It may be your first time buying a house with lots of questions running through your mind. Buying a house is a pretty big deal since it is often a lifetime decision and must be done with meticulous planning to ensure that you’re happy in the long term. Buying a house is not the same as renting where you can decide to move out after a year or two if you’re unhappy with the property.
If it’s your first time buying a home, we understand how frustrating the home buying process can be for you. This guide breaks down what is very often the most important purchase of your life into five manageable stages that details how you can get a house to buy in Ghana.
Start Your Research Early
Don’t plunge into the home buying market just because you have enough cash to do so, as is a common mistake with many people. Conduct thorough research to determine the facts about key aspects that will make you enjoy your new home such as desired neighbourhood, proximity to social centres, and security among others. Also, note how long certain properties stay on the market and any changes in asking prices. This will give you a sense of the housing trends in specific areas.
Determine How Much You Can Afford
Always have a budget for how much you’re willing to spend on a property. This will serve as a guide and make you realistically determine what properties you should be looking at in the first place. There’s no reason to look at homes that are outside your price range.
Also, you should determine how much money you can realistically save for a down payment (if you are using mortgage financing) and should have done some due diligence on home prices in your preferred locations. Many property buyers don’t start seeking a mortgage until they’ve found their dream home, but that can be a mistake. In most cases, the amount of money your mortgage lender is willing to give you will dictate which houses you consider in the first place.
The more expensive properties are estates in Ghana that are set in gated communities which offer more privacy and security as compared to other house types. Most of the Ghana government’s affordable housing projects are being constructed as estates for a good reason.
Finding the Right Agent
There are verified and trusted real estate agents in Ghana with industry experience who can make the home buying process hassle-free. Your home search is an agent’s day job. If you tell them what your specifications are for a property, they know exactly where to look and who to contact. This saves you time from going round in circles looking for the perfect property. Here are a few reasons why you need an agent;
- An agent identifies home value trends, new developments, buyer demand and the overall state of the market.
- They determine what a home is worth and recommend a competitive initial offer amount.
- They know when to argue for a lower price and how to negotiate contingencies and repairs.
- They have insider tips about the neighbourhood, area schools among others.
The knowledge of real estate agents in the home buying process, negotiating skills, and familiarity with the area you want to live in can be extremely valuable. And best of all, it may not cost you anything to use some agents, this is because they are compensated from the commission paid by the seller of the house.
You can learn more about why you need a real estate agent here.
Get a Home Inspection
Finally deciding on a house is normally dependent on a home inspection of the property to determine that it is as good as it appears on the internet/ brochure. It is also the best time to check for signs of structural damage or things that may need fixing.
Your real estate agent will usually help you arrange to have this inspection conducted within a few days of your offer being accepted by the seller. This contingency protects you by giving you a chance to renegotiate your offer or withdraw it without penalty if the inspection reveals significant damage. Before the sale closes, you will have a walk-through of the house, which gives you the chance to confirm that any agreed-upon repairs have been made.
Understand the Paperwork
At this stage, you’ve already gone through the most difficult parts of searching for homes that suit your preferences and budget. The house is about to be yours! However, before you receive the title deeds and keys to the house, there is a little paperwork that needs to be done. You must make sure that you scrutinize every detail and fine print on any legal documents and paperwork that needs to be signed. Any document you sign off is legally binding in court and any ignorance on your part can cost you a great deal.
Buying a house takes time. It’s not something you wake up and decide to do at the snap of your finger. The decisions you make in the home-buying process can make a difference between a home that’s a blessing to your family for years to come and a home that becomes such a financial burden in the long run.
Don’t make what is arguably the biggest investment of your life without the guidance of a professional. Buying a house can be stressful, that’s why it’s important to find the right agent who’s an expert in the real estate market to share the burden with you so that the process doesn’t overwhelm you. Finding the right agent will not only walk you through the home-buying process but also help you make a smart investment that fits your needs and your budget.