House-hunting apps

House-hunting apps and websites are much easier way of going about finding and moving into a new house.

| Pool

Why do all the hard work when house-hunting apps can do it for you?

What you need to know:

  • House-hunting can be a discouraging and time-consuming process; but moving house need not be that painful.
  • There are tens of apps and websites that provide quick access to a large pool of properties.

If you have rented for a number of years, you are familiar with the myriad of challenges that come with house hunting, the effort that goes into getting an ideal house, one that will meet your needs and your family’s needs, if you have one.

There is nothing motivating about moving from one unfamiliar neighbourhood to another searching for a house, or dealing with unscrupulous agents who demand money even before you see the house they promise you.

Take Jim Musyoka for instance, who wanted to move from Umoja Estate to Kasarani Estate in Nairobi. Being his first move, he assumed that it would be an easy process. He would simply walk to Kasarani, look around and come across a house he liked, or simply call an agent with the specifications he was looking for and within a day or two, move into his new house.

Musyoka called a friend who lived in Kasarani and requested him to walk him around the estate in search of vacant houses. His friend agreed to accompany him on his search, but on that day, his calls to this friend went unanswered.

He had been stood up, yet he was already in Kasarani. Stranded, Musyoka reached out to another friend and asked him to connect him to any agent he knew in the area. He did get an agent, but he asked for Sh2,000 upfront to help him.

Desperate, he parted with money, and the agent gave him directions to a few properties he informed him he was managing, but none of the houses met his needs. The agent had painted a rosy picture of the apartments, assuring him that they had “top notch” security, 24-hour water supply, and spacious parking space, but this was not the case.

“Days turned into weeks and still I did not get what I wanted. The times I was lucky to get something close to what I wanted, the house was not worth the rent I was being asked to pay. I paid the agent the Sh2,000 but still did not get a house,” says Musyoka.

The money gone and with nothing to show for it, he decided to go the hard way and started scouting the neighbourhood on foot during weekends since he worked on week days. He did eventually get a house he liked, but it took weeks of hard walking.

His is not an isolated case. Edwin Othuol got a new job that required him to move houses. He lived in Ongata Rongai, but his new work station was located on the outskirts of Ngong Town. To get there, he had to take a matatu, and finally, a boda boda, to get to work. To save himself the hustle, he decided to get a house nearer his place of work.

Unscrupulous agents

“I went online in search of firms offering house moving services, only to encounter agents that asked me to send them money even before they showed me the houses they were renting out,” says Edwin.

Wise enough not to ask for days off in a new job, he shelved the search altogether until he got free time to dedicate to house hunting.

“My work schedule is so tight that getting a day off or even hours off is impossible. Right now I have to continue enduring many hours on the road to and from work.”

Mary Wangui too knows the pain that comes with searching for a house. Her most recent house hunting took her two weeks of walking around and relying on friends to point her to vacant houses in the area she wanted to move to.

She would have involved an agent, but she had no money to spend on one, she therefore had no choice but to wait and rely on the benevolence of friends.

But moving house need not be this painful. There are a number of house-hunting apps and websites that can save you the hustle, especially if you have no time to go house-hunting.

While traditional methods of house hunting, which involve using agents and relying on referrals might still work, house-hunting apps and websites are much easier way of going about it because they have lists of available houses, with the amenities in place and cost of rent, a one stop shop that does not require you to move an inch.

One such website is xPodd, an online agency that connects landlords to tenants by providing quick access to a large pool of properties tailored to the buyers’ preferences and budgetary needs.

Through a web app,, tenants or buyers can access a pool of houses to rent or buy at the touch of a button.

Online resources have made it easier and convenient for home seekers to access to more information than they could have dreamed of a decade ago.

But xPodd is just one of many online platforms providing such a service. Others include BuyRentKenya, Property24, Jumia House, Property Leo, PigiaMe, HaoFinder, Kenyapropertycentre, Re/Max-Kenya, rental hunters,, Keja Hunter, Nyumbani, and

There are also realtors such as Azizi Realtors, Knight Frank Kenya, Optiven, Villa Care, Hass Consult, Dunhill Consulting, Lloyd Masika and Fanaka Real Estate.

With the rise of such online resources, home seekers now have the luxury of having access to more information than they could have dreamed of a decade ago, easing the arduous process of getting that dream house as the online real estate marketing sector becomes more competitive.

These online resources help tenants find accurate housing information while offering features to help users narrow down their search.

Nekoye Inzaule, xPodd’s chief operations officer, says that everyone looks forward to an easy and smooth house hunting experience, which makes companies such as theirs necessary.

Nekoye Inzaule

XPodd chief operations officer Nekoye Inzaule.

Photo credit: Diana Ngila | Nation Media Group

“Moving house in Kenya comes with a number of challenges that many tenants have to contend with, from being swindled by rogue agents, caretakers and landlords having been promised a house that does not exist,” says Nekoye.

The company offers a one-stop platform for landlords, tenants, businesses and real estate developers, providing quick access to a large pool of properties, either to rent or buy, in different areas. This way, the firm, which mainly targets urban dwellers eliminates middle men such as agents, some who are dishonest, and end up duping prospective tenants and landlords.

Even though the company’s main focus is Nairobi, they serve Thika, Machakos, Eldoret, Kakamega, Kisumu, Mombasa and Nakuru as well, besides targeting the diaspora. On their menu are commercial and residential properties.

Established in June, 2019, the company now has 1,837 landlords in its portfolio, and has since connected 18,000 people to a house that meets their needs. Landlords are required to register on the platform by providing the location of their property, price and features as well as their contact details at no cost.

Moving services

The company then verifies the authenticity of each property and its listed features by physically visiting the location and taking a GPS of the place for easy link on Google Maps.

All the property seeker has to do is log in and state the type of property he or she is looking for and the preferences, the software then matches this description to the property available on the platform.

Once at least three properties matching one’s preferences are found, the individual will be notified, and after making a payment, which is refundable, one is able to see the details of the property, including the name and number of the landlord, size and location of the property, after which one is invited to visit the properties. This process usually takes between 36 to 48 hours.

Nekoye explains that there is an algorithm that calculates the charges the prospective tenant is supposed to pay, which is based on the client’s needs. The fees range from about Sh300 to Sh2,500 with the option of paying through Mpesa or PayPal.

“For example, someone who wants a bedsitter in Eldoret today will be charged more than someone who wants a four-bedroom house in Gigiri in March,” she says, adding that house seekers who register with them are eligible for a discount on rent, better deals with the finder not demanding commissions, as well as benefiting from not having to sift through over thousands of listings to find a preferred property.

“Most people are busy with 8am to 5pm jobs and packed weekends, and therefore have no time to visit scattered properties, which makes a one-stop platform that can be accessed on a mobile phone from wherever one is convenient.”

Besides linking landlords to tenants, the company also offers moving services through the over 100 transports registered with them.

“One can search for transport and get a list of at least five transporters in his or her neighbourhood, it is a fast, convenient and cheaper option when you compare with the charges high-end movers quote.”

To safeguard people’s data, the company has put in place authentication processes of accessing any data on the platform.