The Kenya real estate industry is growing in leaps and bounds. This is evident by the many buildings coming up as standalone homes, or gated communities. What’s more, there are many advertisements on owning a piece of land even in far flung corners of the country. Whereas most Kenyans still cling to the traditional ways of investing, there are other modern ways of owning real estate without having land.
Starting a Real Estate Business
1. Do market research
Going blindly into a business is a surefire way of failing. You need to first sit down and research the different real estate options available in Kenya. What’s more, you have to know what legal barriers you need to overcome.
Research can be done using books, newspapers, or magazines. But a much easier way is visiting websites of real estate firms and reading their blogs.
2. Write an in-depth business plan
Since real estate investment requires large sums of capital, a business plan helps in convincing other investors or financial institutions to fund you.
Granted, a business plan is also a roadmap to meeting your real estate goals. Furthermore, it helps people get to know what you actually do, and how you earn money.
3. Create an eye-catching name
Because of the competitive nature of this business, you need a strong brand name, especially one that is memorable. The name should sound serious enough in order for people to take you and your business seriously.
A good brand name actually creates trust and confidence in your business. That way, customers can easily recommend you to their friends and even family.
4. Raise the start-up capital
Having done the initial research, you have an idea of how much capital you need in order to successfully start a real estate business.
One way of raising capital is through your savings. However, most times savings fall short, especially after doing branding and doing research.
The other ways you can raise capital is by approaching a bank for a loan if you have collateral. A cheaper way is to pull resources with other like-minded investors.
5. Create a stunning website
With one out of two Kenyans owning a smartphone, your online presence is as important as word of mouth.
On your website they’ll not only see your brand name, but they’ll see the contact details. What’s more, your social media handles will be visible for one to share property details.
In addition to that, you can add photographs of property followed by detailed description to make your work of sifting through easy.
Real Estate Options In Kenya
Having looked into how to start a real estate business, here are the real estate business options available;
1. Land owner and Landlord
The process of buying and owning land in Kenya is seamless. Once you have bought the land legally, you can either choose to lease out the land, or build property for rent. If you choose to lease out land, simply visit a lawyer and have a lease agreement drawn. The lessee has to sign the agreement.
If you decide to build rentals, you can now become the landlord. This means you now collect rent. However, before building a rental, you have to acquire a building permit from the local government of your area.
- You own all income received if you didn’t use a loan facility to build the rentals.
- You are guaranteed financial freedom for the rest of your life.
- Rent for houses usually goes up depending on certain factors.
- Tenants sometimes delay making payments.
- Some tenants damage the houses forcing you to pay for repairs.
- Tenants can pull out of an agreement due to unavoidable circumstances.
2. Property manager
Landlord’s sometimes employ property managers to collect rent on their behalf. If you want to be a property manager, you need to have the know-how in real estate business and laws.
In addition, you must have a certain amount of money in your account to pay the landlord in advance. This now leaves you in charge of collecting rent from the tenants.
This career requires you to be a member of the Kenya Professional Realtors Association.
- It’s a simple business to start once you’ve done your research well.
- Depending on the agreement with the landlord, you can have a substantial amount of profit.
- If you are managing several properties, this can create income into the unforeseeable future.
- You have to deal with some stubborn tenants.
- If you evict a tenant without following the law, you might end up in court.
- Property can remain unoccupied for a longer period of time.
3. Real estate agent
Selling of land and property can be a rewarding career if done the right way. Here, you advertise property on behalf of individuals or tenants. The property can be land or buildings.
However, you need to be a member of the Kenya Professional Realtors Association of Kenya to overcome legal challenges in the profession. What’s more, you have to be certified and licensed by the Land Registry in order to operate.
- Selling land and property can be a lucrative career.
- You get to visit the whole country while selling property.
- It’s easy to learn the ropes in the industry thereby you can make a good investment option.
- It’s full of con artists and a dangerous industry.
- If you fail to register as a member of KPRA, you won’t get help in case of legal challenges.
- You need to be well-versed with the legal aspects of selling property.
4. Property developer
This is among the most lucrative businesses in the Kenyan real estate industry. It involves purchasing land in different parts of the country before selling it.
However, prior to selling the land, a developer needs to add value to the land. What’s more, a developer has to develop a building design, market the property, and even obtain government approvals and licenses.
And if that’s not all, a developer needs to be a registered member of Kenya Property Developers Association.
- Land sells like hot cake in Kenya.
- Most Kenyans have started appreciating value-added land and even controlled developments.
- You can live a stress free life financially if you do it right.
- Opportunities to travel countrywide are unlimited.
- Getting relevant government approvals and licenses can be cumbersome.
- The industry is riddled with corruption.
- It’s a capital intensive business to start.
- Crooks and con artists can sell you disputed land or road reserves if you don’t exercise due diligence.
5. Real Estate Consultancy
A real consultancy is another business option you can invest in without owning land. Just like an agent or agency, you first have to have a valid registration certificate to work without legal hurdles and build a reputation.
This also means that you need to have an office and staff. You’ll be advising clients, in this case real estate developers, property developers, and even lenders, as far as real estate transactions are concerned.
- You are your own boss.
- After you have built a reputation, it is easy to land lucrative deals.
- It’s an exciting career that can make you land interviews with leading TV stations.
- Building a reputation can take years.
- It requires a lot of capital to start.
- Working as an own boss can mean long hours in the field as you look for clients.
- You need the right documentation in the form of certificates and licenses to operate.
6. Real estate blogger
Because most Kenyans have moved online, searching for real estate property is now done using technology. This has presented the opportunity for blogging on property issues for different real estate websites.
If you are good with research, a wide knowledge of the real estate industry, and the right writing equipment, you can become a freelance writer.
- Your work is mostly remote, so you create your own schedule.
- Travelling throughout the country doing interviews is exciting.
- If you freelance, you can work for several websites at a time.
- It gets tiring working from home.
- The cost of good writing equipment can be expensive.
- At times, you end up footing your traveling expenses as you conduct research.
7. Real estate TV program producer
Another lucrative real estate business option is starting a real estate TV programme.
All it requires is the right equipment to shoot, authority to do video shooting in different properties, and vast knowledge in the Kenyan real estate industry.
What’s more, you need a great team who know exactly what they need to do.
- It’s very lucrative.
- You get a chance to visit stunning architectural buildings around the country.
- You meet and interact with people in the high social classes.
- It helps you add to your knowledge in the real estate industry.
- It’s expensive to have the right equipment and recruit staff.
- Since the career is highly competitive, convincing a media house to air your programme is not easy.
- Producing a TV programme is time consuming.
- You need relevant permits to shoot in some areas, or you risk arrest and prosecution.
With the above real estate investment options, you can be fully armed before you start your own business in Kenya. Whereas most are straightforward, others require you to gain legal approval before embarking on the project.