There is the old English saying “Precaution is better than cure” which would be most appropriate when buying an immovable property at this day and age.
Although successive governments have tried to put up several laws to protect property buyers, self-help is the best. The four points we will highlight in this article, not in any way exhaustive, they form some of the key considerations one must first check.
1. The Developer’s track record
With so many real estate developments coming up in Nairobi and its environs, the risk of ending up with the wrong one has equally increased. There is an emergence of a new breed of property developers with no track record, cases of stalled developments due to either poor financial planning and or capacity issues. It’s prudent for any buyer to carry out due diligence of the developer by;
a) Visit their completed projects if any and pay particular attention to the quality of the work and finishes.
- Look out for cracks that can imply poor structural integrity of the building
- Look out for the quality of workmanship – Things like how the tiles are fitted, doors (Is the fitting precise? Do the doors close noiselessly etc), do the water fixtures working well? (Look out for leaking taps, check if the plumbing is well done i.e no leaks whatsoever).
- If the house has a servants quarter, take a closer look at it. If the developer has used substandard materials there, it means they have likely cut corners in other places in the house.
b) Find out who the Architect, Structural Engineer and The Main Contractors are and check their previous work and track record. By this I simply mean get their names, go on google, look for their profile or available reviews of their work. You can also call them directly and get information about their work directly from them. If you have time, go visit them.
c) Finally, pay particular attention to the construction timelines and if the developer is facing any delays. If there are delays on the construction find out why. If it is an issue that implies a lack of capacity, integrity or management then be wary.
2. Does the price really reflect the real value of the unit?
Many times home buyers are pulled to a real estate development because of the competitive prices advertised only to be disappointed later by the size of the unit on offer. To avoid this disappointment always ask for the floor plan and square meters of the unit.
The floor plans of the house always tell the truth. sometimes space as advertised as gross space other than the net space (net is the usable space while gross space includes common areas like corridors and lobbies).
For example, a 3-bed unit of 120square meters (SQM in short) selling at Kes. 15.5m translates to a purchase price of Kes.130,000 per square meter (PSQM) while a 3-bed unit of 160 sqm selling at Kes. 19.2m translates at Ksh 120,000 PSQM.
The larger 3 bed is actually cheaper PSQM compared to the smaller unit, therefore, the price is
not everything. Ensure you pay attention to the size of the unit as much as the pricing.
3. Legal & County Planning Due Diligence
We’ve recently noticed a lot of demolitions carried out by NEMA. According to Advocate Abdulhakim Abdullahi, a buyer must carry out full diligence of the development before paying any deposit. He advises one to check out the following;
a) A postal search of the title deed at the ministry of lands. This search will show if the title is free of any encumbrance or if there is an encumbrance, how much it is and by whom.
b) The City-County of Nairobi has a building code and many times some developers through illegal means get planning approvals contrary to the existing planning by law by either building on riparian reserves, road reserves etc. It is wise to request approvals from the developer and check if they are in line with the city building code requirements.
4. Check the site
The layout in the brochure could be different from reality. So, do a thorough site visit before booking the property. Interact with people in the neighbourhood as they may know about any illegal occupation or other legal disputes related to the property.
Do you feel that we have not covered any important areas of due diligence one should check before buying a property in Nairobi?. Feel free to leave us a comment in the comments section below, we will really appreciate it.
VAAL Real Estate was Founded with the aim of reducing the hassle of finding and buying homes. VAAL Real Estate has been successful in developing a brand whose main aim is to change the market by understanding and satisfying the needs of potential and future home owners.