Biggest turn-offs for prospective home buyers and renters

Thursday February 14 2019


A "For Sale" sign stands in front of a house. PHOTO | FILE 

More by this Author

With the country experiencing a property boom, the focus now shifts to how a property developer or seller can minimise some of the biggest turn-offs for possible homebuyers and renters in order to sell with ease and in the least time possible.

The price of the property, its design, location, selling agents involved, uncleared utility bills and disparities in advertisement are some of the factors that would-be buyers and renters are now focusing more on when making that decision to either buy or rent.

However, many developers continue to commit cardinal sins in a bid to appeal to as many buyers and tenants as possible.

Mr Simon Ng’ang’a, the managing director of real estate agent Granite Capital Kenya, says one of the biggest turn-offs for most of the possible buyers is the lack of integrity on the part of the seller.

He states that for instance, a developer advertises a house as having more bedrooms but when a potential buyer or renter visits, the number of bedrooms is not as advertised, or some tiny spaces being passed off as bedrooms, something which portrays a negative picture of the seller.

This, he says, is brought about by the homeowner trying to maximise on profits by having more rooms in a space that cannot comfortably hold the said rooms.

“Along Kiambu Road for example, you will find that there are houses that are really very small. Even though these houses are being advertised as three or four-bedroom houses, the reality on the ground is that you may find 2 or 2.5 bedrooms, so a family of four would not be comfortable moving into such a house,” points out Mr Ng’ang’a.


The managing director explains that this manifests itself when a house, for instance, is put on sale by different selling companies at different prices; making it difficult for the would-be buyer to establish the actual price of the property.

Mr Ng’ang’a states that the situation more often crops up when brokers or agents are involved in the sale of the property where, instead of asking for the actual rate in the market, the brokers, to make more money above the commission they get from the sale of the house, quote what they call ‘up and above the price’ in order to rake in more money that most of the time even the owner of the property is not aware of.

“This leads to a situation where the potential buyers have no idea whether the house is selling at the asking price or below that,” he avers.


The insistence by a home seller to stick to his asking price despite valuations given by real estate experts is another costly mistake many property sellers make.

Mr Ng’ang’a explains that this has led to many overpriced apartments in places like Lavington, Kilimani, Hurlingham and Kiambu Road.

“You will find houses that should be going for between Sh20 and 25 million being priced at between Sh30 and 35 million because, according to the property seller, that is the asking price in the market. This has led to a huge housing glut in such places with potential buyers keeping off until the market corrects itself.”

Felix Onyango, chief executive officer Dominion Valuers limited, concurs with Mr Ng’ang’a, adding that most buyers are put off from buying a property when there are disparities between what was advertised and what one ends up seeing or getting.


“Agents or vendors sometimes spice up things in their eagerness to close the deal; and where this ends up in a big disparity between what was presented and the actual, it can be a big turn off for potential clients,” he says.

Mr Onyango points out renters most of the time are put off by ‘shady’ agents, who often form part of a ‘string’ of agents all purporting to have direct access to the owner of the property, when in real sense they are not well-informed about the property in question.

“You find that these agents often charge dubious fees such as viewing fees, among others, which in most cases is a turn-off to many would-be tenants.”

Issues to do with the property Structural deficiencies can make your property lack a buyer or a renter. This can come in the form of substandard workmanship or poorly done finishes or the finishes are just not in line with the taste of the buyer or tenant. Cluttered interior, lack of natural lighting and location of a house, he says, are other factors that often put off potential renters.

Mr Ng’ang’a adds that sometimes, developers don’t carry out a feasibility study to establish what most renters or buyers prefer before establishing their properties.

“You have situations where you have developers who have not done feasibility studies and so they have ended up establishing houses for a particular set-up of a family in the wrong area.”