Real Estate in Kenya
Last updated on Mar 05, 2023
Summary: An expat looking to buy a home in Kenya should start by researching the different areas of the country and the types of properties available. They should also consider their budget and the type of amenities they are looking for. It is also important to research the local laws and regulations regarding foreign ownership of property. Homes in Kenya typically include amenities such as running water, electricity, and internet access. Many homes also have security features such as gates, fences, and alarm systems. Foreigners are allowed to own property in Kenya, but there are certain restrictions. For example, foreigners are not allowed to own land in certain areas, such as near the coast or in national parks. Additionally, foreigners must obtain permission from the government before they can purchase property.
How do I find a place to live in Kenya?
We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:
"Our employer Kaluworks provided us a well furnished apartment in an expat compound in Tudor," remarked one member in Mombasa.
"Was born here so I am somewhat familiar with the areas, but after so many years away, use someone local that you trust. Keep in mind "Help" is not free in Kenya, even when people are supposed to do their job," explained one expat living in Nairobi, the whole country, Kenya.
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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Kenya?
"Expat homes and apartments in Kenya tend to be modern and comfortable, with amenities such as air conditioning, internet access, and satellite television. Many expats choose to live in gated communities, which offer additional security and access to amenities such as swimming pools, gyms, and tennis courts. Expat homes and apartments in Kenya are typically spacious and well-furnished, with plenty of room for entertaining guests," said one person in Kenya.
"It's a spacious l 2 bedroom comfortably furnished apartment. This is the standard for most expats," remarked one foreigner who made the move to Mombasa.
What is the average cost of housing in Kenya?
If you are thinking about moving to Kenya, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:
"The cost of housing in Kenya varies greatly depending on the location and type of housing. Generally, housing in urban areas tends to be more expensive than in rural areas. Prices for housing can range from low-cost rental units to high-end luxury apartments. In addition, the cost of housing is also affected by the availability of land and the cost of construction materials," explained one expat living in Kenya.
"Housing is around 30/35 thousand Kenyan shillings. It is the same or even lower than in my host country," said one person in Mombasa.
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Should I buy or rent a home in Kenya?
If you have not spent a lot of time in Kenya, you should rent before even thinking about buying. We asked expats there about the buy vs. rent decision:
"Buying a home in Kenya can be a great investment, as property values are likely to appreciate over time. However, it is important to consider the costs associated with buying a home, such as the down payment, closing costs, and ongoing maintenance. Renting a home in Kenya can be a more affordable option, as it requires less upfront costs and allows for more flexibility in terms of location and length of stay. Ultimately, the decision to buy or rent a home in Kenya should be based on your individual needs and financial situation," said one person in Kenya.
What do I need to know when buying property in Kenya?
When we asked expats what advice they would give a foreigner before buying a property in Kenya, they said:
"1. It is important to research the area you are looking to buy in, as well as the local laws and regulations that may affect the purchase. 2. It is also important to ensure that the property is free from any legal disputes or encumbrances. 3. You should also consider the cost of living in the area, as well as the availability of public services such as water, electricity, and sanitation. 4. It is important to hire a qualified lawyer to assist you with the purchase process, as well as to ensure that all documents are in order. 5. You should also consider the cost of taxes and fees associated with the purchase, as well as any additional costs such as insurance and maintenance. 6. Finally, it is important to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the terms of the sale, including any restrictions or conditions that may be attached to the property," remarked one foreigner who made the move to Kenya.
Are foreigners allowed to own property in Kenya?
When we asked expats what advice they would give a foreigner before buying a property in Kenya, they said...
"Foreigners are allowed to own property in Kenya, but there are certain restrictions in place. Foreigners are not allowed to own land in Kenya, but they can own buildings and other structures on the land. Foreigners can also own shares in companies that own land in Kenya. Foreigners are also allowed to lease land in Kenya for up to 99 years. In order to own property in Kenya, foreigners must obtain permission from the Kenyan government," explained one foreigner living in Kenya.
What appliances are typically included in a rental?
We asked foreigners in Kenya what appliances are typically included in a rental, and, if there is anything else included or not included that a newcomer would not expect. Replies included:
"In Kenya, rental properties typically include a refrigerator, stove, oven, and washing machine. Other common appliances may include a microwave, dishwasher, and air conditioning unit. Depending on the property, additional amenities such as a water heater, water filter, and security system may also be included," wrote one expat who made the move to Kenya.
Additional Information about Searching for a Home in Kenya:
We asked foreigners in Kenya what appliances are typically included in a rental, and, if there is anything else included or not included that a newcomer would not expect. Replies included...
"Expats in Kenya can search for homes by looking online for real estate listings, contacting local real estate agents, and networking with other expats in the area. They can also look for rental listings in newspapers, online classifieds, and on social media. Additionally, expats can attend open houses and viewings to get a better sense of the local housing market," explained one person living in Kenya.
About the Author
Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.
Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.