curtains and home alarm

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curtains and home alarm

Post  juniper on Fri May 27, 2011 3:15 pm

A million thanks, to Admin and everyone else who posted responses to my questions about moving to Nairobi. We have finally decided, and we will really and truly be moving there in July. We've found a house to rent, and the current tenants are offering to sell us all the existing curtains (1800 USD, I don't like the colour or style but maybe they are important for security?), the inverter (1800 USD), lawn mower (400 USD) and alarm system (500 USD). This all seems shockingly expensive to me, but then again, I currently have only 1 Ikea curtain, have never used an inverter, we can get lawn mowers at home for 100 bucks, and I've never used any home alarm system. Do you think these prices are roughly reasonable for a 5BR stand alone home? I think everything is just a couple of years old. I am getting the impression that prices in Nairobi are not that cheap (I did read the cost of living blog post, thank you Admin). Any opinions from you on any of this would be greatly appreciated!
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Cost of curtains etc. expat leaving/arriving

Post  Admin on Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:33 pm

I always get a bit feisty about the fact that when expats leave they expect to get a huge price for their second hand goods. I think it's a bit cheeky and they are putting you in an awkward situation since you don't know the cost of things here. I'm afraid that expats often hawk their second hand stuff for the price they paid for it new. I did write a post on this quite some time back. I mentioned that I saw a second hand loo brush and a second hand eye shadow for sale once?!

Before I get started, I just wanted to talk about shipping. As an expat arriving, you do get this one chance to bring your belongings into the country via shipping container/airfreight when you move here initially which is duty free. I think there is a window of 4 or 6 months after arriving. This is your one golden chance to bring in goods that are very expensive when bought in Kenya (because local suppliers have to pay import heavy taxes when bringing imported goods into the country). Things that cost a lot here include white goods, electrical items, cars etc. Strictly speaking they are not supposed to be 'new' but your own things, but many people will buy a fridge/freezer and rip of the labels then say they've had it for more than 6 months.

Curtains
You can actually get curtains made comparatively cheaply by local tailors for around 400 shillings per 'drop' which I guess is two or three dollars for running up each curtain, but then you have to add to that the price of the fabric, plus lining, so if it's a 5 bedroom house then 1800 price might be okay.....I suppose. However, if you don't like the curtains - then why not put some reasonably priced rolls of fabric in your container if you are bringing one in? It's a bit of extra work for you to organise curtains when you arrive and there is a risk that the local tailors (there are millions, one on each street corner) might make the odd mistake but they will come to your new house and measure up for you and at least you are making the house your own. Another point, - quite honestly - what are the people who are leaving the house really going to do with all these curtains? They won't be able to sell them to anyone else will they? - in the meantime they are lifting 1800 dollars from you - which is probably what they paid for the curtains new. From a security point of view, it's nice to have curtains for privacy but it's not a huge security issue I don't think.

Alarm system
I would buy the alarm system since it is all installed, though perhaps check first that the landlord would not rather buy this? Would the alarm system not be classified under fixtures and fittings? You are hardly going to move it if you leave are you?

Inverter
The inverter will probably be useful. We own a small 5KVA generator that we switch on when the power goes off. These can be pricey too. I guess we use the generator about once a month on average. The power cuts generally do not last more than a few hours. Sometimes they are just a few minutes long. Maybe get a quote for an inverter online by googling a local Kenya business such as 'instarect' 'davis&shirtliff' etc

Lawnmower
If you are shipping a container into the country I would certainly put a new lawnmower in. The ones here are definitely very overpriced (at least 60,000 shillings), poor quality, they don't last long (poor maintenance) So, if you are inheriting one second hand then you might need some reassurance as to what state it is in before you part with any cash.

I hope this has been helpful. It all sounds like a lot of money to me too so it's worth putting some thought in before agreeing to pay these high prices.

Good luck! confused

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