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Before Buying or Renting in Ghana

While land poachers are stealing our farmlands for pennies on the dollar, the oil barons and the miners are living in our cities, driving the price of residential property through the roof.  Parts of Accra, Ghana compare in price to parts of New York.  Plots of land as small as 50’ x 70’, sell for $50,000 USD.  Rents in our swanky little cosmopolitan begin at $1,000/month for a 2 bedroom apartment on up to $5,000/month for a 4 bedroom house.  One may have thought that the recession that is driving real estate prices down in the West would affect Africa the same, but the opposite is true.  It almost seems that all those that are selling their Western interests are all buying in Ghana.  Quite frankly, it’s my humble opinion that Accra is over rated, over priced and horribly under managed.  For all that money you are still not guaranteed consistent electricity or water.

However, it isn’t too late to get your hands on good land to build and farm in Ghana.  You can even find reasonable accommodations, but you must branch outside of the capital.  Although most people seek the conveniences of the city, the lure of a serene, unpolluted environments do have their draw.  In fact, other than the expats, living in their air conditioned realities, no one really likes the Accra. And it is only in the less populated zones, where electricity and roads have not reached, that one can still find a slice of heaven.  Pioneer, if you will, into the thicket and carve out your portion of Zion, laying claim to your inheritance.  Aburi is one such place, a mountainous area to the east of Accra, overlooking the city, where many repats have settled, taking advantage of the cooler weather and availability of affordable land. Another pocket is on the coast, in a district called Pram Pram, where it seems mostly elders go to retire to the sounds and scents of the ocean.  Beautiful it is, I admit, but I strongly advise new buyers to stay away from the coast.  This region is a very good candidate for a Tsunami. Remember, Tsunamis are either about politics, real estate or resources and Ghana scores high on two counts.

What You Should Know Before Buying Land

First of all, the sheer number of land cases in the courts is evidence that there are enormous loop holes in the laws governing the sale or lease of lands.  To prevent getting caught in the litigation trap take the following precautions:

  • Contract a reliable agent to source the land.  Agents generally cover small regions in which they are totally conversant of the land and its owners.  Although a title search is always necessary, if your agent can verify the land belongs to the said seller, half the battle is won.  Agents usually work for commission.

  • Hire your own surveyor.  To assure that your title search is done on the land that you visited, it is best to bring in your own surveyor and have a site plan drafted to present to Lands Commission for the Title Search.  This can cost $300-$400, depending on size of the land.

  • Do a Title Search to verify that there is no government claim or prior registration of the said land. This cost about $150.

  • Have your own attorney draft the indenture (sales contract), to insure the wording protects your interests. This cost $300-$500, depending on size of the land.

  • Once the land is purchased, register the land with the Lands Commission.  This is the most important measure and it costs about $750.

Having dotted your I’s and crossed your t’s, you are now bullet proof, not litigation proof, but able to withstand any false claims by family members who may come out the wood work to reclaim property rightfully sold to you.  There’s nothing I can advise against the greed that motivates opportunists, but the above measures will protect your investment.

Please note that Ghana has a law against foreigners purchasing land.  This includes Africans who were captured and have returned home to repurchase what is rightfully theirs.  This is insult to injury, an oversight left in place to remind repatriates that we are not really welcome.  Legally we are allowed to lease a land for 50 years, then our children are expected to renew that lease, after we have built on the land and added value to it.  Clearly that is only a mess waiting to happen, but it too is preventable.  There are measures to be taken to avoid being wrongly classified.  These pointers are available upon request, to serious buyers. I’m afraid they can not be published otherwise they would be abused. 

Please view the following page to see available land: Buying Land in Ghana

What You Should Know Before Renting

The most excruciating pain about renting in Ghana, aside from the ridiculously high rents, is the two-year-up-front policy.  Landlords, illegally demand an average of 2 year’s rent upfront from resident and commercial tenants.  This practice conflicts with Ghana’s laws, but since the landlords are also the law makers and enforcers, the law takes a backseat.

Finding a rental may also be a challenge if you don't have assistance.  People do not advertise their homes in newspapers or the typical mediums you might expect, instead there are agents who keep a catalog of available homes.  Agents can be quite unscrupulous, asking a minimum of one month’s rent or 10% of the contract.  With the advent of the internet you can now find many rentals on-line, but rarely will you find anything on line priced below the international average, meaning only the savvy advertise on line, thus they ask the most.  For best prices you will have to find a local agent, who will source a home from a local landlord, who doesn’t think in dollars or euros.  My company can facilitate in helping you find an affordable rental or you can initiate your search by browsing the following sites:

 

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