“Siri, Open The Door!”

 

siri

The month of September will always remind me of one of the most embarrassing moments in my life.

It was the first day of school. Rocking my new all-white Nike Air Max, I had the world at my feet. Obviously. I regally walked through the already opened glass doors which opened to the Reception hall, all the while stealing quick glances at my Nikes. A couple of meters into the building, I turned my head for no reason, only to realize the doors were still open. There and then, I had flashes of my mother yelling out at me as a child, “Kwame, Close my door!”. And guess what? I swaggered back to what I now know as an automatic door and attempted to close it. I WAS ATTEMPTING TO CLOSE AN AUTOMATIC DOOR!!! I cringe every single time at this memory and it gets even more disappointing knowing my age as at the time of this incident. Fortunately, this moment was not caught on tape.

Wait a minute! Was it caught on tape? Am I a GIF waiting to go viral?  😭

baby automatic

Technology is shifting the paradigm of real estate. It is changing the entire verity about real estate with the presence of “smart buildings”. Smart buildings are increasingly springing up across the world and automatic doors are just an example of how “smart” buildings can be. (Smart buildings: influencing building design and functionality via technology). The “smartness” levels vary among buildings from a simple installation of CCTV cameras to a complex Internet of Things (IoT) which can be responsive to voice commands.

An important information I acquired as a Land Economy undergraduate student is that the value of a property is mainly determined by three factors: location, location and location. The integration of technology will be a force to reckon with in determining property values as well and this is due to the benefits that are associated with being smart.

As a young man in the 21st century, I prefer to own a property that will be able to ease my stress of doing things, ensure comfort and safety while increasing productivity and make me financially sustainable and “smart buildings” seem to promise these. In a country such as Ghana where it is highly possible to be billed exorbitantly on energy consumption, it will be smart to be smart (Pun intended).

Technology incorporated in your building helps in improving its efficiency by optimizing utilization of facilities in the building. Take light sensitive switches for instance: light bulbs are triggered to turn on only when the technology records an insufficient presence of natural light or when the technology recognizes the presence of a body in the room (which could have an override, of course, based on the occupant’s preferences) and this is particularly useful in reducing energy consumption. Not just that, but smart buildings are custom designed to make life very comfortable by ensuring easier access and control of security, appliances and other electrical contraptions at your comfort and remotely by using your smart phone or even voice recognition.

In view of this, one can say that smart homes are safer, cost efficient (in the long run), and more convenient and therefore should be easier to sell due to its features which make smart buildings even more valuable. However, these technology integrations will add to the already expensive property market in Ghana.

Who wouldn’t want to own a smart building? I know I would. However, we are placed in a “catch-22” situation where in order to save, we need to spend. This even becomes more interesting especially in a country where majority of its citizens cannot afford to own property, a country where owning a house now is seen to be more of a luxury than a necessity.

About the Authors

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Arku Robert Nutifafa graduated from the Department of Land Economy (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology) in the year 2017 and did his national service at the Department as a Teaching and Research assistant. He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Urban Planning.

 

twitter_logo     Arku Nutifafa

facebook-logo    Nutifafa Arku

images  Robert Nutifafa Arku

 

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Richard Oppong is a final year student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Land Economy at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He was the immediate past Vice President of LAMDSA( Land Management and Development Students’ Association)

images Richard Oppong-Adjei

téléchargement (3) Richard Denzel Adjei

DESIGNING YOUR HOME IN GHANA DOESN’T HAVE TO BE HARD. READ THESE 9 TIPS

Designing your new home in Ghana can be a hectic and challenging task. At the same time, the design of your home is essential to the enjoyment of your home. Even your comfortability in your new home is dependent on the design of the home, making it very necessary that particular attention is paid to the design of your new home but designing your home does not have to be hard if you follow these helpful tips:

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  1. Sketch Your Ideas or Write Down a List of Features You Want in Each Room

Sketching your ideas or writing down a list of features you want helps you to carefully consider options and decide which best suits you. While doing this, always have your design objectives in mind. Sketching or writing down your ideas helps to save time in the design process.

  1. Put Your Listed Features in Order of Priority

After sketching or writing down your ideas, the next is to prioritize what you seek to achieve in the design. If you want a huge washroom, a tiny living room, a kitchen that’s upside down. This is the time to set your priorities right. In doing this, you may involve your architect to ensure that your dreams are be feasible.

The right professionals can shape your ideas and wishes into something that will actually look good in the end and turn your rough sketches into an actual layout design. Don’t be afraid to invest enough time and money into this because a professional design is going to make a difference between a perfect home and a disaster.

  1. Consider Your Lifestyle

In writing down or sketching your ideas and in putting listed features in order of priority, it is important that you consider your lifestyle as well as the lifestyle of the prospective occupants. Are you the type who entertains guests to sleep over in your house regularly? Are you the type who appreciates greeneries? All of these should be duly incorporated in the design of your new home.

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  1. Take Future Plans into Consideration

As much as you consider your current lifestyle in designing your new home, you should give equal attention to your future plan. You should consider the future size of your family – How much will your numbers be increasing in future? Or are your children intending to settle elsewhere in few years?   Take your time and do your research both online and in person. Be sure to take the time to meet with professionals in the industry.

5. Consider How Occupants Will Function in Each Space

 Each space should suit its use. In doing this, ensure that rooms are well-organised and have enough space to meet the needs. The rooms should be flexible, adaptable and allow for a variety of household activities. You may allow for a variety of household activities and occupants‘ needs by considering the necessary requirements for each space.

 6. Pay Attention to Lights

Lighting is another essential element to consider in the design of your new home. It helps in creating an illusion of space. The placement of the light can either make the space look bigger or smaller, wider or narrower.

Again, good lighting can be used to enhance colours within a design. During the day, sunlight will naturally illuminate a room and showcase the colour selection.

Depending on the type of bulb, the light emitted may be a warm or cool colour and would affect the overall feel of the room.

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7. Consider the Safety of Occupants

The possibility of encountering problems such as indoor air quality problems, occupational illnesses and injuries, exposure to hazardous materials, and accidental falls are dependent on the design of your new home. To design a home that ensures occupant safety and health, it is very important that you employ the services of a qualified architect.

8. Determine the Room Sizes

Based on the lifestyle of occupants, you should determine reasonable room sizes to suit your comfortability and enjoyment of your new home.

9. Choose a Design That Works with Your Budget

To get a good design that suits your preferences and works with your budget requires the service of a qualified architect. It is also important to know that a bigger budget doesn’t always mean a better design.

The features you select are key to determining the success of a space and not how much you spend. Ensure that all your preferences are within budget.

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You May Spend Your Entire Lifetime, Paying Off the Mortgage!

Mortgage

Deep within the heart of a young man in Ghana lies the wild desire to own a home someday; maybe now, but the forces in his pocket and other economic factors are always battling against this desire. My brother once said that, not everyone will live to own a house.

Finance has been a major constraint to the materialization of people’s dreams to become homeowners. In many advanced countries, mortgage is the most widely-available source of funding for building projects. In Ghana, most people would rather resort to using their personal long-term savings, equity and remittances from relatives abroad to fund the building of their new homes, but not mortgages.

Mortgages are generally classified under 2 categories. They include the residential mortgage and the commercial mortgage. In this article, we would focus more on the residential mortgage. Megarry and Wade have defined mortgage as the conveyance of a legal or equitable interest in property with conditions for its redemption, upon repayment of a loan or the performance of some obligation. In more familiar terms, a mortgage is an agreement that allows you to borrow money from a bank or a similar organization in order to buy a house, or to use one’s house to secure a loan. Fully registered indenture/title documents, building permits and plans are usually accepted as collateral. The well-known mortgaging institutions in Ghana include the GHL Bank (Previously, Ghana Home Loans), Republic Bank (Previously HFC Bank), Fidelity Bank, CAL Bank, GCB Bank and Barclays Bank.

Common mortgage products in Ghana include first time buyer’s mortgage, home improvement mortgage, equity release, home completion and buy to let.

The first time home buyer’s mortgage product is for people who wish to buy their first home.

Equity release is for people who already own a home and wish to use the already-owned home as collateral to secure a loan for business expansion.

The home improvement is secured for maintenance and home renovation purposes.

The buy to let is for people who already have a home and wish to use the home as collateral to build new ones to rent out.

The Home completion product is for people who started their building project with personal funds and get stuck due to inadequate funds and then use the uncompleted structure as collateral to acquire a loan to complete the building project.

Many financial institutions here in Ghana are unwilling to provide mortgages because of its long-term nature. The few available mortgages come at high interest rates or take the form of dollar mortgages, making it difficult for the average Ghanaian to secure. Those who build up the muscles to secure mortgages sometimes end up increasing their repayment plan. They end up doing the repayment for a period that seems to be a lifetime. Mortgages thus, become a lasting obligation for most people even for as long as 15 years. Most mortgaging institutions usually require expensive down payments, making it difficult for the average Ghanaian to afford. The high cost of mortgages is mainly due to high interest rates, huge down payments, low income levels and mortgage underwriting constraints.

A well-structured mortgage market is crucial to the materialization of affordable housing in Ghana and till the right structures are put in place, Ghanaian mortgages still remain unaffordable to people within the middle and low income-earning group.

Write-up specially dedicated to Afia Takyi. Your passion about the mortgage situation in Ghana motivated this!😊