I have been house...um, more like room..ok, apartment hunting. I don't have to or want to explain why I want to move out of my cosy matchbox home but I do #thatisall.
Anyway,I have realized a few things as I have been searching, let's call it Househunting 101.
Ps. I am a student and I am at that (self-imposed) age where I think I have burdened my parents enough, so I'm trying to 'get this myself'.
If you have a blank cheque as your budget or your parents are happily (operative word: happily. Not grudgingly, reluctantly or why-the-hell-are-you-doing-this-ly) paying for this move for you, by all means do the opposite of what I suggest or disregard this entirely.
If fact, don't read it at all.
Go away right now.
1. Wipe that image from your mind. This is not a search for your dream house. It is a search for a place to lay your bones without a leaky roof, rodents and mouldy walls or overly-dodgy looking sockets. #thatisall. Lower your standards:
2.Your time will be wasted. Patience is the best virtue to cultivate. Devote an entire day to viewings if you have to. Scheduling anything else on this day may lead to disaster. The agent might have something important to do...like take a bath...because he feels hot and grubby...while you wait, getting hot and grubby. -_____-
3. Respect yourself and your pocket. If they had a flashy advertisement in the newspaper or on the internet you probably cannot afford them. Don't bother calling.
If you are stubborn do call, the better the spoken English the higher the chances that you cannot afford it. If you hear accented, 'borga' or foreigner's English just Cut the line.
Find the local 'move' man in the neighbourhood and let him know, it will triple your chances. *EL's One Ghana for your pocket plays in the background*
E.L – One Ghana (For Your Pocket) | Ghana Mixtapes
4. In Ghana the official currency is the dollar. If you didn't know, educate yourself. 'S3b3' the dirtiest looking urchin will quote his rates in dollars. You might even wonder if he has seen a dollar note before. But for all you know he's 'chopped' more dollars in rent that you have ever spent.
5.The further away you get from the place you want to be, the more affordable it is. practical examples:
Don't ask about Osu, ask about South La Estates. Forget Labone choose Apapa. What is Cantonments?? Wirelss is the place for you. Don't bother with Asylum Down, try Adabraka or Circle. East Legon sounds good doesn't it? Move along further to Adringanor or Maajor. Did u ask about Dzoworlu? you're not listening....
6.Get used to disappointment and expect the worst. Agents will disappoint you. Home-owners will make unrealistic demands (for example: one said he has to "see my character" before he could rent out his place to me. Unfortunately I did not have a photo of it on hand.
6a. Take a photo of your character along.
7.You will probably go over your budget to get something close to what you can accept (not want, or fall in love with but simply Accept ).
8. Dress appropriately. The better you look, the greater the resistance to reductions and compromises. So it is not the time to deck yourself out in your Sunday best. Save it for Christmas.
9. The more you see the better. Contact as many people as possible, so you can shop around. Ask at church, at work, at your salon/barbering shop. Ask everyone.
2 b.This should have been higher up on the list but never mind. You will meet many characters on this journey to find a home. Some of the people you will meet will smell better than others.
Do not flinch.
Do not comment. Just don't make the mistake of sitting in an air-conditioned car with the..umm, less sweet-smelling ones.
2.c. If you drive and have a functional AC please put off your AC before picking up an agent to avoid nasal seizures. These may be accompanied/characterised by nose wrinkling, rapid eye blinking, heavy sighing etc. Better to sweat and be able to breathe than cool and gasping for air.
10. Plenty of patience is needed.
(Yes, I know that i've said that already. You need a reminder).
Still searching...can't wait for the day development will come and affordable housing will be a reality in Ghana.