How to Build a House in Kenya in 2021

Last Updated on 27/01/2022 by Steve Wanjie

How to build a house in Kenya is a question potential homeowners ask every day.

You are angry with a landlord for harassing you for late rent payment.

The landlord doesn’t care what caused the delay. It could have been COVID19.

All that landlords care about is their money.

So you struggle with this question, “how can I build my own house?” You wonder, “How much does it cost to build a house?

Will I ever own a home?

As years go by and a growing family to take care of, anxiety gripes in. Is there a solution to the problem associated with renting a home? The answer is YES.

Yes, you too can own your own home. But it takes more than wishing. It needs action, planning, and the desire to overcome homeownership challenges.

The obstacles are many along the way but you are strong and resourceful. You are here to tackle challenges because you are equipped to overcome them.

3 bedroom house plan
3 bedroom house plan in Kenya – credit: muthurwa.com

This article is a guide on how to build a house in Kenya. The ideas and tips in this article should help you become a homeowner soon.

How to build a house steps:

  • Save money
  • Buy a piece of land
  • Have a qualified architect draw your dream house plan
  • Draw a budget for house building
  • Raise adequate funds that cover your house building budget
  • Acquire the necessary building permits from your local authority
  • Recruit qualified building materials suppliers
  • Secure the building site with a fence
  • Hire a qualified building contractor
  • Commence house construction
  • Have qualified building engineers check, and supervise construction works regularly

What is the average cost of building a house in Kenya?

It is hard to have a precise average cost of building a house in Kenya because there are many factors to consider. Some of these factors are;

– The cost of construction permits in your county

– The location of the land, soil type, and topography

– House type, size, and design

– Main construction materials in use e.g. are you building timber, bricks, or a prefabricated house?

– Roofing material type and roof design

– Type of finishing and finishing materials used

Thus the cost depends on you and your home building choices. A low-cost building in Nairobi will cost about Kenya Shillings fifty thousand per square meter.

A high-cost building will cost you at least 85 thousand Kenya Shillings per square meter. Again I have to insist that what counts is your building choices.

Do It Yourself:

You could build a low-cost 4 bedroom house in places like Kantafu with less than 7.5 million Kenya Shillings. Owner-supervised construction costs are cheaper than contracted construction.

With 5.5 million a 3 bedroom house is possible because materials are cheap along Kangundo road. These are low-cost building processes with average finishing standards.

Where to buy cheap land in Nairobi Kenya?

You need to have bought a piece of land before thinking of building a home. If you don’t you need to buy the land first. Cheap land is available outside Nairobi.

In counties such as Machakos, Kajiando, and remote areas of Kiambu. Kantafu is in Machakos county. You could get a piece of the land close to the tarmac for about 800,000 Kenya Shillings.

The further away from the tarmac, the cheaper land becomes. With 400,000 Shillings you get land about 15 kilometers from the tarmac. Plot sizes are 50×80 square feet while others are 50×100.

Build a House in Kenya - crane homes architecture cologne
crane homes architecture cologne

How to build a house in Kenya needs a good preparation plan

To win at any war you need to prepare well. Building a home is a challenge that planning is mandatory. Plan well. You need funds, building permits from the local authorities, and building designs.

Before commencement of construction these documents you must have. Let us discuss how to achieve each need in the preparation stage.

i) How to raise money to build a house in Kenya?

a) Use your savings to build a home

If you have enough savings use them to build your home and avoid debt. That is the best option. Build a debt-free house enjoy life.

b) Use the Kenyan Jua Kali method of raising building funds

This is the route many people in Kenya take if you are not aware. You raise house construction labor charge (or payment for mason and manual laborers.)

You pay for labor out of your pocket. Then make agreements with hardware shop owners to supply building materials on credit.

Most will agree on a two-year deal. Use the title deed of the plot as loan security. You get the building materials. Make sure to have a written and duly signed building materials supply agreement.

And that is the Jua Kali route towards building a home!

c) Get a house loan – mortgage

The second way to raise funds to build your home is to get a home loan from the bank. You pay a 20% downpayment for the total cost of building and get the funding. That is if you qualify for a mortgage.

Where do you go for a house loan in Kenya?

What are the cheapest mortgage rates in Kenya? Here is a list of mortgage providers in Kenya starting with the cheapest;

  • Standard Bank 12.2%
  • Citibank 12.5%
  • Commercial Bank 12.9%
  • Kenya Commercial Bank 13.3%
  • National Industrial Credit Bank 13.4%
  • Stanbic Bank 14.1%
  • Absa Bank 14.4%
  • Diamond Trust 14.6%
  • Co-op Bank14.9%
  • Consolidated Bank 15.1%

 ii) Importance of building permits

You get building permits from your local authority. These permits give you peace of mind otherwise you undergo harassment. You could get fined.

A local authority could bring down your house. To avoid paying bribes to unscrupulous officers get the permits.

A bank cannot lend you money unless you produce building permits and plans. Get building permits to prove your building meets set local construction standards.

iii) You need building design or plan

You need a house plan. What do you want your home to look like? You could use the internet for ideas. Pinterest is a good place to search for house building plans.

How to build a house in Kenya - house plans
How to build a house in Kenya

Most masons can interpret and build a house according to the house plan you present to them. You can choose to use professionals to design your building plans.

The important thing is to find your desired home design. Bungalows or maisonettes are cheaper to construct compared to modern fancy designs.

iv) Water supply should be reliable

Make sure to sort out the water supply before construction works begin. If possible make sure you connect water to your plot. Otherwise, you would have to rely on water vendors, an expensive and unreliable source.

Who is going to build your house?

You have two options:

  1. Act as Your Own Contractor
  2. Hire a General Contractor

Act as your own contractor:

Acting as your own contractor means you hire local masons to build your house. If you choose this path you become the chief building works supervisor.

This option has the potential to offer savings on construction costs. You could save up to 20% of overall building costs. But you are not a qualified building contractor.

This means things could go wrong under your watch because you are not a trained builder.

Building Contractor:  

Hiring a licensed general contractor is expensive but it is the right thing to do. A general contractor knows his trade. He has the experience and cannot be taken advantage of by the masons.

A contractor will ensure high building standards are observed. And the final product is devoid of hidden construction blunders.

A contractor must have registered with the National Construction Authority (NCA.)

Whether you use local masons or hire a contractor, make sure to see their previous works. This will help determine whether they are suitable to work for you or not.

Groundbreaking Tip:

Before you start doing the foundation or groundbreaking, you need a surveyor around. You need a surveyor to greenlight construction. Reason – to avoid encroaching on neighbor’s land. Once the boundaries determination is over, break ground and work begins.

Pay cross attention to the construction work

It is a good idea to watch the work progress. Is the construction going on as you expect? Could something go down in a different way?

Ask a question and get the appropriate answer. Seek friends who have done it before. Let them tell on how they think the construction is going on.

That is how good supervision should happen. Otherwise, the builder may do a shoddy job under your watch.


1. Why build a new house instead of buying an existing home?

 Why should I build a new house? There are several reasons, why you would choose to build a new house, instead of buying an existing home. Here are some reasons:

  • Building a new house, allows you to have a home specific to your needs.
  • Building a new house means you choose your design and have a dream home built according to your desires.
  • Building a new home ensures you wouldn’t face any unseen surprises which are possible in old homes.
  • You avoid buying a house built with hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead-based paint.
  • You could buy a house built with sub-standard materials.
  •  Thus building your house is a safe option.
  • 2. How to save on the costs of building a house?
  • Don’t build your house on the rainy season. In Kenya, the rainy season is between March and June.
  • Hire a registered building contractor
  • Source building materials on your own don’t send masons because they mark-up prices
  • Buy construction materials on wholesale to save on retail pricing
  • When buying materials avoid cheap bargains because they could be sub-standard or less
  • Rent timber posts and trappers. These provide support during construction. The idea is to rent instead of buying new ones.
  • Construction site workers steal building materials. They sell stolen materials to hardware shops or other construction sites. Be aware.

Thank You

Steve Wanjie

Founder – Dijito Marketing


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By Steve Wanjie

Steve Wanjie is a digital marketing specialist, SEO Expert, expert article writer, blogger, sex educationist, and businessman. He is the founder of Dijito Marketing and Laikipo.com. He works and lives in Nairobi Kenya.

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