Brian Gacari has lived the good life, but has also had it yanked away from him.
He grew up in affluence, attending top schools and living in an upmarket neighbourhood in Nairobi. But then life took a turn.
His parents retired and had put all their life savings in a bank that collapsed, plunging his family into penury. The good life he had become accustomed to was no more.
Mr Gacari, now 31, swore not to make the mistakes his parents had made. He was determined to put his money in land and real estate, which, he says, hold money more reliably.
As a result, in 2010, at the age of 25, he founded Property Reality Company (PRC). Gacari would not reveal how much is company is worth today, but admits it holds assets in the millions of shillings.
On Thursday last week, he was unveiling his six-member board, which includes investment analyst Aly-Khan Satchu, who will be the director in charge of media, investor relations and financials. He also appointed media personality Caroline Mutoko, who will be the director in charge of sales and marketing.
PRC has built a reputation for itself purchasing and re-selling land, handling about 4,000 title deeds in counties like Lamu, Machakos, Laikipia and Nakuru.
“We have most recently purchased 150 acres of land in Syokimau, where we intend to put up 400 apartments. Each of them will have three bedrooms and a spacious living room. The houses will retail at Sh3.9 million each when completed,” said Gacari.
He added that the housing units will also include social amenities like playgrounds and a gym. The ground-breaking ceremony is to set to be held in a few months’ time.
But, Gacari said, the biggest leap of faith the company has so far taken is getting into agriculture.
PRC is looking to help its clients buy farm land, which the company manages on their behalf under a concept dubbed Kilimo Biashara.
“Our first project was in Naivasha where, after purchasing 20 acres of land, we started greenhouse farming for fruits and vegetables. We floated the idea to potential buyers, who simply buy the land and the greenhouse, and we manage it for them,” he said.
“They don’t pay us a management fee for a period of one year and by then they are able to reap returns from the farm.”
The uptake, he said, has been more than encouraging so far.
Gacari added that his firm, which has three offices in Kenya, is also in plans to expand into the region, starting with an office in Uganda.
Mr Satchu, on being appointed a board member, called on young people to tap the business opportunities that come their way and not just seek employment.
“The opportunities in real estate and land will never diminish, and this is one area that we should all look forward to exploring. PRC has opened the way by making land ownership achievable to Kenyan families,” he said.
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