How To Buy a House in Uganda On A Budget

As you age and get more family responsibility, society in Uganda demands that you should own your own home or you’ll not fit in with your peers. The Ugandan economy is growing at a tremendous rate that keeps rental fees rocketing out of control and if you have a family of more than 4 people, the discomfort of dishing out that money to a landlord every month will force you to rethink ownership. But when that time, to consider buying a house from an agent, comes, how the hell are you going to go about it? We talk about that in this post, read on!.

Let’s say you have saved a bit of money in anticipation of acquiring a house and the time has come to make some choices. But because your day job is quite demanding and you can’t spare time to look at some properties, start the building project and supervise the construction of your dream house, you may have to consider a real estate company to represent you.

“Real Estate Agencies can come in handy especially if money and time don’t give you a good bargain” Says Mukisa, a corporate lawyer at a prominent firm in Kampala.

“I searched online and found a great deal with Akright. My wife and I had been saving some money and after a meeting with Akright’s agent, they offered to sell us a plot of land and help us build our home. All we had to do is pay for the land upfront, they build the house and we make monthly deposits on the house when it’s ready”. Explained Mukisa.

“But” he adds, “we had been given a couple of choices that included buying a fully contructed house and buying a plot of land and then have them construct a home of our choice. We opted for the latter.

Buying From Real Estate Companies

Most real estate companies give great terms of payments like allowing the buyer to deposit a minimal amount and finish the balance over a period of time.

“We bought the plot of land at UGX 35 million which is like 30 decimals (slightly more than quarter an acre of land) in Akright Kakungulu Estate. We felt that was good enough. The finished home was valued at Shs270m. I initially paid a quarter of that amount.”

The lawyer tells us that he’s still making deposits to this date. It is common for most families to fear ownership because of financial probabilities.

Real estate companies are a great choice for acquiring a home especially if your finances cannot cover a fully reconstructed home in a single payment. “Obviously, you must calculate for interest rate because that how the real estate company makes a dime” Mukisa advises.

Paying With Installments

Anyone has a chance to acquire property by paying in installments from real estate companies like Akright Projects Limited.

When you contact a prominent property company, you’re asked to describe your dream property and also state your budget from which an understanding can be reached between the buyer and the company and then you start making your payment. The process could take a day to complete if your paperwork is in order.

“Upon completion of the payment, the title is issued to the owner, along with the transfer forms. Six months later we check on you to see how you are enjoying the property. This is for people who want to buy an already built structure.” Says a manager at Akright.

At Zion Estates, their three-bedroom houses in Matugga on 50ft by 100ft plots of land cost Shs50m. If you want any of these houses, you deposit 30 percent (Shs15m) of the Shs50m, they give you the keys to the house and a year to complete the payment. You can do this by either paying personally or getting a mortgage from a Micro-finance with an initial deposit of 30 per cent.

Zion Estates could allow you to pay the balance in a period of one to five years with a 30 per cent interest rate per year.

Mortgage Financing

Some buyers prefer to finance their homes through the bank by acquiring a mortgage loan that can be financed in a period of between 15 to 20 years. Some real estate companies offer this service. They can help you apply for and acquire a mortgage through Barclays, KCB, Housing Finance, DFCU and Stanbic Bank.

For example Housing Finance Bank Ltd provides a wide range of mortgage products used for either purchasing or construction of both residential and commercial property.

Through HFB a buyer can acquire a house without having to save all the money needed to purchase the property. With HFB’s mortgages, you get period of up to 20 years to pay back with manageable periodic payments. Anyone with regular income is eligible, whether employed or self-employed.

When you apply, you get the money in two to three weeks. But the challenge they say they’ve met with this concept among Ugandans is the difficulty in ascertaining incomes of people who are self-employed. The income levels of people who do not get salaries are generally low. Accumulating a down payment for the bank usually takes long.

Recommended: Uganda’s Mortgage Financing Questions Answered

Again, supply of affordable houses is also limited. Property prices are flying quite high compared to the income of a middle class Ugandan.

I would say that the easiest financing plan to buy a home in Uganda is that you need to save enough for an initial deposit of between 10 to 30 per cent of the property value and the difference will be a mortgage loan repayable in a period of up to 20 years.

However, there is defaulting on your mortgage. That could mean you loosing everything you worked for. Housing Finance Bank are very understanding. In such cases they say you’ll be given a couple of months to resolve your problems then resume payment of the mortgage.

Using Property Brokers

Property brokers are very accessible these day. Walk around the corner and you’re sure to see a banner with phone number to call. Pull out your gadget and search google. They’re just a click away. But because we live a connected economy, it doesn’t mean you can trust every broker online.

Online property listings come in handy when you don’t have time to run around the city looking for a home to buy. You could take as much time as you need to browse thorough a property listing site like Nyumba-Online.com and no one would rush you to take a premature decision.

Nyumba Online works with real estate agencies, developers and owners to collect their real estate portfolios and display them in a manner that provides information to potential buyers.

When one finds a listed (property) of interest on Nyumba Online, they have two options to either send an email or click to view a phone number that will grant the potential client access to the seller. These two options put the potential client directly in touch with the seller. This could be the property agent, developer or owner.

Using such features, you can compare sellers from different platforms and make your life choice of buying from that one who displays much trust. Nyumba Online makes sure they vet their agents to avoid fraudulent transactions on the site.

Things you need to consider before you buy

Land title—Land title proves ownership of the seller. Get a photo copy of the title and verify with the land board that you’re actually buying from the right seller. Otherwise, many people have fallen pray to fraudsters because they didn’t take time to check the deed before they made payment on the house or land.

Inspect sanctioned plans. Sanctioned plans should be inspected, especially for buildings under construction. If the building is not built in accordance with sanctioned plans, the completion certificate will not be granted.

Permitted user and Restrictions.This aspect should be verified as well. For example, one should see whether the property is residential or commercial.

Documentation. Proper documentation should be put in place for purchase of the property. The sale document should be properly stamped and registered and the original title deeds should be taken by the purchaser from the seller.