Now that I have several years of experience on “3rd floor”, I can look back and see the mistakes that I and my contemporaries made. Here’s some brotherly advice that the real estate agents don’t want you to hear.
Assume you graduate at age 24. Your first salary is about Kshs 50,000 or less. After paying your bills you are left with Kshs 10,000 or less as savings. There is a lot of pressure to get a title with your name…. there is also need to advance your career, do professional courses, fulfill social obligations e.g. Harambee and helping your parents…get married or get a baby etc. There are also fun things you want to do like travel, bungee jumping etc. All these things are competing for the Kshs 10,000 that you are saving every month.
I wish to make the following submissions.
Before you turn 30, you have real needs and a plot in Matuu or Kajiado or in the ends of the earth is not one of them.
This is what you should do instead, in my opinion…. not in any particular order…
- Save the extra cash in a SACCO to enable you gain the discipline of saving and also give you access to a loan when you need one.
- Pursue your career and get all the professional papers, masters and even PhD if you can. They will come in handy when you get to my age.
- Start a small business. Whatever business you think you can do or copy what your friend is doing… you can buy a car and do UBER after work, open a kinyozi or an MPESA shop, keep chicken or cows or goats, utilize your talent to earn you some cash etc.
- Start a side hustle…don’t just sleep on your skills after work, audit your uncle’s business and get paid or whatever it is you can do. Start branding yourself as a competent professional outside of your employer… you can use that as your exit strategy from employment.
- Form a Chama and buy some strategic cheap land somewhere… like 10 acres for Kshs 50,000 per acre and plant trees or bamboo or keep goats.
- When God blesses you with children, get them a good medical insurance cover… kids have a way of getting sick when you are broke.
- Save for your kids’ education even the unborn kids. You might argue, ” I was in a Government school and I turned out OK. ” That might be true but did you turn out GREAT? A wise man once told us, “It’s not what you leave FOR your kids that matters, it’s what you live IN them that matters. ” If you can, plan to take your kids to a school offering an international curriculum … there’s something unique and maybe superior about those education systems.
- Finally, go to the gym, do the road trips, go camping, smell the roses, watch the stars, go for the marathon, eat an orange forest from Tajicakes, date, get married… whatever makes you happy…you only live once and you will not forever be young.
So when should I buy the land?
After multiplying your money and settling in socially and academically, your salary will have risen to say Kshs 100,000 or more and your side hustles will be giving you maybe half of your salary. You can then commit your salary and take a loan to buy an apartment where you will live with your family or buy a plot where you can build a house for your family or a few rental units.
You might argue, let me buy the plot now and sell it after 5 years. I wish to draw your attention to my article on the hidden cost of taking a loan in Kenya. Click here to read the article.
What if you don’t have a business mind or your job won’t allow you to do anything else on the side? Refer to point 1 above.
It would be unfair to conclude this article without urging you to invest socially in your 20s. Your social network will be very critical in your next phase of life.
The staircase and interior decoration is the work of the Interior designer Ms. Wamuyu. To see more of her work visit https://www.wamuyutira.com/ and call +254 738 147 314. She is based in Westlands.
Kariùki Wawerù is the author of Kenya’s ONLY real estate book called “The ABC of Real Estate Investment in Kenya”. To have the book delivered to your door step, kindly call +254 723 477 035 or email email@example.com