Interview with Lizzie Costabir, CEO of Property Investment Firm, BuyRentKenya

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BuyRentKenya is Kenya’s leading property classified. The company was founded in 2012, and since 2017, the firm has been fully owned by the ROAM group, Africa’s largest online classifieds company.

BuyRentKenya prides itself in its commitment to transform the country’s real estate sector by being the one stop shop for all things property.

In 2018, the company received some of the most prestigious industry awards in Kenya, having been named the ‘Best Digital Real Estate Platform’ in the country at the 2nd Annual Digital Inclusion Awards.

Its most recent accolade was the ‘Best Online Real Estate Marketing Platform’, received at the Real Estate Excellence Awards, an event that highlights top real estate sector performers who have achieved excellence over recent years.

Company CEO, Lizzie Costabir explains how BuyRentKenya has managed to rise in the country’s competitive online property market:

What exactly is BuyRentKenya? is Kenya’s trusted property marketplace which connects property real estate agents and developers with buyers and sellers who transact conveniently online.  Committed to transforming the real estate sector, the company offers digital solutions to Kenya’s property market.

What do you think makes BuyRentKenya different from other real estate players in the industry?

BuyRentKenya is a dedicated property marketplace that values a User-centricity approach to solving one’s property search in Kenya, by giving them a powerful user experience with better quality content and better tools specific to property for both buyer and agent.

As thought leaders in the property market, we not only offer our property agents and developers a place to buy and sell but also a comprehensive set of back-end business tools, as well as trends and stats on the market for both buyer and agent to make informed decisions which we share via our social channels and site.

Our agents and developers also have maximum exposure for the listings and agencies to thousands of unique visitors ready to buy or rent every month so they get more quality leads.  Our software includes an Agent’s or Developer’s personalized world class standardized website, a real estate CRM tool to be on top of their business, with all property listings automatically published on,  websites together with their website which ultimately auto publishes to the respective facebook pages.

Do you think Kenya’s real estate market has the ability to provide affordable housing for all Kenyans?

With the “Big Four Agenda” project by the President, the affordable housing project will make it easier for Kenyans to own their own homes. With the intensified focus on affordable housing, developers are continuously shifting to Affordable dwellings, given the affordable land prices in satellite towns and alternative building technologies gaining traction. This has created an avenue for units that are affordable to the middle income earner with areas like Athi River, Ngong and Thika, having prices as low as Kshs 3.0 mn compared toan overall market average of Kshs 6.9 million.

BuyRentKenya was recently named the Best Online Real Estate Marketing Platform at the Real Estate Excellence Awards. How did the company achieve this fete?

We attribute most of our success to our deep commitment to putting our users first. Our most recent award was the “Best Online Real Estate Marketing Platform” at the Real Estate Excellence Awards which highlights top real estate sector performers who have achieved excellence over recent years. We received this accolade in light of the latest Real Estate Index that has seen exponential growth in the property sector across the past five years, signaling a firm commitment to the prosperity of the sector. We will continue to pursue excellence through upcoming technical advancements not seen elsewhere in East Africa.

The previous two awards in 2018 were “Property Portal of the Year” from the Kenyan Real Estate Awards, which was organized by the Kenya Professional Realtors Association, the professional body that recognizes market accomplishments by the top players in real estate. The second award was for “Best Digital Real Estate Platform” from the Digital Inclusion Awards (DIA). In addition, our CEO Elizabeth Costabir was recognised as one of the “Top 25 Women in Digital” for her individual role in shaping digital growth in Kenya,” BuyRentKenya said in a statement.

In your opinion, is it better to rent a property or pay a mortgage?

For most people in Nairobi who homeownership is still a pipe dream, they will tell you that they are working towards it, but the current values on residential properties make achieving that dream a lot harder said than done. Nairobi residents have limited options on where to live, work and play, you either go for a rental with suits your pocket or buy one of the many properties coming up in Nairobi.  Recent statistics show urban homeownership at 30% and rental at 70%.

For most urban dwellers who do not have the money to buy a house upfront you have the option of taking out a mortgage on a property but the values of these properties can be overwhelming. In as much as there is an increasing supply of real estate in the market, residential property prices are largely beyond the average Nairobian’s affordability.

What advice can you give those who are currently saving up money to buy property in Kenya?

When you get to the point of buying a house, the devil is in the detail. You need to be aware of the amount of money you will spend throughout the entire buying process as we have advised on our Property Advice Article. Apart from the sale price, there are other real estate transaction fees you should keep in mind: mortgage fees, paying for a lawyer, and taxes related to property. Not forgetting to mention the hidden costs you might not be aware of.

What are BuyRentKenya’s plans for the near or distant future?

We want to offer a complete solution to all members of the property value chain. This is not just buyers or sellers but anyone with a stake in the property industry. This includes partnering with mortgage brokers, home insurance services, valuations, moving companies, and much more.

We want to be your one stop reference point for all things property – no matter how you are involved in the real estate market we should be aiming to be your solution. From the buyer needing a mover, to a seller looking for prices and valuation, to an agent looking to advertise their products online. When a user thinks property we should be their first choice and only place they need to go.



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