Home purchase in Ghana is everyone’s dream. You may not have realized that goal in the previous year. Or maybe you already have one and are thinking of getting a new one in addition. Whatever the case may be, 2019 is the perfect time to begin your journey towards home ownership. Real estate developer, Devtraco, shares nine resolutions you need to make that dream a reality.
Decide between building and buying a home
The first question you need to ask yourself is whether to buy or to build. Managing your home construction has its benefits and disadvantages. Primarily, you have design flexibility, enabling you to opt for a design that suits your taste. One major downside though is security. Building on your own may not accord you certain amenities such as a gated community or police station, leaving you at high risk. You also lose a lot of productive time to construction supervision. Ceding your construction management to professionals would free up time for you to focus on your core area of business.
On the contrary, buying a home takes away much of the design flexibility. Most developers would have already purchased architecture designs in advance, leaving you with little room for changes. Although this may be a challenge, there are numerous benefits associated with buying a home. Security is better assured, infrastructure is well developed and the existence of amenities are just a few of the benefits.
Determine your budget goal
How much are you willing to part with for a new home? Are you looking to make a move to a new residential community? Or do you have plans to make extra income? These questions need to be answered to guide you in your home selection. If this is your first home acquisition, you would want to target a one to three-bedroom home. One-bedroom homes are ideal for single individuals while two and three-bedroom homes make an ideal choice for families.
You would also want to consider the plot and building area size, the number of rooms and the appropriate community. For instance, urban communities such as Cantonments and Ridge typically have higher price tags due to their proximity to amenities such as restaurants, shopping malls and the Kotoka International Airport. If you are looking for a more affordable option, emerging areas such as Tema Community 25 and East Legon Hills should be among your strong considerations. However, areas such as Kasoa and Amasaman are good choices for homes on the lower end of the price spectrum.
Save up for down payment
This cannot be overemphasised. Like purchasing a car or any other high involvement product, home acquisition needs huge funding commitment. Thankfully, most developers offer payment plans. This would allow you to part with a fraction of the total sum, enabling you to invest your funds in other areas. For instance at Devtraco, you can make a 25 percent initial deposit towards your purchase. Typical payment plans span between six months to two years.
If that duration is too short for you, a mortgage is an excellent source for long term funding. A mortgage is a facility that entitles you to a loan for the purchase of a property. That property is then leveraged as your collateral towards your ownership. There are a number of mortgage institutions in Ghana. They include GHL Bank, Republic Bank, First National Bank and Stanbic.
Avoid new loans
If you are strongly considering buying a home, then you need to cut out the temptation of getting new loans. Home acquisition is capital intensive and it needs as much of your resources as it can get. Going for multiple loans may put a strain on your resource.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage
You may want to find out how much you qualify for a mortgage before you begin your house hunting journey. Mortgage lenders would be interested in your net income to determine your level of mortgage. For that reason, it is important to provide documentation towards your income. This could be your employment income, income generated from secondary sources or a combination of both. If you are married, you can also provide income documentation for yourself and your spouse. The advantage is that your pooled resource would qualify you for a more attractive mortgage.
Timing is also everything. A typical mortgage in Ghana can span a maximum period of 15 years. Depending on your preference, you can opt for a shorter duration. However, the shorter the duration, the higher the monthly repayment. It is advised to select the longest repayment schedule. If you are really concerned about the nagging repayment reminders, you can go ahead by selecting the longest repayment schedule while paying off the balance when you have the funds in the future.
Prioritise home needs
The excitement of finally living in your own home may get you complacent. Never lose sight of your budget goals. If it is a queen-size bed you need, don’t go in for a waterbed. If a swimming pool is going to drain your resources, postpone it. If you are going to live in the house alone, you might want to reduce the number of items to purchase. The caveat here is to ensure that you prioritise your home needs before your wants. So scrutinise your list. Strike out anything suspicious of eating away your budget. Make sure that your list includes three options of each item on your list. That way you can make a comparison and select the best items based on quality and affordability.
Browse through property choices
Once you have your budget and source of funding out of the way, you can begin your house hunting journey. The best place to begin is on the Internet. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo are great places to start. They serve up a variety of properties available. When typing in your search query, make sure you use longtail keywords. For instance, avoid terms such as “houses”. Instead, type in “houses for sale in accra” or “houses for sale worth $100,000 in tema”.
Social media is also another great place to get your property search going. Channels such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn don’t only serve up written content, they typically include property photos. Social media also gives you the chance to engage with home sellers through chats and conversations. Aside social media, real estate classifieds also serve up varieties of properties for sale. Websites such as Ghana Property Finder and Meqasa have a variety of properties that may interest you.
Scrutinise home sellers
After going through your property search, you also need to make a background search on the developer or agent. Unfortunately, Ghana’s real estate industry isn’t regulated and is full of charlatans. There is a lifeline however. The Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA) is a highly recognised body made up of professional real estate developers. Members are only endorsed after fulfilling the Association’s requirements. You need to also find out how long the company has been in operations, its real estate experience, awards and certifications, and the number of customers it has served. A visit to their respective website is a good place to start. Afterward, you can get reviews from Google or social media to ascertain customers’ satisfaction. A review from family or friends is also helpful.
Schedule for property viewings
Finally, you have the list of property developments you want to visit. Try to keep the list to a maximum of three developments. Once you are satisfied with your list, fill the contact form on their site or call their hotline to book a property viewing. Most real estate professionals are very flexible and work seven days of the week so you don’t have to worry about fixing a schedule that suits them.