Our director, Arch. Martin Tairo Maseghe was recently interviewed by Kenfrey Kiberenge of Daily Nation who was putting together an informative piece for would be buyers of ‘off plan homes’. Below are parts of the article;
Many off plan home buyers do not get value for their money, real estate experts have warned.The housing experts say Kenyans should take precautionary measures while buying houses off-plan to avoid being swindled.
With the craze for home ownership pushing prices beyond the reach of most Kenyans, many buyers have learnt to skirt around by buying off-plan where one purchases a house based on the plans of a building that has not yet been built.
Such houses are cheaper — at times by up to 40 per cent — compared to the finished product.
But according to Martin Tairo Maseghe, a director at Architecture Kenya Media Ltd, there are actually no advantages of buying off-plan except for the discounted price one gets. “And this is not a real discount as the developers use your money to build,” he says.
Real estate investors were rattled recently when a group of disgruntled house buyers took a developer to court, citing breach of contract. The investors alleged the developer had failed to fulfill an undertaking to provide services that formed part of the agreement for the purchase of the houses.
In the suit papers, there are claims that the company had promised to construct commercial buildings, a shopping mall, a school, a clubhouse, a hotel, a car park and playgrounds, among others. All these are missing.
Mr Maseghe warns buyers not to be swayed by fancy advertisements as many developers promise more than they can deliver, in a bid to entice buyers. “Images of swimming pools, club houses, health clubs, restaurants, etc will always be displayed in marketing brochures but these will in many cases be missing in implementation as developers strive to save on costs,” he says.
Mr Maseghe says developers ought to rope in professional consultants to advise on the designs and costing for the project. “It is up to the developer to ensure that they have adequate funds in place to build. This is completely out of control of consultants,” he adds.
Mr Maseghe advises buyers to ensure that the contract provides for certain damages should the developer fail to deliver, or if the project is delayed. “If there is none, then the risk is high for the buyer.”