There was a time when, to find a rental house, one had to go through acres of newspaper adverts and make innumerable phone calls. Today, things have changed and all you need is the Internet.
And it is all thanks to the innovativeness of some enterprising young Kenyans, who are striving to make the search for house lesss cumbersome.
One of the most recent to venture into the business is Mr Martin Munene, CEO and co-founder of Property Ninja, an online real estate agency.
While the firm says its main objective is to be listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange as a real estate firm in the near future, its main work at the moment is house hunting, and Mr Munene says they are doing very well.
“It’s child’s play getting middle-class home owners tenants and helping the tenants to move from house to house but that’s only what we’re beginning with. However, we also want to manage these properties for them after building strong business
relationships,” says Mr Munene.
He says that, barring financial constraints, only a fool would waste an opportunity to live in the major towns as it now only needs the click of a mouse or touch of the phone screen to get a comfortable house irrespective of your social class.
“We already have a presence and data on many rental houses available in the major urban areas and a few towns and are planning to spread our operations throughout the currently,” he says.
We want to create a supermarket for property where “buyers” simply walk in and get what they want instead of going to the farm to get it. If you want land, we will get it for you and help you through the acquisition process, unlike those who just list land that doesn’t exist. We will verify all the agents we work with and we ask them to pay us to manage or sell their property for them,” says Munene, a recent IT graduate ready to put his software skills to work.
Another player in the field is 26-year-old Joshua Mutua, who owns Kenja Hunt. In addition to offering services similar to Property Ninja’s, it goes a step further and also finds roommates for college students and other clients seeking similar services.
When he joined the University of Nairobi, he had a difficult time finding the right room and roommate and, being thanks to his inquisitive, restless, and innovative nature, he swore to find a solution to the problem.
After encounters with fake agents in Nairobi, and living with incompatible roommates every semester, Mr Mutua finally decided to launch Kenja Hunt.
So, what exactly does Kenja Hunt do?”
“It is a listing website that seeks to solve this perennial problem of house hunting,” he explains.
“While that covers the general working/hustling Kenyan man or woman in the obvious category, there are others who can’t be quantified, but I care about everyone,” he says.
He acknowledges that, while the app he has come up with might be considered peripheral, it is important for one thing: it eliminates the problem of dealing with dubious and elusive middlemen/women and agents who charge high prices for houses that you might end up not liking.
He says that the app not only shows the general features available in common webisodes and online agents, but a host of other features such as pictures of the interior and exterior of the property and also provides the contacts of the owners, leaving out pesky and fake agents.