Points to consider to avoid being conned in the real estate market

A house is one of the largest investments anyone can make, it is important, therefore, to keep all your wits around you when doing so.

Speaking at a recent property event, four real estate players gave tips on avoiding losing your money on a real estate deal.  

Verify, verify, verify

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Housing Finance Group CEO Robert Kibaara said it is important to do due diligence on the part of a buyer. They should double check the owner of that land or houses and the documentations before making a decision to buy.

Kibaara said they had a diaspora road show in the United States and it was surprising how many Kenyans abroad have lost money. He said there are many briefcase real estate companies coming up everyday, hence the need for caution.

“People need to deal with credible organisations that have been in the market for a long time and you even know some of their projects and have a track record of what they have done,” he said. 

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Do not be lured by the nice, attractive pictures of exterior and interior parts of houses that sellers use on TV, social media or newspaper advertisements, says Kibaara.

Don’t be quick to commit

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“For some reasons, when it comes to buying a property, buyers are quick to pay deposits towards owning a plot or house. While you want to buy a property and for instance you are a broad, send the money through another entity like your bank or a credible real estate developer and not directly to your seller or relative, it’s your other company or bank that will do due diligence on your behalf instead of using your relative or just your direct company,” said Nancy Muthoni of The Property Show. The show airs on KTN every Sunday evening.

“Find out also about the developer’s last projects, who are living there, who is financing that projec,t especially if it’s an off-plan project,” Muthoni said.

Do not trust everyone

This year, off-plan projects have borne the brunt of bad press, driven by buyers’ dissatisfaction over unfulfilled promises that have included delayed completion of projects to poorly done houses.

Alphonse Kaio, Chief Executive Officer of Mwalimu National Sacco said investors should not trust every property developer or selling firm. “Ask yourself, are those people who are advising you genuine?” Also have a project manager on the ground who will be updating you on the progress of the project lest you find yourself crying later,” he said.

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Use registered agents

Nelly Mbugua, chairperson of Estate Agents Registration Board advised buyers to use registered agents. “Even if it will cost you Sh50,000, do the search on the map of the land. A map cost you only Sh500. With the search on the property, you will be peaceful knowing that the land has no issues, caveat etc and this is very basic thing to do,” she said.  

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