Looking to buy an apartment or a House in Kenya? These are the 10 lessons to keep in mind when buying a house

Buying an apartment is probably one of the most expensive investments you will ever make in your life. It has a strong emotional attachment to it given that this is where you will spend most of your time. It is also the key place where your kids will grow up. So you have to think widely when purchasing property in Kenya.

Think about buying a car the same way you would buy a used car from the yard. You need to ask the hard questions, get a peep under the hood and drive just to confirm that all the key functionalities are operational. For the apartment, you have to check all the knobs, flush the toilet and flick the lights just to see what happens. Here as some of the key things to consider when buying an apartment.

Use Professional Agents

Unlike the old days, professional agents no longer charge a commission to the client.  Search commission is charged to the development as part of the marketing fee without affecting the property prices.  We have one of the best-rated real estate agents “CommercialKE”. They can help you in locating your house, you do not have to waste time moving from street to street looking for a house or scrolling Google forever. Just call or email CommercialKe and they will share the best available options in the area. You can also search for your property from the comprehensive website listing.

The benefits of using a professional real estate agent in Kenya in 2019

  • Knowledge of the local area
  • Knowledge of prices
  • Assist in price negotiation
  • Alternatives property options
  • Guide on the buying process
  • Understand the hidden costs
  • Assist in doing the legwork.

Get Appraised

You need to know how much you have and how much you can access.  Check on your bank account and see how much savings you have. They go to the bank and get appraised. You can learn more about your loan limits and if you need more than your loan limits, the bank will advise on mortgage options. Bank managers can also advise as you can trust them since they are looking to protect you.

Background Check

It is always the duty of the purchaser to do a background check before purchasing an apartment or any property for that matter. You need to know the authenticity of the property that you are interested in. If you’re buying an apartment, the latest check is ensuring that the apartment is not too close to the river or too close to the main road. If you are buying a plot/land it is recommended to hire a professional to do a background check on who owns the property.  If you are planning on buying land, we have prepared an article stating the process of buying land in Kenya.

Location is Key

Convenience is one of the features that make a house a home. Especially as you age you will come to learn that convenience is the key factor in being comfortable. Ensure the house is close to the main highway. The apartment should be close to the airport if you travel often. It should be close to the shopping centre.  The location will also come into play when you planning to resell the property. Properties which are conveniently located will fetch a better return on investment than properties that are hidden.

Accessibility to social amenities

Convenience is improved if you can access communal facilities, life will become comfortable. Ensure that you can access water, county council water and borehole as a backup. The property should have a good connection to electricity with a backup generator. The backup generator should be able to power the common area lights and also provide lighting inside the house.

The apartment should be conveniently located close to the main road or feeder roads that are well-tarmacked or all-weather in a worst-case scenario. For your children’s sake, you need to check which schools are located close by. If you are religious, check that there is a church or a mosque nearby that you can attend. Above all is a shopping centre with a supermarket, gym, clinic, pharmacy and other convenience stores.

Last but not least, make sure that there is drainage. You can have a good house during the sunny seasons but when it rains the area becomes unbearable. You need to ensure that the house is connected to a sewer and there is a drainage system around the area.

Interior Amenities

You need to have a checklist of what you need in a house. If the house does not have it, it should have a provision for the item. Some of the features to check include; Kitchen space, Pantry, servants’ quarter, high-speed lifts, swimming pool, gym,  rooftop social space, hanging lines, solar panels, common area washroom, balcony, internet connection, TV cable connection, gypsum ceiling, laundry area and fire escape.


When you buy a house, the life around you will affect your home experience.  Take time to learn a place before buying an apartment. You need to check on congestion, it feels more homely to live in a less congested area. Leafy suburbs have more comfort than noisy city areas. Check what kind of business is going on around you that can affect your life churches, mosques, nightclubs etc. Read around in regard to traffic and security. Ensure your neighbourhood is secure for the sake of your children. Also checking the neighbourhood can help you understand the average pricing of properties around the area.

Return on Investment

When buying an apartment, where to invest or live, there is a common factor to consider. Return on investment is the amount of time it will take for you to get back the amount invested in buying. If you buy to rent, a positive return on investment can be calculated on how long you will take to get your money back. If you are buying to resell, you need to ensure that the near future price will be higher than the purchase price to make the ROI positive. If you buy to live in, you may find that the property you buy right now may seem less of what you need in future. You might get richer or the family will get bigger, and you may need to change the location or country. With this in mind, you need to ensure that when you resell the property, you can fetch a higher price than the purchase price.

Know the Developer  

You might not know how to check the technicalities in regard to building construction but there is another way you can tell the fitness of a building. You can try and learn previous properties by the same developer. By having other properties which have a high rating from the public means that the current property is also of high quality. Check whose handling elements like the sewer. Finally, understand the financial model the developer uses during construction. This will help you gauge the risk involved when buying off-plan properties.

Read the fine print

Last but not least, ensure you read the agreement before signing it. Before signing the dotted lines, understand the payment modality. If you’re not sure, involve a lawyer. You can read the document and sleep over it, do not be in a hurry when buying an apartment. You need the documents that come from the legal documents, mortgage company, lease agreement, sale agreement etc. It’s good when you understand the payment plans, what happens when you fail to pay, the lease agreement sectional title and other elements.

Ready to buy an apartment, check the property listing here