22 May

Moving to the Green City in the Sun: Nairobi

Many people who are planning to move to Nairobi know Kenya as a great tourist destination. However, Kenya is more than that. With a population of around 3 million people, Nairobi is among the largest cities in Africa and one of the most important cities in Africa financially and economically.

Unfortunately Nairobi also still has a dark side of poverty, crime and insecurity. Unsatisfactory law enforcement and high levels of corruption crippling Kenya’s institutions make it difficult to fight crime.

Still, Nairobi is host to numerous international organizations and businesses. Recent enormous road construction programmes have given the country and especially Nairobi another significant boost. Thankfully the elections in March 2013 were peaceful, and the future looks brighter than ever. In other words, Nairobi is booming.

When you move to Nairobi you will amongst others have to find a good house in Nairobi for you and your family for the next few years, where you can feel at home.  The big question is: Where to start your search?

Kenya’s real estate market is in no way comparable to the same industry in e.g. Europe or the USA, where there are clear laws and regulations. Here it’s practically a free market, a no man’s land, where anybody can be a housing agent.

The following questions may arise: Is this agent truly an agent? What is a reasonable rental agreement? Is this house simply well painted to cover up or is it really in good condition? Can I bring my pet? What is usually included in the rent and what comes on top every month? How do I protect myself and my family best against crime? How do I get the water and power bills in my name? Which internet and TV provider are best in my situation and where on earth are their service desks to help me out? etc.
Don’t worry! We are able to answer all of the above questions for you.

And here are some more reasons to ask Expat-to-Expat to assist you in your house search:

First of all, there is the issue of rental rates: what is reasonable and what is not? Agents’ incomes in Kenyan real estate are based on commissions; an agent gets a reward from the landlord for bringing a new tenant. This reward is directly linked with the rental rate. In other words, it’s an incentive to hike rent and focus on quick money rather than building a good reputation as an agent. Since the market is so competitive and demand for housing high, it’s about “selling” a house as fast as possible, at the highest rent possible and regardless of the condition. Sadly, your status as a foreigner makes you an easy target for hiked rental rates, since you have no idea about rates and are thought to have plenty of money anyway. Since Expat-to-Expat does a market survey every year and works with a large network of agents, with whom we have built a positive working relationship that is beneficial to both parties, we have a good idea of what reasonable rates are.

Secondly, there are only few real property managers, who give tenants services that you as a tenant would be looking for: independent information about the location, area, house and house owner, a detailed house inventory before moving in, coordination of development of rental agreement, assistance with utilities connection etc. Most of these property managers in fact are more focused on real estate as in new development and sales and are not so interested to dwell in less profitable tenancies. Smaller agents not rarely take you to just any vacant house they know of, not really caring about your wish list and hoping you will change your mind. Once you have chosen a house this agent will keep on bugging you to know whether you have already settled the deposit and rent with the landlord – in other words, that’s when they can knock the landlord’s door for their cut. It’s understandable from the agent’s point of view, but not at all practical for the tenant: it’s a waste of your time.

Expat-to-Expat has over time built a vast network of reliable agents and has good links with service providers that are of importance to housing. Building on a lot of experience and knowledge of the real estate market we step in as your assistant to find you a new home and take the responsibilities of a property manager, though from an independent position since we don’t  receive commissions from house owners. Secondly, we help you feel at home by giving you the information you, as a newcomer, are looking for. Expats moving to Nairobi have a lot of questions we can answer, based on our own experience of moving across borders and  living in Nairobi, and through our  large network of service providers in Nairobi.”

Above all, we’ll help you to save a lot of time while settling in .
Our goal is to help you and your employer make your move to Kenya a success.

(NB: don’t forget to check our other services to help you get a car, find the right school, or get temporary, furnished accommodation upon arrival)

Last modified on Thursday, 10 October 2013 13:20

What our clients are saying

Extremely happy
I was extremely happy with Joep and the team at Expat - to -Expat who made the complicated proces...
Excellent service
Upon our arrival here in Nairobi, we used Expat-to-Expat to assist us in finding our new home. Ma...
Reliable and quick
Expat-to-Expat were so helpful with getting the car as their advice always get to point and are t...

From our Blog

InterHealth Centre Nairobi
Expat-to-Expat usually doesn’t advertise service providers or businesses, but this time around ...
Internet in Nairobi: Value for money
Getting an internet connection in Nairobi is not a problem. But getting the right provider, at th...
New to Nairobi and thinking about getting a dog?
Posted by Expat-to-Expat, on behalf of our guest blog writer: Amy L. Rapp.Than...

© Expat-to-Expat 2012. Developed by Kontent. Photography: Caroline Langevoord.