Duncan Makhandia is a happy young man. At 27, he is the owner of a Sh12 million house in Green Park, a gated community in Athi River.
The three-bedroom maisonette has a small compound with a manicured lawn, a servants quarter and a car park.
Makhandia, an engineer, was among the eight winners in Safaricom™s Lipa na M-Pesa Shinda A Home promotion that has been running since late last year. Life has not been the same for him since he won the house.
Even my landlady now treats me with deep respect and views me as her peer, said Makhandia, who stays in Jamhuri estate in Nairobi. I think she now views me as a fellow landlord, not as a tenant.
He has been living alone in a one-bedroom house and says the prospects of moving into his new house are very exciting.
But that will have to wait until he has a family. He plans to rent it out for about five years and then move in.
George Nganga, another winner and a welder in Ongata Rongai, plans to sell his house. He does not plan to occupy it because Athi River is too far. I cannot live in Green Park because it is far from my workplace, said the 27-year-old, who does not plan to quit his welding job.
I am eagerly awaiting the moment I will sell the house because I have plans to stop being a tenant as soon as possible.
Both Makhandia and had plans of owning a house at some point in the future, but were not sure how this would happen. Nganga has a small plot in Kiserian, which he planned to develop through savings.
I have been looking for money to help me build a house. Now my prayers have been answered, says the father of one.
For Makhandia, a mortgage was the way out. knew I would live in my own house in the next five years, said Makhandia, who received the phone call notifying him that he had won a house while on a work-related trip to China. I had planned to take a mortgage to buy a home.
Taekwondo coach, Patroba Ojwang Abade, who won a house in the Dettol Win a Home Promotion, decided to occupy his new house.
I had been planning to move out of Mathare to a better neighbourhood to raise my girls. I face a lot of challenges living in a small bedsitter with shared bathrooms and toilet, said Abade.
I thank God I am one of the lucky few who now have a better home in a safer environment in this new year.
Born and raised in Section 4A of Mathare, Abade has only known congestion and the constant threat of disease outbreak and crime.
The 37-year-old man has two daughters and is excited about moving into the two-bedroom apartment in Syokimau.
Naivasha-based businesswoman Damaris Muthoni Mundia will also be changing her address from the small town to Nairobi.
The 27-year-old mother of one, who also won a house in the Dettol competition, will use the house as a base to expand her business. I see this new home as an opportunity to expand my business to the capital city. Winning this home has reduced my expenses and will enable me invest more in my business, says Muthoni.
With most Kenyan urban dwellers being tenants, many desire to own homes. It is therefore a big relief to win a house through such promotions.
According to Safaricom, the average age of the winners is 25, the youngest winner being 22 and the oldest 33.
The platform to pay bills and other charges through your phone is popular with young people. If such competitions, which favour the use of mobile devices continue, most winners will be young people, says Makhandia.
Right now, the biggest challenge is trying to sieve the different opinions and advice that people give me. Everyone around me is now an expert in financial matters says Makhandia.