Kenyans living abroad account for a significant portion of investment in the Kenyan real estate industry. Real estate is often preferred to other investment classes due to its superior returns and the stability it offers. However, Kenyans in the diaspora often resort to using relatives to guide their real estate investments instead of professional property managers. This is a suboptimal way of investing in Kenyan real estate and it often leads to Kenyans in the diaspora falling prey to fraud.
Why are professional property managers preferable to relatives when it comes to investing in the Kenyan real estate? First, professional property managers undertake extensive market research on behalf of their clients to identify properties that best fit their needs. Through research, property managers have concrete information on growth areas, zoning issues, utilities, and other pertinent information that helps in identifying properties for their clients. Relatives, as individuals, do not have this capacity and they cannot match the resources that professional property managers put into market research.
Second, professional property managers also have the legal obligation of validating property ownership. Land ownership in Kenya is a contentious issue that requires one to diligently peruse land registry records in order to avoid being swindled. Professional property managers are able to incur the costs involved in verifying property ownership due to their sheer scale compared to one lone individual. They are aware beforehand on whether a title deed on a property can be obtained. This enables them to protect their clients from lawsuits that might ensue if the property in question was illegally acquired.
Another important feature that professional property managers offer clients is information on changing dynamics in the real estate market. Individuals are unable to provide this information. As the government continues to upgrade the country’s infrastructure, Kenya’s real estate market is changing accordingly. The demand and supply factors of 2 years ago can no longer be relied upon to inform future trends. These changing dynamics place professional property managers at an advantage compared to individuals and they can inform their clients on which real estate investments will have the better yields.
Given their access to a vast amount of information and research, professional property managers are a better fit for Kenyans in diaspora than their relatives. Once an individual has identified a preferred location for their real estate investment, a professional property manager can provide credible information on the benefits of the location in terms of growth. The property manager will also point out potential zoning issues and assist in the procuring of title deeds. Further, an overview of the market trends will help the individual make better investment decisions in real estate and avoid potential pitfalls.