Accommodation in the capital of Ghana isn’t just expensive but hard to find too, Kwaku lamented. Kwaku is a fresh graduate who had to move to the city for his national service program, a required 9-12 months of work that introduces you to corporate Ghana.
The national service period is a very important time in the life of fresh graduates in Ghana, as it does not only equip them with their first working skills and experiences but also a platform to launch a lifelong career. Kwaku, like many graduates, was excited to be posted to Accra, even though he has lived outside the capital and has no one to stay with during his national service period. The city offers much more opportunities in corporate Ghana than any other part. But first, he must get a place to lay his head.
Accommodation Options In Accra.
Accra presents vast accommodation options to its inhabitants; single rooms, two bedrooms, three bedrooms, executive four and five bedroom houses, apartment buildings, and many more. Kwaku’s options are basically two: buy a house or rent a room. Not many fresh graduates around the globe can afford buying a house or taking a mortgage. So the obvious option is to rent a room in Accra.
If you have ever rented accommodation in Accra, you would know that often, there are middlemen involved in the search, negotiation and payment for the rented room. Apartments in Accra are expensive and even beyond the budgets of most middle-level managers of comparatively well-paying business and non-business organizations in Ghana. Kwaku knew his only option: to rent a single room in a not-too-busy parts of Accra, but close enough to his workplace in order to save on transportation fares within the city of Accra, which may be expensive for a fresh graduate. The presence of Uber in Ghana is expected to ease movement within Accra.
The Search For A Room To Rent
Kwaku nearly ended with nothing, having spent about GHc700 moving around in taxis across the length and breadth of Accra in search of decent single room to rent. Agent fees, ridiculous taxi fares (there was no Uber in Accra at the time), agents’ feeding, door-opening fees are some of the costs incurred by Kwaku in the process of looking for a single room accommodation in Accra. As an educated young man he took to the internet in frustration, using online real estate listing platforms like tonaton, olx, and real estate marketplaces like meqasa.
Fortunately he found so many properties to choose from, but then again, there’s the need to contact the people who listed the properties and arrange to inspect the property. Some of the people were actually real estate agents (middlemen) who still operated on the same terms they do if you don’t use the web. Kwaku ended spending additional GHc300 in the process but was happy with the properties he saw. He saw single rooms for rent ranging from GHc120 to GHc600.
Having considered several factors such as shared facilities, proximity to his new job, noise level in the neighbourhood and price, he rented a single-room at GHc250 per month, and paid the ‘usual’ two years advance demanded by many landlords in Ghana.
Activities of real estate companies in Ghana and both offline and online real estate intermediaries can go a long way to improve accommodation prices and minimize the cost of the search for buildings in Accra and other parts of the country, whether for renting, leasing, cash purchase or mortgaged. Part of Kwaku’s ordeal could actually be avoided if we learn to use available online intermediaries such as tonaton, olx and meqasa for the searches, only to do physical verification after satisfactory online scrutiny.