Real estate ‘clicks’ with digital wave
By David Mwitari | October 25th 2018
Looking for house to rent in 2008 required one to have an elaborate plan. Talk to friends and relatives to help you look, good walking shoes and mobile phone credit to call the numerous ‘House To Let’ notices hung on electricity poles.
Not to mention charges by agents to show you houses you might not even like.
Fast forward ten years and all you need is an Internet connection. And it is not just renters who are seeing technology change the way they approach housing.
Managing your property, selling land, booking hotel rooms or even renting a house has made easier by the growth of digital apps.
Everything from short courses on real estateinvesting to buying and selling of property, it is all on your mobile device.
In 2016 Property Reality Company, better known by its acronym PRC, launched a land buying, Mploti.
Brian Gacari, PRC CEO, says the goal of the app was to help in cutting out the middle men experience. “Traditionally, land buying has been viewed as a complicated and rigid activity. ‘Mploti’ is changing this by allowing Kenyans to own land by paying as little as Ksh500 a day,” says Gacari.
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Online hardware shop
And just a few weeks ago, WaziMart launched Kenya’s largest online hardware construction products site.
The site joined other construction materials online shops like Ejenzi Africa and OLX Kenya.
“The creation of WaziMart was meant to motivate the rapid growth and uptake of Internet and mobile phone-based services in Kenya. Users just need to create an account and make an order or request for a service from the WaziMart website,” WaziMart CEO Anthony Maina says.
Based in Nairobi, WaziMart wants to make it easier for those building homes get quick services from architects, plumber to household fixtures in a few minutes.
“WaziMart aims to simplify access to quality hardware, electrical accessories, building materials, sanitary ware, home-improvement merchandise, lawn and gardening and landscaping materials among others,” Maina says.
Fanaka Real Estate CEO Moses Muriithi says these quick maneuvers have been influenced largely by high uptake of Internet, the growing demand for construction materials and the growth of e-commerce and mobile money.
Fanaka Real Estate were part of the award winners of the government backed Digital Inclusion Awards Gala Dinner a few weeks ago.
Targeted were companies in the real estateindustry that have adopted digital solutions in offering their products and services.
Murithi says even the real estate firms who have traditionally depended on mainstream media platforms to market their products are now embracing digital platforms in their operations
He says platforms like Facebook and Twitter are making more sales than the traditional platforms like radio and TV.
“We are now embracing apps in our sales owing to the emergence of a new clientele who are well versed with digital platforms than radio or TV,” Muriithi says.
The growing Internet usage means that we should expect to see more activity on this front. The Akamai report this year ranked Kenya’s Internet as the fastest in Africa and the Middle East.
According to the report, in Kenya alone, more than 60 per cent of smartphone users are using the Android operating system with 21 million Kenyans enjoying Internet connectivity and access.
The International Telecommunications Union estimates that 26 per cent of the Kenyan population were online in 2016, a number that is echoed by the World Bank.
In 2016, ICT Gaps Study found that at least 78 per cent of Kenyans were covered by 3G, suggesting that a similar level of access, if not use.
The e-commerce industry is being propelled by increasing wireless internet subscriptions which went up by 25 percent to 33.4 million in 2017 which the real estate industry is now taking advantage of.
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