Making house-hunting a bearable undertaking

Friday, June 18th, 2021 00:00 |
Keziah Kihuga. Photo/PD/MILLIAM MURIGI

Milliam Murigi @millymur1

House hunting has always been an agonising process, how has your business made it all easy to bear?

I make house hunting easier by posting available houses on social media platforms and letting clients choose what they like before they go to view.

Since I have a variety of houses, a client describes the kind of house they want and I take them around to view the houses at a fee.

I then link them up with the landlords. In short, my work entails helping tenants get the right house and landlords to get the right tenants.

What was your motivation for starting this kind of business?

I started it out of a painful experience. I lost my money to a conman who pretended to own a house I had liked.

I had walked around for two weeks looking for a good house to rent, and when I finally got one, I paid Sh7,000 as deposit to secure the house and promised to pay the balance when moving in.

However, two weeks later, when I was ready to occupy the house, I found that it had already been handed over to another tenant, and the ‘landlord’ was nowhere to be seen.

I later found out that the guy I paid was just a casual labourer, who was working at a nearby construction site.

What are some of the challenges you encounter in your line of work, and does it pay your bills?

Yes, this business pays all my bills. However, some of the challenges I face are that some clients refuse to pay the finder’s fee claiming that I have not worked.

Other clients go behind my back to pay the owner directly without informing me, when this happens, I miss out on the commission that I was to receive from the landlord.

What are some of the house-hunting tips one needs to know when looking for a house?

The best houses in terms of amenities, price, and location get occupants earlier in the month, therefore, never wait until the end month to start house hunting.

Secondly, do due diligence before making any payments. Third, have a budget in your mind.

This might sound obvious, but you will come across beautiful and tempting properties that surpass your budget.

If you are willing to pay extra cash without straining your wallet, that’s okay, but if not, stick to your budget and what you can afford without straining.

Last, but not least, use a real estate professional since they know where you can get a house that you are looking for.

This is one of the areas where people tend to lose money quite easily due to many conmen lurking in the streets, what would you advise potential tenants is the best process to follow when engaging a third person to house hunt on their behalf?

When engaging a third person to house hunt for you, always do due diligence before making any commitments.

That knock at a neighbour’s door could save you cash. Do not be in a hurry to pay for something you haven’t seen, and when the deal is too good, think twice.

Someone can send you pictures of a very nice house going for an unbelievably low price, then tell you to pay some cash to reserve it, that is a trap, never pay for a house you have not verified its existence.

What are some of the mistakes people make when looking for a house?

Last minute rush is the greatest mistake customers make. Unless it’s an emergency, take your time to get a house of your liking. Do not be in a hurry. 

What is the future of house hunting as far as technology is concerned?

Technology has made house-hunting easier than ever. The ease it has brought to the real estate sector in the past few years is remarkable. Like all the other services, house hunting is also moving online.

Eventually, people will start to use virtual reality technologies to view houses, something that will be time-saving for both parties.

However, real estate technology can never replace a realtor. My dream is to give Kenyans an honest online space where they can view all the houses they want without losing any money and save time.

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