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Planning Process: Apartment Hunting Part I



We have 50 days left before we head off to South Africa for some much needed fun in the African sun. We will be hanging out with some other repatriates whom we have started to build a village with. After our brief stay in South Africa, it’s on to Ghana to start this new chapter of our lives. In the meantime, we have continued our preparation for the move. About two weeks ago we had a yard sale and we were able to sell many of the smaller household items we had not been able to sell via the online platform www.offerupnow.com. After such a successful yard sale, we made additional profit to add to our saving. Honestly we are currently living like squatters in our own home but we have everything we need. The sacrifice is so real right now. But the reward will be even greater. 

One of the biggest tasks we have had thus far is researching for a place to live once we touch down in Ghana. The one question inquiring minds have is, "have you all secured living arrangements in Ghana?" Although we would like to say we have checked this task off our list and the new residence is just waiting for us to arrive, that is not the case.

I'm about to drop a serious "honest bomb" right now. For anyone attempting to make this move, there is no online tool such as apartments.com or apartment hunting company to provide you with information on available living quarters in Ghana. Finding a residence in Ghana is not a walk in the park. Truth of the matter is that housing has been difficult to research in Ghana due to limited, inaccurate, and possibly untrustworthy information. Searching the internet via the available listing companies have resulted in outrageous if not unrealistic quotes for rent. We have been quoted and/or seen housing prices anywhere from $1,500 to $4, 000 USD. Of course this caused some anxiety for us for two reasons. First, this was way more than the $500 to $1,000 USD we had budgeted for a rental. Based on our conversations with people who have repatriated to Accra, Ghana and local Ghanaians prices were supposedly at or below our budget. Second, we don't even pay that much in Los Angeles, CA and did not expect to pay more than our current residence to live in Ghana.

We were quickly informed that there are several considerations we as well as other possible repatriates need to understand when looking at rental quotes in Ghana. First, the agents managing the rentals have marked up the prices to get their piece of the pie and the prices would definitely be lower/negotiable if dealing directly with the property owner. Second, the prices are advertised for the foreigner market who they deem can afford to pay more than the locals. The overarching point being, you will not get the best price by dealing with management companies, especially if you are coming from outside of the country.


With these factors in mind, we came to the realization that we were not going to acquire a residence prior to arriving in the country. While it may be a bit risky to move across the world with no secured residence, we figured it would be more of a risk to trust the online tools currently available, send our hard earned money to one of these agents and possibly get ripped off, or worst, have someone up and disappear with our money without a trace. The end result would be us still searching for a place once we arrive in the country.

If we have learned one key thing about getting business handled in Africa thus far, is that you have to be on the ground to conduct business face to face to get the task handled effectively.  We now know there is no relying on online tools to search available homes. Therefore, we decided the best option for us is to secure short term lodging for a few weeks while we search for a new home. Most of you know we have been doing our due diligence and because of our hard work our village in Ghana is very strong and continues to grow every day. The connections we have made with locals and repatriates on the ground has helped us in finding short term accommodations.

One of the current repatriates we know connected us with a local Ghanaian who operates a tour company in Accra which also includes a lodge for the tourists and repatriates. This amazing lodge is called Palace Afrika and is located in the heart of Accra. In addition to providing tours, the owner, Brother Prince Agbemble, offers affordable accommodations to repatriates who need a place to stay while searching for a more permanent residence. These accommodations will alleviate the need to stay at a hotel and will provide us with a nice and comfortable place to lay our heads until we find a new home. Additionally, we have several friends currently searching the local market for housing for us and determining good neighborhoods for us at more realistic and affordable prices. Lastly, once we arrive, our Ghanaian brother will go house hunting with we us so he can assist us in negotiating a local price rather than the common foreigner price.

We are excited to get to Ghana and provide the much need housing information that is currently lacking via the web. Who knows, we may become the "apartments.com" of Ghana! As we continue our journey, we will continue to seek out and provide information that will assist other potential repatriates in their journeys.

Until next time...

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