Building Three Bedroom House: Geoffrey Kimani lives in Kitengela. In 2016, he bought a 1/8 acre plot and began building his own home. After twelve months, he moved into his three-bedroom bungalow.
What made you prefer to build instead of buying?
I wanted a home with a personal touch; building allows you to customize according to your taste.
What was the total cost?
I paid Sh. 400,000 for the 1/8 plot and used around Sh. 2.5 million for the construction. I did not have a predefined budget. I did not have Sh. 2.5 million either and decided to build pole pole.
Which parts of the building were more costly?
The roofing and the foundation. The roofing required to a one off budget. The finishing and interior design also took a quite an amount of money.
How did you fund the project?
I used my personal income and a soft loan.
What is the value of the house today?
About Sh. 8 million.
Which experts did you engage?
I bought my plot and needed a lawyer to draft legal documents such as the sale agreement, a transfer form required by the Land Control Board and an addendum – in case I was unable to pay up as agreed. The lawyer also held the title until I finished paying for the land.
I also had an architect draw the house plan. I had a physical planner who drafted a brief for change of use and planned for the amenities to be included in the compound such as a septic tank and drainage channels.
I also worked with casual labourers (between three and five) and a fundi. An electrician and a plumber came in during the final stages of the construction.
Which legal processes were involved?
I did a search at the lands registry and bought a zoning map. The search showed details of the plot’s owner while the map highlighted the social amenities, accessibility, location of the plot and the local terrain.
What challenges did you experience?
I had to dedicate a lot of time supervising the work. I had to be there to ensure I wasn’t robbed or shortchanged. I divided the construction into at least four phases and spent within my means. I built a structure within a year and moved in. From there I started working on the fourth phase, which was the finishing and interior décor.
What are the main advantages of building over buying?
Financial freedom and ability to build to your own pace. You can make money using your compound. I can plant crops or rear animals for sale to get extra income. Also, when you build, you own an asset that appreciates and you can pass it down generations.
What would you advise aspiring home owners?
Start by owning a piece of land. There is nothing like a remote area. Places like Buruburu, Kayole and Donholm were once considered remote, but look at them now. Talk to people who have done it, and know what you want and what building entails. It is advisable to work with referrals.
Be actively involved in the process. Do not sit back and wait for the workers or experts to do everything for you. In this process you cannot trust anyone. Building Three Bedroom House.