Less Is More

At the start of our investment journey, my wife Emily and I knew that we had a fairly good grasp of the rental market. We especially understood the needs of young people who needed bedsitters. Naturally, this is where we started – offering housing solutions for the young.

In time we came to the realization that young people did not like paying much for housing but could happily pay more for a good lifestyle. We, therefore, changed our business model from housing to lifestyle. To be clear, the stone and mortar of our existing property did not change, what changed was our attitude, customer service, level of property management and messaging.

In my mid-thirties, other “brilliant” ideas of diversification came to mind and putting all our eggs in one basket seemed like a bad idea. Against Emily’s strong objective I went on a diversification frenzy putting hard-earned cash into ventures like ranching, dams, greenhouses, restaurants, salon and all manner of ventures which failed. After about three years of losing money, peace of mind and sleep, I came back to my senses and realized that the only investment I know really well is providing a lifestyle to young aspirational urbanites through rental property. My all so understanding wife was glad that I regained my sanity but ofcourse the “I told you so” moments have never stopped – 10 years later.

After this foolish adventure, we reduced our income-generating activity to one – providing a lifestyle to young aspirational urbanites. We therefore only have one source of income – RENT. No salaries, no land, no shares, nothing – just RENT.

We don’t own our home, we don’t own three bedrooms – we only invest in bedsitters and one-bedroom apartments. We have stuck here and say no to everything else, however tempting. It is the one thing we know really well. From our 15years of investing, we can confidently agree with the statement “less is more”

Investing in rental income is the one investment decision we have made that makes everything else easy to do or irrelevant.

Comment (1)

  • I can relate. I have investment in a footwear start-up, a gym and various chama ventures, but the only investment giving me peace of mind this far is investing in real estate for rental income. Recent commercial reports also show that real estate is once again the best performing asset class in Kenya.

    Sam Imende

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