Sunday, June 16, 2024

Angela Kariuki: Why buying land is not always the wisest money decision

Majority of Kenyans want to own a piece of land. Many will take loans to buy plots; others will spend all their savings purchasing plots. Land in Kenya is perceived to be the ultimate investment. But is it?

This is the touchy issue that Angela Kariuki, a Treasury Bonds and Treasury Bills investment expert and former banker tackled. Angela, who is the entrepreneur behind Angie’s Closet clothing line business in Nairobi discussed why buying land may not always be the wisest of your money decisions.

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Here’s her take on buying land as an investment:

One of the things that I am learning to unlearn, which I’d hope that as a society we’d do better.

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The sentimental attachment to land! Buroti maguta maguta!

Now, my people; We have been raised to highly value land. It is the first thing you are advised to buy once you start making money. And boy, don’t we buy parcels of lands!

Do we even know where some of them are? Unajua iko tu mahali huko Kajiado without even knowing where Kajiado starts or ends!

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We have our parents holding acres of lands, but living poor lives because they do not have cash flow.

As long as you have some rentals, you are deemed rich! Do you even calculate your net return? Do you know it can be at 6%p.a.? Ama tu bora pesa inaigia?

The selling points:

1. Chukua shamba na 50k, in 10yrs hapa itakuwa 1million!- What makes you think in 10yrs I won’t have 1M to buy the same land at my convenience?

2. You can never go wrong with land, it always appreciates. Itakuwa 5times in the next 2yrs.- Boy! What makes you think you can never sell land at a loss? Do you even know how hard it is to sell property? Do you know the cost of that process? Personally I have sold property at a loss, so I know.

Please note that doing rentals is a business and not an investment. It’s something you run and you have to be good at it, otherwise, you will just be seeing cash flowing in, but with a negative return.

My point: Real Estate can be a good thing, but is not automatically a good thing.

I’d insist on diversification. Have some land or some properties but if it’s not your thing, then don’t!

Don’t let someone tell you that land is THE IT!

And why do we even hoarde acres of lands for our kids and kid’s kids? Unless you are already doing very well without the need for that cash.

I live for now. I want to hold assest that are making me cash, not the ones I need to wait for 20yrs. I need the return now, when I’m raising children. In my 60’s I might not need as much cash as I need now.

Diversification is key.

I refuse to be a slave of buroti! Pesa kidogo, ndio mimi huyoo, Kamulu. Ingine kidogo ndio mimi huyooo, simiti! There’s so much more out here…..untapped. But then again, that’s just me….

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