Everything you need to know about the African Property Market
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Edition 2 Vol 6 Issue 7
Property Express Encyclopedia
INFRASTRUCTURE & REAL ESTATE MARKET Q1 - GHANA REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101 THE BUILDING WHO HAS THE FINAL SAY?
GHANA BUILDING CODE AFRICA PROPERTY NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED REASONS WHY YOU NEED A REAL ESTATE BROKER THE SAVE–TO–OWN PRODUCT: A TRUE REVOLUTION IN MORTGAGE LENDING.........
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Welcome Industry Players, Our gratitude to you in the first quarter of 2019. Infrastructure projects in Africa has a good degree of construction opportunities for investors and project seekers alike. Take the bold step now. This edition presents an insight in the real estate fraternity of the African Infrastructure Industry. Email me with your article and your suggestions. firstname.lastname@example.org This is a copy you must keep.
Robert Wegbe Editor PE Magazine
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MAGAZINE CONTENT 16
REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101
GHANA BUILDING CODE IS “MAJOR MILESTONE FOR THE COUNTRY” SAYS DAVID ADJAYE
THE BUILDING; WHO HAS THE FINAL SAY?
REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101 DOS AND DON’TS IN REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS
REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101 OWNING A LAND IS ONE OF THE PROFITABLE INVESTMENTS IN GHANA
REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101 TRANSFORMING THE REAL ESTATE SECTOR IN GHANA – THE ROLE OF GHANA ASSOCIATION OF REAL ESTATE BROKERS (GAR)
REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101 HOW TO EMPLOY THE SERVICES OF THE RIGHT REAL ESTATE BROKER OR AGENT?
REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101 WAYS TO INCREASE THE VALUE ON YOUR PROPERTY
REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101 ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE
REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101 MORE ON -HOW TO EMPLOY THE SERVICES OF THE RIGHT REAL ESTATE BROKER OR AGENT
REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101 SIMPLE STEPS TO BUYING A LAND IN GHANA DEVOID OF LITIGATION
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AFRICA PROPERTY NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED BUT FOR THE TALENTED
frican countries offer exciting returns for property investors if they do their homework and study each market.
right price. We see the growth in the continent and don’t see it in SA,” she says.
South African real estate investment trusts are looking for strong returns offshore and some opportunities may lie in Africa.
There are risks in Africa which putting some investors off nonetheless. These are things which include laws and regulations changing too quickly in some jurisdictions in Africa.
A panel discussion at the South African Property Owners Assocaition (Sapoa) Convention said that markets outside of South Africa were full of opportunities. The conference was recently held at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.
There can also be limited debt facilities and sometimes property companies may have to wait to convert African currencies into US dollars or may struggle to get their money out of some African countries.
Ian Anderson, the chief investment officer at Grindrod Asset Management said more and more companies were looking for opportunities in Africa, outside of SA, and abroad.
Corbett has said many South African-listed property funds also felt that Africa was too risky a market. Some fund managers have also said many African property assets are too expensive compared with other markets such as those in Asia and parts of central and Eastern Europe.
The experts said investors need to treat African property markets with respect. Property is a long term game in America, Europe and also in the rest of Africa. Addressing the conference, Bronwyn Corbett, the head of Mara Delta, which is the only listed pan African fund, admits interest is growing in African real estate but says it is a challenging continent to invest in. “Every African country is different. Each is a challenge and it wouldn’t be worth doing this if it wasn’t a challenge,” she says. Mara Delta had some early teething problems but issues have started to improve. “I appreciate that investors want us to make good deals. We are starting to find things but we have to learn as we go along. Many South African investors don’t actually know what happens on the ground in Africa and may expect things to happen more quickly,” Corbett said. Mara Delta Africa owns a US$430m (about R6.3bn) property portfolio of office, retail, corporate accommodation and light industrial properties located in Morocco, Mozambique, Zambia, Mauritius, Kenya and Nigeria. “Real estate, as we have seen in SA, will sustain in difficult times as long as you have quality assets and you purchase assets for the
Even well developed markets may be better bets in some investors’ eyes. “Our research indicates that prices per square metre have been significantly higher (in Africa) than similar investments in developed markets such as the US, Canada and Spain,” Alternative Real Estate Capital Management’s Garreth Elston says. There is also the possibility that Mara Delta will separately list its Moroccan assets. The company is in talks with middle eastern investors. These would be shopping centre focused assets and a real estate investment trust (Reit). One can expect some South African and other foreign private equity money to try its hand in Africa. Growthpoint Properties, the biggest South African based Reit is slowly looking for assets on the African continent, working with an investment team from Investec. Africa remains a challenge and it takes time to build property portfolios there but there is value on the continent. Given the uncertainty caused by Brexit, where the UK voted to leave the European Union, developing and frontier markets may regain some attention and investment funds. By Africa Property News - Ortneil Kutama
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REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101 How to Negotiate for a Good Real Estate Commission
By Chris Nii Abbosey
f there is one reason that people all over the world do not like working with real estate agents and brokers, it will be the commissions they have to pay them. The issue of commissions has destroyed relationships between many agents and their clients, between friends and even family members. Poorly managed negotiations for commissions has even led to the abandoning of multimillion projects and protracted legal tussles in court.
fixed, real estate service charges are not fixed but determined by the value of the property or transaction on the table. A portion of the full charge of the transaction is what goes to the agent or brokers facilitating the transaction.
This commission is what the agent or broker uses to cover his expenditure in facilitating the transaction or closing the deal. For instance, advertising and marketing, free site and property The passion and seriousness attached to commissions is a signal viewing, fuel cost, follow-ups on documentations, scrutiny of that it is an important component of the real estate sector which all paperwork, saving the client time, money and resources in needs to be looked at and properly understood to avoid the ensuring the transaction is closed. Apart from this, the broker commotion it sometimes creates. or the brokerage from where the agent works pay utility bills, graphic designers, social media marketers among others to stay in business. What is commission in Real Estate? According realtor.com, the real estate commission is the agentâ€™s fee for service. It is a percent of the sale price negotiated at the time of Most of these expenses are made upfront at no cost to the seller the listing. Every seller has the right to negotiate the commission, or buyer in the hope that the deal will be closed so that the agent just as every agent has the option to hold fast to their fee. Full- or broker gets paid. Most often if a deal is not closed the agent or broker gets nothing or something small if he or she is lucky. This service agents charge more than fee-based, or flat-fee, agents. What this means is that when you make the decision to undertake something small does not even cover the expenses made so far. a real estate transaction; buy, sell, lease or rent a property, so many activities are triggered to ensure you have a deal. These activities What is the Ideal Percentage for a Commission? which I have already explained in my earlier article on â€œAll you There is no fixed commission as it depends on the percentage need to know about Real Estate Brokerageâ€? is something that agreed between the seller or buyer and the agent or broker. The must be paid for. percentage could be as high as 10-15% (special cases) and as low as 1-3% depending on the cost of the property in question. In Unlike charges in other sectors, where service charges might be fact some commissions, particularly involving very high cost of
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property can be below one percent; e,g 0.5%. Your ability to decide on the right commission percentage is dependent mostly on many factors; the experience of the agent or broker involved in the deal; thus the one representing the seller (Seller’s or listing agent) or the one representing the buyer (buyer’s or selling agent). If the agent or broker has a solid track record of closing deals lots of deals in a year, his commission could be quite high because he or she knows his worth and can demonstrate to you with his many deals he has in his bag. On the other hand, an agent who closes a deal once in a while will not be able to charge higher commissions and you the client, will not even be ready to give him that. Another thing is that a property which has been listed for GHC 2million (about $420,000 using 4.7 cedi to dollar exchange rate) will have a less percentage for a commission than a property which is going for GHC 700,000 (about $140,000). However, the actual money that will come to the agent or broker will be higher for the former than the later. At the end of the day it is all about the negotiations that are pre agreed upon before the transactions takes off. Some clients instead of the percentage of the fee on the transaction are able to negotiate for a flat fee which the agent must of course agree to. Sometimes it is the agent or broker that makes this alternative suggestion. All the same it must be a fee that is mutually beneficial to all parties involved.
Who Pays the Commission and Who Collects it?
In the ideal situation, as happens in the developed countries, the commission is paid by the one selling, leasing or renting out the property. This is agreed on paper before the transaction begins. What the seller or the person making the listing agrees as percentage to be paid as commission should be agreed upon by both his or her agent and that of the buyer and his or her agent as well. This is because, whatever is agreed will be shared between the agents on both sides. Another thing is that although it is assumed the seller is the one to pay, they buyer is believed to have also paid because it is taken from the money the buyer gives to the seller. The buyer’s agreement to the listing offer or price is by extension, an agreement to the commissions to be paid to the agent(s) involved in the transaction. For instance, if a seller agrees to a six percent (6%) commission on a property worth GHC700,000, the two agents, thus the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent will share between them. This is either shared 50/50 or 60/40 or 55/45 etc with the seller’s agent taking the bigger share mostly. If the two agents are working in the brokerage, they have to return their share to their brokerage where their actual take home share will be given them which differs from brokerage to brokerage. Commissions in Ghana To be very frank, Ghana’s real estate industry is young and not regulated hence, most of these standards of commission payment are not cast in stone. One will say the Ghana experience is 100% negotiation with a little bit of precedence influencing some level of standardization. In Ghana, you may hardly get a seller and a buyer having different
agents. Usually you have what we call the dual agent scenario where the agent represents both buyer and seller. In the past, the agent takes a token from both seller and buyer or landlord and tenant in the case or home rental. This is still existent, especially in smaller cities. However, in major cities where big transactions happen, the system of taking the commission from the person offering the property for sale, rent or lease is eminent, but not fully exclusive. One thing is key, always ensure whatever commission is paid is what was agreed on paper (contract agreement) before the transaction starts. Both agents and brokers must ensure their basis are covered to ensure the right commissions are paid or arrived at.
Compare and Contrast
In developed counties where it is easy to track people and companies easily coupled with a good database of properties, their locations and their estimated costs or selling prices, it is easy to do such comparison. In Ghana, it may be a herculean task, but u can always use online platforms like www.meqasa.com and www.tonaton.com to look at similar properties and how much they are going for, be it sale, rental or lease. The website of the real estate agent or broker can be very useful for comparison. You can also look at the locations and when they were listed and when they were taken off the market (you may not get for all, but it is worth the try). Then make sure, you don’t talk to one agent and decide. Talk to more than one agent and negotiate with all the agents you talk to. Now with the parameters you have set for yourself considering the tips I recommended in the article (How to Employ the Service of the Right Broker or Agent), you should be able to settle on the agent whose commission, expertise, demeanor etc suits your aspirations. The Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR) is also working on a standardized commission rate card to be adopted by its members and possibly all agents in Ghana. Unfortunately, this is all time will permit. Watch this space for the part two of this series. Until then, it has been your trusted Real Estate Broker; Chris Nii. The writer is the CEO and Lead Broker, CBC Properties (CBC Global Limited), Founding Member, Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR); Email: email@example.com Cell: 0204225002
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The Save–To–Own Product: A true revolution in mortgage lending.........
ma Donkor is a 32-year old self-employed business woman with 3 boutiques across the capital city. Even though it’s been 8 years since she began running her clothing business from her uncle’s house, she has still decided not to move out to rent a place of her own. She is saving money towards buying a plot of land and then building her own house. Growing up with her older siblings who had to keep moving from place to place because of landlord issues, rent is not an attractive option for her. With a substantial amount of money already stashed away, she hopes to achieve her goal by age 40. Similarly, after 10 years of working as an insurance officer, Christopher Adjei decided to set up an advertising firm with 2 friends, and 6 years on, his business is seeing steady growth after breaking even 2 years ago. He lives in a rented apartment in Adenta with his wife and 3-year-old son. Fortunately for him, his landlord doesn’t give him any major issues, but pressure from his wife to get their own place and stop giving away all their hard-earned money as rent has got him thinking of his options. Adding to the pressure, his parents even offered to have him move back in with them while he finds a way to build his own house. As a fiercely independent man who values his freedom, his parent’s proposition is something he is not willing to consider.
Ama and Christopher fall within a growing bracket of 48.5% of Ghanaians who own and run their own business, desire to own a home, but find limited options that can help them achieve their dream. The Save-to-Own Mortgage product, launched by GHL Bank, simplifies mortgage lending and makes homeownership easier for SME business owners as well as non-resident Ghanaians keen to own a home in Ghana. Financial institutions typically focus on salaried workers in their loan marketing. This is no surprise as salaried workers give lenders confidence in their ability to pay back due to their steady flow of monthly income through-out the year. Unfortunately, for the self-employed individuals like small business owners, this is not the case. Most banks and lending institutions will not extend a loan unless there are fully convinced that the borrower is able to meet his/her monthly obligations. In Ghana, there is a general perception that small business owners and self-employed professionals have unpredictable monthly income. This has made access to credit often quite difficult for this category of loan applicants. It is a fact that when offered credit, SME business owners often borrow at exceptionally high interest rates. The Save to Own Mortgage product seeks to reverse this trend and make it possible for credit worthy applicants to have access to competitively priced mortgage loans in order to acquire property and support their business.
GHL Bank has analysed data from over a decade of mortgage lending to design this hybrid product, which requires the applicant to make 12 â€“ 24 months of deposits, after which a mortgage loan is automatically approved to facilitate the home purchase. The product is designed to allow the applicant to convince the bank that they can comfortably make monthly repayments if granted the loan. GHL Bank, formerly known as Ghana Home Loans, offers full universal banking solutions and Since transforming from Ghana Home Loans to GHL Bank in December 2017, the bank continues in its commitment to deliver affordable homes and other universal banking services to all Ghanaians. It has opened branches in Accra, Tema, Kumasi and Takoradi and remains the largest home loan provider in Ghana with over 50% market share of the mortgage industry.
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SCAU TO DESIGN STADIUM FOR AFRICA NATIONS CUP IN IVORY COAST
CAU has won a competition to design a 20,000-seater football stadium in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, to host matches at the 2021 Africa Nations Cup. The £50 million Stade de Yamoussoukro, which will be built in Ivory Coast’s administrative capital, is one of six stadiums that will host games during the tournament. The Paris-based architecture firm’s proposal sinks three of the four spectator stands into the ground. The west stand, which will be raised on the brow of the hill, will house the stadium’s facilities, including the changing rooms food, press facilities and offices. A single ring-shaped roof will cover the stands and an open air concourse containing catering facilities for fans. The French firm, which also designed the Stade de France in Paris and the Olympic Stadium Ataturk in Istanbul, recently added a wavy roof as part of their renovation of the Stade Vélodrome in Marseilles. The architects wanted to build a stadium that was “both monumental and minimalist” and that would give the African country a “strong image” when the games are broadcast. According to the architects embedding the stadium in the ground will mean the venue is low-cost to build and maintain, meaning it will have a life span beyond the Africa Nations Cup. SCAU worked with construction engineering company Sogea Satom, steel structure experts Baudin Chateauneuf, seating specialists Alcor and engineering group Egis on the proposal. In total there were 45 competition entries from around the world. Fenwick Iribarren Architects plan to use shipping containers to create a modular stadium in Doha that can be taken apart after the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, while plans for Herzog & de Meuron to redevelop Chelsea FC’s football stadium in London are due to go ahead, after the local council blocked an injunction from neighbours. Images courtesy of SCAU.
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GHANA BUILDING CODE
IS“MAJOR MILESTONE FOR THE COUNTRY” SAYS DAVID ADJAYE created by the Ghana Standards Authority for the ministry of works and housing. “The implementation of the new Building Codes will most certainly establish standardised regulations on quality, durability and materiality within construction practice,” said Adjaye. “It is highly significant step towards the development of new, national infrastructure programmes and sign of the progressive nature of Ghana’s governance today.”
Adjaye is designing the National Cathedral of Ghana in Accra
SIR DAVID ADJAYE
hana’s first Building Code marks a pivotal moment for architecture and construction in the country, says Ghanian British architect David Adjaye.
Adjaye welcomed the first official Ghana Building Code, which the Ghanaian government introduced at the end of last year, saying that it was a “highly significant step”. The Ghanian British architect who was knighted for services to architecture in 2017, said there was a sense of urgency around the need for a standardised set of practices for architecture and construction in Ghana. “Creating safer, more accessible buildings, residences and infrastructure within Ghana is paramount,” he explained. “One such example being the provision of earthquake resistant construction technology and practice.”
Building code will establish standardised regulations Ghana gained independence from British colonial rule in 1957. A draft code was introduce in the 1970s to replace outdated regulations from the 1960s, and National Building Regulations were ratified in 1996. The Ghana Building Code is a modified adoption of the International Building Code. The 1,700 page document was
The founder of Adjaye Associates, which is currently building the National Cathedral of Ghana in Accra, believes the building code is an opportunity for the country. “Absolutely it will improve the architecture and construction profession in Ghana, I am particularly excited as the adoption of these new standards will provide a comprehensive national framework and benchmark that will assist future generations and further the development of local professional skills and expertise.”
Earthquake fears and building collapses The code was introduced following a succession of fatal building collapses in the west African country. Last year a construction worker died when a building he was working on collapsed. In 2012 a multi-storey shopping centre in Accra collapsed due to faulty construction, killing nine people. Ghana’s vice president Mahamudu Bawumia described the regulations as “long overdue” at the official launch. “Ghana has been operating without a comprehensive building code since independence,” the Construction Index quoted Bawumia saying at the unveiling of the Ghana Building Code. “Essentially, it has been a free for all in the building and construction industry with no clearly defined standards.” India Block | 7 January 2019
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Ghana’s “UFO-like” National Theatre photographed by Julien Lanoo Belgian photographer Julien Lanoo took these images of the National Theatre of Ghana built in Accra in the early 90s, which features smooth, white volumes elevated above the surrounding streetscape.
Lanoo has travelled to Ghana regularly in recent years to photograph or film architectural projects including an eco lodge in Cape Three Points and a children’s hospital in Efutu, as well producing an abstract movie about Accra’s Jamestown beach. During one of his visits to the Ghanaian capital, he was attracted by the National Theatre of Ghana’s scale and unusual architecture, which stands out amid the bustling urban realm of downtown Accra. The theatre was built in 1992 using funds provided by the Chinese government. “The theatre, like a UFO, stands within an amalgam of modern architecture that imitates occidental cosmopolitan metropolis,” the photographer told Dezeen. “Its peculiar form, size and noble materials create a very strong social dynamic inside and out.” “It somehow belongs there and it’s a magnet for ‘happening’,” Lanoo added. “Market vendors of all kinds, social interactions and people resting in the shades of its trees, and rehearsals inside. This building made me think, and I had to photograph it one way or the other.”
The 11,900-square-metre theatre complex is located on a prominent site in the Victoriaborg district, at the junction of Independence Avenue and Liberia Road. A group of bulging roofs covered in tiles lend the theatre a distinctive presence, and have led to it being compared to a huge ship or a bird spreading its wings. In 1989, the governments of the Republic of Ghana and the People’s Republic of China signed an agreement that saw China provide funding for the construction of the National Theatre building as a gift to Ghana. Chinese architects Taining Cheng and Xianghan Ye were officially responsible for the building’s design, although the involvement of experts from both countries in the development and construction process resulted in a hybrid aesthetic.
Construction began in 1990 and was completed in 1992, with the project’s cost totalling $20 million (£15.5 million) The first performance was by the theatre’s three resident groups; the National Dance Company of Ghana, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the National Drama Company, Abibigromma. This was followed by a performance by a Chinese cultural troupe. The building occupies the former site of the University of Ghana Drama Studio, which was moved to the university’s campus and reconstructed simultaneously to the theatre. In addition to multi-functional venues for concerts, dance and drama, the National Theatre provides facilities for staging exhibitions and special events.
Internally, the building is divided into four parts to ease navigation. Circulation is arranged around a void topped with a perforated concrete roof that casts graphic patterns of light and shadow onto a tiled courtyard. The main auditorium is lined with scooped concrete balconies and features chairs covered in brightly coloured upholstery. According to Lanoo, the internal spaces are “designed incredibly intelligently”, and appear to be naturally cooled by a system of patios and perforated brickwork surfaces that channel breezes through the corridors and office spaces. “The more private rehearsal spaces are ideal for their function, the seating areas are dynamic and designed within the space’s atmosphere,” he added. “At the same time as it is dark and intimate, it is luminous.” Two images taken by Lanoo during his time in Ghana were among three photographs for which he was nominated at the Arcaid Images Architectural Photography Awards 2016. He previously documented a “makerspace” implemented by a group of architects at the world’s biggest dumping ground for electronic waste in Agbogbloshie, Ghana. Lanoo has also photographed many significant architectural projects around the world, including Zaha Hadid’s Issam Fares Institute in Beirut, and South Korea’s tallest skyscraper – the Lotte World Tower by Kohn Pedersen Fox.
Reinforced concrete was used for the building’s main structure, with the lower parts of the facades clad in polished dark-grey granite. The curved surfaces of the roofs are covered with small, white mosaic tiles that give the upper half of the theatre a contrasting light and slightly reflective finish.
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ISABEL DOS SANTOS AND THE ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT OF AFRICAN WOMEN
t a United Nations debate in New York, Isabel dos Santos, who is currently the richest woman in Africa, spoke of the economic empowerment of African women as a key to transforming society. This and many of her other hopeful and encouraging messages have inspired many citizens in African countries, mainly young women, to pursue their ambitions in business. Dos Santos believes that some of the most promising and successful businesspeople in the world have been African because of the continent’s entrepreneurial spirit. This spirit, however, has been weighed down by the stigmatization of women in the workplace. This has robbed the economy of valuable innovators and has barred women from achieving their ambitions. But by ensuring that young women can access the same education, job opportunities, and potential for growth as men, dos Santos believes that she can change this attitude and instill a national confidence in women. This type of thinking falls in line with her more general philosophy of reform: “First the seed, then the future.” This dictum seems to urge against immediate change and, instead, encourages slow and steady growth. The seeds that Isabel dos Santos thinks ought to be planted are also tied up in the economic freedom of women – by creating jobs, providing training, and breaking sexist stigmas, she believes that women can experience increased financial stability while giving their home countries more influence in the international economy.
Dos Santos’ Vision of an Entrepreneurial Africa Isabel Dos Santos has spent a lot of time planting these seeds in Africa, focusing her efforts in her home country of Angola where she meets with young people and speaks with them about the power of entrepreneurship. Sometimes, she visits them in small, personable rooms at universities and other institutions, other times in much larger ones during her speeches and debates.
Most tellingly, she refers to famous African entrepreneurs as a “great family” and invites everyone with the motivation to work hard and come join them. She often encourages young women to leverage the world’s increased reliance on technology and artificial intelligence, which she refers to as “digitalization”. She believes working toward innovations in technology is key to increasing Africa’s presence in the international economy while flooding the continent with unique employment opportunities. With just a computer and internet connection, unemployed or underpaid citizens can find more work, sometimes with the higher wages that are more commonplace in developed countries, to support their families and stimulate their local economies. During a conversation with students at the University of Warwick interested in developing Africa, dos Santos tells a young woman who is eager to accomplish her ambitions “now” that she has to be patient and have not just a goal but a string of subgoals to reach it. She goes on to encourages the student to involve herself as deeply as she can in the decision processes that influence that goal, and also to understand that sometimes it’s important to just focus on school, other times on a career or starting a business. This type of advice for strategic hesitance can be found in many of her speeches. Isabel dos Santos is the daughter of Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Angola’s long-time former president. Much of her wealth came from her investments and her previous position as the chairwoman of an oil company owned by the state called Sonangol. Dos Santos considers herself an independent businesswoman and investor and has become Africa’s first females billionaire. Forbes ranks her as the 9thwealthiest billionaire in Africa for 2018.
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A Beacon of Hope in a Male-Dominated Market
powerful and transformative.”
For young businesswomen in various African countries, her success story has been a beacon of hope. But dos Santos has told various reporters that her rise to riches was marred by the sexism she had to endure in a male-dominated African business world. She has no shortage of stories concerning prejudice and discrimination based on her gender, such as during business meetings where the people she’s negotiating with would look to her male assistant, advisor, or lawyer for validation though she already stated her offer. She is also frequently asked what business her husband is in when her wealth is made clear.
She calls on other African entrepreneurs to give back to their countries by investing in similar projects. Though they seem small-scale, she believes that with enough support, this type of philanthropic work can create a value chain large enough to impact the national economy. As a result, smaller communities will have more prosperous citizens and influence. Should those new entrepreneurs be African women, then dos Santos hopes that their success will help chip away at the stigma that women are less competent than men.
Despite her tribulations in the business world, Isabel dos Santos has maintained a charitable and hopeful perspective on life and takes on many projects geared toward improving small communities and local economies. One of these projects was in Humpata, in the province of Huila, where dos Santos helped establish a strawberry field, “planting the seed” to empower citizens. This project gave 120 women a place to work and a new income. On her website, dos Santos says:
This is all part of one of Isabel dos Santos’ larger goals to increase the prosperity of African countries as a whole. She plans to accomplish this by working from the ground up, focusing on the individual, such as the promising young men and woman of various African countries. By empowering them, she is, in turn, empowering their communities. This creates value within towns that have historically not had the chance to prosper, and by strengthening local economies, the national economy itself is bolstered.
“Creating opportunities and employment for women means betting on the progress of the communities themselves. When they thrive, women invest their income in the family, health, and education. I value this as a sense of duty, commitment, and dedication. The impact that women create around them is
“This is the true transformation of a country,” she says. It starts with a little hope and promise, with planting the “seeds”, and then, through the hard work of a community’s individuals, a brighter future can be earned.” By Africa.com Contributor
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FASHION DESIGNER JOE CASELYHAYFORD DIES AT 62 British-Ghanaian fashion designer Joe Casely-Hayford has passed away aged 62, after losing a three-year fight with cancer. The influential designer, who has dressed famous musicians including Bono, Suede and Lou Reed, most recently ran the Casely-Hayford label that he set up with his son Charlie in 2009. Dylan Jones, editor of British GQ, has described him as “a lovely man as well as a consistently inventive designer”.
“He was one of the mainstays of the industry in the 1980s, and was an inspiration to a whole generation of young designers,” he said. His name was also one of the first British designer brands to gain genuine global recognition. He will be greatly missed.” Casely-Hayford was “the first of his kind” Edward Enninful, editor of British Vogue, also paid tribute to Casely-Hayford on the magazine’s website and social media channels.
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“We come from the same time. Joe was a talented pioneer, filled with integrity, and the first of his kind: a black designer who represented London on the world stage,” said Enninful. Casely-Hayford completed an apprenticeship on Savile Row – the London street famous for traditional men’s tailoring – before going on to train at the Tailor and Cutting Academy. He then studied fashion design at Central Saint Martin’s and history of art at the ICA. He established a label in London’s east end in 1984 with his wife Maria, famously using second world war tents in his inaugural collection.
Designs paired tailoring with streetwear His designs always took inspiration from bespoke tailoring but were spiked with the streetwear he saw around that first studio on London’s Brick Lane. The designer was awarded an OBE in 2007 during his three-year tenure as creative director of British tailors Gieves & Hawkes. He left to set up his eponymous label with Charlie, renowned for its elegant deconstructed sensibility. Casely-Hayford is survived by his wife Maria, son Charlie and daughter Alice, the digital editor of British Vogue. Augusta Pownall | 4 January 2019
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Photo by aliunix on Unsplash
MR. JOHN WATSON OTUMFUOR CEO MAYFAIR ESTATE 34 | WWW.AFRICANPROPERTYMAGAZINE.COM
MRS. SYLVIA ADOBEA ADADEY SUPERVISOR, CCBM GHL BANK
MOST EXPENSIVE CITIES IN AFRICA FOR PRIME RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY The 2018 Africa Wealth Report examines wealth trends in Africa over the past 10 years. The report also reviews the top spending habits of the wealthy in Africa.
Cape Town (Bantry Bay and Clifton) is the most expensive city in Africa for prime residential property. A front row bungalow in Clifton with direct access to Third Beach is on the market for R40 million
Prime property trends
Luxury travel destinations
Prime residential property is a popular asset class for Africaâ€™s wealthy, especially luxury apartments, homes in residential estates and beachfront villas.
The report also reviews the top travel destinations for the wealthy in Africa.
The most expensive cities for prime residential property in Africa are ranked below. City (ranked in US$ per square metre): - Cape Town (Bantry Bay and Clifton): $6 100 - Durban (Lagoon Drive in Umhlanga): $2 900 - Johannesburg (Central Sandton): $2 800 - Nairobi: $1 900 - Marrakesh: $1 800 - Tangier: $1 800 - Mombasa: $1 700 - Luanda: $1 700 - Casablanca: $1 500 - Accra: $1 200 - Lagos: $1 100 - Abidjan: $1 000 - Alexandria: $1 000 - Maputo: $900 - Cairo: $900 - Kampala: $800
South Africa is the main luxury tourist destination in Africa. Major SA destinations for wealthy people include the Kruger Park area, Cape Town, Umhlanga and Franschhoek. Major destinations in the rest of Africa include: Mauritius, Seychelles, Marrakech in Morocco, Casablanca in Morocco, Cairo in Egypt, the Serengeti in Tanzania, Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, the Masai Mara in Kenya, Livingstone in Zambia and the Okavango Swamps in Botswana. Gorilla safaris in the Virunga Mountains and the Bwindi Forest (Uganda) are also popular. Popular hotels for wealthy people visiting Africa include La Mamounia in Morocco, the Four Seasons in Seychelles and the 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa in Cape Town. Popular game lodges include Ngorongoro Crater Lodge in Tanzania, the Royal Livingstone in Zambia, Cottarâ€™s 1920s Safari Camp in Kenya and Singita in South Africa. By Andrew Amoils, Property 247.
As reflected, South African cities dominate the above list. It should, however, be noted that residential prices in South Africa are coming under strain in 2018.
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CUSTOMER CHOICE MICRO-CREDIT SERVICES Are you a woman, or do you belong to a wellbeing institution seeking financial assistance and stability with all the crises in the financial sector? Customer Choice Micro-Credit Services believes and subscribes to core values such as honesty, trust and the passion to succeed, hence we seek to support and partner woman and other professionals to create and add value to their businesses. Customer Choice Micro-Credit Services understands the need to build credibility and this is exhibited by being a member of the Micro Credit Association of Ghana. We are also licensed by the Central Bank of Ghana and incorporated under the companies Act by the Registrar Generalsâ€™ Department. In March 2016, Customer Choice Money Lending Services, now Customer Choice Micro-Credit Services started as a lending financial institution with about three hundred (300) clients as an initial client base with consistent growth ever since. Initially operating as a lending institution, Customer Choice Money Lending Services was changed to a Micro-Credit institution on the 31ST of August, 2017 by the Bank of Ghana in collaboration with the Micro Credit Association of Ghana. We are located on the Winneba road stretch in Weija â€“ Accra. We seek to become the best growth partners with excellent and motivated employees, to create the highest value for customers and the shareholding community as a whole. To us, honesty is always the best policy and trust needs to be earned, always. Do you require our services? Are you seeking financial stability? Our requirements simply include providing an application letter for a loan, an invitation for evaluation and an inspection of work, job or place of residence. Our loans have been thoughtfully crafted to include Salary loans, Personal loans, Business loans and Group loans. Our dedicated and excellent team made up of entrepreneurs, businessmen, auditors, lawyers etc. at CCMCS is led by a businessman and entrepreneur, Mr Philip Quainoo who serves as the Chief Executive Officer. At Customer Choice Micro-Credit Services, visions are built! Contact us today via email: customerchoicemicroservices@gmail. com, you can also call +233(0)546 081 384, for further details, or log on to our website: www.customerchoicegh.com
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THEURBANATIVEâ€™S 2018 COLLECTION IS INSPIRED BY TRADITIONAL AFRICAN HAIRSTYLES South African design company TheUrbanative, founded by Mpho Vackier, just released their 2018 collection which takes inspiration from traditional African hairstyles. The African Crowns Collection comprises furniture, lighting, and accessories that explore the sculptural lines, forms, and textures of the majestic hairstyles. The collection includes seating, tables, planters, storage, lighting and decorative objects, featuring woven and braided elements that pay homage to those artistic hair crowns, along with geometric shapes and a modern color palette. Wanting to celebrate the importance of hair in ancient African civilizations and how it becomes such a part of who the person is, the brand aims to share functional products that are not only fun, but tell a cultural story that someone from modern times can relate to and appreciate. Source design-milk.com WWW.AFRICANPROPERTYMAGAZINE.COM | 41
THE BUILDING; WHO HAS THE FINAL SAY? At an imaginary court… Court Clerk: All rise, Justice Nokware Ye, Justice of the High Court presiding. My Lord, Civil Case number CBC/01/2018 Mr. Osikani Richman (Plaintiff) (MP) vrs. Architect Kofi Know it all (Defendant) Mrs. Rejoice Taahobedi (1st Interested Party, Tenant. My Lord all parties present. My Lord, Plaintiff shall open his case against the defendant. Plaintiff (Mr. Osikani): My Lord, I am a hard working Ghanaian businessman who has labored from nothing to building my wealth. I hired the services of the defendant as an Architect to design and supervise my dream mixed commercial/residential project for me. I have traveled round the world and I know what I want. Throughout the design process he kept clashing with me on many issues. Your honour, the land is mine, I hired the Architect, I paid the contractors to build the structure, it is my property surely everything concerning the building must be what I want and consider right. They keep telling me about regulations and standard provisions. Defendant (Architect Kofi): Your honor, I am an Architect with over 20years experience, my reputation as a good Architect is one that is hard earned. The Plaintiff commissioned me to do his project, fully aware that I am a professional. On several occasions, some of his requests was simply profit motivated and with little consideration for the comfort of the end users. As a lay person, sometimes he had lacked understanding of the laws guiding construction and statutory requirements. Your honour, the design is my intellectual property, it is only proper that I ensure that what is built in what I approve. In the event of any design malfunctioning, I will be easily sued… Court in recess…
This is a time immemorial argument: the completed building/project, who must it most please or satisfy? The Client? The Architect (and his team of consultants)? The End Users? (In the event that the client may not be the end user) How many times has the Architect not heard a client say boldly “I am the one paying you” And that is the truth, the client is the one who is paying for our works. Interestingly, when we go to the Clinic sick, do we tell the doctor what to do? Surely, we are paying the doctor so why don’t we tell him what medications to prescribe for us? Or go on and instruct the surgeon how to perform surgery on us!! Sometimes. I think that Architecture looks so simple that it gives a lot of people the illusion that they can play Architect without having any training. So it is common to find many clients playing self-acclaimed Architect and dictating to their Architects or directly instructing the builders. The results of these actions are the many distasteful buildings we see in our country. Without any question, there are times when a client is well informed about what his/her needs are and is best positioned to guide his Architect to achieve the design he wants. There are choices in a home/building that the client is best positioned to make and regardless of how good an Architect may be, cannot make the best choice for the client. The Architect has been trained to interpret a client’s brief into an Architectural piece. His work must be functional, it must be possible to construct, and it must be sensitive to cost and the environment as well as aesthetically pleasing. There was a residence I designed for a client years ago. During the construction, the client informed me my service during construction will not be required. Reluctantly I stepped aside. A couple of years later I got a call from the client to attend the opening ceremony (house warming) of the project. He kept going on about how beautiful the project has turned out. I got to the event and was so terribly disappointed with what they had turned ‘my’ beautiful design into. So many changes I couldn’t even recognize it was my work. The worst part of the night was each time the client will walk up to me in excitement with his friends saying “yes that is
SM the Architect, he did this beautiful work”. I wanted to vanish!! I must add quickly though that there have been few occasion when clients have also set me aside during the execution of my design and have turned out something exciting to my surprise which was not originally a part of my design. I have smiled and accepted the praise!! There are many situations where the client is not the end user of a project. People develop building for commercial purpose, to rent or sell etc. In the event that the end users are known at the inception stages of the project an interaction with this group by the Architect will give a good
understanding of their needs. Take for example the local authorities want to develop a new Agbogbloshie market, it will be disastrous for the Architects to complete drawings without having some interaction with the market women to understand their culture and ways of carrying out their daily activities. It is the end users who are going to spend time in the building sometimes every day for year!! Surely, their views and needs matters in no small way. Interestingly, there is a fourth (4th) group of people who also believe that their say matters. They didn’t pay for the project, they were not even part of the construction, and they are not even users of the building. They are simply the neighbours, the passersby!! They pass judgment like “oh my, that is a beautiful building” or “that building is so terrible”. They use the building as identity or landmark for directions etc. Their claim is that a building and its usage affects them as neighbours, and they should have a say. Court resumes… Now let’s hear the verdict from Justice Nokware Ye Justice Nokware: Having listened carefully to all the ongoing arguments, I rule that the Client, the Architect and the End Users all have good cases which cannot be overlooked. Given that the client is the owner of the project, his position must be most respected. The Architect and the contractors must do their
utmost best to satisfy his needs. In the event that some of the client’s requests are technically not in his own interest, the architect must endeavor to explain its implications well to him. The end product of a building must be foremost satisfactory to the Client to be considered as a successful project!! The Architect must deploy his technical skills to give Architectural interpretation to a client’s brief. Should his personal preferences clash with the Client’s preferences, he must choose to please the Client, if he cannot do so, he is free to resign. If the Client’s demands are on issues which are in breach of the Architects professional code, he must chose to resign. The Architect must be sensitive to End users’ needs and comfort and reflect likewise in his design provisions. Judge bangs gavel!!! The success of a building is not decided on its appearance or beauty on the day of completion of construction, it is rather determined after its been put to use, how the spaces function as envisaged how the materials used withstand time test, how it blends positively to enhance the environment, how it brings financial gain if that is the intent. Then and only then can a building be considered a truly successful project!!
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REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101 DOS AND DON’TS IN REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS
eal Estate like I have always said, is a very unpredictable and a demanding venture as it involves transactions between human beings who are not perfect. Know that behind every beautiful home and excitement you see the occupants or owners exhibit is a story of hardwork behind the scenes. In fact, some of these behind the scenes happenings you don’t get to see can be as exciting and smooth as can be or can be as bad and disappointing as can be. My years of operation as an agent and now a certified broker at CBC Properties has not been smooth as appears now. I have made mistakes and closed some great deals. Similarly, I have seen how the mistakes of clients have led to some huge loses and litigations while others have had a smooth closure. All these experiences sum up what makes the team at CBC Properties trustworthy and a brand known for dealing in litigation free properties. It is my hope that the following lessons will be a good guide in making your next real estate transactions easier. Always Do Your Background and Research Whether you are the one selling or buying or renting out or the tenant, it is important to do your homework well. Since real estate transactions are to most people the biggest investment in their lives, particularly buyers, it is key to dig deeper about the property in question before allowing money to exchange hands. Every information is relevant to ensure you don’t lose out and have big regrets later. You can always start with; *what property do you want and why you need the property in question? *Who are the owners, how long have they owned ? *What is the history of the property in terms of when it was constructed, who and how many people have occupied it before you? *Why are they selling or renting out ? Last but not the least, *what is the price range for similar properties.? Your homework should also include the agents involved, thus both the buyer’s agent or the agent representing the seller (seller’s agent). Same applies to agents playing a dual role of representing both the buyer and agent. It is also important to learn about the locality where the property is situated. How accessible is it to the school of your kids, your work place, market, place of worship etc.? You seriously have to consider security and safety. Use an Agent for Easier Transactions I am sure as you read about the background and research, you were asking how were you going to be able to do all that before concluding a real estate transaction. In the past, real estate agents were mere middle men in Ghana who simply connect a seller and buyer together and get a cut for that (commissions). However, the complexities of life, busy schedules, paper work and litigation problems requires that real
estate agents up their game to meet the needs of the market. Thank God despite the many frauds associated with real estate transactions, there exist a good number of genuine and professional brokers in the country ensuring value for money and closing smooth deals. To this end, you can have your homework done on a real estate deal properly if you rely on the assistance of a professional real estate agent, especially in big ticket transactions. Should you be in need of such professionals, contact the Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR) on www.gar.com. gh. Since they have a tall list of brokers across the country, they should be able to provide you with a variety to choose from. You may also rely on potent referrals from friends, business partners, relations who might have used the services of a good real estate broker. When you use the agent, you also benefit from his or her assistance to ensure quality paper work, negotiations, follow ups, home inspections, just to mention a few. Real estate agents work on real estate transactions every day, and they have contacts who can help with mortgage, title, appraisals, inspections etc. Use them to your advantage. Don’t Rush, Just be Patient Please, Please and Please never set out to buy, sell, lease or rent a property in a rush or when you are very hard pressed. Although life is unpredictable and no matter what some people might end up with no choice but to quickly undertake a real estate transaction, as much as possible don’t rush through the process. The end of rushed transactions are mostly not good ones, especially in the case of buyers, sellers and tenants. I always tell buyers not to rush, especially when the kind of property they are in search of abounds. I have seen a lot of clients keep changing their mind after every property I have showed them. In some cases, those who rushed to choose, regretted not waiting to see the next two or three properties I had recommended. While those who were patient got more than what they bargained for at a price lower than their intended budget. I understand that some have the urge of locking a property down with the fear of another scooping them, but that will be understandable if your agent has shown you a good number of properties already. Be that as it may, taking time to scrutinize the transaction process and terms should not be sacrificed. Another reason you don’t have to rush is that, living in a property that you are not satisfied with, can be depressing. You don’t want that in this hot Ghanaian weather coupled with its unpredictable economy. Never Assume In my early days in the business, I use to assume all clients knew exactly what they wanted. As time went on it became clear that clients, be it sellers, buyers or tenants had an idea of what they wanted but on seeing the properties their minds kept changing. Sometimes, that can be frustrating for brokers and agents if they are not patient.
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To me, it not advisable to create a perfect house in one’s mind, but be specific of what one wants and needs and what one doesn’t want in a house. You can also indicate the negotiable and non-negotiable needs and wants to guide choosing of the property and the transaction. It is after this is done and deal is closed that you can make the house perfect for you. Clients should also not assume that agents or brokers have a magic wand to get them what they want, but rather work with them as a team a develop the list above and work it out till that perfect property is closed. Be Honest and Transparent Both Clients and Agents must be honest with each other. Usually sellers would want to hide certain alterations or flaws of a property from the agent and for that matter the buyer for the fear that it will affect his or her listing price. The buyer will also want to lie about exactly what he or she will be using the property for to also save money on the negotiations. Some agents too might want to keep the clients in the dark about something in order to have their commission intact. All three scenarios are punishable by law should the affected party take it to court. As agents, it is important to be honest and transparent in your dealings as your survival in the business is based mostly on referrals. As a seller, the agent knows how to help communicate and market your property to get the right buyer without having to lie or
hide anything. Same applies to the buyer or the one renting. Explain your situation in full to the agent. He has been doing this for a living and will do all he or she can to meet your need. Even if he can’t, his network and colleagues will come handy in meeting your need. Don’t Be Emotional As a result of the amount of money and investments involved in real estate, transactions can be very emotional and degenerate into something else. Be that as it may, try as much as possible to avoid the temptations of being emotional. Get your facts right and deal with the issues based on merits and demerits as presented. A real estate agent or broker comes in handy in dealing with the emotional and sentiments attached to real estate transactions. As a buyer or seller, you are better off pouring your sentiments and emotions on the agent or broker so he or she keeps that in mind when facilitating the transaction so there is a win-win deal for all parties involved. Share your story if you have some lessons to share. Till then, see you next week. The writer is the CEO and Lead Broker, CBC Properties (CBC Global Limited), Founding Member, Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR); Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 0204225002
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CALL : 0205385656 & 0208555185 EMAIL : GoldenCoastDevelopers@gmail.com
REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101
OWNING A LAND IS ONE OF THE PROFITABLE INVESTMENTS IN GHANA
hen I was a child, I remember how my mother always talked about how important it was to own a land. I quite remember how she stressed that owning land was important than owning a car and that should I make money, my first major investment should be buying a land, building a house before owning a car. In Ghana’s culture, there is the saying that “you don’t keep animals, if you don’t own your own space.” That tells you the premium that is placed on owning a land, be it vacant or with developments on it. Growing up now and with my real estate background, all that makes sense to me, and I can say on authority that, in Ghana owning a land is not only a profitable investment, but a safe one too if it is acquired genuinely. In the subsequent paragraphs I will take time to explain why owning a land is the most profitable and safest investment in Ghana.
What is a land?
It is a type of real estate which refers to a space on the earth that can be used for residential, commercial and industrial purposes. This space extends above the land into the sky or beneath the earth. We can talk of vacant land, farms and ranches, undeveloped, land at initial development stage etc. It is true that the land tenure system and land administration system in Ghana has some challenges, thereby making owning a land challenging, but should you employ the services of CBC Properties (CBC Global Limited), you will be guaranteed of litigation and problem free lands and other real estate properties.
Now that the challenges of land acquisition have been handled, these are the reasons why you should invest in a land. Investing in a land is profitable and arguably better than buying a treasury bill. About two years ago, I facilitated a sale of one of our lands at Dawhenya for GHC10,000 per plot. As I speak a plot of land at the same area is between GHC15,000 and GHC20,000. If the clients who bought the land two years ago had invested into the safest investment instrument in the country, thus a treasury bill, they will not have enough money to buy the same land they had bought two years ago. This is why? Treasury bill is currently at 13 percent interest on your principal per annum. Thus 13% of 10,000 is GHC1,300 per annum. In two years that will be an interest of 26%, hence, a profit of GHC 2,600 which when added to the principal of GHC 10,000 will be GHC 12,600. So you see, if those who bought the land two years ago were to resell that land today, they would make between GHC5,000 and GHC10,000 profit which is 50% and 100% interest respectively.
The simple analysis above takes us to our next point; which is; the value of a land is most likely to appreciate than depreciate if you had used that same money to buy a car. If I you buy a vehicle, be it slightly used or brand-new, the value begins to depreciate the moment you moved the vehicle from the dealership or the seller. How does this happen, as the mileage on the car increase the value decreases too. As a new model of that same car moves on the market, the value of the old model reduces. As the vehicle moves about and facilitates your activities, there is wear and tear which also reduces the value of the vehicle. At the end of the day, should you want to resell to another person, the cost at which you sell it will be way lower than how it was bought. Not to talk of expenditure of the vehicle in terms of fuel, maintenance, add-ons, road worthy, insurance etc. That is not to say buying a car is bad, but it is to emphasize the fact that buying a car is a liability that leads to more expenditure unlike a land that increases in value even as you spend on securing it. For instance, when you buy a land and pay for the documentation, build a fence wall, dig a well on it, or plant cash crops on it, it only goes to increase the value which can be factored when re-selling the land to another buyer. You can as well, decide to do nothing to the land and you will still have it increase in value. The location and type of land and purpose of the new buyer can increase the value of the land.
Owning a land although may not be bringing in any income while it seats idle, saves you from stress if it is well secured and cared for. It is safe to say a well procured and secured land is like a good child. It doesn’t involve any extra work that will involve huge capital injection. It behaves itself without needing to do anything. Like said earlier, you get a bonus of increasing value as time goes by even when the land is idle.
Inexpensive and Long Term
Buying a land can be inexpensive if you thinking long term. This is because, with the help of the right real estate advise, you can get a good land at a good price that will cause you less to manage over the long term and even become valuable as and when you need to resell it. Because it is vacant there are no mortgage payments to make and no utility bills to pay. Property rates, property taxes and insurances will be so nominal, you will not feel it.
Buy a Land Today and Become Landowner Tomorrow
I once told a group of young people in a meeting which I was the speaker that “Find where the people are going, buy a land there and wait for them.” Will Rogers also put it as; “Buy Land now
and Wait!” They didn’t get it, but I took time to explain to them. About 10, 15, 20 years ago, places like Kasoa, Dawhenya, Afienya, Oyarifa, Ayimensah towards Aburi, Frafraha toward Oyibi, Ashongman, Amasaman and the like, were known as outskirts of Accra, Ghana’s capital city. Most of the people who were smart enough to buy lands in such places which were considered years ago as bushes and non-habitable are now home owners, landlords, big business people and the like, because they saw where the people were going, bought a land there and waited. You may not have $100,000 dollars to own a land at Ridge, East Legon, Dzorwulu and other prime areas in the capital city now, but you can go to the outskirts where the people are going and buy acres of land today at a cost that might not even buy a plot of land in Sukura (A slum community in Accra). Five to ten years from now, that outskirts will turn to an urban area and if you planned well, you will own houses and shops to rent out and
even become a big business person as the pioneer dealer in certain strategic goods and services. Furthermore, you can also become a land owner and sell some of your many lands to others as a means of business. You could do this with the help of a real estate broker. Well, this is all time will permit. Make a date next week with your trusted broker, Chris Nii for more on “How to Employ the Services of the Right Broker or Agent”. The writer is the CEO and Lead Broker, CBC Properties (CBC Global Limited), Founding Member, Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR); Email: email@example.com Cell: 0204225002
Kisomba Dancers Ghana Property Awards
Ebo Gyebi MC Ghana Property Awards
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REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101
TRANSFORMING THE REAL ESTATE SECTOR IN GHANA – THE ROLE OF GHANA ASSOCIATION OF REAL ESTATE BROKERS (GAR)
ll over the world, professional bodies are considered key partners in nation building, particularly with the nurturing, growth and transformation of the specific sectors the bodies are interested in as well as associated sectors. In the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK) where the concept of professional bodies or associations have been perfected, there exist very formidable industries that lead the overall development and transformation of their national economies as well as the international economy. The many successes by professional bodies in the developed world has pointed to the fact that the weak industries of developing countries like Ghana is to a large extent, a reflexion of the existing professional bodies. In other words, for Ghana’s industries to rise up to the occasion and compete favourably on the international stage, there is the need for strong, well represented and adequately resourced professional bodies. This is because Professional bodies among other things are able to streamline the operations of the industry and conduct of professionals, compliment government and other state agencies, contribute to policy development, facilitate investments and create conducive environment for both citizens and players in their specific industry.
Value of Professional Bodies
This assertion is backed by a recent survey by the Charted Institute of Builders (CIOB), UK which has found that that professional bodies play an unsung role in promoting trust in British society and creating value in ways that score high on the current political agenda, such as productivity and social mobility. The report dubbed; ‘Understanding the Value of Professionals and Professional Bodies’, surveyed more than 2,000 members of the public and over 150 Members of Parliament (MPs) for their perception of professional bodies. 61 percent of the public agreed that professional bodies could help guide government on relevant policies while 48 percent of MPs scored professional bodies at 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest) for effectiveness in supporting good policy making in their industry. The report also found that professional bodies in the UK offer significant value to society in five areas that top current social and political agenda namely; Productivity, Social mobility, Governance and ethics, International development and Policy formation. A vast majority of the public that was surveyed also revealed they will trust a professional more if he or she was a member of a professional body.
Why Ghana Association of Real Estate Broker (GAR)
It is against this background that professional real estate brokers and agents in Ghana have put themselves together to create what is now known as the Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR) which was launched on Friday, 27 July, 2018. The establishment of GAR has come at a good time because, a
very large portion of the real estate sector in Ghana is not regulated, hence fraught with lots of challenges including, unprofessional and to some extent fraudulent persons taking advantage of both local and foreign investors, cumbersome processes, inadequate date and research, poor career path and education in the sector among others. The opportunities in sector are limitless considering the fact that the sector is currently young and seen as a small branch of the construction industry which contributed GHS13.7bn ($3.8bn) to GDP in 2014 at current prices, according to the Ghana Statistical Service. This was 12.7% of total GDP and up 26.9% from GHS10.8bn ($2.9bn) in 2013. The sector has grown strongly over the past decade, from GHS1.01bn ($280.3m) in 2006, and has become one of increasing importance to the broader economy, more than doubling as a contributor to GDP from 5.7% in 2006. The successes in the construction sector as shown above has been attributed to the role of professional bodies like Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana (ABCECG), Ghana Institute of Engineers, Ghana Contractors Association, Charted Institute of Building among others. Note that, although the real estate sector contributes to this success there is no specific professional body, except for the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA) which is specifically for developers, thus contractors, architects, civil engineers etc. Mind you, the Bank of Ghana’s Research of the Housing Market in Ghana indicates that it will take ten years to build one million units to fill a housing deficit of about 1.7miilion units currently. However, the rising number of real estate developers is not enough to fill the gap, especially now that the services of real estate brokers is becoming a necessity than a luxury. It is therefore timely that the GAR has come at this time to fill that gap and create new opportunities for expanding the real estate sector, the construction industry Ghana’s economy as a whole.
Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR) is a body that covers brokers, agents and other affiliates in the real estate transaction value chain with the main focus of protecting the public interest in real estate brokerage transactions, thus buying, selling, leasing, renting and property management. It also hopes to certify and license persons who hope to work in the sector through training, mentoring and professional courses relevant for optimum delivery on the job market. GAR also hopes to give brokers and agents and affiliates one voice and a bigger platform and influence to push for the welfare, needed standards, regulation and growth which is mutually beneficial to real estate professionals, public (clients) and all other industry players and the state as a whole. Membership To be a member of GAR, one must be a player in the real estate brokerage space in Ghana with proven track record and experience to support one’s application. Since there are inadequate
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programs in the current education system to prepare people of real estate brokerage, GAR is working on a certification program for real estate agents. Irrespective of one’s level, whether one is new to the industry, thinking of a career change or have many years of experience and want to keep up to date, there is a course available. Plans are far advanced to begin the following courses, Broker in Charge Courses, Real Estate Agent Courses, Real Estate Professional Courses and New Facilitator Courses Should the course be fully rolled out in the near future, there will be systems must facilitate renewal of certificate. Certificates can be put on active or inactive status depending on one’s ability to satisfy all requirements.
things to prevent the use of real estate transactions for social vices and ensure the training of brokers. While the Rent Act amendment is among other things to propose monthly rent payment as opposed to the 6-month rent advance payment detailed under the current law.) GAR also gives members protection from fraudulent clients based on a shared data of such individuals in previous transactions with other members and collaboration with other state agencies including the security agencies. GAR in the near future hope to compile credible data and undertake research relevant to the industry and engage government and other key stakeholders to shape policy in the sector and ensure sustained growth of the real estate sector
As earlier mentioned GAR is poised to invest more in education of its members to ensure quality service delivery in all real estate transactions in the country. The President of soon to be launched GAR, Calvin Kwadwo Bediako believes that the high rate of untrained and incapacitated agents in the sector will reduce with GAR’s inception. Secondly, professionals in the sector will gain credibility which is key in the real estate space which thrives on referrals. This credibility is going to emanate from the code of ethics and standards to be enforced by the association foo members to get more referrals and clients get quality service. The training and ensure ethics and standards can go a long way to reduce the high level of litigations and stress associated to real estate transactions in Ghana. The use of GAR’s logo by members and a platform for clients or the public to enquire about brokers, report rogue ones and seek redress accordingly also re-enforces the issue of credibility, standards and quality service. CArlvin also believes that the revised Real Estate Agency Bill and proposed amendment of the Ghana Rent Act 220 by the Ministry of Works and Housing will have good advocates and implementing partners in GAR; which is committed to ensuring standards. (The purpose of the Real Estate Agency Bill is among other
On Friday 27, July when the GAR was launched at the GHL Bank Forecourt the following founders were out doored, Calvin Kwadwo Bediako - CEO, Canal Group, Andrews Kweku Ofori - MD, Dru’s Line Ventures/CEO, Ando Properties Limited and Hanna Atiase - CEO of E. Wells Realty & Consultancy. The rest are Jones Osei, - Founder/CEO of Summit Property Brokers, Christian Kpakpo Abbosey - CEO, CBC (Properties) Global Limited and Adu-Amankwah Jude Osafo Yaw, Legal Counsel - Experienced Lawyer. The event will be graced by Minister for Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea, Kodo Addo-Kufuor of GHL Bank, Kelvin Nyame of Meqasa and Kwakye Dopoah-Dei, President of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA). The writer is the CEO and Lead Broker, CBC Properties (CBC Global Limited), Founding Member, Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR); Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 0204225002 By Chris Nii Abbosey
REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE
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REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101
HOW TO EMPLOY THE SERVICES OF THE RIGHT REAL ESTATE BROKER OR AGENT?
ow, what a weekend? For those of us in Ghana it was long as we had a holiday on Monday (Republic Day). Whereas most Ghanaians will be celebrating and having fun, which is usually the norm when the weekends are longer, most agents were still out there trying to make their clients happy. In our last encounter, we ended the session on why it was key to employ the services of real estate brokers or agents, something lots of Ghanaians are averse to. I have had a few colleagues call and say, they had some new clients call them because of the articles. I will update you on the feedback after those transactions go through.
instead of being forthright. A good broker or agent should be able to help you settle on all of this though, but the bulk depends on you.
Interview The Broker or Agent
Whenever a client calls and you tell the client, you will come over for him to interview you he or she goes like; What is that for? Believe me, it is very important. In fact, apart from the introspection, interviewing the broker or agent is the most important thing. This is because should you fail at one above (Be
If you have ever had a good real estate broker experience as a client, feel free to also share with me in my email, provided at the end of the article; the world wants to know. Now to the main topic. The Real Estate Industry thrives on referrals and lots of advertisements and promotions everywhere in the world, be it developing countries like Ghana or Real Estate hubs like California, in the United States. In fact, many of them use a variety of platforms, both traditional and modern to get themselves out there and attract clients. To this end, cutting through all the hype and deciding on the right broker or agent can be one difficult huddle. Secondly, since buying a property is one of the most expensive expenditure in one’s lifetime, it is safe if you get the right agent or broker to help you make the right decision. With my years of experience in the industry, first as an agent and now a broker running my own brokerage; CBC Properties (CBC Global Limited), below are a few tips to guide you to choose the right agent.
Be Sure On What You Need or Want
Whenever you decide that you need to rent, sell, lease or buy a property, you don’t immediately jump into the hands of a broker. First sit down and assess what kind of property you desire to rent, lease, sell or buy. Be sure of the location of the property and the key reason why you want to undertake such a transaction. You should also know your budget or your expectations in terms of returns. Due to the kind of challenges associated with the industry in Ghana and developing countries, it is also good to know the kind of person you want to hand your property to, especially when it comes to lease and rent, as the contractual agreements alone might not be able to protect the property as you desire than the person in whose hands the property will be. Finally, you will have to settle in your heart that this is exactly what I want, particularly in range the minimum or maximum you are ready to go. With this information, it will now be easy to know who you need to make the deal go through. The agent is a reflection of the client’s desires, so when you are unsure of what you want and how you want what you want, when you want it and where you want it, it makes it difficult to get the right agent as most of the time, he or she will be guess working
Sure of What You Want or Need), the interview can help you settle on that. Point is, the sector in Ghana is growing and hence the number of agents keep rising, so it only through interviewing a number of them, that you can decide who to settle with. It is also through the interview that you will be able to know if the agent or broker understands your need(s) as far as your real estate
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decisions are concerned. You will also discover his knowledge of the industry, especially with regards to your area of interest. The interview makes you know his availability, as some clients like a lot of attention while others only wants the work done, whether the agent is available or not. The interview helps you understand the broker’s or agent’s fees and how it fits with your expectations or otherwise. It is the interview that will also make you know the broker’s or agents past transactions and experiences. With all this information you will be able to assess the track record of the agent and help you make a good decision on the what to pay for his or her services.
Find Out the Experience of the Agent
Learning about the experience of your broker or agent is not
price to close a deal and how often they were able to make a deal higher than the expectations of the clients. Usually, a good broker may not want to handle an overpriced property as it is a burden to carry. A good broker should be able to tell which price is good or bad at his or her fingertips. These are things an inexperienced broker wouldn’t be able to provide. An experienced broker will not be interested in flattering you, but give you relevant information that he can back with proof or data. Their understanding of the psychology of the market is so approximate that they may sound like prophets. In all of this look at your interest and ensure you take from the broker what he or she can do for your peculiar need and not what he did for some big name or popular property. Well, this is all time will permit. Make a date next week with your trusted broker, Chris Nii for more on How to Employ the Services of the right Broker or Agent. The writer is the CEO and Lead Broker, CBC Properties (CBC Global Limited), Founding Member, Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR); Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 0204225002
about the number of year’s he or she has been in the business, but how many transactions he has done in relation to your needs and how those transactions were done. That will establish the understanding he or she has on the local market and your specific needs. You can go further and find out how often he or she has done similar transactions in terms of location, property type, cost involved and even how long the transactions take to close. Find out how often the broker or agent had to compromise a
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Ghana Property Awards
Ghana Property Awards
REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101
WAYS TO INCREASE THE VALUE ON YOUR PROPERTY
f you have been reading my articles on real estate, you will know that Ghanaians value property and have lots of sentimental attachment to them, especially homes. In fact, for every Ghanaian it is more than a dream come true to own a property. Unfortunately, the rate of affection and connection in property owning is not proportional to the kind of treatment giving to the said properties; as many property owners at best maintain the value of a property than appreciate it. While some have attributed the phenomenon to the alleged poor maintenance culture of majority of Ghanaians others believe it is due to lack of exposure and understanding on the importance to give once property a value addition treatment. However, recent happenings in the real estate sector in the country indicates that the situation is changing with a lot more people developing interest in ways to give their homes and other properties better treatment to improve their value. As a matter of fact, I have had a lot of clients who were interested in selling a property or buying a new one ask me how they could improve the value of the property they were about to sell or buy. In any case it serves the individual better if he or she takes initiative to make his or her property worth more than when it was first bought. To this end, this week’s article will try to provide some ways to add value to one’s property. I will try as much as possible to make the tips cover low end, intermediary and high end properties.
Until you are intentional on what value you want your property to accrue, it will be difficult to see your property appreciate in value. To be intentional means to plan and be purposeful and not impulsive about your desire to add more value to your property. Irrespective of what kind of property it is; thus new or old, luxurious or budget; it is only planning than can make your value addition agenda a reality. Write down all you want to do be it as small as changing the carpet in the building to constructing a whole edifice. With your financial muscle in mind put prices to all that you want to do. Haven done this, you can then talk to a real estate agent on broker to put your idea in proper perspective. The point is, whether you want to sell the said property or live in it much longer, you will have to align the additions and improvements you want to make into real value so that you do not lose out. Know that some improvements will add more value to your property than others, the agent or broker can help you know which is which. Be Realistic and Prioritise Being realistic is the reason you want to talk to the real estate broker about your improvement plans, especially when you want to sell, lease or rent after the process. Talking to an agent also helps to assess how well you know your property. If you do not, then you have to get to know it. If you do, you can start. This is after you have categorized the improvements into how
much the components will cost, including your time and money. You also must take cost estimates from contractors if you will require their services, so that you do not go and begin to break things down anyhow and commence when you do not have the money to finish or the time to supervise to ensure it is properly done. With your finances, time and resources in mind, you start systematically. Do not rush, just make sure whatever is started gets to completed. You can start with one room at a time to ensure high completion rate.
Low Cost Improvements
In Ghana, a lot of people do not value the little things when it comes to adding value to their properties. What many consider value addition is the major high-end improvements which require bigger capital. However, it will interest you to know that there are a lot of simple and less costly things you as a property owner can do to add value. Despite being low cost, they can make a great difference by making your property appealing and having more value. Most of these improvements can be done by yourself without necessarily contracting others. They include; • Documentation No one wants a problematic property. if you live in Ghana, you will know that a property without the right documentation is susceptible to ownership dispute and litigation. A welldocumented property outstrips a non-documented property any day. So always ensure that your properties have the right documents. This can give your property more value whenever you decide to sell, rent or lease. • Cleaning Never underestimate cleaning. It is the easiest and an immediate way of improving the value of your property. Cleaning must cover both within, outside and around your property. Get rid of garbage, bad odor and all forms of dirt. You will be amazed at how different your property will look by simply ensuring daily cleaning practices. Let me put it this way which house or property will you chose when two properties (one dirty and the other clean) with the same features is presented before you? I bet you will choose the clean one and even be ready to pay more for that than the dirty one. Never let dirt linger, check it as and when they arise. It is cheaper and also healthier. • Painting and a Curb Appeal Learn to constantly keep the walls of your property clean and intact as it can transform a tired and defaced wall into a fresh looking property. You should always try neutral colors which are more appealing and last longer too than the very bright colors which attracts dirt faster as it may need frequent repainting. A curb appeal is how appealing and attractive a house or property looks at first glance. You know that attraction you see when you see certain properties; the walkway, the lawn, flowers etc which are not major expenses although costs something but gives a property a distinct look? That is what a curb appeal is. So spend time to
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and money to do this as it may be as affordable as strategically placed flower ports, outdoor lighting, distinct painting of the main door etc. or a higher cost like new walkways, or driveways, a summer hut etc. the higher the investment the higher the value. â€˘ Change Fixtures and Maximize Space Use These are usually minor fixtures of a property. They include doorknob, light switch cover, cabinets, shelves, doors, windows, locks among others. or even a light fixture is an easy way to breathe new life into a space. Although buying, renting and leasing a fully furnished property is not that popular in Ghana, it is key for those who want to do that to ensure the spaces in their property are well used. Buyers get inspired and attracted to properties that are functional. How furniture is placed, the size and quantity can shore up the value of the property. Moderate to High Cost Improvements Now letâ€™s look at moderate to high cost improvements. These kind of improvements costs more and can be seen in most cases as minor or major renovations. Considering the costs involved these kinds of upgrades can potentially add significant value to your property. The range from adding an architectural detail, to better doors and windows, changing the floor of the building (e.g tiling, hardwood), remodeling the kitchen and the bathroom and replacing plumbing and ceiling. We can also talk about pulling down a wall to make the hall bigger, creating a bathroom in a bedroom, expanding a building
to have an additional bedroom among others. The we can talk of major renovations that comprises all minor improvement and renovations all together; which usually costs a lot more. Beware of Overdose Improvement In as much as we you want to add value to your property, be mindful to do it reasonably because it will be unwise for you to spend so much on a renovation when you are not sure of returns on your investment. This is the reason I recommended earlier that before you do make the improvements, conduct a research, talk to contractors and your real estate agent, especially when you want to sell the property. This way, you will have made a value added investment. A practical way to ensure this is by finding out the projected worth of your property after renovation, popularly referred to as After-Repair-Value or ARV. With this figure, you can then take out the cost you of the property, the difference is what should guide how much you should spend on the improvements. One last thing; know that the location, security, amenities and atmosphere in which your property is situated can also add value to the property. For instanced a serviced land is more valuable than on serviced land. (land with access to utilities). The writer is the CEO and Lead Broker, CBC Properties (CBC Global Limited), Member, Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR); Email: email@example.com Cell: 0204225002
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This jollof rice is a vegan version of a classic West African dish. Filled with tomatoes, onions and spices, this jollof rice makes a flavorful side dish. Ready in 45 minutes!
Vegan Jollof Rice
When I was in England over Christmas, I was meandering one of the open markets in Winchester. It was a pretty cold day, and I desperately craved a hot meal to stay warm. On a whim, I decided to go for some jollof rice instead of a Cornish pasty, my usual guilty pleasure whenever I visit England. That jollof rice filled me with all sorts of happy. It was a perfect blend of rice, tomatoes, onions, garlic and some good heat coming from Scotch bonnet peppers. That sinus-clearing spice was exactly what I needed. Jollof rice is a classic West African dish. The exact origins of the dish are unknown, but it is common in countries like Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal. Often times, jollof rice is cooked with chicken; the rice absorbs all the savory flavors of the chicken as it cooks. After coming home from my trip to England, I started experimenting with a vegan version of jollof rice. Instead of chicken, I used vegetable broth to enhance the flavors of the dish. I also swapped Thai chili peppers instead of Scotch bonnet peppers for spice. Scotch bonnet peppers are not easy for me to find, and I always have a bag of frozen Thai chilis on hand. You can always use another variety of pepper or even red pepper flakes for heat. If you donâ€™t like too much spice, feel free to skip the peppers entirely.
MASTERING MY MISTAKES / COOKING NOTES Cooking the Rice: The rice needs to be covered with a lid as it cooks. Resist the urge to lift the lid too check on the rice! The rice needs the steam in order to cook properly. Itâ€™s perfectly fine to sneak a peek once or twice to see if the liquids have evaporated, but keep that to a minimum. INSTRUCTIONS In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook them for 4 to 5 minutes, until they start to turn translucent, stirring frequently. Mix in the garlic, ginger and chilis and cook for 30 seconds, until the spices turn fragrant. Add the salt and basmati rice and stir. Continue toasting the rice for 2 minutes. Add the paprika, thyme, crushed tomatoes and broth and stir until well combined. Cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Let the rice simmer for 15 to 18 minutes, until all the liquids are absorbed. Remove the pan from heat and let the rice sit for 8 to 10 minutes. The rice will finish cooking as it rests. Fluff up the rice with a fork and sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve.
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INGREDIENTS 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 large yellow onion, diced (about 1 1/3 cups diced onions) 3 large garlic cloves, minced 1 inch piece of ginger, minced (about 1 1/2 teaspoons) 3 to 4 Thai chili peppers, sliced 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup uncooked basmati rice 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon dried thyme 14-ounce (400g) can of crushed tomatoes 1 cup (250ml) vegetable broth or water chopped parsley to serve
Author: Lisa Lin Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 27 minutes Total Time: 37 minutes
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REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE â€“ PART 1
efore I started my real estate business, I knew next to nothing about real estate. Interestingly, people see me today and do not believe I was once a novice. In Ghana my beloved country, many people including educated people do not still understand what real estate is and how it works. It may not be their fault, because even at the national level, real estate is not seen as an independent sector but a small branch of the construction industry. Be that as it may, the construction contributed GHS13.7bn ($3.8bn) to GDP in 2014 at current prices, according to the Ghana Statistical Service. This was 12.7% of total GDP and up 26.9% from GHS10.8bn ($2.9bn) in 2013. The sector has grown strongly over the past decade, from GHS1.01bn ($280.3m) in 2006, and has become one of increasing importance to the broader economy, more than doubling as a contributor to GDP from 5.7% in 2006. The Bank of Ghanaâ€™s Research of the Housing Market in Ghana indicates that it will take ten years to build one million units to fill a housing deficit of about 1.7miilion units currently. Thank God there have been an exponential number of real estate developers over the last decade, meaning the services of real estate brokers are gradually becoming a necessity than a luxury. This presupposes that real estate transactions in the last decade has constantly been on the ascendancy, however there is little education and understanding on how the real estate sector works hence, making it see a sluggish growth. In this write-up, I will attempt to break down what real estate is and try to cover key things you need to know about real estate. I will run it as a series with the aim of making real estate very easy to understand and relate with. Real Estate has many meanings, but from my experience and readings, it is a property consisting of land (air rights above it, surface rights on it and underground rights below it), the buildings on it, as well as the natural resources of the land, thus vegetation and wildlife, water and other minerals (gold, salt, diamond etc.). Simply put, Real Estate is the immovable or fixed portion of oneâ€™s property, that is, land and its associated fittings; be it artificially added or naturally rooted. If one is said to own a real estate or wants to own one, that person must have the title to the real estate which gives him/her authority and control over the air rights, mineral rights, and surface rights which can be sold, bought, leased or transferred together or separately. Another name for real estate is real
property or realty. Real Estate can be categorised into three or four depending on which part of the world one finds him/herself. They are Residential, Commercial, Industrial and Land. In some jurisdictions, residential real estate includes land, hence making it three categories. Just as the name goes, Residential Real Estate is an area or land devolved for people to live. It can be either newly constructed or
an existing home that is being resold to another. In Ghana we can talk about single rooms, hall and chamber, self-contained, flats, detached, semidetached, high-end apartments among others. While Commercial Real Estate refers to any property owned for the purpose of income generation. Thus the property is used for business (activities that generate income); example, shopping centers and malls, medical and educational buildings, hotels and offices etc. In recent times, some apartments are considered commercial since they are owned to produce income.
Industrial Real Estate covers all kinds of lands and building which are used or suitable for industrial activities such as manufacturing, assembling, warehousing, research, production, storage and distribution of goods. Finally, we have Land which refers to a space on the earth that can be used for residential, commercial and industrial purposes. This space extends above the land into the sky or beneath the earth. We can talk of vacant land, farms and ranches, undeveloped, land at initial development stage etc. These classification of real estate is very important because that is what informs how a property is zoned, what construction goes on it, how they are sold and how they are handled. Mind you, the various categories as listed above are a whole subject on their own which we may look at in future, but for now, it should be enough to make you understand the basics. Now, the entity and the whole range of activities that connects buyers and sellers of a real estate to facilitate a transaction is what is referred to as Real Estate Brokerage. In developed countries like the United State of America, Canada and the UK among others, Real Estate Brokerage is a branch of the entire Real Estate Industry. However, in developing countries like Ghana and many others in Africa, the industry in its true sense is none-existent. In fact, it will be an exaggeration to call it a Real Estate Sector in Ghana. The sector, despite the many strides in recent years, is still at its young age with the associated teething challenges. Be that as it may, the key actors in Real Estate Brokerage is the Real Estate Brokerage Firm, The Real Estate Broker, Real Estate Agent and the REALTOR. These actors are those who facilitate the transaction between sellers and buyers of real estate. Apart from the Real Estate Brokerage Firm which is simply understood as the company that undertakes a wide range of activities to facilitate real estate transaction between parties, the other actors are used interchangeably although they are not the same. Our young sector can be pardoned for such blunders. This is one of the challenges that this series of mine seeks to cure, to educate the populace on the sector so we can grow it together. Having said this, one may ask, what is the difference; a broker, agent and realtor? I am aware you really want to know the difference. Unfortunately, this is all time will permit. Watch this space for the part two of this series. Until then, it has been your trusted Real Estate Broker; Chris Nii. The writer is the CEO and Lead Broker, CBC Properties (CBC Global Limited), Founding Member, Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR); Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 0204225002
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REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE – PART 2
fter our first encounter on Real Estate Brokerage 101, I have got lots of emails expressing gratitude, additions, suggestions and some scolding for ending too early. In order to keep many out of suspense I decided to quickly do the part two of the series to avoid further scolding. But honestly, the feedback for the first part was amazing. Thank you all for reading, liking, sharing, commenting, in-boxing, following and tweeting. It is enough adrenaline to push the dream to make the Ghanaian and African populace, Real Estate savvy. For the benefit of those who have not yet read the part one; we looked at what real estate was, the types of real estate available and real estate brokerage. We also looked at the key actors in real estate brokerage briefly. You can read the part one here; Thursday June 7 edition of the Business and Financial Times Newspaper (Real Estate, Tourism and Maritime Inset) and on www.cbcghanaltd. com (https://cbcghanaltd.com/real-estate-brokerage-101/). It is important to note that the notion that Real Estate Broker, Real Estate Agent and a Realtor are the same is untrue. Although their roles may overlap and in some cases be similar, it did not make them the same. Some differences exist. If you are one of those people who used them interchangeably do not be ashamed, even in the US where there is a well-developed industry, people still get confused. So first of all, who is a Real Estate Agent? A Real Estate Agent in developed countries is a licensed salesperson who works under an employing broker. Take note that an agent is not a broker, hence cannot under any circumstance work on his own or autonomously. Because an agent works under a broker, his actions are supervised by the broker who is responsible the real estate agents’ actions or inactions. To become a licensed real estate agent, one must be at least 18 years old and must have passed all necessary courses and licensing exams required of a real estate agent. These courses, which are usually at the college level, may vary from state to state in the United States where the Real Estate Industry is well developed. In some places Agents are also referred to as Real Estate Associates. BROKER As earlier mentioned earlier, a Real Estate Broker is above a Real Estate Agent; in that the broker is expected to have gone beyond the college courses in real estate agent and is more educated and has a higher license in real estate. With this license; broker’s license, he or she can run her own business or brokerage alone or employ an agent or work with another broker; usually called a broker associate (based on an agreed arrangement). Brokers who prefer to be broker associates usually join a larger real estate network or brokerage. They pay a flat fee to the employing broker or give an agreed percentage of each transaction. In California, one can get a broker’s license if he has a degree, have completed a higher College-level real estate course and passed the real estate broker’s license exam. Those without a degree should have a minimum of two years’ real estate agent experience. This qualifies the person to sit for the higher college level real estate exams and the broker’s license exams. A lawyer who wants to be
a broker is exempt from the real estate college courses, but must pass the licensing exam. REALTOR A REALTOR® is a real estate professional; be it agent or broker who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), USA. One must be ready to abide by the strict code of ethics of the NAR and pay the approved dues to remain a member. A Realtor’s membership can be revoked by the association if he or she is found guilty of a complaint filed against them. Since it is an association, not all real estate agents or brokers are REALTORS®, because they have not joined. However due to the reputation and integrity it gives real estate professionals, most of them try to be members. Having said all of this, it is important to explain that all three, real estate agent, broker and Realtor undertake the same activities, be it the facilitation of a sale or purchase of a real estate. They also undertake negotiations in real estate. Now, during negotiations, people simply refer real estate professionals as agents to avoid confusion. An agent may have a peculiar description depending on the side of the transaction he or she finds him or herself. Other Forms of Agents When an agent represents a seller of a real estate or property, he or she is referred to as a “Listing Agent’ or a ‘Seller’s Agent’. Such an agent owes a fiduciary responsibility (legal and ethical relationship of trust between in relation to money or an asset) to the seller under a what is referred to as a listing agreement and must protect that interest. What this means is that the agent is solely and fully committed to the interest of the seller and nothing else. In some jurisdictions a breach of the listing agreement by the agent could lead to prosecution of the agent. The agent can seek redress from the court if the seller also breaches the agreement. Same way, when the agent is representing the buyer in a transaction, he or she is referred to as a “Buyer’s Agent’ or ‘Selling Agent” (note that it is not same as seller’s agent). The buyer also owes a fiduciary responsibility to the buyer under what is known as a buyer’s broker agreement. Just as breaches could be remedied in the listing agreement, same applies to the buyer’s broker agreement. The buyer’s broker agreement or the listing agreement may or may not be signed between the two parties depending on local custom or alternative arrangement between the parties. Although an agent can be a seller’s agent or a buyer’s agent depending on the transaction at hand, some agents stick exclusively to being a buyer’s agent or seller’s agent in all transactions. In some cases, agents represent both buyer and seller in the same transaction. Such agents are referred to as dual agents or dual agency; in the case of same brokerage representing both buyer and seller. Dual Agency is not legal in all 50 states of the United States; where there is a well-established industry. That notwithstanding in the event where an agent or brokerage finds itself in a dual agent or agency position it is best to act as a “Transaction Agent’; thus the agent or agency will not represent either party (buyer or seller) but instead facilitate the transaction
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(rent, lease, sale or purchase) without any fiduciary responsibility or agreement. An alternative arrangement can happen between the parties and the agent/agency though. Ghanaâ€™s Perspective The distinctions and explanations above is the ideal situation. However, in Ghana and many developing and underdeveloped countries where the industry is not well structured, let alone to have a legislation that regulates it, anybody at all can become a real estate agent or broker overnight. Many people became agents because they had knowledge of empty homes or available lands for rent and sale respectively and facilitated the transaction. They repeated this a couple of times and realised it could be a source of livelihood and stayed so. A few others intentionally became real estate agents or set up brokerages/ agencies as a business, passion or source of employment. This is because, until recently, there was no clear education or training programme for real estate professionals nor professional licensing regime. Thanks to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) one can acquire a degree in Real Estate Development. There is still no professional licensing regime available though. That may also change as the experienced real estate professionals
in the country are now organising themselves into associations to develop specialised courses and licensing structure for both agents and brokers in the country to meet international standards. So far two associations have taken the lead, the Ghana Real Estate Professionals Association (GREPA) and the Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR). They also facilitate the registration of qualified brokers and agents with the National Association of Realtors (NAR), US. To reduce the unprofessionalism and bad experiences of clients in real estate transactions, these associations are working to ensure checks, monitoring and adherence to standards among members. Currently members who have their own brokerage or agencies are considered as Brokers, while those working under the brokers or for the brokerages or agencies are considered real estate agents. This weekâ€™s piece is quite longer, but I hope it serves you well. Make a date next week as we delve deeper into Real Estate in Ghana and Beyond. Until then, it has been your trusted Real Estate Broker - Chris Nii. The writer is the CEO and Lead Broker, CBC Properties (CBC Global Limited), Founding Member, Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR); Email: email@example.com Cell: 0204225002
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São Tomé & Príncipe inconceivable landscapes, a path to paradise and a tropical hideaway
Floating in the Gulf of Guinea, this two-island nation, Africa’s second-smallest, blends natural wonders with a gripping history. São Tomé & Príncipe (STP) is amazingly safe and welcoming to visitors, particularly ecotourists, for whom the advancing jungle is a delight. This is particularly true on tidy and unspoiled Príncipe, an island of just 7000 people. A canopy of green broken by spires of primordial rock, Príncipe is a magnificent Lost World, offering fantastic beaches, jungle exploration, snorkelling, fishing, birdwatching and a handful of interesting (if expensive) accommodations. While both islands have their natural rewards, Príncipe should not be missed. The country’s past hinges on its vast network of plantations and its role as the centre of global cocoa production. Since independence from Portugal in 1975, STP has suffered an economic collapse, leading to squatters inhabiting once great mansions in the countryside, and the slow decay of historic colonial buildings on broken streets.
BAÍA DAS AGULHAS
Top choice bay in Príncipe
The spectacular Bay of Spires is not just Príncipe’s top attraction, but STP’s as well. It’s best seen from the water, where the postcard view of the island’s world-class skyline slowly unfolds, including phonolite towers named (for obvious reasons) the Father, the Son and the Grandson, along with Table Mountain. You expect to hear the primordial roar of T-Rex at any moment. If you’ve flown all this way, you do not want to miss this.
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ROÇA AGUA IZĖ
Plantation in Southern Coast One of the original ‘Big Five’ roças of São Tomé, this was the plantation that kicked off the cocoa industry in STP, and it still farms the bean, albeit at a much lower production level. If you’ve seen other roças a lap around the buildings will suffice. Otherwise this is a good introduction to the plantation chapter of São Tomé history, assuming you can find a guide on site that speaks your language – a hit-or-miss proposition.
ROÇA SÃO JOÃO
Top choice fusion in Southern Coast This well-known restaurant, an ever-popular weekend drive from the capital, occupies a sprawling deck at a classic roça administrator’s house, with valley views towards the sea. The food is a mélange of European, African and São Toméan tastes, but best when it sticks to creative takes on local fare, be it chicken or fish. The prix fixe menu makes choosing easy.
Top choice beach in Príncipe Once the subject of a world-famous Bacardi advertisement (you’ll remember it when you see it), this picture-perfect tropical beach is located on the grounds of Roça Belo Monte, a 15-minute walk from the front gate. It is first seen from above, at a clifftop mirador (overlook; where the ad was shot), before descending to sea level, where you’ll find its golden sands, in the shape of a banana, beneath swaying palms.
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REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101
MORE ON -HOW TO EMPLOY THE SERVICES OF THE RIGHT REAL ESTATE BROKER OR AGENT
his topic has proven to be one that has generated the most interest. Apparently many have been victims of bad experiences from unscrupulous real estate agents or better still some individuals or group parading as agents although their not. The only reason they call themselves agents is the fact that they have access to some property or a relative or friends have given them the responsibility to assist in selling, renting, leasing and buying a property. You can’t call anyone off the street and make him an agent. It doesn’t work that way; be careful who you refer to as an agent or broker. Be that as it may, there are some that have become great brokers or agents through similar circumstances; my story is an example. I got into real estate because a good friend gave me access to a property that needed to be sold. I did not just jump into it, I took my time, researched on ways to get the properties sold, until the first sale was made. The experience from that first deal led me to invest in knowing more about it and entering into the profession full time to close some of the greatest deals in the country. In as much as there are a good number of good number real estate brokers and agents in the country, the fact still remains that it is challenging to arrive at who will be great for the kind of real estate deal or need of the clients. After reading the last issue on employing the right agent or broker, some clients and colleague real estate professionals shared a few more tips with me that I want to share with you in today’s edition. Local Knowledge of the Broker or Agent One of the key points raised by both brokers or agents and clients is the need to look out for a broker or agent who has good local knowledge of the specific need of the client. In as much as a client’s primary goal may be to just buy, sell, lease or rent a property what makes that need relevant and valuable is the environment within which the property finds itself and how it fits into the aspirations, desires and status of the client. There have been times when a client has secured what one will describe as a dream property after what appeared to be a successful closing only for him or she to call few weeks or months later to say, I like the property but I don’t like the area or location; “can you get me similar property in another place?” What the client is actually saying is that setting in which his property is situated is not conducive to him or her or does not fit his or her dream of a suitable property. I always say, real estate is a local game and hence the right agent or broker should know pretty much about the area or community where the property is situated; thus both the good and the bad. Such an agent is more likely to market or convince buyers better since they know about for instance, price range of properties and who lives in the property location in terms of neighbours, celebrities ect. They should also understand the market trends concerning the said property, know where for instance all key social amenities
are, the next big thing happening in the property location, new opportunities that can fit the career or business of the client, topography of the area, waste management situation among others. Accessibility to Agent’s or Broker’s Former Clients In as much as some clients will like to remain anonymous, plus some confidential agreements between some clients and the agent, the good agent or broker should be able to refer you to some clients who can share with you some of their experience, particularly those related to your need.
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One may say, the agent or broker can stage manage the whole “talk to my former clients” scenario. However, another way you can do that is by scouting the agent or brokers website or social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc). Most agents do rely a lot on online and social media marketing, and some of their clients sometimes make frank comments there too including those who may have bad experiences. It is your money, it is your dream, it is your need and investment, so take time to know more about the person you want to entrust such responsibility with. Marketing and Network of Agent or Broker No matter how wonderful a property is, a poor marketing will land a bad deal and undervalued sale or closure. A good agent or broker should be able to prove and demonstrate to you how his methods in marketing and promotion of property’s ensures value and successful colures. This may include a functioning website, a very active Facebook account and high engagements on other online marketing media, including blogs. A good broker should be able to make your property standout
and give accurate and enticing and description of your property in the case of selling to attract the right buyers. Real estate thrives on referrals and recommendations and so a bad broker cannot continue to promote or market him or herself on any platform. It is more to his or disadvantage than advantage to keep promoting him or herself or properties as clients who have had a bad deal can easily expose him or her, especially in this age of online and social media accessibility. Also ensure you are convinced with the network of the agent or broker as it is also another way of marketing and giving you the right referrals in case he or she cannot continue the transaction and needs to hand over to another agent or broker. His network should also be able to assist you, should you need any associated service, for instance property management, furnishing, makeovers, lawyers etc. Chemistry, Honesty, Communication and Attention to Detail A good agent or broker should be honest and tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear. It is in your interest for the agent or broker to be truthful, frank and honest with you, so you can make a more informed choice. This honesty in dealing with you should be accompanied with good communication skills both written and oral. Real estate transactions can be very emotional, so in as much as the agent wants to be honest he or she should be good at communicating his sentiments, your sentiments or the sentiments of other parties in a transaction to avoid stand-offs and emotional breakdowns. You don’t want a broker who sleeps on information important to a transaction only to hear it at an unacceptable time. A good agent must be in constant communication with clients and all parties involved in a transaction. Attention to detail, another key quality of a good agent and broker. Since real estate is usually the largest transaction one make’s in his or her lifetime, you don’t want a sloppy personality your agent or broker. The paper work and the number of government agencies to deal with particularly in land acquisition and transfer of ownership in Ghana and many developing countries requires lots of precision and attention to detail than no order. Else trust me, you will be in a big mess and see your investment wasted. Chemistry is something that lots of people might gloss over, but for me it is also key. To put in local parlance, “you have to flow” with your agent or broker. In other words, you have to be in sync with your agent and he with you, so you can think and work together smoothly. Finally, Commission or Broker Fees Commission differ from agent to agent and never cast in stone, so don’t expert same commission from two different agents or brokers although in Ghana it may usually be hovering around the same amount for similar properties and transactions. Be that as it may, a good agent should not ambush you with his or her commission or fees, but discuss with you upfront and ensure there is room for negotiations, so parties in the transaction will be settled from day one. Some will even give you a budget of what expenses they will have to make to get the sales done, others will not, but there is no harm in finding out if it is part of the fees expected from you. At CBC Properties, we offer free property viewing and sometimes free transportation to all interested clients. So should you need any help with a property, remember your trusted Real Estate Broker, Chris Nii is a phone call away The writer is the CEO and Lead Broker, CBC Properties (CBC Global Limited), Founding Member, Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR); Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 0204225002
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Casa Flora: A Boutique Apartment That Makes You Feel like a Resident of Venice
Sometimes when I travel, I like to pretend that instead of a tourist, I’m actually a temporary resident living in the city I’m visiting. I would add a local farmer’s market to my itinerary, check out a local cafe, get recommendations from the barista on his/her favorite restaurant, and try to see the city with a slow pace instead of rushing to every city landmark and tourist attraction. There’s something incredibly romantic about temporarily adopting a city as your home, which is the mood that the Romanelli family wants to create at their boutique apartment rental, Casa Flora. Adjacent to Casa Flora is Hotel Flora which the Romanelli family has operated for more than 50 years. After deciding to explore a different concept of hospitality, owner Giole, his sister Zoe, consultant at Hotel Players Francesca Brasolin, architect Matteo Ghidoni and interior designer Laura Sari turned Casa Flora (which was originally a workshop meant to display student design) into a temporary home for design savvy travelers seeking to explore another side of Venice. This luxury apartment consists of three bedrooms all equipped with their own private Turkish spas with a hammam, a dining room and a kitchen, all accented with lush plants and, of course, 100% Italian design made by young designers and local artisans.
The interiors of the apartment is meant to resemble a lagoon, and so each room has its own playful color scheme of either light pink, blue, yellow or green. Contemporary furnishings give the apartment a fresh, modern vibe while the home decor and photographs on the walls give the home an authentic sense of place. The best part about the apartment? If you find yourself in love with any pieces, you can opt to buy it as a souvenir to bring home.
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REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101
REASONS WHY YOU NEED A REAL ESTATE BROKER – PART 1
know a good number of Ghanaians and for that matter citizens in developing countries where income levels are low will tell you they do not need real estate brokers or agents to find the house or property, including land they want to rent, sell, lease, buy or dispose of. Many are used to the traditional methods of sharing that information with friends or relatives in the hope that they get the right buyer or seller or the right property. This method although somewhat effective many years ago, is now obsolete and has lost its effectiveness. Others still wonder why they need real estate brokers or agents when the advent of the internet, social media and online stores or platforms like Tonaton and Meqasa makes it easy to acquire, sell or rent a property. Many go with this unfortunate believe until, they experience the difficulty, complexity and challenges of the current real estate market, before realising the importance of a broker or agent. If
you have been following this space, you will by now know what real estate is, what real estate brokerage is and who a broker or agent is. The fact is, acquiring a property today is not as easy as it was many years ago. The country’s population has risen, income levels have changed, the taste of people keep changing so are their needs. No one has time to go round in search of a house to rent or buy anymore, because time is money. Furthermore, fraud has become more sophisticated now and so it is in one’s interest to get a real estate broker and agent to assist in acquiring or letting off one’s desired property, especially now that it has also become an emotional process. If you have been wondering if it was important to have the assistance of a real estate broker or agent, below are some reasons why you do. Saves You Time In the past when one needed to rent a new home, office or purchase a land, the person had to make time and go round from
property to property to enquire if it was available for rent or sale. Those who had concrete leads had to also do same only to reach the property and realise the owner is not available, hence the property could not be inspected. Some people have to take days off at work or take permission to close early over a couple of days to undertake the property hunt. Unfortunately, the world of work has changed. Even those who run their own businesses do not have enough time on their hands to spare in searching for their desired property. However, with the assistance or a professional broker or real estate agent, one can save a whole lot of time and see a whole lot of properties over a short period. Since brokers deal with properties full time, they can have a long list of properties that buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants etc can choose from. Similarly, a seller or one want who wants to rent a property can have access to more prospects. Both seller and buyer or renter can have access to each other or properties at their own convenience until they settle on a favourable deal. With a real estate professional, the client can see many properties in a day than they will ever do if they took a whole week off from work. Saves You Money In developing countries like Ghana, the mention of a real estate professional translates into the notion that it is too expensive. It is more like, many people associate the use of real estate agents and brokers to find one’s desired property with luxury and high end transactions. Just as the cost of a bowl of Fufu and Goat Light Soup at Champion Food Court at Adabarka may differ from that from Bush Canteen at East Legon (Both in Accra, Ghana) real estate services may differ depending on the budget and choice of the clients. This is how it saves you money, instead of doing a try and error search on your own, the real estate agent takes time to sort out all the properties that meet your choice and guides you to specific properties. So, you save fuel or money on transportation going to places irrelevant to your desire or choice. You save money as the productive time you lose from work to search a house will instead be saved, because you get to see the properties at your own convenience. The agent is to ensure your specifications are met and to a very large extent, fit your budget. For those who want properties in close proximity to their work places as a means of saving time, managing household responsibilities, including child care and saving money on transportation, a real estate professional is your best bet, as their large network and access to multiple properties gives you options to choose from. Depending on which side the agent is, thus seller’s agent or buyer’s agent; the client gets a deal that is reasonable to their plan, because his or her commission is based on making that deal happen. Gives You Convenience Real Estate processes all over the world can be very cumbersome
and demanding even in the US where there is a well-developed industry, backed by a legislation with easy access to data and information on properties, owners and buyers. So just imagine how the real estate sector will be in Ghana and many developing countries where there is no legislation, inconsistent land tenure system, cumbersome land administration system and inadequate data on properties, owners, buyers and sellers. It can be very challenging to successfully go through a land acquisition in Ghana, as a process that should take weeks or a month at most, can take years and eventually cost same or more than amount used to purchase the land itself. Furthermore, considering the fact that property owners and tenants can have unpredictable behaviour coupled with large volumes of paperwork, one can only survive this successfully with a real estate professional in his or her corner. With the real estate professional as your ally, all you need to do is to go about your business while he or she worries about all this confusion and give you the results you are paying him or her for. You don’t have to be the one to make calls or receive calls (sometimes at very odd hours) to enquire about a property or convince a buyer about a property. You don’t have to deal with the lousy land administrators or busy property owner, who is difficult to set-up an appointment with. Everything is done at your own convenience because it is the full time job of the real estate professional to deal with that pressure. At least those with high blood pressure can have their BP in check with a broker or agent as their ally. This is all time will permit, please make time in our next edition as we continue on the reasons why you need a real estate broker or agent. Until then, it is your trusted broker, Chris Nii. The writer is the CEO and Lead Broker, CBC Properties (CBC Global Limited), Founding Member, Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR); Email: email@example.com Cell: 0204225002
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REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101
REASONS WHY YOU NEED A REAL ESTATE BROKER - PART 2
n our last encounter we began delving into why it was important to get a real estate broker or agent. The feedback I got was overwhelming. One of the readers reached out to show a lot of gratitude. Apparently she has had a very bitter experience trying to rent an apartment on her own, until her fiancĂŠ convinced her to employ the services of a real estate agent. Her experience confirmed the first three reasons we discussed in the last issue which are; employing real estate brokers or agents Saves You Time, Saves You Money and Gives You Convenience. Below are a few more reasons why you need a Real Estate Broker or Agent. Gives You Negotiation Advantage In Ghana, and many developing countries, many people who want to buy, sell, rent or lease a property have this interesting believe that if they cut out the services of a broker or agent, they will make more from a transaction because they dealt with the
buyer or seller directly. They may be right and justified if; and I repeat if, the two parties in the transaction are honest with each other and can keep their word. However, many of you reading will agree that it is not always the case. I am sure many of you have rented an apartment where the landlord had promised to do some renovation or put in some fixtures after you had paid some huge advance to him or her, only for you to realise after moving in that nothing was done. If you are lucky, you will have to do it in lieu of rent and if you are not, you do it at your own cost. The fallout is even worse in land transactions and property sales. With a Real Estate Agent or Broker assisting in negotiations, you will get him to convince the landlord to give you a discount, or ensure the said fixtures and renovations are done as promised at your convenience. With their knowledge of the market, they are able to guide both sellers and buyers to make the right offer devoid of over pricing or under payments. Dealing with properties can be very emotional for both parties,
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thereby leading to some unguarded exchanges that can hurt the transaction, however an agent or broker can help smoothen the crooked edges of the negotiation and ensure a good closing for both parties. Saves You from Complex Paper Work In the past, the paper work for renting or selling or buying a property was simple and, in some cases, a one-page document. However, the many bitter and costly experiences after transactions in recent times have led to both parties subscribing to a more complex paper work, including contracts, agreements, receipts, undertakings among others. These paper work can be difficult to sometimes create or even understand when one can’t afford the services of a lawyer. From where the real estate business in Ghana is heading now, these paper works are inevitable as people and the government are trying as much as possible to reduce the bad fallouts from real estate transactions. These contract and other documents are meant to protect the interest of both buyer or seller or the tenant and landlord in the case of a rent or lease. The tiniest error or omission could make you lose so much time, money, resources and also land you in court. Another thing to note is that chasing some of these paper work and ensuring they are done can be very challenging. However, since the agent or broker have been dealing with some of these paperwork in their line of work, you are covered when you employ their services. In some developed countries, the paper work is exclusively handled by lawyers to avoid any unfortunate fallout. You Benefit From Experienced and Professional Guidance The Real Estate Sector in Ghana is no doubt a small one and lacks an exclusive legal regime in regulating it. That however does not preclude the fact that there exist other laws bordering on fraud, property acquisition, rent control, land documentation among others that in many ways support and regulate the sector. Since the survival of a real estate broker or agent depends mainly on referrals by clients they have ever assisted, they abreast themselves with all the information and education available to ensure they provide the right assistance and guidance to clients. As it stands now, most of the experienced agents have set up brokerages to serve clients better and at the same time train more agents to meet the growing needs of clients. The experienced brokers have also come together to set up the Ghana Association of Real Estate Professionals (GAR) and others as a means of putting together licensing regimes for professionals. What this means is that you can fall on GAR to check the cre-
dentials of the agent or broker you are dealing with and have the opportunity of redress if you are handed a bad deal. With professionals of these associations, the clients benefit from reliable information, the expertise and experiences of the agents and get to ask questions so they get a good understanding of the possible ramifications of one’s real estate decisions. You Benefit from Broker’s Network Experienced brokers or agents’ long experience in the business gives them access to a large network of people and professionals related to the industry or outside the industry. To this end, when dealing with them and you need an architect, civil engineer, surveyor or even another agent or brokerage, be rest assured that you can have a long list to choose from even if they don’t want to make direct recommendations. I can say that at CBC Properties where I am the lead broker, one of our clients reconnected with an old friend who also happen to be our client. Another client also landed a big business deal unrelated to real estate when another client mentioned in a conversation he needed a software developer. I recommended a former client and viola, the two are good business partners. Some clients have had the opportunity to get better deals for the management and renovation of their facilities while others have had good legal advice from our network of lawyers. The benefits are endless when it comes to employing the services of real estate brokers or agents. I hope these reasons shared in the last issue and this one are enough to guide you. Look out for our next issue which will focus on How to Employ the Right Broker or Agent. Until then, it is your trusted broker, Chris Nii. The writer is the CEO and Lead Broker, CBC Properties (CBC Global Limited), Founding Member, Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR); Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 0204225002
Ex-football star George Weah was sworn in as Liberia’s president in January, the country’s first transition between democratically elected leaders since 1944.
Actresses Sheila Munyiva (L) and Samantha Mugatsia were at the Cannes Film Festival in May for Rafiki, the Kenyan film that was banned at home because of its lesbian storyline.
This is one of the most photographed cafe’s in Egypt’s capital, Cairo, thanks to its massive mural of Mohamed Salah, who won BBC African Footballer of the Year in December.
Supporters of Zimbabwe’s veteran opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai mourned his death at the age of 65 in February.
A South African diver dressed as Santa Claus fed fish at a marina in Durban ahead of Christmas.
In July, cavalry horsemen participated in a Berber festival in Tan-Tan in western Morocco.
People dressed up as Black Panther characters in Kenya watched a screening of the Marvel blockbuster that grossed $1bn (£787m) in 26 days in March.
Later that month, an Ethiopian journalist met his daughters in Eritrea for the first time in 16 years. He flew in the first commercial flight between the two nations in 20 years.
Ghana bid farewell to Kofi Annan, the former UN boss who died aged 80, amid elaborate funeral ceremonies in the capital, Accra, in September.
The next month, a group of young Somali women joked together in Kenya’s vast Dadaab refugee camp.
Mrs Trump also took in Kenya on her trip, where her decision to wear a pith helmet on safari drew some criticism.
In September, rival leaders in South Sudan signed what they said was a “final final” peace deal. This photo shows child soldiers being disarmed earlier in the year.
REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE 101
SIMPLE STEPS TO BUYING A LAND IN GHANA DEVOID OF LITIGATION
he interest in lands in Ghana keeps rising as the country tries to meet the huge housing deficit of about 1.7miilion units as indicated by a Bank of Ghana Study on the Housing Market in Ghana a few years ago. According to the bank it will take about ten years to build one million units judging from the current trend in the real estate and construction industry. Be that as it may, the need for land has always been an important achievement of every Ghanaian, particularly when the mortgaging is not popular in the country. Majority of Ghanaians believe in owning their own land and building than taking a mortgage or buying a property outright. The stable political climate, warm hospitality, stable power supply, a much better transportation network, improved interment services and thriving economy has also heightened investor interest in Ghana which is considered the Gateway to West Africa. Despite being an important asset, acquiring a land in Ghana is not a walk in the park due the land tenure system. In fact, the increase in population and the rising number of middle class Ghanaians as well as investors (both foreign and local) has made land acquisition a big deal. Another challenge for acquiring land is the land administration system and the situation where landlords sell the same land to multiple parties thereby increasing in protracted litigations. Since “the wheel of justice grinds slowly,” litigations can last for years and costs all parties more. In the next paragraphs I will share a few tips on how to secure a litigation free land. See the Land with Your Eyes It is not advisable to pay for a land you have not seen and can identify and verify the location yourself. Make sure when you visit the land, the land owner shows you the exact boundaries of the land either by pillars or notable land marks including a tree, Wall, Rock, Well etc. Critically take note of the directions to the land so you don’t get lost in the future. Look out for the gradient and topography of the land; is it rocky, sloppy, is it water logged etc. Visiting the land helps you to notice awkward behaviours of the seller(s) and also get to know neighbours on the land for further investigations on the owners and
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status of the land etc. At this point, make sure you donâ€™t part with any money yet, but insist on getting at least a copy of the sigh plan that will help you to do a search. Search for the Land After you have physically verified the land, its location and nature you can go a conduct a search at the Lands Commission to verify the owner, size, location, topography and all necessary information of the land. The search can be easy with a cadastral plan otherwise known as indenture or site plan. This search will help you know if the land has been registered or not. These checks can take as short as a week and as long as a month. Irrespective of how long this may take, it is better than spending years in court and spending more than how you even bought the litigated land. What is cadastral plan A cadastral Plan which is also known as a site plan is the development of a parcel of land on a legal document. It is the fundamental source of date in disputes and lawsuits between landowners. It defines the dimensions and locations of a land. In Ghana the Site plan must be prepared by a licensed surveyor by the Survey Department of the Lands Commission of Ghana. The plan should be able to tell who the owners are and where they are located. you are not supposed to pay for the land before getting hold of the site plan for search and verification. Get Your Own Surveyor Getting the site plan is good, verifying it and the land is not the end. You may have to do an independent survey of the land to be sure the size and boundaries communicated to you by the owner and the site plan is actually what is on the land. Never trust the surveyor of the land owner. Get your own surveyor to verify the land for you. I remember as instance when a landowner lost his own land because the surveyor who prepared the site plan placed his land at another. In fact, some surveyors are able to reduce your land on the site plan and you will lose that portion on the real land, especially when it is a big land that is difficult to establish the boundaries. Purchase and Transfer Agreement
A purchase and Transfer agreement should precede any form of payment, be it outright or installment payment. A good Real Estate Broker should be able to assist you draft a simple purchase and transfer agreement. However, your best bet is a lawyer. Before making any payment, make sure the agreement is signed by you, the owner and a witness each from both parties. Installment of Outright Payment Well Depending on your budget you can come to an agreement to pay outright or installment. If you are paying outright, make sure all, the necessary doubts surrounding the land has been cleared and all documentations completed. Paying outrightly should give you a better bargaining right than instalment payment. The good thing about installment though is that, it helps to clear any last minute loopholes. Some buyers use instalment to give them more time to verify land ownership and detect if the land is in dispute. Checking litigants One good way to check litigants is to find a way to lure them, as in trick them into thinking there is a new occupant on the land. This is usually employed prior to making payments or around the time, particularly when paying installments for a land. This is how, after paying the first installment, send a heap of sand and stones to the land, clear it and prepare it for work to see if other interested parties will approach. If they do, then it is a red flag, if they donâ€™t after a month of two, you can go ahead. Register Your Land The moment you have signed a purchase and transfer agreement with the landowner and paid up or began paying for the land, you can register the land with the Lands Commission. You do this by informing the Lands Commission that you have bought the land by showing them receipts, agreements signed and site plan. You then Apply for transfer and registration of the land. The Lands Commission after doing all the due diligence and taking you through the process, should be able to provide you with a title certificate and cadastral plan. This could be done early as a week or two or a few months depending on the situation. Easy Way Out Another way to scale over this headache is to get a trusted real estate broker or agent to facilitate the process for you. In this time and age, lots of people do not have the luxury to conduct site visits, search and verify documents at the Lands Commission, get a surveyor, trick land owners and what have you. The steps up there is not something that can be done leisurely. It needs a very high level of commitment, time, precision, diligence and firmness, which many people find challenging to do in addition to their original duties. The services of a real estate broker or agent comes handy to ensure you can follow the process through and secure your land as you seamlessly deal with your other activities at the same time. You can contact CBC Properties (CBC Global Limited) or any trusted real estate broker or agent to assist you. The Ghana Real Estate Brokers Association (GAR) can also help with a list of professionals to choose from. The writer is the CEO and Lead Broker, CBC Properties (CBC Global Limited), Founding Member, Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAR); Email: email@example.com Cell: 0204225002
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