We’re moving house soon. While the house we’re currently in is okay, we needed to move. The main reason is security (after a little over a year, the security for the estate/compound/community overall still did not meet UNHCR’s security requirements). So, we’re going to a safer place that meets the standards.
We’ll still be in a gated community, but it’ll be a larger one and each house within the community is a stand-alone house. The overall compound is gated and has patrols. Plus, we’ll have a guard at our house. Also, the house itself is bigger and in much better condition. This is a good move.
I know I gave a list of tips for renters a while back. Here’s a list of things I wish I knew before I moving into the first house:
- No matter the size of your yard, you’ll need a gardener. So why not go ahead an have a lovely garden? I’m looking forward to this in the new house.
- Being in a gated community isn’t necessarily safer than a stand-alone house. It all depends on the quality of the security of the community.
- The quality of your neighbors matter. I originally wanted a community so that I’d have neighbors. In New York, I knew my neighbors and we helped each other. The community we’re in now…there are three or four nice people. The rest are actually quite nasty. I’m grateful and will stay friends with those nice families. The rest, I can’t wait to be rid of them.
- Make sure the borehole is operational or that there is backup water. The place we’re leaving has a borehole but there is a lawsuit that prevents the community from using the borehole. Our landlord didn’t tell us about the lawsuit until after we moved in. We’ve had to buy water a few times as a result. And now, with Nairobi rationing water, we have to buy even more because we only get city water on certain days.
- Dealing directly with landlords as you house hunt is better than going through an agent. Price negotiations are about the same, but there are other things you can better negotiate directly. For example, if you’re directly communicating you can work in things like painting in a specific color, or additions, or back up power, etc.
- It’s a lot of work, but one of the best ways to find what you want is to drive around the area you want to live in. You’ll see signs for houses to lease. A lot of those houses never even make it up to the agents. We found our new house while driving around. It hadn’t even hit the market. (We went to look at one place, but it was taken. The caretaker there told us of another place and hopped in our car. He directed us to another place that wasn’t on the market yet but would be soon. Then he walked us around and gave us the owner’s name and contact information.)
I’ll write more after we move, including a review of the movers we intend to use. In the meantime, wish me luck as I pack up and then settle back in again after the move.