Tell us about your company?
Fanaka Real Estate is a land buying and selling company based in Nairobi with our offices at Dune Plaza, Ruai Town. The company was started three years ago. Our mission is to create a unique real estate experience through a high-touch approach while adding value to the community. Our projects are based in Machakos and Kiambu counties.
Why the two counties?
Even if we want to be recognised as a leading agency in property services, our main target is Nairobians. We want to ensure that those who work in Nairobi can acquire properties in the neighbouring counties. Also most parts of these counties are ready for settlement unlike the far away counties, which are still lagging behind in building and construction. Apart from the counties being prime, we ensure that our plots are affordable and we have flexible payment plans. With only Sh400,000 you can get a plot not more than three kilometres from the tarmac and other social amenities.
Your company is young. What motivated you to start it?
Four years ago I was looking for land to develop, but I realised that most companies that I visited either had land far away from the tarmac or from the social amenities. During the site visit I used to see huge chunks of land near the tarmac which were for sale. This is when I realise that there was a gap, which needed to be filled and that is how Fanaka Real Estate was born and so far, so good.
What role can private developers play to help the government to realise its one million affordable houses plan?
Rather than waiting for the government to develop infrastructure in most of the counties, private companies can take up that role and this will ensure that less developed areas become attractive. Developers also need to come up with new technologies for constructing affordable houses to complement what the State offers. Most importantly, land-buying companies need to partner with the national and county governments to help sort out the issue of land banks.
And what do you think the State needs to do to fasten housing projects?
The government needs to concentrate more on infrastructure because this will unlock more areas and also reduce the cost of construction. There is also need to create awareness about alternative building technology because many Kenyans are yet to embrace new technologies when it comes to housing.
What challenges face this industry?
Lack of infrastructure, low uptake of ready to occupy houses is low and there is a dearth of finances. These houses are expensive and only a few people can afford mortgages. Also, some of those houses are built with substandard materials which one wouldn’t have approved of if they had that chance.
I would urge people to consider investing in land and constructing their own houses because they will use less cash and get their dream house. You will have the opportunity to get an architect and come up with a classic design that matches with your dream.
Are there any opportunities in the real estate sector?
Of course, the market is dynamic and is always demanding for something new so the trends are evolving very fast. Currently, people are looking for reliable contractors since the country has shortage. Moreover, millennials are looking for new designs as well as new technologies, so if you think you can take up the challenge don’t hesitate.