The process of deciding on a neighborhood is just as important or more as every other step in the rental process. Choosing a neighborhood lays the foundation for the kind of options you will have. It determines your house hunting and even renting experiences. A lot of thought should be put into choosing a neighborhood. You will need to be happy with the environment as well as the general aesthetics of the hood. You should feel at home and well suited to be there. The neighborhood will contribute to how at home you feel in the new house. If you choose right, you might remain there for a very long time only ever moving houses to upgrade or change scenery. Below are some things to consider when choosing a hood,

Security

Ever lived in a hood where every night is a symphony of screams and sirens? It is scary and induces major anxiety. You always wonder when a stray bullet is going to hit you as you peep through the curtains. You never know when your chicken and chips are going to be taken from you after a night of fun and joy. You must therefore, investigate and inspect the security specs of a neighborhood. Sure, no hood is completely safe. There is always some issue. You should pick a hood with the least number of incidents as well as the kind where landlords take measures to ensure the security of their tenants. Imagine if a block of ten buildings each had a watchman or security systems. Bad people would obviously steer clear of that area.

Cost of living

A single mango in Githurai is 20 shillings. In Donholm, the same costs 50 shillings when it is out of season. In Runda, the same could cost as much as 80 shillings. Price segmentation applies everywhere. There is also the matter of how much it takes to transport food to some of these places. The cost of living is not just about food but also includes other daily expenses. It tends to vary from one neighborhood to another. You should think about how much you can afford in one month or day. Then try to limit yourself to neighborhoods that will allow you to live within your means. The quickest way to fail and suffer in Nairobi is by living above your means. Financial wits are an essential part of being a Nairobian.

Options

People’s lives are always changing for either the better or worse. You never know what curveball life is going to throw at you tomorrow or what blessings the universe will shower on you. If you go for a neighborhood that offers many rental options, then you can upgrade and downgrade without incurring too much-moving cost. If you have a family then the moving will not leave them discombobulated. After you have moved into a new house you will just settle into your usual routine without having to introduce yourself to a whole new hood. The kids can remain in the same schools and your commute remains unchanged.

Commute

You should think about how long you can afford to set aside every morning for the commute to work. You should also think about how much you would be willing to spend every morning and evening on your commute. Which neighborhood allows you to remain comfortable with how long and much it takes to get to and from work? It is important to really take time to think about the commute versus rent situation. Moving further away from the CBD often means less rent. However, it also means a longer commute. Closer means more rent but a shorter commute. You need to base this decision on how strict the timing in the morning is as well as the traffic situation every morning from that hood. If you are on a flexi hours system then you can afford to live far then only travel when traffic is light.

Baseline Rent

What is the standard rent for various types of houses? See, if you have no idea when you are house hunting then you will not be able to discern if you can upgrade in the same hood. It is prudent to be aware of the future and plan for it. Anticipate a need to upgrade and find out how much that would cost you. If you upgrade, would you still be within budget? A baseline rent also allows you to create a more realistic budget. For example, if you want a one-bedroom unit in Roysambu then you know that your budget should be 15,000 just to be prudent. Most units go for 12,000 shillings a month.

Amenities

What services will you be able to get? Is there a school nearby for your children? Is there a mall nearby where your family can shop and maybe even enjoy a Sunday afternoon? Is there a gym in the neighborhood so you do not lose time on your work out regimen? This may not seem like a big deal but look at the dwelling around malls or schools. The buildings rarely have any vacancies. The rent in the vicinity will also usually be higher which indicates that supply is in plenty. People like being close to these services.

Suitability

This is more about your lifestyle. You cannot live in Kariobangi if you spend your lunches at Kempinski then cruise down to Windsor for some golf. You cannot be a CEO of a company and rent a house in Kahawa West. This is why there is almost always a higher-end section in every hood. Much like Membley after Githurai or Karen after Langata. The neighborhood should be well suited to your lifestyle and status in life. It is important to surround yourself with like-minded individuals.

Choosing the right neighborhood is the first step to choosing a home as opposed to a house. It is a step in the right direction in ensuring that the environment nurtures and supports your ambitions. Choose wisely!