bai properties

Your First Apartment: A Guide to Finding the Perfect Spot in Kampala

You know what makes for a great “my first apartment” story? Grim memories of late-night arguments with your landlord, lost security deposits, the heat that never worked and countless other grisly memories of that hole-in-the-wall you lived in at 23.

What’s not so great? Actually living in that first apartment.

If you’re a recent college grad and looking for your first place, you might not be clear on all the steps you need to take to line up an awesome apartment. This guide will walk you through what you need to do to snag your dream space and avoid those nightmare apartment scenarios.

In this guide you’ll find tips on:

• Narrowing down your search
• The best time to look for an apartment
• Setting your apartment budget
• Whether you’ll need a guarantor
• Red flags to look out for
• What documentation you’ll need
• How to read the lease fine print

Decide what apartment features really matter

Before you dive headfirst into apartment hunting, create a list of everything you want. This may include particular neighborhoods, number of bedrooms, size of square footage and certain amenities. I suggest you organize and prioritize your list into three key areas:

• Must-haves
• Nice to have, but can do without
• Dream apartment features

Have a list. That way you’ll know when you’re ready to compromise and how your budget translates when you go out to experience a new space.

Pro tip: Depending on what city you’re looking in, consider neighborhoods that are slightly off the beaten path, or just outside of trendier areas. You might get more square footage for your money. Use a site like Bai Properties to explore communities and find out what amenities are in walking distance.

Timing is everything in real estate

Start looking according to when you want to move in. Most move-in dates are on the first of the month, but some landlords may prefer or be willing to swing a mid-month start date.

“Anywhere from May through the end of August is the busiest season for rentals,” says Tanya Mahmood, chief operating officer and executive vice president of RLTY NYC. “It’s crucial to start looking a month in advance because you could run into the problem of showing up and not having an apartment in time to start a new job.” She adds not to look too far ahead because there will be fewer apartments available more than a month before your planned move-in date.

Pro tip: Don’t automatically assume you can move in a few days before your lease start date without incurring costs. Talk to your landlord before you book a moving truck or recruit friends to help. Also, since moving companies tend to be busiest on the first of the month, make your reservations as soon as possible to secure a spot if you’re moving at that time.

Make sure you can afford your rent … and everything else

You might have your first salary, but you don’t want to be working just to pay rent. Typically, landlords are looking for an annual income ratio to be 40 or 50 times the monthly rent (40 times monthly rent should equal 30% of your income). To make apartment living more affordable, consider bringing roommates into the equation. Some landlords will let roommates combine salaries to meet the income ratio, but not always.

When you’re looking for a place, don’t forget to factor additional living expenses into your budget. This could include monthly expenses for:

• Utilities (gas, heat, electric)
• Parking
• Storage
• Internet and/or cable
• Pet fees
• Building fees (water, trash, maintenance)

When you apply for the apartment, you may have to pay a processing or credit check fee. And don’t forget the security deposit, which is typically one month’s rent or less. You might also have to pay your first and last month’s rent upfront.

Your landlord might require renters insurance. This insurance protects your possessions in case of an emergency or catastrophe and provides liability coverage for personal injury or property loss. Even if your landlord doesn’t require renters insurance, it’s a good thing to have.

Pro tip: Your landlord will want a complete picture of your financial health when you apply. “Get one of the free credit reports you’re entitled to each year so you’re not surprised when a landlord runs your credit,” suggests Ravi Dehar, growth lead at, a service for landlords and tenants to screen applicants and pay rent. You can check your credit report through each of the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.

When you might need a guarantor

If you have no credit history, apartment history or have just started working, a landlord might require a guarantor, also called a co-signer, on your lease. A guarantor’s role is to take on your financial obligations if for some reason you can’t. Most guarantors for recent grads are parents. Landlords will require guarantors’ income to be 80 times the monthly rent, to ensure they can pay for their own bills as well as yours if you can’t afford your rent.

Pro tip: Make sure you have your guarantor in tow or at least have his or her documentation ready when you’re applying.

Start your search and watch out for these red flags

If you’re strapped for cash, then going online is the way to go. For most, that means an apartment hunting site such as PadMapper and the ubiquitous source for the online search, your local Craigslist. Melanie Siben, a New York City real estate agent at Charles Rutenberg, suggests maintaining a healthy level of suspicion throughout your online search. “Not all apartments are what they seem and not all are real,” she adds. These are all red flags:

• Too good to be true usually is. If an apartment is listed in a great neighborhood, with large square footage, lots of amenities and all at a cheap price, it’s probably a fake. Compare similar apartments in the area.

• Extremely high fees paid upfront. “Sometimes you’ll be asked to pay everything including the security deposit and finders fee upfront before you have any lease or even seen the apartment,” Siben says.

• Landlord doesn’t ask for your credit score and other necessary background materials. “Every landlord wants to verify you’re gainfully employed and that you don’t have a criminal history,” Siben says.

• When you’re getting too much pressure to hurry up, sign and pay. “You can tell when someone wants a quick buck,” Siben says.

• A listing says, “I’m out of the country, but…” The landlord or his agent isn’t available to show you the apartment until after you send the money. “You need to see the apartment before you give any money,” Siben says. “If that’s not an option, make sure you’re dealing with a reputable agent or company.”

If you hire a real estate agent, you can find places that are unlisted and you’ll have someone to do the negotiating for you. The downside is you’ll pay a fee or commission, often up to a full month’s rent or 15% of an entire year’s rent.

Pro tip: To verify a landlord owns the property, you can look up an apartment’s tax records at your local assessor’s office to make sure names match up.

Be prepared to jump on an apartment

Even if you find your dream apartment, it may be someone else’s two-bedroom utopia too.

“It’s extremely competitive for young people. They’re looking for the cheapest, safe place possible and they’ve got tons of competitors. You have to act fast,” Siben says.

Before you visit a place, have everything you might need to lock it down quickly on hand, including:

• Recent paystubs or a note of employment validating your salary. Your letter must be officially signed and on company letterhead.
• Recent bank statements and/or a recent tax return
• Your Social Security number for a credit check
• Photo identification
• Vehicle information, including a license plate number, make and model number
• Your checkbook to pay for application fees and security deposit
• Contact information for references

If the application asks for a reference from a previous landlord, don’t think you’re out of the running if you’ve never lived on your own. “Landlords have seen everything — they know if you just graduated and just got your first job that you either lived at home or in dorms,” Williams says.

Pro tip: If you’re certain you want an apartment, apply on the spot. If you wait too long, you may miss out.

Comb through fine print

Most landlords will give you a standard lease agreement to sign. But the lease riders, or clauses, are the fine print you should examine the closest.

“It’s like anything else: You need to read the small print,” says Carol Stuckey, account manager at Apartment Locator in Oklahoma City. “You need to know the length of the lease and if you don’t fulfill the lease what the consequences are. In the state of Oklahoma they can charge you the full amount of the lease if you move out early.”

Certain add-ons such as a cleaning fee after you move out are becoming more common, Williams says. He adds, “Some landlords may have had a bad experience with frat guys who moved into a beautiful four-bedroom. They want to make sure the property is returned to a state that it was originally in and so future renters will have a clean environment.”

Before signing the lease, point out any concerns you might have. If you make any verbal agreements at this time, get them in writing.

Pro tip: When you move in, submit a report and take photos of any prior damage. You don’t want to be held responsible for a literal hole in the wall that was already there when you moved in.

Final takeaway

Knowing how to approach finding your first apartment gives you the power to make the best possible decision. You’re going to have pitfalls and plenty of memories to collect along the way — this is still renting, after all. Just remember: The great thing about your first apartment is that it will always be your first.

Bai Properties

Small plot, big house, here is how to maximize your land

By Tony Mushoborozi
Bai Properties
Construction concept. Engineering tools.Vintage tone

In Summary

For a plot of land that would neither allow you to build a decent house nor deliver a rental investment worth saving for, this plan shows you that any plot size can deliver a worthy real estate project.

The land tenure as it is in the country allows a person to buy a plot of land smaller than the standard plot of 50 feet by 100 feet. Anyone familiar with Uganda’s real estate industry knows that plots as small as 25ft by 25ft (7 square metres) are on sale. It is also not uncommon for someone to be forced by financial hardships to sell a small piece of their land to pay school fees or to clear hospital bills.
Therefore, sooner or later, you might find yourself with a tiny piece of land that you might have bought to bail out a neighbour or a relative. Such plots are usually too small for a regular home. A home with no parking space or an emergency outside bathroom and such other facilities is not at all practical. One needs a smart house plan to get the best out of tiny plots. This house plan is perfect for small plots.

Outer measurements
This is a four-bedroom house that fits on a 50 feet by 50 feet plot and leaves enough space to park two cars and a small garden. It’s like magic. Usually, a four-bedroom house can barely fit well on a plot double this size. The fact that this plan has made this possible, is a testament that approaching a challenge in a new way can deliver wonders. This little gem measures a paltry 10 metres by 10 metres. But what really makes the difference is the storeyed floor plan. The other factor that makes this tiny house so spacious is the open-floor plan on the ground floor that merges spaces into each other. Each space is much larger than it really is because it borrows several square meters from neighboring spaces that aren’t being used.

The ground floor 
The ground floor consists of the living room, the kitchen, the dining areas and generally facilities that are meant to be shared by family and friends. The garage and the guest room are add-ons. What is dainty about the bedroom on the ground floor is that it opens from the outside, which means it is not only perfect as a guest room, it is perfect for an older child who wants some level of independence. It is like a boy’s quarters that is not detached.
To utilize the space to the maximum, there is a bathroom under the stair case. This is a practice that needs to be taken seriously as it saves space and minimizes on nooks and crannies that gather dust in a home. The outside store is a perfect place to keep things like charcoal and produce. The inner store next to the kitchen can be saved for cleaner things like gas canisters and such.

The upper floor
The upper floor is the resting area. Three bedrooms, a private sitting room where only family is allowed, and a balcony only accessible to the family or the primary residents who occupy the upper floor bedrooms. Two of the three bedrooms are smaller and minimalistic and would be perfect for children. They share a bathroom and a balcony. The third bedroom is a true master’s bedroom. The spacious room has a private balcony and a walled closet.
The bathroom is nothing short of a haven of relaxation. A large bathtub is better than a small one. Most people never have the option for a large tub, and it can be tracked down to plans that lack in smartness.

The outer embellishments 
The specifications on the outside are designed to strike a business image. This is one of those cases where the look of the home tends towards the commercial side of real estate. The house communicates power, money and aloofness.
The glass walls on the right side of the house are great for interior natural lighting but even better, the design adds a special character to the beauty of the house.
The glass frames on the glass merge perfectily with the post-modernist grids on the main columns of the house. This gives the house a sturdy character, which communicates safety and security. It is a win to build a house that can easily intimidate robbers. And this looks like it does.

The cost
The house costs between Shs170m and Shs190m. The exact cost depends on type of finishing and other avariables.

Stone bricks

Stone bricks have been growing in popularity in Uganda’s real estate industry for close to two decades now. And for good reason. No two stones are exactly the same.
They bring a special warmth to any surface because their beauty lies in their effortless natural feel.
Natural elements have a way of looking alike while simultaneously looking different.
It is that character that stone bricks bring to architecture.
Whether one uses stone bricks to cleverly hide imperfections in the columns or walls, or one uses them for décor purposes inside the house, stone bricks almost never disappoint.
They can transform a room and give it a character of artistry.
Better still, they can reshape the façade of the home in ways that no other material can.
One of the best messages that stones send is strength and stability.
No wonder several hardware dealers have steadily invested in these finely cut stones.
The nature of stones is that the options are endless; from colours to textures to shapes. It’s an exciting world.

All Rights Reserved by

Property Development

But, What is a Bungalow? Read full article!

What is a Bungalow?

Property Development
Bai Properties

bungalow is a type of building, originally developed in the Bengal region of the subcontinent.[1] The meaning of the word bungalow varies internationally. Common features of many bungalows include verandas and being low-rise.

A bungalow today is a house, normally detached, that may contain a small loft. It is either single-story or has a second story built into a sloping roof, usually with dormer windows (one-and-a-half stories).

Bungalows are very convenient for the homeowner in that all living areas are on a single-story and there are no stairs between living areas.


Neighborhoods of only bungalows offer more privacy than similar neighborhoods with two-story houses. As bungalows are one or one and a half stories, strategically planted trees and shrubs are usually sufficient to block the view of neighbors.

With two-story houses, the extra height requires much taller trees to accomplish the same, and it may not be practical to place such tall trees close to the building to obscure the view from the second floor of the next door neighbor. Bungalows provide cost-effective residences.


Cost and space considerations

On a per unit area basis (e.g. per square meter or per square foot), bungalows are more expensive to construct than two-story houses, because a larger foundation and roof area is required for the same living area.

The larger foundation will often translate into larger lot size requirements, as well. Due to this, bungalows are typically fully detached from other buildings and do not share a common foundation or party wall: if the homeowner can afford the extra expense of a bungalow relative to a two-story house, they can typically afford to be fully detached as well.

Although the ‘footprint’ of a bungalow is often a simple rectangle, any foundation is theoretically possible.

For bungalows with brick walls, the windows are often positioned high, and are close to the roof. This architectural technique avoids the need for special arches or lintels to support the brick wall above the windows. However, in two-story homes, there is no choice but to continue the brick wall above the window (second-story windows may be positioned high and close to the


General Characteristics

  • Low-pitched roof, gabled or hipped.
  • Deep eaves with exposed rafters.
  • Decorative knee braces.
  • Open floor plan.
  • Terraced compound.
  • Children play area.
  • Built-in cabinetry, beamed ceilings, simple wainscot most commonly seen in dining and living room.
  • Large, covered front porches with massive columns under extension of main roof.
bai properties

Mistakes first-time tenants should avoid

Houses for rent in kampala
Houses for rent in kampala

In Summary

Some first-time tenants are not sure what is expected of them or even their rights. Here are a few tips if you are a first-time tenant.


Every step we take in our lives we always have that first time moment, which means a lot in our journey to success. If you are a first-time tenant, here are a few legal tips that will save you.
Jonathan Kaweesa, a legal officer, says apart from the information landlords normally issue in the tenant’s agreement, you must be aware of the legal side regarding your rights as a tenant.

Avoid oral agreement 
Kaweess says normally people get property agents through their close friends thinking they have got genuine managers who will provide according to the demand but they end up getting disappointed.
“Once you agree to have a deal with someone, you have to make sure everything is written. These documents will act as back up if something happens at any time, the document will consist of date, signature of both parties and witness,” he says.
Kaweesa adds that it will be very hard for anyone to change the written agreement because the document will indicate what you agreed on from the beginning.
With oral agreement, it is very easy for anyone to change their word.
Being indecisive
Kaweesa says if you get a good house, move in fast or you will miss out.
“After making the final decision, do not hesitate to move in as a new tenant, delay to move in, you may end up occupying a house which was already given out to another tenant because property agents depend on commission they get from each client,” he says.
He adds that if you do not occupy the house in time, the landlord may think that you have changed your mind and start looking for another occupant who can even pay more than what you paid and they refund your money of which the refunded money may not be enough to get another house.

Agree on allowances
Muhammed Kizito, a property manager, says if you are a first time tenant, you have to agree on the commission you are supposed to give the property agent when the work is done to avoid double payments.
“Normally property agents tends to get double commission from both the landlord and tenant and sometimes this money is paid by the tenant alone, which is not fair. That’s why you have to agree on the right person who is supposed to pay commission,” he says.

Who makes the agreement? 
Kizito says you have to know whether you are dealing with the rightful owner of the property.
When you are signing the contract, make sure you get firsthand information from the landlord because you may find that you are stuck somewhere and you do not have someone to talk to about the matter.
Kizito adds that the landlord can even give you an alternative to occupy the house and pay later or give you some time.

Paying bills and utilities
Kizito says If you are a first time tenant, you have to ask the property agent about the bills and utilities, and who will be responsible for paying them.
You may find that without proper regulations, some tenant pay for more than what they consume, that is why independent accounts and metres are preferred.
“Unless the agreement states how you’re supposed to pay these utilities, the landlord will not mind about the utilities instead they will care about rent being paid on time,” he says.
He adds that you can agree to share utility bills with fellow tenants. If the agreement says the bills are included on your rent, you have to make sure all the accounts are at zero balance to avoid paying someelse’s bills.
“If you’re ready to move in make sure you make an appointment with a utility to shut off the pending bill so that the metre can start afresh to start afresh,” he says.

Occupying a house with unresolved issues
Hajarah Namuli says when she started renting, she wanted to get a newly constructed house and the one she got was not fully furnished. The landlord promised to have evrything in place withinn a week but it did not happen.
“I spent two weeks without occupying my house thinking that the landlord had already done everything. When I reached the house, I was surprised to see that nothing was worked on,” she shares.
She adds that this happens when a landlord wants to rent his or her house and starts convincing the tenant that everything will be fixed shortly.
“You should not sign any contract when the landlord has not completed repairs or put in place anything they promised to avoid inconveniences because you may end up paying more money than what you budgeted for,” she advises.

Other key issues

Security: If you are a first-time tenant, you have to make sure security is good in the new place. For your safety and that of your property, make sure you have your own door locks to avoid intruders.
Know your Neighborhood:
Get time and do research about the neighborhood at-least to have an idea of what the security is like some areas have dangerous natural hazards and others are insecure.


Bai Properties

Reasons to go for well-furnished rental

In Summary

If you are not in your own premises, and plan to keep moving house, here is why you need to rent a furnished house.

Bai Properties
Bai Properties

When I was transferred to Uganda, I looked for a real estate agency online so that I could get a comfortable place to live. I didn’t want to move with so many items, I opted for a fully-furnished house so that I can save my money and time to buy items, shares Joan Olinga, an engineer.
Tenants always move in and out but the main challenge in this is safe transportation of their property. Hassan Munaganwa, a property caretaker, explains why you should go for a well-furnished house.

Little cost for transport 
Munaganwa says currently, people in Uganda are not so into fully-furnished houses but some landlords prefer to have them in place because they want to make it easier for tenants to move in and out. “Fully-furnished houses save the landlords from chasing after defaulters. Some defaulters leave their belongings behind making it hard for the landlord to clear the house for the new tenants, and sometimes they claim their items are missing,” he says.

Munaganwa adds that sometimes when a tenant is moving out, they have no choice but to sell their property yet buyers are not easy to come by when one is in a hurry.
“Instead of making losses, and spending money in transporting furniture, it’s better to go with fully-furnished houses, which saves time and money without inconveniencing other people. Sometimes items get spoilt because you get a smaller house where your furniture is not fitting,” he adds.

High value 
Munagwa says for the property owner, a fully-furnished house is rated higher than one that is not, therfore, the procceds from it are higher. If they decided to sell it off, they would still be paid more than a landlord with a non-furnished house because the client will rate the household items as well.
“Currently, expatriates, who are coming in the country and have short contracts of three to four years, which is a short time and want high quality houses, where they can feel secure with their families,” he says.

Short time contractors 
Mpuuga says fully-furnished houses are good for short term tenants because it makes it easier for them to move in and out, especially if the tenant is on a short contract. “This also saves time that would have been wasted in making selections as shopping for quality household items needs time and you may find that all the items you want are not in one place, and you have to move around to get the best,” he says.

No need of hiring experts 
Mpuuga adds that it will make work easier because the tenant will not spend money on hiring interior designers.
“Property managers who deal in fully furnished houses always do their best when it comes to making choices. they always buy quality furniture to please clients and so that they can last long,” he adds.

Enjoying good living

Hassan Munaganwa, a property caretaker says fully-furnished houses are usually of high quality, because people build them with the purpose of targeting high class people who are willing to pay rent on time and to get their money in a period of short time.
“Since people had invested much money in these houses they make sure that their clients are contented with what they picked, they make sure that security in tight, services are available and tenant’s agreement is clear to them,” he adds.

2019, All Rights Reserved:  SHABIBAH NAKIRIGYA, Daily Monitor.

Bai Properties

Places attracting big money in Uganda

In Summary

Gone are the days when the likes of Ntinda, Muyenga were the places where most moneyed people would look to construct residences. New areas have come up and are attracting the big shilling.



Housing is a necessity that each one of us works towards having or achieving, be it on rental basis or full ownership. The common denominator is always land.
June is here, splitting the year by half. Land brokers and real estate developers are on the look out for houses to rent or land to develop.

There are places whose rating is high in terms of attracting buyers and the price tags attached to the land is high making them competitive. This is dependent on how developed a place is in terms of amenities such as water, access roads, and proximity to attractions or conference facilities that draw in both local and foreign visitors.

Alex Baingana, a proprietor and head salesman at Bai Property Limited. He buys land, builds housing units on it, which he rents and when a willing buyer expresses interest in the property, he sells it to them.
Baingana says Buziga is one of the areas attracting buyers this year given their prime location.

The cost
“A 12-decimal piece of land in Buziga will attract Shs170m in a good location but lower if someone is willing to settle on Kabaka’s land where the same size of land will cost about Shs110m,” Baingana explains.
Buziga is approximately 12 kilometres from the city centre, and as Denis Jjuuko, a real estate businessman says any area within 50 kilometres will attract a good fee and as such, is currently sought after by those willing to acquire land.
“The nearer, the better but even further away you get value for money. However, further away is for those who think long term,” Jjuuko explains.

Kira is less than 15 kilometres from Kampala and an area in which Phillip Muhoja, has operated in for the last seven years as founder and director of Spectrum Properties.
He says the areas such as Namugongo, Kyaliwajjala, Nalya, and Sonde are drawing a lot of interest from land buyers owing to a number of reasons, one of which is affordability.
Muhoja says a 12-decimal, or 50 by 100 feet piece of land in those areas can attract between Shs70 and Shs80m.

Organised neighbourhood
“Kira has particularly attracted many buyers because it is more organised and has recently been granted a municipality status. The road network has also been improved,” Muhoja observes.

All the land in Kira is titled because there is no lease of mailoland. As such, Muhoja says people feel safer buying such land. This has also contributed to an increase in the number of land developers and real estate dealers in the Kira areas and the neighbouring places. He adds that accessibility is another seller for the areas.

A site visit in many of the mentioned areas shows activity pointed towards development, with demarcated plots of land, busy construction sites, real estate signposts to advertise land on sale as well as finished houses in organised and semi-organised neighbourhoods.

Paul Ssemakadde, a broker in Kitetika, says there is a lot of interest in Gayaza because it is accessible with its linkage to Kira and Ntinda.
“Anyone buying land in Gayaza, does not have to worry about mapping their way to and away from home. This has helped boost the cost of plots here. Depending on location and one’s bargaining power, one can acquire a piece of land for between Shs30m and Shs60m,” the broker explains.

Comparatively, Ssemakade says a plot of land in Gayaza would fetch between Shs30m and Shs35m. Another place that is attracting buyers is Kigo, which Baingana says is selling like hot cake owing to the newly constructed Kampala-Entebbe Express Highway.

Also, it is close to Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort, which is a hub of local and international conferences that sometimes call for more hospitality facilities that spill or prefer to be accommodated at Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa, in Kigo.
“The golf course at the hotel has also become an attraction for the rich and sporty,” Baingana adds. The lake resort is also a venue for weddings and honeymooners who like its pristine nature given its interface with Lake Victoria.

Jjuuko adds: “There are also new developments on islands and lake shores actually in Mukono but facing Munyonyo where new major developments are taking place… these areas are going.”
Garuga, located on Entebbe Road is an area he also points to, estimating that villas there could go for as much as $1.2m (about Shs4.5b).

“Garuga area is going to be as hot because there is a huge estate being built there. So, those who won’t afford to buy from that estate would be able to get around there,” the real estate businessman adds.

Outside the traditional scope, located within the areas close to Kampala, Baingana and Muhoja point to places beyond Kira for those who do not mind going the distance in search of land to settle on. To the list of outbound areas, Jjuuko adds Bukereere, after Seeta.

Tips on buying land
Sadat Anwar Nakibinge says when you decide on buying land, consider the distance of the plot of land from your work place or the city centre, as well as accessibility and level of development. He also advises investing time in making sure you are buying land at an honest price before deciding to make a given payment.

Real estate dealer Solomon Katongole says for one interested in investing in property business, it is important to pay attention to detail during the verification process and not be rushed to make a decision to buy or sale. The details are usually what help you to detect forgeries and shoddy deals.

Copyright: EDGAR R. BATTE, Daily Monitor.

Photo Credit: Alex Esagala.

7 Tips to Planning for a Future Home Purchase!

7 Tips to Planning for a Future Home Purchase

Are you looking forward to save for your future house or home? These 7 tips will be the foundation for this dream that you hope to achieve!

1. Think of the features of your future house.
2. Draw your house on paper.
3. Figure out how much you can afford.
4. Choose us as your trusted real estate agent.
5. Save for a down payment.
6. Have your Home.
#MondayMotivation #homes

Bai Properties

Want to invest in Real Estate? Think open spaces

Bai Properties
Bai Properties, Kampala

By Denis Jjuuko

About 17 years ago, some business people claiming to be concerned about the slums of Kampala hatched an idea of “developing organized housing estates.” They claimed unplanned housing in Kampala made the city an eyesore to everyone. They had a point. It is not uncommon to find a USD1 million house sharing a perimeter wall with others worth USD3,000. Sometimes one house faces this side and another the other side. A storied building here and a charcoal seller’s kiosk there.

Anyway, the businesspeople bought large tracts of land on the outskirts of Kampala and parceled them into plots measuring approximately 50×100 feet or 11.5 decimals, basically less than an eighth of an acre.

Before we knew it, the 50×100 feet plots had become the standard size of plots on which the so-called middle class would build their dream residential homes. The businessmen claimed they had included spaces for recreation within these estates, schools and shopping centres. Without any direct ownership to these open spaces by the people who had bought the plots, the businessmen eventually sold these open spaces so people could build yet more homes or whatever.

As Kampala expanded, land became a very expensive commodity. Open spaces were taken over and malls or some ugly buildings were erected. Kampala City Square or Constitutional Square was even once proposed for an underground shopping mall! When whoever was proposing it realized how untenable his idea was, the police cordoned it off for themselves and turned the upper part into a barracks of sorts. Ugly cheap structures were erected at Centenary Park.

If you drive through the suburbs, schools no longer have open spaces. They too are being built on 50×100 feet plots. The kids have nowhere to play. I am told that in Luwero district which boarders Wakiso, north of Kampala, they even parcel out 25×50 feet plots!

There are very few open spaces left in Kampala. The biggest now is Kololo Ceremonial Grounds. You can’t tell for long it will remain so before some buildings are constructed there. I am thinking the National ID guys who operate at the pavilion will one day wake up and say that they need better offices and allocate themselves a few acres.

Almost every weekend, there is an event at Kololo. If it is not the Rotary Cancer Run or the MTN Marathon, it is some festival of one kind or another. Even weddings now are being held there. That shows the decrease in the number of open spaces in Kampala. Kololo, which maybe about 30 acres can range from Shs7m to Shs100m to hire depending on who you are or who you talk to. Besides, it is also not necessarily easy to get even when you have money. You have to speak to ministries of internal affairs and defense to get it. And if you are not well connected, you can forget all about it.

The other spaces left are the rugby grounds at Legends and Kyadondo, a bit of UMA show grounds and the Cricket Oval at Lugogo. I hear a certain prophet pays Shs10m every Tuesday for Kyadondo.

So with very little space left, the next profitable business in greater Kampala is going to be open spaces. By greater Kampala, I include Kampala, wakiso, Mukono and some parts of Mpigi. These open spaces like we have seen with Kololo may earn you more money than some buildings. Once you have secured the land, you don’t need much money to put up structures. All you need is to keep them green with maybe a fence and some basic amenities like toilets. Kololo doesn’t even have enough toilets, you must hire mobile ones from the likes of Fotogenix.

In Buwaate, a few kilometers from Ntinda, an entrepreneur has already realized the lack of open spaces and built a ‘stadium’ with an artificial turf where people pay to play soccer and/or run around. This entrepreneur charges per hour. You pay, play soccer or whatever and after an hour another team comes in.

So if you are thinking real estate in greater Kampala, think of open spaces. Weddings, sports enthusiasts, flea markets, pastors, exhibitors, festival organisers, concerts and the like will come calling. Schools will need spaces for their students to exercise a bit or hold sports days. And those in love will need a park to walk sometimes in the evening. The kids will need places to ride their bicycles and families will need to do some picnics not very far from their homes.

#OutToLunch is Denis Jjuuko’s compilation of his many lame and flaky ideas.

The author is a media and communication consultant and a real estate entrepreneur. Twitter: @Denis_Jjuuko

NSSF, workers House

NSSF to increase investment in real estate

Workers House
Workers House

By Najibu Mulema

The National Social Security Funds revealed to increase its investment in real estate to enable contributors access affordable housing.

Basing on the funds current investment portfolio seven percent us in real estate translating into shs450 billion and this is likely to increase in the next two to three years.

According to NSSF managing director, Richard Byarugaba, many people are still struggling with housing thus a deliberate move must be taken to solve the problem.

The funds has so far invested shs240 billion in Mbuya housing project and another one million dollars in Jinja housing project.

Bai Properties, Uganda

Chinese handover posh Housing Estate to Kabaka

Bai Properties, Uganda
Buganda Kingdom’s multibillion Mirembe Villas

Buganda Kingdom’s multibillion Mirembe Villas a housing estate in Kigo has been handed over to Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga who represented the King of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi after the completion of 40 modern houses.

Kigo overlooks Lake Victoria a stone’s throw from Lake Victoria Serena.  These modern houses are now ready for people to occupy.

“Uganda has a huge deficit of housing and this project goes a long way in addressing that challenge,” Mayiga said. “However, Ssaabasajja Kabaka when he was launching this project urged us to start another project with affordable houses. That project will be in Ssentema Wakiso District and Mayembe ga Mbogo in Mpigi,” he revealed. “I call upon those who want to partner with us in Ssentema and Mpigi to come forward. We want to unveil it soon,” Mayiga added.

The investment partner for Mirembe Villas, the Chinese real estate giant, Gouji Group, was quick to express interest. “We want to partner with you even in Ssentema,” the Gouji Group representative said.

Katikkiro Mayiga was accompanied by Princess Joan Nassolo and Princess Victoria Nkinzi, both daughters of Kabaka Mutebi.

Roland Ssebuwufu the CEO Buganda Investments and Commercial Undertakings Ltd (BICUL) thanked Gouji Group and Buganda Land Board for the job well done as well as the Katikkiro for the guidance.

Owek Robert Waggwa Nsibirwa, the Kingdom Treasurer and Minister of Finance, Investments and Planning said real estate leads to the development of other sectors.

This project is another way through which the Kingdom of Buganda contributes to the development of Uganda.