Finding a place to live even for people who have done it before is not easy. There will always be something that is keeping you from getting the house of your dreams or at least delaying it. The Nairobi real estate market can be good to you but it can also aggressively discipline you. However, if you know what the hurdles could be then you might be able to see them coming or at least circumvent them. Below are a few of those hurdles.
Nairobi is chock full of these. You will be conned by the agent. You will be conned by the caretaker. Hell, you might even be conned before you get to the destination. There have been stories of people who have posed as landlords. They will have you give them money and you will be handed a receipt for a fake company. In Nairobi, there are numerous ways in which you can be conned. Often there will be nothing you can do about it but to buck up and move on.
It is very easy to find a house you like online on one of the many sites. It will be just right. It will be available for rental. The pictures will make you believe that you have to look no further. If you stop there, then your disappointment will be delayed. You will have until you show up to the house where you will be told that the unit in the picture has already been occupied. If you scouring the internet, you will find the same picture on another site advertising a house that is in a very different part of town. In this case, if you are sufficiently intuitive, you will be disappointed sooner rather than later.
- Poor Agency
If you choose to get an agent to help you move around then get a good one otherwise you might never find a place. If your agent is not committed enough then you are in trouble. Signs of such are someone who keeps showing you places that do not fit your brief. For example, you want a tiled one bedroom but they take you to a run down building with crappy floors. This person is really just going through the motions. If you notice this then by all means cut your loses and hoof it alone or find another agent.
- Insufficient Funds
House hunting is actually quite expensive. It is endless days of walking in the sun. It is travelling to different places in search of a place you like. You might even run out of money in the course of all that or at least eat a little bit into the money you had set aside for your rent. This is why you need to have enough money before you decide to move. It costs money before you even get to the moving. If you are not well prepared finically then your house hunting may be delayed or put off indefinitely.
- Insufficient Information
You have been advised time and again to research , research then research some more. Do you know what happens when you house hunt without information like baseline rent? You leave yourself vulnerable to being overcharged on the rent. As mentioned before, you will be conned at every turn. Someone could decide to skim a thousand bob on your rent every month. How will you know if you have no idea how much the rent is in that area? Having insufficient information might not be your fault though. Maybe there are not enough resources on the place. For example it is not easy to find information on where to rent a guest house or main house extension. In this case, try to step out of the normal platforms. For example, visit groups on Facebook and enquire.
- Insufficient Time
House hunting takes time. If you are in a rush then you might as well settle for the first house you see. House hunting is not something you set aside a couple of hours for. Time limits can impede your ability to find the house you want. Time limits might demand that you settle for less.
- Insufficient Budget
You really can find anything in Nairobi. It is possible to rent a one bedroom house for 25,000 shillings a month and it is also possible to rent a one bedroom house for 8,000 shillings a month. If you look hard enough you can always find something that suits your needs and fits in your budget. However, in some cases you might under-budget. For example, do not expect to find that 8k one bedroom in Madaraka. If you under-budget then your hunt is doomed to bear no fruit.
You know how you always keep your chipped plates and mugs away when you have guests? How you always put your best foot forward when you are hosting or entertaining? Bringing you A-game, so to speak. Well, the same happens when you are being shown a house. Some landlords may take the shortcut and only gloss over issues. Serious issues like painted over water damage. All the problems are hidden until you have handed over the cash and moved in. That is when the façade slips off and you realize you are living in a dump. Then you have to move, once again.
- Refusal to Compromise
While it is possible to find exactly what you are looking for at your budgeted rent, this does not come by often. So you should learn about the 80/20 rule. This is usually applied to relationships but it works in this situation too. Say a house is well tiled, has sufficient water supply and is in a safe neighborhood but unit is on the sixth floor. This house has most of the qualities you like, say 80%. You can live with five flights of stairs unless you have physical limitations. Lacking the 20% should not keep you homeless. It is all about knowing your hard and soft limits. What can you compromise on and what do you absolutely have to have?
Some of these issues doom a house hunting trip from the very start. Most of them are quite preventable. Happy hunting!