There are generally a number of ways to source rental properties. Some expatriates simply take over their predecessor’s home or their compensation package includes a readily available one on arrival. Others use their employer’s intranet and message boards or find a home through a relocation company or a real estate agent under contract. However, all these work-related or professional tools may not be available to you or in a country like Ghana where the reality on the ground is often a difficult one, mostly for the lone first-time expat house hunter.
In Accra as in most developing countries, more informal than formal ways exist but none are efficient or fast:
- word of mouth is a trusted route but how many people do you know when you are still at home, planning or have just relocated?
- join an expatriate club or association and get advice and assistance from other expatriates who have gone through the same process before,
- checking the rare ads posted in supermarkets, shops and other places visited by expats,
- picking-up copies of local expat magazines or publications for a list of places to look for rentals: such dedicated press is scarce in Ghana,
- checking the local newspapers for rental ads: Ghana dailies have few but no dedicated real estate sections,
- visiting websites with real estate sections: local property listings exist but rare are those offering the expected professional standards, with organized sections and a search engine, and none are dedicated to the expatriate community. In addition, the sources of the often free listings and the standards of the properties proposed and the persons involved are rarely controlled by the website management.
Using the services of a professional real estate agent seems then to be a sense-full and easy path. It is not really so in Ghana where the real estate service industry is unorganized and unregulated: indeed, no mandatory national or state real estate licensing system is in place to ensure that only registered individuals who have followed courses and passed the license can open and operate formal real estate agencies. Anyone may declare him/herself an agent, deal with landlords and you in any manner, advertise properties and close deals without having their responsibility engaged. That may explain why Ghana is not on the list of countries on expatriate websites listing real estate agencies worldwide.
accraexpat.comEditor’s first experience with an agent in Accra was as such: no office, no car to take him around and no business cards, a demand to fill a “registration form” and pay GHS 30 ($20 at the time), properties which did not all meet his standards as an expat and his requirements, for which keys were not readily available, where there was no power to see inside (evening visit) and lastly, having to pay the taxi for the hour wasted. Worst, a few foreigners have found themselves with the keys of someone else’s property after paying rent and commissions to and signing leases with fake agents and landlords.
Fortunately, there are a few good real estate agencies in Ghana from which properties are rented by expatriates daily, but how to find out who they are? Word of mouth again, recommendations from your company/embassy or found in rare publications – all are sources that are too few to safely recoup information – or choosing (but how) from a list you might get from the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (www.gredaghana.org - email@example.com - +233-24-431-8288 - +233-21-782 531) or from a long list like this one from a local web website.
accraexpat.com and real estate in Ghana
Considering this difficult situation that affects most foreigners with the major issue of finding a home in Ghana, we at accraexpat.com, as expatriates knowing and understanding your needs and in line with our mission to help expats settle in Accra as smoothly and rapidly as possible, created a solution from the start: Home Search was a relocation service offered since the launch of the website in 2010, in partnership with one reputable agent we selected and exclusively worked with.
In 2012, we decided to take this service to the highest level and designed this dedicated and comprehensive real estate section, launched in early 2013. The aim is to offer expatriates as well as foreign companies/organizations, whether in the country or abroad, a reliable one-stop platform with the largest and best selection of international standard properties from established and reputable agents, property managers and developers in Ghana.
Indeed, the ready to move-in properties listed here are supplied by a shortlist of registered providers we have carefully selected for their professionalism and reliability. Criterias were experience and knowledge of the market, reputation, standards of properties handled, level of customer service, professionalism and reliability.
Instead of identifying and dealing with single agents with a limited portfolio, users of accraexpat.com can now access Ghana’s best real estate in one place. Along with the How To Guide, our visitors from 150 countries around the world can find the necessary information to plan a relocation ahead and safely carry on the important issue of securing the right accommodation.
Using the real estate section
With our real estate partners, we work and plan ahead of your search in order to significantly reduce the delay between the time you contact us and the selection of your home.
Our dedicated search engine will let you identify properties matching your requirements.
An easier way is to send your requirements through the dedicated "Send your requirements" box for us to send you a shortlist of matching properties.
Once you have selected those you wish to visit, a viewing schedule will be set at a time of your convenience. Detailed information will be provided and second visits organized until you make your choice.
accraexpat.com and its partners’ assistance goes beyond looking for and choosing the right home.
It concerns important issues such as:
- drafting and negotiating the lease agreement (refer to the “Know your Rights” page), especially the rent and other items subject to negotiations on your behalf,
- checking all items on the inventory list and determining any preexisting damage or problems (so you will not be held responsible),
- settling in your new home, including information and advice on utilities and other service providers, eventual home improvements, furniture and appliances shops, etc.,
- introducing you to your new neighborhood and to an expatriate already living (accraexpat.com has developed a network of expatriates in each residential area who volunteered to welcome and guide new residents),
- remaining available to you to assist with any questions or issues during the length of your lease.
From start (whether you have already arrived in Ghana or not) to finish, we will work together with you and our partners to ensure that you find and move in your new home in the safest, quickest and easiest manner, remaining at your side and advising you during the whole process.
We invitde you to see the properties listed or simply send in your requirements to accraexpat.com using the "Send your requirements" box. Alternatively, you can contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope this and the other pages of our Residential Guide have been helpful and welcome your feedback and/or questions at email@example.com.
All rights reserved. The “Residential Guide” is for the personal use of readers. No part of this publication may be otherwise reproduced, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electrical, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of accraexpat.com.