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How digitisation can streamline Uganda’s turbulent real estate industry

Real estate in Uganda

The real estate in Uganda is growing fast, with more property agents and companies springing up every other day in response to the growing demand at hand.

However, the same sector is riddled with fraud. Although a certificate of title is conclusive evidence of ownership of land in Uganda, this provision has been watered down by the issuance of multiple titles over the same property.

As a result, many people have lost money to dubious land dealers. However, all is not lost as technology has been fronted to streamline the real estate industry.

Derrick Mutegyeki, the finance and investment manager at National Housing and Construction Company, says often times, Blockchain technology can reduce property fraud since it does not allow alteration of records.

“Blockchain offers a unique code for each property and this code is linked to a smart key which is only held by the owner. Transfer of the property would then require the surrender of the smart key by the owner and without it, a transfer of property cannot be affected,” Mutegyekyi says.

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Kenneth Muhangi, a technology and intellectual property law practitioner adds that adoption of blockchain technology in Uganda will protect people’s land rights due to its incorruptible nature and security.

“Many other countries have adopted blockchain technology in their land registries and this digitization of the land registries has led to the efficient performance of the land registries and a reduction in fraud,” he says.

According to Andrew Mukiibi, the president of Association of Real Estate Agents Association (AREA), information technology can add value to real estate businesses by helping them with customer relationship management, online advertisement, and brand positioning.

“Customers expect much more from a real estate broker than in the past. Potential clients are well informed since they are able to harness the power of the Internet to access information. Many clients will not part with Shs300m for a house if a real estate agent is doing a sloppy job,” he says.

“Online promotion is cost-effective. By sending emails to customers or suggesting a product to friends on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, a business may end up spending far less than it would through traditional approaches such as placing an advert in a newspaper,” Mukiibi adds.

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