So, you want to start a real estate business in Kenya? Great! The real estate market is booming right now and there are plenty of opportunities for those who are willing to put in the work.
But where do you start?
There are a lot of things to consider when starting a real estate business, from getting training to registering your company and getting the necessary licenses to finding the right properties to invest in.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the 10 steps you need to take to start your own real estate business in Kenya.
If you’re thinking about starting a real estate business in Kenya, there are a few things you need to do to get started. First, you’ll need to obtain a real estate broker certificate offered by the Ministry of land and planning. This license will allow you to buy, sell, manage, and lease properties in Kenya.
Next, you’ll need to find some funding for your business. You can either use your own personal savings or take out a loan from a bank. Once you have the necessary funding, you can start looking for properties to buy or lease.
But that’s just the short way in theory. There are other ways and processes that you must go through if you really want your business to grow fast.
It’s also important to develop a good marketing strategy. You’ll need to find ways to market your business to potential clients. There are many different marketing channels you can use, including online advertising, print advertising, and word-of-mouth marketing.
We will discuss all that as we continue with this guide on how to start a real estate business from scratch.
Where to Apply for a Real Estate Broker Certificate in Kenya
Have I already mentioned that you will need to have a real estate broker certificate if Kenyans are to take your business seriously?
Before you can start working as a real estate broker in Kenya, you need to obtain a certificate from the Estate Agents Registration Board. The Estate Agents Registration Board is the regulatory body for estate agents in Kenya and it works under the ministry of lands.
To apply for a certificate, you need to fill out this form provided by the board and send it with these other documents to the board for scrutiny.
- Recent Passport size Photograph
- Identity Card/Passport
- Curriculum Vitae
- Educational Certificates
- Letter of recommendation from a Registered and Practicing Estate Agent who has trained you, (original letter) see sample overleaf.
- Certificate of good conduct
- Payment of Kshs. 1,000/= being application fees
After the board has evaluated your application and assuming they are satisfied, they will invite you for an interview
Make sure you go with all the original documents listed below for the interview: –
- Original Academic Certificates
- ID or Passport
- Original Certificate of Good Conduct
- Original Letter of recommendation from a Registered and Practicing Estate Agent who trained you,
If you succeed in the interview, you will be required to pay a certificate fee of Ksh. 3,000.
Once you have your certificate, you can then start your own real estate business.
Real Estate Companies That Train Agents in Kenya
In case I did not emphasize it enough, the Estate Agents registration board will not give you the agent’s certificate, leave alone grant you an interview if you do not undergo real estate training and get a recommendation letter from where you were trained.
So what’s the solution for all this? Get formal training from real estate agents registered with the Estate Agents Registration Board.
There are several real estate companies in Kenya that offer training to agents.
These companies usually have a few Requirements that must be met before starting the training.
1). The first requirement is that the agent must have a clean criminal record.
2). The second requirement is that the agent must pass an exam that tests their knowledge of the Kenyan real estate market among other requirements.
Note: – these requirements vary by agent. So, make sure you ask what will be required of you before you enroll for real estate training.
Once these requirements are met, the agent can start the training process.
The training process typically takes a few weeks to complete and you may also be required to pay for the service.
If your trainer is satisfied with your work, they will give you the recommendation letter which you must submit to the Estate Agents Registration Board when applying for a certificate.
Below are some of the top real estate agents that can train and give you the required recommendation letter to become an agent in Kenya.
Find the full list on the Estate Agents registration board website.
The 10 Step Guide to Starting a Real Estate Business in Kenya
With the registration process out of the way, now let’s look at the real steps of starting a real estate business in Kenya from scratch.
1. Research the Kenyan real estate market.
Just like when starting any other business, you will need to undertake research on the Kenyan real estate market before doing anything or spending any money on the business registration process.
This will help you understand the demand and supply side of the market, as well as what needs to be done to get your foot in the door.
You can start by reading up on the latest real estate news in Kenya, which will give you an idea of what is happening in the industry.
You can also attend industry events and meet with other professionals to get a better understanding of how the market operates.
And if you have time on your hands, use it to work for/or with other established real estate companies to learn a thing or two about the market before branching your own way.
Having any slight experience will save you time and startup headaches when you are just starting out.
2. Identify your target market.
Once you have a good understanding of the Kenyan real estate market, you will need to identify your target market. This will help you focus your marketing efforts and ensure that you are reaching the right people.
For example, if you are looking to sell properties to foreign investors, you will need to make sure that your marketing materials are aimed at this audience. Alternatively, if you are targeting first-time home buyers, you will need to focus on different selling points.
3. Get your licensing and registration in order.
Before you can start operating as a real estate agent in Kenya, you will need to obtain the necessary licensing and registration. This process can be lengthy, so it is important to start it as early as possible.
As mentioned in the previous subtopic, you will need to go to the Estate Agents Registration Board in person to apply for the required certificate.
Also, don’t forget that one of the requirements to get a certificate for your new real estate business is that you get training from an existing and practicing agent.
This takes us back to our first point. Work for someone else if you have to. Because really, there are no two ways about it. Plus, you will be gaining experience which you can later use in improving your business.
4. Think of a name for your business.
Now that you are ready to open up shop, it is time to think of a name for your new business. This part can be tricky because you will want to choose a name that is not only unique but also one that is easy to remember and associate with your brand.
To help you come up with the perfect name, we have some tips below:
a). Choose a name that speaks to what you do as an agent. For example, if you specialize in handling properties in prime locations, you can incorporate the word ‘prime’ in your business name.
This will help people easily identify what it is that you do and what they can expect from doing business with you.
b). Make sure the domain name for your chosen business name is available. You will need to have an online presence so potential clients can easily find and contact you.
A website will also come in handy when promoting your listings or running marketing campaigns.
So before finalizing on a particular name, do a quick check on the availability of its corresponding domain name. The last thing you want is for someone else to already have it registered when you are finally ready to set up your website!
When you are ready with the name, be sure to register it on eCitizen to also secure it from someone else using it locally.
5. Get the proper licenses and permits.
In order to operate legally, you will need to obtain the proper licenses and permits from your local government. The requirements will vary depending on your location but some of the most common ones include a business license and outdoor advertising permits.
Make sure to check with your local government offices for specific requirements in your area.
Remember, the business license is different from the real estate certificate issued by Estate Agents Registration Board, Kenya.
6. Set up your office space.
Now it is time to set up your new office space! This is where you will be meeting with clients, hosting open houses, and working on listing presentations so it is important to make sure that it is both functional and inviting.
Here are some tips on setting up a new office space for your real estate business in Kenya:
a). Choose a location that is easily accessible for both you and your clients. A central location with good parking and public transportation options is ideal.
b). Make sure the space is large enough to accommodate all of your needs. You will need room for a desk, chairs, filing cabinets, and any other furniture or equipment you may need.
c). Create a welcoming environment by decorating with warm colors, comfortable furniture, and plenty of natural light. You want your clients to feel at ease when they visit your office.
d). Invest in technology that will make your job easier and more efficient. A good computer, printer, and reliable internet connection are essential.
e). Be sure to have plenty of business cards, marketing materials, and other supplies on hand so you are always prepared.
7. Get organized and stay on top of paperwork.
One of the most important things you can do as a real estate agent is to stay organized.
This includes keeping track of all your listings, clients, appointments, and paperwork. There are a few different ways you can do this:
a). Use a paper-based system: This involves using a physical filing system to keep track of everything. This can be anything from a simple folder system to more complex binders or accordion files. The key is to find a system that works for you and stick with it.
b). Go digital: With today’s technology, there are many different software programs that can help you stay organized in your real estate business.
There are customer relationship management (CRM) programs designed specifically for real estate agents, as well as general task management programs that can be used for any type of business.
Find one that fits your budget and that’s simple and convenient to use.
8). Market your business
If your real estate business is ever going to become successful, then you will need to advertise it.
One popular advertising method that’s currently trending in Kenya is the use of social media influencing together with traditional marketing and digital marketing to convert clients.
9). Schedule FREE viewing
Because this is new business and chances are you might not have a good network of ready buyers at inception, it is a no-brainer that you focus your marketing efforts and show all potential buyers your properties.
The more viewing you have, the more your properties get in front of buyers, the more your network grows, and the better chances you have at selling your first property.
10). Sell your first property and press repeat
Since your business is now functional, be ready for anything. You could get a purchasing client soon. When your stars align, sell your first property and do a good job while at it because most property buyers in Kenya end up being repeat clients.
If they are satisfied with how you handle the transaction and the transfer process, they may just buy another property from you sooner. Or, they could refer someone else to you. A ready buyer.
While the process of starting a successful real estate agency may seem simple in theory it does require upfront investment both, time and money.
Before you waste your money setting up an office and buying properties in areas you may never sell, take a break and learn from other agents already doing the business.
Do you have any questions regarding starting a real estate business in Kenya? Leave a comment down below and I will respond promptly.
Good luck starting your new business.