There’s Actually More to Property Valuation than You Thought

One evening, I was at the living area just scrolling through some chats. Ama was sitting next to me whilst on the phone with Adwoa. I was trying so hard to mind my business. However, I could not help but eavesdrop on their conversation.

The conversation was actually about selling property. Ama was advising Adwoa to hire the services of a valuer in order to determine the value of the property. She told her of how it would aid in arriving at an accurate value before placing the property on the market. Adwoa was quite dismissive of the idea. These were the exact words of Adwoa: “valuers would just chop your money”. Adwoa’s reason was that she could just come up with a value herself and that was how her brother always sold his properties. She believed that the services of a valuer were irrelevant.

Now I was very surprised at her response. However, I could not judge her because not everyone appreciates how valuation is germane to determining the accurate value of property.

Valuation is an art and a science. Valuers do not just conjure up figures. There are so many factors which are taken into consideration before arriving at a value.

Some of these factors include:

1.Location of the property

Properties located in prime areas usually have higher values. In Accra, these prime areas include Cantonments, Airport and Roman Ridge.

2.Constructional details

This entails materials that have been used to construct the building and building finishes. The valuer takes note of floors, doors, windows, roof etc. A house with floors made of tiles would attract a higher value than that of terrazzo.

3.Access to social amenities

The property’s access to water, electricity, malls and well tarred roads are also very important to value estimation.

4.Improvements on the property

The valuer also considers extra features added to the property such as a swimming pool, a well-manicured garden, alternative sources of water and just to mention a few.

5.Condition of the property

The condition of the property is a key aspect of value estimation. The property’s state of maintenance and condition is taken into consideration. One would have to consider leakages, cracks in the building etc.

All the factors mentioned above influence the value of a property. So why would you not want to hire a valuer to get the accurate estimation of your property’s value?

After all, you just need to pay them a fee which constitutes 10% of the purchase price. 

You might end up underpricing or overpricing your property if you decide to just come up with a price off the top of your head. This is a risk you might not want to take.

About the Author

Afua Appiah-Adu is a graduate of Law from the BPP University, UK. She also holds a BSc degree in Land Economy. Afua is passionate about property law and educating society.

Are Collective Groups an Option for the Proliferation of Affordable Housing in Ghana?

The ability to acquire mortgage loans for the construction or purchase of houses is an essential element of a well-functioning housing market. Whereas the pursuit of an increased access to mortgage finance by most advanced countries was one of the triggers for the global financial crisis, it is equally an important element in solving the housing deficit situation in many countries.

The importance of stable and regular income streams in mortgage financing cannot be overemphasized. Sadly, 8 out of 10 Ghanaians work in the informal sector with irregular and unstable streams of income. This implies that majority of Ghanaians cannot easily access loans for the purchase and construction of homes in Ghana as most banks and financial institutions require some assurance from borrowers in terms of their ability to pay back loans acquired from them. Due to this, banks and financial institutions tend to require huge down payments and interest from borrowers. This has made mortgages highly inaccessible to low-income earners and some middleincome earners in Ghana.

The situation necessitates the development of an alternative arrangement to promote an increased access to housing finance in Ghana. Collective housing groups or housing cooperatives could potentially augment financial institutions in increasing access to housing finance.  This article briefly touches on the collective housing groups and how they work

What are housing cooperatives?

Housing cooperatives are collective groups that adapt self-help and financially inclusive approaches towards the achievement of housing objectives. The housing objectives could be working collectively towards the construction of houses for members or the acquisition of finance for the purchase or construction of a house. The focus of this article is on collective groups that are geared towards increasing access to housing finance. 

How do Housing Cooperatives Operate?

While there exist several variations of housing cooperative arrangements in various parts of the world? The very common ones in African societies take the form of credit unions, community groups and staff organisations. These groups which are usually affiliated to governmental organisations, NGOs and international bodies increase their credibility to acquire loans from financial institutions through the formation of good partnerships and the involvement of the right expertise. Members of these cooperatives make regular contributions to the cooperatives towards the purchase of a home. Collectively, these self-help groups are able to acquire housing finance easily with their regular contributions and the help of partners. 

With the right management in place, housing cooperatives represent a viable alternative for increasing access to housing finance in Ghana. This is a workable arrangement for African societies as such arrangements are not new to the African society.

Would Online Shops Take the Place of Physical Real Estate After the COVID-19 Pandemic?

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Author: Makafui Kuffo

EXCERPT

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The measures being taken to minimize the spread of the coronavirus pandemic have the potential of causing a further decline in the demand for retail spaces, as online shops take the place of physical shops. However, this would not cause a total disappearance of physical retail spaces because people patronize retail outlets for several other reasons.

In a matter of weeks, words like ‘social distancing’, ‘stay at home’, ‘stay safe’ have become common in our daily conversations. What seemed to be a little virus roaming the streets of Wuhan has gradually crept into several nations, taking the lives of many, causing a lot of redundancies at workplaces, causing painful loss of relatives, as well as businesses and negatively impacting global economies. The effects of the corona virus pandemic have been greatly felt in various facets. It has taken a major turn on our daily activities. Amidst all of these, one may ask: “are there any consequences of this in the world of real estate?” The obvious answer is yes. This write-up talks about the implications of the pandemic in the world of commercial real estate.

In simple terms, commercial real estate refers to any building or property used for the purpose of generating profit. It could be anything at all from shopping centres to offices, retail outlets, restaurants and hotels. For the purpose of this article, the focus for commercial real estate would be on shopping centres and retail outlets.

With an increase in the spread of the virus, measures such as lockdown, a ban on public gatherings , social distancing, the use of personal protective equipment (PPEs), among others have been the advice by many governments. To minimize physical contacts, there has been an increase in the use of virtual channels of communication, as the avoidance of physical contact has been key to minimizing the spread of the virus. The effect of this is an increase in the patronage of online shops as against the use of physical shops.

In the short term, the measures taken towards minimizing the spread of the virus would have the potential of promoting the advancement of technologies that create virtual environments. Long before now, the retail sector of commercial real estate has seen a substantial decline with the proliferation of online shops. Going forward, the pandemic has the potential of further causing the physical disappearance of commercial real estate as technologies further advance in response to curbing the spread of the pandemic. Again, as much as possible, business owners would want to minimize their use of physical commercial retail spaces if they have the option to conveniently transact their businesses online. This would save them a lot of cost with regards to the payment of rent, cost of maintaining buildings as well as business service charges.

These short term impacts may have lasting implications. With an increased awareness of the effectiveness of online shops, a further decline can be foreseen in the retail sector of commercial real estate where the owners of such buildings may want to consider changing the use of these buildings to suit a change in the demand for physical spaces for retail outlets.

The extent of the implications may vary depending on how fast we revert to normal activities. However, the disappearance of physical retail outlets may not be absolute. There would still be a certain level of patronage in the retail sector as people patronize these retail outlets for several reasons such as social cohesion where people get to meet friends and socialize. Again, there would always be the desire to touch and feel certain things we purchase. In this vain, commercial real estate cannot completely disappear. Also, for special-purpose retail spaces like pharmaceutical shops where customers may want to explain their conditions before the purchase of drugs, the demand for retail spaces in these areas may not suffer a decline.

About the Author

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The author is a student of MSc. Real Estate at the Henley Business School, University of Reading with specialisation in Real Estate Securities, Real Estate Portfolio Management and Housing Markets and Policy. She also co-founds the saasepedia group. She is passionate about educating society.

 

ACCRA STAY BY PLAN! (WE PRESENT TO YOU THE 5 PLUSH AREAS IN ACCRA)

EXCERPT

“Cantonments, Airport residential area, Osu Ringway Estates, North & West Ridge and Roman Ridge are 5 plush areas in the city of Accra. These areas have recorded high demands due to public investments in infrastructure, provision of public services and private investments, making them the plush areas in Accra.”

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If you have ever stayed in the city of Accra, you might have heard this popular slang: “Accra Stay By Plan”.

I know some 90s kids can definitely relate! Accra Stay By Plan!

The slang, “Accra Stay By Plan” is used to express the notion that things move faster in Accra, making it important to be quick-witted to survive in Accra.

Let’s take a walk through some interesting areas in Accra, the capital city of Ghana.

This is where every detergent is called Omo and every diaper, pampers. Welcome to Accra: A very beautiful city with wonderful people. Indeed, Accra Stay by Plan. Similarly, it is important to have an idea of how the residential areas in Accra are priced.

If you have ever spoken to any Real Estate professional about staying in the city of Accra, you would hardly leave that conversation without having an idea of some plush areas in the city of Accra. Here are 5 highly-patronized plush areas in the city of Accra:

1. Cantonments

A plush area with buildings in modern architecture. Cantonments provides a warm welcome to first time visitors in Ghana. Here, you would find some embassies and government departments. The area is designed to provide the best of experiences to people who travel to Ghana with a good number of restaurants and lots of lodging options and hotels for travelers. Its proximity to most government departments, ministries and first-class social amenities makes it easier for residents to commute to workplaces without having to experience long hours of traffic. In addition to these, living in the area comes with an added prestige. Most diplomats, heads of government departments and top government officials live here. It is therefore not surprising that the office of the President is close to the area.

Cantonments

2. Airport Residential Area

The airport residential area provides a welcoming international environment to residents. The area is the closest residential area to Ghana’s first international airport; the Kotoka International airport. It is the first area of contact for travelers entering Ghana. The area has a good layout of residences, good infrastructure and leisure facilities. Some of the best luxury apartments and condominiums with wiFi, gyms, pools and good security are in this area.

It is home to some interesting places such as the Koala Shopping Centre, Marina mall, Accra Polo grounds, Italian, French and Japanese restaurants  and L’Alliance Francaise d’Accra which hosts a number of cultural events.

Airport Residential

3. Osu Ringway Estate

The Osu Ringway estates is another prime residential area in the city of Accra. It offers a serene environment with lots of restaurants offering a blend of local and continental dishes. Its proximity to the Oxford street offers residents the pleasure of experiencing some traditional Ghanaian activities. The area has access to good neighbourhood amenities. Some of the best apartments are located in this area. You would find apartments with great finishes in this area. Some places of interest here include the Osu Sun Deck & Swimming pool and wonderful sea views.

Osu Ringway

4. Ridge (North & West)

North Ridge was originally planned for civil servants and business men during the colonial era. Although, you would not find only civil servants and businessmen living in the area today, the area is one of the prime residential areas in the city of Accra and is close to the popular (highly-rated) Alisa hotel. North Ridge is separated from West Ridge by the castle road. Both areas offer similar neighbourhood conditions. Places of interest at West Ridge include the German embassy, Bureau of National Investigations and the Movenpick Ambassador hotel.

NorthRidge

5. Roman Ridge

This is another prime residential area with lots of apartment blocks and townhouses. These include residences such as the Okumani apartments, Meadow View Townhouses and Cassa Bella Residency. A popular landmark in this area is the Roman Ridge school which offers the best of British education. The Indian and Nigerian High Commissions are located here.

roman ridge

Generally speaking, all of these areas have recorded high demands due to public investments in infrastructure, provision of public services and private investments, making them the plush areas in Accra.