There’s no denying that the local property industry has grown in tremendously in recent years. Mirroring this growth is Granite Capital, a leading real estate boutique company that provides cutting edge services to the local real estate industry. Since its launch in 2017, the company’s services have been well received in the industry.
Simon Ng’ang’a, the executive director of Granite Capital attributes his company’s traction in the property management industry to excellent management and professionalism. As the company’s founder, he says he benefitted from experience at the international level that gave him invaluable business lessons and shifted his perspective on customer satisfaction. And that’s exactly what he’s bringing to the Kenyan market through his company, Granite Capital.
Joining the Kenyan market, Ng’ang’a realized that the local real estate market was static in many aspects, including the lack of proper research on property development. Granite Capital aims to disrupt the things as they are by adopting the use of market research, data analytics and exceptional customer experience.
Launched in January 2017, Granite Capital offers property sales, leasing of offices and residential property, property management and market research services.
“Our selling point is very simple. We are not focused on the mass market but creating an exceptional relationship with our niche customers, ” Ng’ang’a says.
He handles market research and customer experience while his three other staff are in charge of other dockets.
Looking at his company’s impressive performance over the last one year, he says, “It has been organic.” Starting off the firm from a small office with a single employee to the current offices with a staff complement of three is a milestone. “I was operating alone and as the company grew I saw the need to get added workforce.”
When he began his professional career in the finance industry many years ago, he never imagined he could end up in the property industry. However, his experience with a local company, Link Soft Communications sparked his interest and as fate has it, he’s now building a prosperous career in the real estate sector.
“LinkSoft maintained transmission base and communication units for telecommunication firms across East and Central Africa. They could rent a place, set up a transmission tower, pay a monthly rent to the tenant and manage it on behalf of the telecoms. I was in charge of strategy and development at the firm. I saw the opportunities in the real estate sector and left to form Granite Capital.”
Ng’ang’a’s international exposure taught him about key business lessons that propelled his property management firm to success.
“Customer service and professionalism are key determinants of success of any business. I’m keen on understanding market analytics and how it drives a business.”
Coming from a finance background, Ng’ang’a holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and a Masters in Management from Hamline University, in St. Paul Minnesota – USA, a college in Minneapolis USA. He worked at Nairobi Securities Exchange, American Express Financial Advisors for 16 years as a Senior Financial Analyst and advisor and Super Value for 2 years before coming back to the country in 2012.
“We are a one-stop shop for property solutions and investments and keen on giving customers the best experience in the market,” he explains.
“We also work with key partners to make our work a success. We have incorporated property developers like Cytonn and Elegant Properties, financial advisors like Genghis Capital and other key realtors.”
Some of the projects the firm is selling include Mirabelle Villas, Pamora Villas in Kibiko Ngong, Woburn Residence Club-A hotel in Malindi, Tree Tops Forest Apartments oin Peponi road and many other property with Cytonn.
Although Real Estate is a growing and exciting industry, it comes with its own challenges key among them being fraud.
“We are keen on integrity and wouldn’t partner with a firm whose integrity is compromised. We know there are rogue players in the industry and we do due diligence and set up risk measures to know their reputation in the market. We wouldn’t want to put our brand at risk,” he affirms.
The other challenge is the static nature of the real estate sector.
“People don’t like change. The older Kenyan generation is accustomed to operate in a certain way. Some of them consider investment as a personal decision and wouldn’t want to discuss it with anyone. That limits our scope.”
Asked about his opinion about the emerging trends in real estate he says, “although cases of corruption and fraud have been prevalent, they tend to drive customers to professional firms like ours. Clients are keen on integrity and looking to work with the right company.”
He also reiterates that with property financing still posing a challenge, it’s very hard to get a mortgage in this market. However, there is also huge investment that is coming into Kenya from the international market.
“People are also moving out of the city to invest in suburbs. With this kind of trends, we are forced to realign our strategy to focus on niche markets like Limuru and Ngong which are still underdeveloped.”
Going forward, he expects growth. His firm has already exceeded its year-on-year revenue and looks forward to expand to Nakuru, Naivasha and Mombasa. “If you want to compete in the future you really have to follow the direction which the government has taken. Devolution has opened up opportunities in the counties and we need to tap into these opportunities.”
Investment in technology has also disrupted the sector and digital marketing is now a big thing. Predictably, there is so much buzz around the real estate sector on social media and online platforms. “It is also inherent to open web-based platforms to market real estate,” he states.
Overall, he says that the sector will continue to grow and advises firms to innovate and create products and services that appeals to the youth. “The youth are also looking into home ownership and they have new expectations defined by market trends, they are very knowledgeable and informed. Thus you have to know your products well and facts right. You also need to fashionable products that appeal to them,” he ends.