One of the best things that can happen to young people is having a home they can call their own. A place they can lay their heads after a very hectic day without the fear of landlords banging their doors.
There’s nothing as tiring as landlord wahala in Nigeria. If they are not giving you unrealistic rules and regulation, they will be busy monitoring how you live and the kind of people that visit you. In many cases, they will also give you different unsolicited advice: “Mr Lagbaja, the school wey una pikin dey go too dey expensive. The school fees sef don pass house rent. Make una comot am put for that community school, that school good well well.” Really? What’s your business?
Some become sanitation officers. It’s your (rented) house o – that you’ve paid for, but they’ll still show up regularly to see if you swept the compound or washed the walls.
Should we talk about the neighbours? Phew! Some will refuse to make contributions for light bill and you’ll all have to stay in darkness because the money is not complete and PHCN has come to disconnect the wire. Some have animals that litter the compound. Some are so dirty, nosy, noisy, lousy… just name it.
So it’s not surprising that many young couples want to have their own homes and be free of landlord and fellow tenants palava. Aside from that, there’s this sweet peace of mind that comes with owning certain properties, especially a home.
However, before you go ahead to build or buy that home, here are a few things to consider:
This is one of the most important factors to consider. If you and your spouse are both career people – who have to leave the home in the morning and come back at dusk, you have to consider how far your home will be to your place of work. Is it a 30 minutes, 1 or 4 hours drive? Is it a distance you can cope with? Many people have built their houses at a very far location and then ended up getting a temporary apartment close to their workplace – which will gulp more money, or living with the pain of commuting for hours before getting to work. Except if you both plan to become remote workers or entrepreneurs in future, location should be considered.
Getting a land in underdeveloped areas is definitely cheaper than having to get house in highbrow areas. But at what cost? Before you build or buy your home in remote areas, consider the level of exposure you’ll get, the kind of people you’ll mingle with, the environment you’ll be ‘forced’ to raise your kids in and the school you’ll send your children to. Are there good schools there? What is the development rate of that area. How was it 5 years ago? How is it now? Have there been any growth or improvement? Are there basic infrastructure: good roads, power supply, water, hospitals, banks, good drainage system and a well-organized marketplace?
Is that area always flooded? How secure is that community?
As little as these things are, they are very important. Imagine having to drive out of town just to use the ATM or having to drive 3 hours before getting to a hospital. What if there’s an emergency?
Too much infrastructure
A home should be peaceful enough for you to lay your head and have a good sleep. The reverse will be the case if you have a refinery some kilometres away or several companies close to you. As a matter of fact, a petrol station should never be in a residential area.
It is tempting to buy a house close to ‘Dangote refinery’, but have you considered the health implications? Especially for your kids?
Before you build/buy that home, you need to watch out if there are certain companies too close to it – construction companies, refineries, filling stations, terminals, marketplaces, airports and so on.
You don’t want to bring up your kids in an extremely noisy and unhealthy environment.
Documentation and demolition
Before you build on that land or buy that house, ensure that you have all the necessary documents. This is to avoid future demolitions. Also go ahead to check the state land plan – are you building on an underground pipe or on a canal? Does the land belong to the government? Many times, people build houses and the government demolishes it years later because they want to expand the road or make use of the land. Take note of all these.
Cost of maintenance
As a young person, can you maintain that 6 bedroom duplex? Houses are not cheap to maintain. No go do pass yasef. How many kids are you planning to have? How many rooms will be okay for the whole family? Will you need those extra rooms? Do you need that guest house or boys quarters? Do you need that swimming pool? It is good to dream of having a huge beautiful home, but it is unwise to have a home that keeps eating deeper into your pockets. How much do you both make as income and how much are you willing to spend on your home?
Your retirement plan
Are you willing to stay in that home forever? Yes? Can that home accommodate your future plans? No? Will you eventually sell the house or will it to your kids? How much will be the house’s worth in the coming years? Before you own that home, you have to look into the future and no, it is not too early to think about that.
At the end, owning a home is good investment and gives you room to plan your finances without having to think of oga landlord. It also gives your family enough privacy. But before you whip out cash to buy that home, think and plan.