.
He adds that it is important, especially for someone investing in land or property for sale, to be in an area where they can get real value, as well as clients, in a whiff.
“For instance buying land deep inside Kitengela will not do much for you when you are selling it compared with someone who positioned themselves and got the same size of land in Kitengela, but closer to the road and amenities. They will get more than you. Positioning yourself properly ensures that you stay on top of the market, and that you also reap handsomely,” Mr Mwangi says.
There is a myriad of resources available to beginning real estate investors. From your resources and connections, which include investment groups, work benefits like special mortage rates, saccos and even network of friends network. All these can be used to ease your entry into the market, minimize risks, and maximize your returns.
Sue Muraya, Director, Suraya Properties
THOSE WHO BOUGHT property in the early days have been greatly rewarded with exponential returns on property values. It really shouldn’t matter what kind of property you are looking at, but what it can get you in future.
Sue Muraya says that it is sometimes important to do market research before investing in real estate, and especially for young professionals who own property far from the city, where rents are affordable, then work their way back to the city centre.
“Market research basically involves understanding the real estate mathematics and how this will bring more returns as well as being beneficial to the investor,” Ms Muraya explains: “When you buy a property in, say Runda for Sh50 million, in most cases it will be a four-bedroom villa sitting on an eighth of an acre. The rent will be Sh250, 000 per month, giving an annual rental yield of Sh3 million. This means the gross returns are at 16.6 per cent”
“However, you can instead choose to diversify by buying three Sh15 million maisonettes at the Four Ways junction on Kiambu Road at the same cost, each of which will give you a rental income of Sh100,000. This comes to a monthly income of Sh300,000, and an annual income of Sh3.6 million,” she says.
Just having the three properties ensures that you have three titles which you can use to acquire a loan for other developments. You can also use the rental incomes to service the facilities and when you want to offload, you still have two other properties.
“Having the first property makes it possible for you to get others. You can sell it, pay a deposit for a more exclusive one you want and borrow the rest to finance its acquisition. In 10 years, you can repeat the same process and find yourself with property in a suburb you couldn’t afford years ago,” Ms Muraya says.