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Off-plan home buying loses appeal among many Kenyans



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Over the last 10 years, off plan development projects have been the route to home ownership for low income earners in most parts of Nairobi and its outskirts.

But in recent times, it has turned into a bitter cocktail, with Kenyans sinking millions of shillings to buy houses that are a far cry from the dream units seen in photos.

Some home developers go out of business, designs fail to match the market hype, while fittings and finishes may turn out to be cheap, leaving the home buyer staring at huge losses besides having to live in a house that does not fulfil their dreams.


At times, early occupants find themselves living on a building site with construction clatter, ruining the much-needed serene environment, besides health hazards of dust.

A sneak preview of some of the off-plan developments in Nairobi by some developers reveals the shock that most home-buyers who opt for the plan risk plunging into.

At exit-14 along the Thika superhighway, near Juja, a 10-kilometre drive along Kenyatta Road leads to Kimuyu and Cornerstone houses.

Residential units by a local real estate firm are a pale shadow of what was promised to home-buyers and lack of electricity for almost a month has added to the woes of the families.

On getting closer, a rumbling generator — the sole source of power and lighting at the development — disturbs the otherwise dead and dull estate.

“We’re living here in darkness and the management isn’t even having the courtesy to remedy the situation,” said one resident who was among the first inhabitants, but did not wish to named.

“Some of us have even bought our own generators because as you can see, we are on our own,” another disgruntled owner told us.


“These are not homes! We have houses that have cracked walls and falling ceilings,” said the resident. “Mahiga homes only gave us fake stories and dumped us here in Kimunyu,” the seething owner adds.

Calls to Mahiga Homes in efforts to see the projects as potential buyers were not successful. The firm told us that all they could offer are photos and that all their completed houses are fully occupied.

A detailed check around the residence, however, shows that the sewerage line is yet to be completed with some houses with flushing units not working posing health hazards to the families.

“You can’t, it but we’ve been here for over a year, but the developer doesn’t care. All we receive are empty promises,” a young couple that also sought anonymity said.

The residents, who are on their own, after sinking millions into the project, are now using a make-shift bio-digester.


Home-owners bought the units for about Sh3.5 million but what they are grappling with are small houses, cramped together— a far cry from the dream house they were promised.

A spot check of the Acacia 1 project tells a totally different story with works barely half-way done and the 15 houses are all abandoned.

The houses were retailing at around Sh3.95 million, but site visits show how investors were duped into a raw deal to sink millions of shillings.

A closer look at the architectural designs reveals a stark contrast to layout and the size of the houses.

We checked through seven houses and all of them had different interiors, pointing to poor quality of the houses that forced investors to fit interiors afresh.


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VIDEO: Inspiring Journey Taking Shape at Kiambu’s Top Gated Community



Amani Ridge the Place of Peace was extremely busy today as the Engineers set their focus on achieving the very best in preparing the roads to murrum standard, ready for cabro when time comes.

The following activities will follow:

1. Storm water drainage

2. Piping water along the main lines (those building will only need to pay for water meter)

3. Underground power will follow

4. Installation of solar street lights will be the next step

5. After this, planting of 2, 000 trees will follow along all the roads in the estate

6. The sewerage systems will be replaced by Water recycling technology as initially promised

We are committed to #GoingGreen

Become part of the Amani Ridge family today


Call: 0790 300 300 | 0723 400 500


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Big Smiles on the way for Garden of Joy Owners



A big announcement concerning the Garden of Joy gated community is set to be made this coming Friday, 23rd October 2020.

The planned announcement will be a cause of great joy for clients who have already made a decision to make the Garden of Joy their joyous home.

Those joining the success train later, will pay slightly higher for this property. We call it the ‘waiting-to-see-expense.’

If you are reading this message, go ahead and call your relationship advisor today to save the waiting cost and to become part of the joyous brigade.

Check us on FB Live on the 23rd October at 4PM as we unveil the greatest news at the Garden of Joy.

Secure your jewel today
Call us on: 0790300300 | 0723400500

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How Covid-19 will influence future innovation in home design



The world is still smarting from the blows of the Covid-19 pandemic, a contagion whose disruptive thrust has been felt in practically every facet of our social and economic lives.

And as the shockwaves of the pandemic reverberate in the real estate industry, experts say that the sector must reinvent itself to align with the demands of the post- Covid-19 era. It’s time to revisit the way we build our homes and how we interact in the built environment and shed some practices that do not conform to, say, social distancing in the home. “As we approach a post Covid-19 era, a well-designed house will be critical all the while ensuring that the comfort at home is not compromised,” Architect Florence Nyole says.

She says a lot of the housing stock in Kenya lacks in basic design principles, such as admission of natural light and proper passive ventilation.

An architect with EcoSpace Architects and the chairperson of the Architects Chapter at the Architectural Association of Kenya, she asserts that our built environment currently suffers from the effects of intensive subdivision of land, which hinders proper design of homes.

“We have subdivided plots into too small parcels, such that proper design is a challenge. The Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), which is caused by poor ventilation, resulting in dusty, smoky or ‘ foggy rooms and continuous use of % artificial lighting is a major contributor to poor health and lack of wellness of the dwellers, especially in densely populated areas of our cities. This results the sprea if Covid-19, but also -7 airborne diseases,” she says. The World Health T Organisation (WH V \ tributes the sprea Covid-19 largely to the v movement of microdroplets, invisible to the naked eye, from infected persons. The droplets can linger in the air for up to 20 minutes, during which time they retain their potency to cause infection. Poorly ventilated spaces, therefore, serve as conducive environments for the spread of the disease.

“A poorly ventilated mom will cause the microdroplets to be inhaled by other occupants or settle on surfaces causing further infection if not sanitised in good time”, Florence told Boma.

“Proper ventilation will be key in helping to alleviate the spread of the microdroplets. Building our’ homes with maximum aeration is critical in mitigating the spread of the virus within enclosed spaces,” she added.

This, she says, will involve installation of open-able windows within living spaces to allow for sufficient airflow. Further, in areas where wind speeds are low, aided air movement through the use of extracting fans will be required. She, however, cautions against the use of airconditioning, as the principle behind these systems is to cool and recycle air into the spaces. “If the air cycle is contaminated, these could be inhaled and cause infection to the occupants of the space”.

As the government implements the home-based care initiative for Covid-19 patients, we must rethink our interactions in the home of the future, seeing it not only as a conducive space for recuperation, but also a safe environment for caregivers and non-infected residents. As Florence puts it, moving forward, there’s need to look at our homes not only as spaces for living, but also as places of care for patients. “This brings the disease closer home and good design should offer as much isolation as possible if one of the occupants will require home-based care. This would entail designing homes with a self-contained section complete with areas for washing, cooking and resting that can accommodate at least two persons. Some form of visual

continuity should be maintained to enhance human-to-human interaction and improve the chances of healing for the patient,” she points out.

Noting that the coronavirus also spreads due to contact with contaminated surfaces, Florence advises that there is need to not only sanitise potential contact surfaces in the home, but also minimise the number of surfaces that one comes into contact with. And this, she says, is a potential area crying out for innovations. “We should, therefore, expect an acceleration in the adoption of automated systems from door opening to light switching and even washroom flashing. The World Health Organisation has advised that surfaces should be disinfected as often as possible. If these commonly touched surfaces could be reduced as much as possible, adoption of automation to a greater extent than has been done in the past will be necessary,” she explains.

The world has adopted social distancing as a key mitigation against the spread of Covid-19. Under this new dynamic, the Chair of the Architects Chapter avers that we are likely to see a shift in the room sizes – especially living areas where guests are entertained – to observe this minimum distance.

Florence further says that some activities may be moved outdoors when the weather allows and there will be increased use of gardens and open spaces where there is fresh air.

Sanitisation will also occur as one enters the home, and these sanitation facilities could be installed right at the entrance in comparison to the current status where hand washing occurs at the guest bathroom or at the handwasining basin within the dining area or the kitchen sink. A redesign of the entrance lobby to incorporate this may be considered.

“Proper natural ventilation and admission of daylight into the living spaces will become critical,” she offers, noting that whereas this may be easily achieved in standalone units such as single dwellings, the challenge is greater in areas where there is dense construction, such as tenements and highrise buildings adjacent to each other.


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