The most available units for sale in Nairobi, Kenya are usually 3 bed roomed houses. This is because home buyers usually have a long term plan envisioned to house a large family unit.With the onset of sectional properties act which allows people to buy individual units in an apartment, there are many apartment units for sale especially in the high income areas of Nairobi such as Kilimani, Hurlingham and Lavington.
When buying a house, plinth area or floor area is very important. Compare floor area versus the cost of the house. The larger the floor area the better.
Other factors to consider are:
Check the type of foundation that your house rests on. The most common type of foundation in Nairobi is strip foundation .In areas with black cotton soil, all soil is excavated to prevent the soil expanding when the ground is wet thus cracking the ground floor slab.
In areas where the black cotton soil is over 1.5 meters deep, it’s cheaper to have a pile foundation whereby the soil is not excavated and columns are sunk till stable ground and the ground floor slab rests supported by the columns and beams.
In areas where the ground is unstable and the building is to go several stories high, e.g. Nakuru, raft foundation is utilized. This is a kind of foundation which has a slab resting on the excavated underground from there columns to support the other floors emerge.
Check whether the damp proof course is well laid. This damp proof membrane helps to prevent the ground floor slab from sucking wetness through capillary action. This wetness makes the inside of the room unusually cold and damp.
Most walling in Nairobi is masonry stones from quarries in Njiru, Juja or Ngong. For external walls, check if the stones are 200mm thick. This is thick enough to prevent rain from seeping through the stone from the outside which can cause damage to the paint inside and cause dampness.
Ensure that the walls do not show signs of wetness where they rest on the ground floor slab. Also check for major cracks. If major cracks are visible, this shows that the foundation was not laid on firm ground so the self weight of the building has made the building lean on one side hence the cracks.
For the inside, check the quality of the paint work. In Kenya the paint is manufactured in 1st quality and second quality. Ask if its first quality.
Check the roof trusses. For concrete and brick tiles which re heavy, trusses are spaces at 600mm centre to centre so as to be able to be strong enough to carry the heavy load. For concrete and brick tiles, the steeper the roof pitch angle, the better since this will prevent leaking.
For lighter roofs such as iron sheets or stone coated steel roofing sheets the spacing is wider-1.2 meters. For iron sheets, check the thickness of the sheets. Sheets come in various gaouges, 26 being the thickest, followed by 28, 30 and 32 the lightest. The light gauges don’t stay for long before vagaries of weather and rust takes a toll on them.