Owning a house elicits different, ideas, emotions and thoughts in different people. The feeling of accomplishment tops it all though. You know you have accomplished a milestone when you no longer have to deal with a landlord, rent increases, problems with cleanliness and water shortages. Your own house is an investment that gives you total control and status.
How much does a first house cost?
An increase in the middle-class and expatriate population has led to the sharp increase of residential property value. Hass Consult Limited did a composite property sales index in 2016. This is a measure of residential property asking prices.
The above index was based on 4,000 to 6,000 Kenyan properties tracked across the country. They collected information from estate agencies and house sales that are publicly available on property websites, national media, and property magazines. Residential property that was valued at Kshs 7.1 million in 2000, was now valued at Kshs 31.1 million.
There are different options you can consider though depending on your budget and location. Houses located in Lavington, Karen, Muthaiga and Runda will retail at a higher price compared to houses in maybe Ruiru, Juja, and Kiambu.
Options available when buying a first home
There is a process to buying a house in Kenya and several options are available. They include:
It’s the best method to own a house but one needs to have a healthy savings account. If you pay in cash, you don’t have to worry about failed loan payments or repossession of property. You also get to buy the house you like.
In recent years financiers have come up with innovative ways to help you own your first house. There is the KCB mortgages and home loans, the Housing Finance Ezesha Mortgage and many more. Some companies also help negotiate mortgage plans with these institutions for their employees. If you decide to take a mortgage consider the interest rates. It’s also in your best interest if you shop for the mortgage before you can decide on the property you want to buy.
According to WikiHow, this allows you to know how much you can borrow before buying a house. You may find a beautiful home that you instantly fall in love with only to find that you can’t afford it. You may not also find a suitable mortgage that covers the cost. Shopping for a mortgage first helps you tell if the house is in your price range or not.
Taking home loans
Most financial institutions provide home loans to their customers depending on their savings. Some like the KCB/Sacco offer their customers up to ten times their total savings. To be eligible for a loan, you have to be credit worthy. If you have a history of bad debts and failed payments, the bank may not be willing to extend you a loan.
First home buying tips in Kenya
By this stage, you have dealt with the cash problem and are ready to go. To get value for your money though, here are things to look out for when purchasing your first house.
Find a genuine agent
The Consumer Federation of Kenya urges citizens to be vigilant and make sure that they get value for their money. Make sure that the agent you hire is genuine and registered. Do they have a track record? Are they offering a deal too good to be true? Do they have genuine documents? You want to make sure that the house you buy is not repossessed and that your money does not go down the drain. Make sure you see the house and confirm that it’s real before purchasing. Beware of agents looking to sell in a rush because they may be in a hurry to sell before the market crashes.
This is the most important. The location you choose for your house has to be ideal. Are there schools available for your kids? Are there essential services like shops and hospitals available? How accessible is the road from your house? Is there accessible public transport? You and your family should be comfortable and these essentials have to be close by for that to happen.
Is it the right time to buy?
Your agent should be able to advise you on this. Should you buy immediately or will you get a better deal if you wait a little longer? Get advice from people in the real estate business.
No one wants to live in a neighborhood where a house is broken into every day. Is the house secured? Is there a neighborhood watch system? Can you comfortably walk around the neighborhood at any time of day or night? Is parking space available and is it safe?
Do not rush in to buying a house without considering the property value. The value of your house may fall after some years if low cost housing is included in the zone. You want to make sure that your home increases in value as the years go by so that if you decide to sell, you get good money.
Get value for your money
Why do you need to own your house? Is it an investment or are you tired of the ever rising cost of renting? If your plan is to settle down or get the house as an investment, make sure the house is worth the money you purchase it at. Make sure the house is in good condition and that the amenities are to your liking. Is there water and electricity connection? How do you pay for them; post-pay or prepay? Do you need internet connection and is the house set up for it? Making sure the amenities are to your liking ensures that you do not have to spend money-doing renovations (Buyrentkenya).
Financing house buying
Choose an option that best suits you. You may get a loan that covers deposits and other related home buying costs or you may pay the deposit which would reduce your overall payments. Make sure that your budget allows you to pay monthly installments in time. Consider fluctuating interest rates too since they affect your installments.
Get a good lawyer
Compared to the price of the house you want to buy, the cost of hiring a lawyer will be a drop in the ocean. The lawyer will make sure you are not scammed, that the seller holds up their end of the deal and ensure the documents to the house are genuine.
These tips will help you if you are a first time homebuyer. As you shop for your first house, try to view as many options as possible. Do not get your sights set on one house; it may have all that you need, but you may end up paying more due to emotional investment. The deal may not also go through and you should have the heart to walk away and look for other options. Make sure you see the house before buying to avoid buying houses that are set to be auctioned. All the best as you become the next house owner.