Last week was a big one! We signed the lease on a house. It’s lovely townhouse in Kitisuru and I can’t wait to move in! After city living for 20 years – actually more than that since I went to college in a city – it’s nice to be in the country. (Even though it’s a townhouse, it’s not a suburban setting. It’s much more rural, as you can see from the view above.)
I won’t go too much into the house itself other than it’s a four bedroom townhouse in a very well protected gated community. And, we picked Kitisuru as we wanted a place to the north of the city so that it would be near work for both of us (not that I have started working yet). Being in the Blue Zone was key for us.
Here are some tips on house hunting based on my limited experience:
- Think about travel time. Traffic in Nairobi is horrendous. Find a place that allows for the easiest commute.
- Think about your needs. For us, a townhouse is perfect as we are only two people. For others, especially those with kids, it might be too small.
- Think about what’s important to you. We really wanted a new and/or well maintained place with a modern kitchen and bathrooms. We knew that the trade off for this would be a mature garden. If you want a large yard with the trees all grown (more privacy) then you’re going to go with an older property.
- Factor in security. Will you need an askari? If you’re in a gated community, is it well guarded and is the perimeter safe?
- Make sure there is back up water and power.
- Think about how the area will be at night.
- Think about laundry. Line drying is the way it’s done here. One thing that really threw me off on a lot of places is the lack of covered places to hang your laundry. What do people do in the rainy seasons? (We have a covered area for that.)
- If it applies to you, don’t forget to make sure the diplomatic exit clause is included in your lease!
Those are my tips. As I said, it’s based off limited experience – it’s my first time here. I hope someone will find them useful.
I’d like to take a moment to thank a blog/blogger who helped me: Africa Expat Wives Club. The site was super helpful as we researched where to live and how to go about finding a place (Moving to Nairobi). She’s got some really hilarious posts as well, such as this one on Expat Stereotypes.
Thank you, Frances, for helping me out!
Also a big thanks to Anna at Kenya Relo for helping us find the perfect place!