Real estate has always unfolded as an investment that stands the test of time, not forgetting its viability and impact on development. Kamaro Uwampojeje Bukoko, the founder of Kwanda Real Estate, describes the industry as one of the backbones of any society or economy, comprising of all forms of trading of houses and land against money or other forms of payments in the industry. Specifically, the real estate brokerage industry is a supporting branch of the industry as a whole. Realtors or agencies assist buyers to find the right properties to buy and help sellers find buyers for their properties. Kamaro Uwampojeje Bukoko is the founder of Kwanda Real Estate. Photos/Courtesy Before he ventured into business, the entrepreneur started off with an internship as the marketing assistant in an agency that does property renting and management. “The reason I took the internship was quite simple, I was finishing college and wanted a job, and I have always been passionate about marketing. So when the opportunity presented itself, I grabbed it,” he narrates. As to why he stayed in the business after that internship, he says to have fallen in love with the trade, but he also had realised the immense potential it has after looking at how the market was underserved in that domain. Today, his firm offers real estate and consultancy services. This includes, but not limited to, representing property buyers and sellers during sales, property listing and marketing, processing title deed transfer of ownership, real estate investment consultancy. The property can be a house, a plot of land, an apartment, or a commercial/industrial property. “We always have a multitude of projects we are working on, from houses under development in Rusororo to plots of land in Nyarutarama. We have a variety of listings of which information is available on our website. And there is always a mix of individuals and companies we are assisting to become buyers and tenants by searching matching properties for them,” he says. In this line of business, an agent or broker is forced to learn something new every single day, but the leadership muscle is the one you develop the most, Kamaro says. The view from one of his residential plots of land for sale in Rebero. With every transaction, a proper real estate agent takes the lead and ensures that everything goes well. “I have learned to be more flexible in terms of beliefs due to meeting a lot of people with different backgrounds. Keeping time to the second, which is something that as a community we really still have to work on. This business has taught me to always be on time when meeting people and ensure to notify when I am going to be late. I have also learned some basics with writing, how to advertise online, how to manage people, how to negotiate, amongst many more other lessons.” Housing in Rwanda Apparently, it is rare to find a ‘house for sale in Kigali’ sign or ‘land for sale in Kigali’ sign at a corner street in Kigali. Many Rwandans don’t embrace the idea of publicly selling their homes, and this limits the marketing ability of a realtor to gain potential buyers of the property, Kamaro says. “Another major challenge in the industry is the lack of market and legal systems in place that act as modus operandi for every realtor or agency, and the lack of a licensing system. Like any other business, it takes a lot of discipline and consistency. But additionally it takes patience, good listening skills, flexibility, and aggressiveness at times, and most importantly compassion towards your clients,” the realtor says. On the other hand, there has been a lot of progress in real estate in recent years. Being in this business, Kamaro says he has seen a lot change positively; more developments of single and multiple family homes, more architectural advancement in commercial real estate development. However, there is still a large gap in affordable housing; this is an issue most Rwandans are aware of. Most investors and developers currently in the market concentrate on high-end houses which mostly serve high income earners, the rest which is the majority and which mostly comprises younger people, struggle to find descent dwellings at descent prices, be it to rent or buy, he observes. “The government is aware of the issue and has promoted affordable development and has provided numerous housing units itself, however, more hands are needed to solve the issue.” The entrepreneur, hence, recommends for the governmental institutions in charge to promote and encourage further real estate developers towards affordable housing development for them to also see the opportunity in that particular section of the industry, the most important of the incentives being easier access to capital.