For the second time in my life, I got time to go to the 23rd Home expo. I didn’t think it would be much fun being alone but the 4 hours I spent there definitely says a lot.
- Entry to the Expo: There were 2 options – to buy a ticket (200/-) or buy a ‘Homes Kenya’ magazine that came with a free copy and bag (350/-) I chose the latter. My mentor says that magazine has everything!
- Condos or Condominium if you prefer: I only used to hear about Condos in movies. They are now available in present day Kenya and this particular one cost a whooping 80M. Before going to a home expo, have a budget in mind. It will help you narrow down to what you are looking for.
- SACCOs: There was this lady who tried to convince me that there’s wasn’t a cooperative society but told her that is what exactly SACCO stands for. The investment information she shared, though, was good for making future comparisons
- Goals: You may have noticed this as a repeated comment on social media. Basically it says I aspire to what you are doing. My goal for going to the expo was to identify a dream house and thereafter pray towards it. Whilst there I got another reason to go for expos, business ideas!
- Friends: But the principal reason that saw me get into a matatu and head for KICC was because one of my besties has been looking for a house and keeps dragging me along for her trips. I wasn’t excited about the whole affair but the student has now overtaken the teacher
- Technology: And when I thought a presentation via an iPad was ‘it’, I walked into a hall where a number of exhibitors had ultra-high definition displays (UHDTVs) and you can be sure it helped move a dream into actual reality
- Everything: and I mean everything to establish a thriving real estate business was here. Generators, solar panels, roofing material, steel beams, sliding doors, kitchen tiles and even simiti was available
- Furniture: There was a stand with the most beautiful of mahogany pieces and it felt good to sit on them
- Kenya Yetu: Exhibitors came from all over the country were here. Western Kenya, Central Kenya and those from the Coast were well represented. What blew my mind though was this gated community in Red Hill accessed by a road 35 feet above it. The thinking to its designing was absolutely breathtaking!
- Dubai: Kenya is a very rich country one of the foreign exhibitors explained and therefore no surprise was it to see Emirati investors scouting for fellow investors
- Sales people: Extroverted ones, genius ones, clueless ones and those who knew you didn’t have a cent in your pocket but still went all out to make the pitch. One day I will make one of them commission happy. One day…
- Architects: Exhibitors who did not have the advantage of high-definition technology, used architectural models to convince their prospective clients. A closer look betrayed those whose final workmanship would be cheap. These things are (very) important
- Off Plan: The expo was not just about selling property but ideas and with ideas, one cannot just jump on board, without seeing the property’s location, knowing who the developers are, and investigating their previous portfolio(s). And what exactly does 58 square metres in comparison to 125 square metres mean? A lawyer? Does one have to have a lawyer?
- Chamas or Investment Groups if you like:were here and doing big, hairy, audacious stuff. I can tell you for a fact that those chamas have toiled to reach this live. I salute them!
- 2.5 bedrooms: Have you heard of this before? Me neither. But basically what it means that the apartment comes with 2 bedrooms and a miniature room that can either be used as a study area or extra bedroom.
- Serviced apartments: Still reeling on this concept because mine is to move from my rented flat to an apartment but when you hear the probable rents, it begins to make investment sense. At this point I pause to clarify that flat is what the Americans refer to as apartments and a condominium is a block of apartments or flats. Ça va?
- Marketing: In the entire tour, I only found one stand that didn’t have brochures. Those in the print business definitely made a kill but there was this one brochure where I overtly told the dealer that a “serviced plot behind Kitengela prison” caption scared the potential investment out of me
- Carpets: Carpets confuse me especially when there is so much variety of colour and texture to look at. The guy manning the stand generously explained to me the types best for different areas of flooring and I will definitely be looking for him should the opportunity present itself in future
- Sadolin: These guys saved me from my desperate such for a colour chart and offered theirs for free. They also gave me the exact type of paint that should be used on a bath tub. Such enthusiastic employees!
- Eisenkraft: This is a German company that exclusively sells tools for bending wrought iron at exhibitions. It looked easy and doesn’t every business idea look until you start consider the real resources needed
- KRA: The government was here not to collect taxes but to offer amnesty to homeowners. In short, no taxes accrue for the years between 1974 and 2013. For 2014 and 2015, taxpayers will be allowed to claim 40% in expenses and only pay 10% in taxes of the remaining 60% of rental income. For 2016, the 10% of the gross income when received must be paid to KRA. Returns (including nil returns) must be filed monthly i.e. by the 20th day of the consecutive month
- St. John’s Ambulance: The emergency services people were present but this time selling their very affordable courses for the individual, the babysitter, and the company.
- To do list: It would be a shame to go for such an exciting experience to go to waste and I have promised self to visit some upcoming properties.
Make sure you visit the next expo!
Review by Tesha Mongi (Visit her blog)