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Surviving Nairobi: How To Save Money When Moving Houses
Surviving Nairobi: How To Save Money When Moving Houses
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Surviving Nairobi: How To Save Money When Moving Houses

Money254
Money254 Team
March 31, 2022
IMAGE|bproperty.com
IMAGE|bproperty.com

Moving houses is often described as an energy-draining experience, as well as a money-draining one. However, this can also be taken as an opportunity to start afresh and make some serious savings in the process.

Despite the stress that comes with packing up and moving to a new house in Nairobi, if done correctly, some serious money can be pocketed that would have otherwise been gobbled up in the whole process.

When it comes to movers in Nairobi, prices could range anywhere between Ksh10,000 to Ksh 80,000 depending on a number of factors such as, distance involved, size of items being moved, what floor you’re moving to (if you are relocating to an apartment building) among others. Most movers actually request a visit before drawing up their final quote.

This is why it is very important to have a simple but clear plan as to how to go about it without wasting any money that could otherwise be saved.

Moving Costs, How to Keep Them Down

As we now know, moving is time consuming, stressful and expensive. However, if you are moving houses in Nairobi, there are quite a few tricks to help you save some money.

Let's start off with the basics

Firstly: Find as many free boxes as possible prior to moving. 

You’d be surprised at just how much these boxes cost at your local supermarkets. If you plan to move in June 2022, you should start collecting cardboard boxes from friends and family today.

Movers factor in the cost of their boxes in their quote which means having boxes of your own will put you in a good position to strike a bargain.

Secondly: Settle on an ideal date and time to move.

Most tenants in Nairobi pay their monthly rent between the 5th and 10th of any given month.

This is good because a mid-month move is cheaper than an end-month one. Settling on an off-peak period to move is the best way to go about it because movers have minimal work during this time.  Striking a good bargain is easy as demand for their services is low.

If the majority of Kenyans are known to move at the end of the year, then do the exact opposite. If you are looking to get the best rate, a Sunday (minimal traffic in Nairobi) mid-month move is highly recommended.

Thirdly: Price Comparison is Key.

As tempting as it is to simply Do It Yourself (DIY) when it comes to moving, one must carry out a proper price comparison before settling on what works.

Let's say you are moving from your two-bedroom apartment in Ruaka, to a similar sized apartment along Ngong Road. 

Calling that colleague of yours who owns a pickup and a few other friends with cars and having them help with the moves sounds cheap and fun. 

However, if this is the preferred method, cost must be assigned. For example, four bottles of wine or more may be consumed during the packing phase alone, any damages to your precious China will not be compensated, and you will definitely find yourself fueling three or more cars.

On the other hand, this doesn’t mean that all professionals movers are cheap, one still needs to get a minimum of three quotes, then pick the most affordable one, give them a call and find ways to drive the price even further down, eg personal packing boxes, settling on a mid-month move etc. will work in your favor.

The Next Step; Declutter

Now that you have booked your preferred mover, it's time to declutter your house.

It can be argued that at some period in our lives, we have all been guilty of hoarding. Holding on to that flowerpot you got from your ex that hasn’t seen a flower ever since she/he gave it to you; or those shoes that you are only glued together to by sentimental value, or that pair of jeans that can’t get past your knees.

We’ve all done it. We’ve all held on to things we no longer need. When it comes to making savings when moving houses, all that stuff has to go. You could hand some over to charity, and simply destroy those that no longer serve their purpose. 

You could also make some money selling that old PC that has turned into a dust storage area in your guest room, plus any other valuables you no longer use.

The rule of thumb is, the more stuff you have to move, the more expensive it is. Getting rid of the stuff you no longer use also frees up more space in your new house, win-win.

Is Rent Negotiable in Nairobi?

This may come as a surprise, but some landlords, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, are open to negotiating when it comes to rent.

The trick is to find a way to get to bypass the agents and get to the actual landlord. Saving even Ksh1,000 from your monthly rent translates to Ksh 12,000 at the end of the year.

Rental properties in Nairobi continued to post lower earnings as tenants seek cheaper options due to shrinking revenue occasioned by the pandemic.

In Nairobi, most, if not all, rental houses are run by agents on behalf of the owners. Surprisingly, some agencies have good track records based on client feedback, but one mostly comes across negative comments when it comes to agents.

It is important to state that not all agents are bad. However, knowing how to engage with agents is important as it could also save you not only money but peace of mind as well.

For example, when you move into any rental apartment in Nairobi, always insist on a Tenancy Agreement. This document protects you as the tenant and also creates a legal avenue for you to claim your deposit when moving out.

Based on countless experiences shared by Kenyans on social media platforms, Nairobians have come to the conclusion that it’s simply easier to serve your notice of vacation and indicate that you’ll ‘sit on the deposit’.

Most landlords and their agents will, however, rarely allow a tenant to charge their last month’s rent on the rent deposit. They will insist on paying back the deposit once a tenant vacates and the necessary inspections made. 

Without a tenancy agreement, the possibility of recovering your deposit is quite slim in most instances. 

The Art of the Deal

Speaking of deposits, did you know that landlords are actually willing to listen to offers when it comes to deposits. Over the last 2 years, home owners have taken a huge hit as a good number of tenants in Nairobi simply moved out of the city.

This led some landlords to even offer discounts as house occupancy levels dropped to levels never seen before. The power shifted to the tenants who could now strike decent bargains such as paying rental deposit in installments.

When settling for your new rental space, it would cost you nothing to try doing this. Ask the agent/landlord if it is possible to pay the deposit in chunks as opposed to a lump sum. The worst they can say is simply ‘no’. You only need a single ‘yes’ and in the current rental space market, the options are at an all time high.

Moving In

Lastly comes the actual moving in phase of your plan. To avoid any misunderstandings down the line, it is very important to have things clear from day one.

Carry out a thorough inspection of the house you’ve settled on prior to moving in. Thorough means checking all the switches, water faucets, piping, flushing the toilet, testing all the door keys, wardrobe hinges, windows, etc.

Always insist on having any damages repaired and the house repainted. This way, when you move out you won’t find yourself paying for stuff that was already broken.

One should also check if there are any outstanding utility bills prior to moving in to avoid unnecessary expenses down the line.

Moving houses can be a daunting task, but if done properly, there are countless opportunities to save money and ensure the new start kicks off on the right foot.

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