The feeling of settling into a new home is priceless, however, the process of hunting for an apartment can feel overwhelming especially here in Ghana. You can better accomplish apartment-hunting with confidence and not miss anything important by breaking down the process into small tasks you can accomplish one at a time. Plan and prepare for your move in advance, and you'll have enough time to find a home of your choice which would be worth the tedious hunt.
With this purpose in mind, we've prepared a list of the best tips and everything else you need to know about renting an apartment with first-time renters in mind.
In Ghana, we don’t have a well regulated rental industry in Ghana as may be available in the diaspora, you must be very vigilant and careful when looking for a place to rent. Do your due diligence and make sure you’re dealing with the rightful person and landlords.
Before anything else, know your budget and how much you’re willing to spend. Also to note and take into consideration is that in Ghana landlords and landladies request for rent advance. Hence budgeting is very important. It's easy to be swayed by an out-of-budget apartment, but in the long run, knowing what you can afford and sticking to it will prevent financial stress. To meet your first place budget, you'll likely have to make compromises in your lifestyle, so deciding what you can afford to give up and what you need is another important step beyond your financial calculations. It is important that the rent you are willing to pay for an apartment leaves money for other living expenses such as food and transportation in your budget.
The next step is deciding where you want to live once you figure out what you can afford. Location is key for everyone, is it a safe neighbourhood, proximity to key places like schools, hospitals and even your workplace. Narrow down on location you like based on research and budget.
Also, everyone has a preference for unique features in an apartment. A quick tip is to make a list of your top essential priorities.
Do you need to be close to public transport so that you can get to work?
Does it come with a parking lot?
Do you want a one or two-bedroom apartment?
Do you need space for a home office?
Do you require a heater?
Must it come with built-in wardrobes and cabinets?
Is the flooring hardwood, carpet or terrazzo?
How large is the kitchen?
Do you want one or two bathrooms or even an ensuite?
Start your apartment search by considering any other amenities that you may require. List them in order of priority so it's easier to let go when you have to make a choice.
In Ghana, we have limited listing sites, even though these sites do not connect you directly to the landlord or landlady, it will most likely be an agent. We will highly recommend you use top and registered real estate agents in Ghana. They are professionals who make the process easier for you. Based on your needs and budget, they connect you to the right homeowners. They consultative advice.
If you must use agents from the listing site, conduct your research, check out their reviews and make sure you’re dealing with a legit real estate agent. It’s impaired to note that agents charge a service/ viewing fee for visiting properties and a commission only when you find a place through them.
PS; do factor this in your budget
Explore all your options before you settle on one. We advise you to view as many homes as you can unless the first home tick all the checklist boxes. Don’t rush, take pictures and observe the details.
Whenever you visit an apartment, ensure you check for anything that the owner might want to conceal. Check inside cabinets and on top of shelves for any animal droppings. Make sure all sinks and showers run clear. Finally, make sure you bring a phone charger to ensure that the outlets work. Check carefully for these problems, as they are often overlooked.
It's important to make sure your favourite furniture fits in your new place. Make sure you measure the building entrances and hallways, as well as the apartment itself.
During your walkthrough, ask as many questions as possible to whoever is showing you the property. Consider visiting the area at different times of the day or week. How noisy is the neighbourhood? Is it a safe neighbourhood? It's important to know these things in advance.
You or the real estate agent should try to negotiate the rent price if you feel like there is room for doing so. The best time to negotiate prices is when the unit has a lot of problems that need to be fixed. Alternatively, you can negotiate if the building or unit does not come with the amenities that you want. You might be able to negotiate some rent reductions with the property manager if it means you sign a lease. The tenancy agreement is a legally binding document, so read every word! It’s also a resource for tenants to keep on hand and can always refer back to it when questions arise. Before signing a lease, make sure you understand the length of commitment (month-to-month or year-long), rules, security deposit, and what your responsibility is versus that of the landlord.
Once you feel comfortable with the amount of money you will spend and the place where you will live, sign the lease! You will then be prepared for a smooth move. An organised packing job makes for an organised unpacking job once you’re in your new place—so get started early with your moving checklist, and make sure you have help whether from pros or a friend willing to lend a hand.
To make your apartment hunting easier contact Talis Property manager. In addition to providing property consultancy services, they also offer apartments for rent in ideal neighbourhoods. All utilities, internet, and monthly cleaning are set up before you move in, so coliving is seamless.