UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Herbert Tushabe has carved a remarkable path for himself as a prominent real estate agent in Mbarara City and its surrounding areas.
As the Founder and Executive Director of Amity Realtors, Tushabe has played a pivotal role in formalising the real estate industry in the western region of Uganda.
Established in 2020, Amity Realtors has built an impressive portfolio, comprising over 6000 plots, 60 estates, and 500 clients, with branches in Kabingo Town Council, Isingiro District, and Rubare Town Council in Ntungamo District.
From Humble Beginnings to Entrepreneurship
Born in Rwobuyenje, Kakiika in Mbarara City, Herbert Tushabe pursued his education at Mbarara Pentecostal Primary School and Mbarara High School before obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Kyambogo University.
After working as an IT expert for several companies, Tushabe ventured into starting a community school. However, the onset of the pandemic disrupted his plans, leaving him financially strained and seeking alternative sources of income.
“As the school like all the rest was shut down, I began to despair because it was my only sources of income. I had a family to care for and other responsibilities. I needed to make money fast. As the economy was in lockdown, I did not have many opportunities for getting a new job. The obvious choice was starting my own business,” Tushabe says.
Turning to Real Estate with Innovation
Facing the challenges brought on by the pandemic, Tushabe embraced innovation and ventured into real estate.
Armed with his IT expertise, he utilised social media platforms, particularly Facebook and WhatsApp, to connect buyers with sellers. The response was overwhelming, and Tushabe quickly realised the potential of the real estate industry in Mbarara.
“I used my IT expertise to run my new real estate business. I would look for people who had land and use my platform to market it, the first time I used it I got over 20 inquiries,” says Tushabe.
Recognising the lack of formalisation in the Mbarara real estate industry, Tushabe set out to professionalise it. He took the initiative to establish an office and a website, allowing the company to list properties online, offer virtual tours, and utilise drones for accurate property photographs.
“I realized that in Mbarara the real estate industry was lacked formalization so, I set out to professionalise it. Land sale agreements were still being handwritten on pieces of paper and there was no real estate agent’s office. Deals were being cut in corridors and streets. I knew this system could not survive with the new city status and I worked fast setting up a website and an office,” he says.
These changes initially met with scepticism, but Tushabe persisted in explaining their benefits to other industry players.
Building Trust and Growth
Tushabe’s commitment to integrity and transparency in all dealings earned him the trust of clients and other stakeholders.
“It is a business based on trust and integrity. From the first day, people were trusting me with their properties and their money. The only investment I put in was my innovation by using my social platforms to connect buyers to sellers,” he says.
With limited capital, Amity Realtors initially focused on selling properties to other agents for commission.
However, the company soon transitioned into buying and selling properties independently. Through strategic investments and maintaining ethical practices, Amity Realtors thrived and expanded its portfolio.
Affordable Land Acquisitions
The first property the company invested in was a half-acre of land which they sold within two days and made a profit of USh20m. Since then, the company has bought estates in Katebe and Kakiika, found in Mbarara City North.
“Our initial transaction stressed to me the importance of gaining public trust. We handles all our dealings with agents and property owners with integrity so it was easy to get clients to trust us with their properties even if we did not have cash,” says the real estate investor.
Understanding the importance of gaining public trust, Amity Realtors introduced a model to make land acquisitions affordable and convenient.
“We decided to start buying and selling own properties. All I had was Shs5m I had made in commission from one of the land sales, which was not enough to buy profitable properties. So I decided to talk to property owners to trust us with their properties; we would give them some money to tide them over as we marketed and sold their properties,” he says.
“God was on our side but we also positioned ourselves as a trusted real estate company, we committed to remain transparent and to do things openly. Because of this, people believe in us, imagine someone giving you their farm without paying any coin. This shows you the goodwill and the great opportunities in this industry,” says Tushabe.
Targeting low-income earners, the company created a payment plan that allowed clients to acquire land with down payments as low as USh3m, payable in instalments over a convenient period.
“Our main target are the low-income earners. We created a payment plan that makes it easy for everyone to acquire land. Our land starts as low as Shs3m that is paid off in installments over a convenient period,” he says.
Embracing Advertising and Branding
Tushabe attributes his success to embracing advertising and branding strategies. By positioning Amity Realtors as a trusted and transparent company, they gained a competitive advantage in a region where formal real estate players were scarce.
Amity Realtors found it easy to penetrate the market because the industry players in the region were comfortable with small transactions.
“The competition was not so stiff because the players we found here were not formal and were comfortable going with the flow instead of setting the pace and of the industry. They also failed to learn their market; some players assume people have money in this region, but people do not have stable incomes because as farmers, they depend on seasons. We were able to make a difference by creating land acquisition modules to suit their lifestyles and incomes,” he adds.
The Future of Amity Realtors
Looking ahead, Amity Realtors aims to partner with the government and other development agencies to address the growing housing demand in Mbarara City.
As the city attracts more people seeking better opportunities, there is a pressing need for quality and affordable housing.
With partnerships, Tushabe believes they can construct homes at subsidised costs, providing better living conditions for residents.
“The city continues to attract people from all over the region in search of a better life. But when they come here, they find themselves piling into slums because the available accommodation is not affordable to them. This is why a number of slums are spring up in the city suburbs. We can make a difference if we got partnerships with either the government or other development agencies to be able to construct homes that people can pay for at a subsidised cost,” explains Tushabe.
Attracting Millennial Buyers in Real Estate
According to FinanceOnline, millennials represent the largest group of buyers in the real estate market. To appeal to this demographic, real estate companies should focus on offering popular features and enhancing their online listings.
By providing a seamless user experience with high-quality photos and virtual tours, companies can successfully attract this influential buying group.
READ MORE LIKE THIS: