Barry Silah @obel_barry
Describe your journey in this industry.
I have been in the real estate sector for about five years. For half of that time, I was employed by a real estate dealer in Thika town called Vestrack Africa where I learned the ropes of the business and became passionate about it. The allure of the property market taught me to be self-reliant and have entrepreneurial and networking skills.
I also got a brief stint at Diamond Properties who are well-established players in the industry. With that I became aware of what I needed to become to survive and thrive in this sector. Now I run my own company, Faidika Real Estate and so far the journey has been good for us despite the competitive environment.
Tell us more about Faidika Limited.
Most of our parcels of land are in strategic locations, which have potential for growth. We are specifically situated near soon-to-be vibrant localities and our payment systems are credible and accommodative to many people. Our areas of operation include Matuu in Machakos county (Thika-Garissa Road) which will soon be a pathway of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (Lappset) Project.
Another one is in Makuyu off the Thika-Sagana-Nyeri highway, an area expected to be a hot property market in coming days. In some of our parcels, we are thinking of digging boreholes and putting up beehives to earn money for our plot buyers.
What is a flexible payment system?
The biggest challenge for potential landowners is the financing bit due to exorbitant interest rates charged by banks on loans. For us, the first instalment has to be 50 per cent of the overall parcel cost, then the remaining balance should be offset inside five months.
Thereafter, we ensure that in four months time, valid documentation in terms of title deeds and sale agreements are duly provided. We are clean in our transactions since many people have suffered from fraudsters.
How many projects do you have?
At the moment, we straddle three counties of Kenya with prime pieces available. In Machakos County where our major project lies in Matuu, there are 14 acres just near the Lappset Corridor. In this town, we have done three phases with total 76 plots sold so far.
In Makuyu along the Nyeri-Sagana highway we also have 14 acres in anticipation of a sale, but in the first two phases, we sold eight plots. In Naro Moru we have 15 acres at our disposal and in Laikipia we also have a parcel that we are about to subdivide and sell.
What challenge do you face?
Infrastructure for sure remains a challenge and we are hoping county governments and State agencies such as Kenya Rural Roads Authority can help. Most roads are impassable during the rainy seasons, which complicates land sales as most clients are keen on the accessibility of their plots.
Water and electricity is another problem; we are urging the relevant bodies to act so that our people can benefit. Of course, individual counties have their own plans and the national government is also doing its bit to spread services to the citizens. What we are doing as a company and will probably partner with other organisations is mapping and fencing our parcels.
Your overall experience?
The most important lesson is value over greed. Once this is achieved, one begins to get buy-in and trust from clients. Creating networks is also important because it brings in referrals for business.
Customers are becoming more aware so keeping all procedure short and formal helps everybody. It has not been entirely smooth sailing but everything has been a lesson. Another thing in this business is that one needs patience and obviously due diligence is necessary.