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Two surest ways to get your dream house



Mr Meshack Muhoho, Enkavilla Properties chief executive.

Congratulations! You have decided to move away from renting to become a home owner. However, you are grappling with one key question: should you BUY a ready house or BUILD.

You have spent months or even years agonizing over this. You have the price and perfect location and your wish list all figured out. But, the one thing you cannot figure out is the best way to get your dream home.

Enkavilla Properties CEO Meshack Muhoho answers pertinent questions that everyone should consider before making the choice. Enkavilla Properties is a real estate company that transforms lifestyle by providing a simple way to owning a home.

When building makes sense

The main advantage is that you get exactly what you want in terms of style which is very satisfying. Building also allows for phased development especially when you do not have all the resources at once.

You can also control the cost when you engage organisations that offer a one-stop shop for all your needs. At Enkavilla Properties, for instance, we have experts in-house including project managers, architects, engineers, quantity surveyors among others to ensure a stress free building process.

See Also: Real Estate remains best-paying investment in Kenya, experts say

There is a sense of achievement when you have actively participated in the entire process. On a light note, most couples have been known to bond more when they participate in the building process together.

building-a-house-nairobi Two surest ways to get your dream house

Building allows you freedom to get your taste but comes with extra work.

The flipside: You have the added work and cost of looking for land for the construction, contractors to do the construction among other issues. Lack of proper understanding of the building process can lead to over expenditure, thus making the whole affair very costly.

What are the key factors to consider before constructing a residential home?

Budget: Evaluate the project cost beforehand. Asses and decide on the financing options.

Experts: Identify experts including architects, quantity surveyors, and engineers amongst others. Have a signed off project plan and any necessary contractual documentation with the experts. Do the necessary checks to ensure that you are dealing with qualified people. Check their work histories and get testimonials.

Design of the house:Use an architect for proper designs. At Enkavilla Projects we have ready house-plans for those who want to construct.

Project location: Look at the amenities, future growth potential, security, available facilities, type of soil and neighbourhood. Involve conveyancing experts to undertake due diligence on the property.

Amenities: Is the plot fully serviced? We sell fully serviced plots, meaning we have water, electricity, good internal roads and perimeter fencing on all out properties. This makes it very easy for the client as it eliminates the cost and hassle of servicing the plots before construction.

Legal/statutory implications: Seek the necessary construction approvals including the county council and NEMA among others.

How long does it take to build a home?

Proper planning should be done before commencing construction. The time taken largely depends on the scale of the project, availability of resources and project management.

What are the compliance requirements to consider before construction of a home?

The following steps are key to comply with prior to construction of a house: Obtain land ownership documentation including title deeds and land survey plans and seek all approvals including National Constructions Authority (NCA), NEMA structural, and architectural plans and any other documents requiring statutory approvals

Why is a title deed necessary before the start of construction?

Yes, a title deed is used as a proof of land ownership hence very key during the compliance and construction approvals stages. Due diligence needs to be done before investing in the land as it will ensure no fraud cases including land grabbing, land on wildlife corridors, fake ownership, swampy land amongst others.

Is it advisable to fully trust a contractor with the construction works?

Yes, but the owner must be in a position to track progress hence mitigating against any losses. Always do your due diligence to ensure that the person or company you are dealing with is trustworthy. One may get a contractor through the registered list of contractors at the National Construction Authority (NCA).

READ: Five lethal mistakes many real estate investors make

It is important to do background research to establish the level of expertise and the ability of the contractor to manage the project. Get testimonials and work history.

What are the key challenges faced while constructing a house?

  1. Legal compliance with the relevant authorities
  2. Lack of proper financial planning thus unplanned for expenses
  3. Budget constraints due to escalated cost of materials
  4. Sourcing for a trustworthy contractor as a result of increased fraud cases
  5. Construction material theft thus need for proper security at construction sites
  6. Changing designs midway thus increased costs thus a need for proper planning before starting construction.

 When buying makes sense

The main advantage is that buying process is hassle free. Building can be stressful and time consuming.  Buying a ready house can sometimes be cheaper where the developers have taken advantage of things like economies of scale, new technology and experience in project management.

There are various risks that come with home construction that are not present when buying a house for instance theft by workers, overheads amongst others. The turn-key aspect is very attractive to most people. Building can take time and the fact that you may have to pay rent in the interim can be an expensive affair.

So, then what is the disadvantage of buying a ready house?

You may have to shelve your wish list. Unlike in building where you can customize to suit your desires, a ready house is built on someone else’s taste. You may therefore have to compromise on some of the things you want. Remodeling to suit your taste would therefore be an added cost.

In the journey of property search, what matters most?

Due diligence is very important. Do your research, shop around, compare prices, and use a qualified real estate company to help streamline the process. The real estate agent will help you find appropriate properties and assist with the relevant paper work.

How can one get a trusted property company to purchase from?

Once again due diligence is important.  Do your research, ask for credentials, ask for referees, who are the directors, what other projects have they undertaken etc.  Do not take anything for granted. An established company has history and customers.

building-a-house-nairobi Two surest ways to get your dream house

When buying a house use professionals who will advise you and undertake necessary searches to safeguard you in the purchase process.

What factors should you consider when buying property?

Cost: how much is the property? Have you done market research to ensure that it is not overpriced? Is it within your budget?

Location: How accessible is the property – is it near tarmac, are the roads all weather, is there public transport available etc

Amenities: What social amenities are near the property – for instance schools, hospitals, recreational facilities and shops?

Security: Is it in a secure area? Is it within a good neighbourhood? Enkavilla Properties enhances security through good locations as well as perimeter fencing on all our properties.

State of the property: Is the house in good condition, repairs can be a costly affair. Quality of finishing, fittings and design

Do off-plan properties offer an opportunity to contribute to the design prior to purchase?

It depends on the company offering the off plan package. However, for purposes of uniformity in the construction process, some companies will opt to have a standard look and style. At Enkavilla we have ready house-plans that will be used in the gated communities, however a client has the option of customizing the interior.

How can one ensure that they don’t become victims of fraud during purchase of houses or property?

The onus is on you the purchaser to ensure that you do proper research on what you are buying. Ask for ownership documents, engage credible conveyancing experts.  I would recommend using professionals who will be able to not only advise you but will also undertake the necessary searches to safeguard you in the purchase process.

Can one buy a house to speculate?

Speculation is defined as “practice of engaging in financial transactions with an aim to turn profit later. When buying property to speculate, you hope that you will be able to sell it at a profit in the near future. So yes, you can but to speculate look at certain factors including: Location, condition of the property, timing, rental income, among others.

NEXT READ: Don’t be conned, follow these steps in buying land

Owning a home is a dream for most people which once achieved it is very satisfying and provides stability and peace of mind. People aspiring to own homes need to start the journey by securing a plot to build, saving to build or buy or looking for financing options.

You can contact Mr Muhoho on email: [email protected] | For more information on Enkavilla Properties Ltd, visit their website on


Managing Editor, BUSINESS TODAY. Luke is a veteran business journalist with over 10 years experience in reporting and editing, having worked for People Daily and Standard Newspaper as reporter and the Nation Media Group as business editor. Email: [email protected] ke

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