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A Guide To Building Your Own Home In Nigeria

Owning a home in Nigeria is a significant step in life and confers a certain form of status and prestige but the process can be strenuous if it’s not done right. Many Nigerians would rather build than buy a house because of the prestige attached to the process. However, no matter the avenue that you take in owning your home, the end goal is the status conferral.

In spite of the status and prestige, many are not desirous of building a house from scratch, this is because it is common knowledge that it is not the easiest activity to take on. This is due to many reasons not limited to charges imposed every now and then to being ripped off by labourers. In this article, we offer a simplified process and guide to building your own house the right way.
Tips to guide you in building your house
If you’re looking to build right, here are a few things to put on a checklist and improve the efficiency of your process.
1. Make a realistic budget
Building your own home is an investment and as such it is cost intensive. While the extent of the cost depends on the type of building you intend to build,  it generally costs a lot of money to build a house. To guide your spending and track your expenses, it is wiser to make a budget before you kick start the process of building your own home. This budget has to be as realistic as possible, and the best way to do this is to work with estimates obtained from the current prices of building materials and reconcile it with the picture of your proposed home in your mind. What this budget helps you ascertain is that you are financially buoyant enough to commit to that process of building your house at that time.
2. Purchase a suitable plot of land (if you don’t have one already)
A house is built on a piece of land and it will be impossible to talk about building a home without discussing the availability of land. If you do not already have a land, then purchasing a land is imperative. A land can be purchased directly from the landowner or from a real estate development company. The land to be purchased has to suit the type of building to be erected on it or the picture of your ideal home in terms of location, community and structure of the environment. All of these should be put into consideration before purchasing a land. It is also important that the land be inspected before it is bought. An inspection helps you place your expectations and the proposed land of interest side by side to determine if it is the right choice for you.
3. Hire an architect to produce a design
If there’s a picture in your head of what your ideal home looks like, it may be hard to communicate the picture of this home to the contractors responsible for building. The right way to approach this then is to hire an architect who can put that idea on paper and structure the design for effective execution. 
4. Get a more accurate estimate
After an architect has been hired, the house building process becomes more defined and is easier to process. What this results in is a more accurate estimation of what it will cost to build your own home. Upon getting actual figures, your previous budget can then be adjusted to reflect the new adjustments.
5. Obtain building plan approval from government
Upon getting the costs sorted, it is now time to begin building your own home. To make the process a lot easier and without any risk, it is required that a building approval is obtained from the government. The government offers a sort of permit that communicates an approval to build and develop. This building plan approval is also referred to as permit form and differs from regular title documents .It is issued across all 36 states across Nigeria. For example, in Lagos State, the permit is obtained from the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA) before carrying out any physical development in Lagos State. This is in line with the Section 27(1) of the Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law 2010 in Lagos State.
6. Purchase Building Materials
Since the approval to build has been gotten, building can now begin in full force. What however is a building without the right building materials? Building materials must be paid attention to before purchase is made, substandard buildings are usually caused by a mix between a poor building structure and poor building materials. The right purchase materials to a large extent help you get a quality home so attention must be given to purchasing the right building materials.
Choosing the right builder, contractor or developer
Now that you have gotten your land and building materials, the next thing is to get a builder, contractor or developer to work magic on converting all of these into your home. The outcome of the process is largely dependent on who builds the house. A right contractor takes time and takes in consideration all details that make the building your ideal home.

Putting it all together, with enough attention to the process, the home building process regarded as an Herculean task can become a simpler, smoother and enjoyable journey. These tips help you simplify the process and serve as a simple guide to getting things done right. A major problem many individuals have is securing a land in a top tier location that is affordable and still secure. At Sterling Homes, we take this stress off the hands of our clients, we offer lands for sale across our various locations with excellent buy to build offers. These lands come with all required title deeds and permits. We guarantee an ease in building your own home on one of our lands, join us today.

Posted by Sterling Homes

3 Important Things to Do Before Moving into Your New House

The new home journey usually isn’t an easy, straightforward task. Sometimes it can even be very stressful. Before moving into your new house, there are a couple of big tasks you’ll need to prioritize. If you knock these off your new home checklist, the rest of the process will run smoothly. Planning ahead is definitely a good idea when it comes to moving.

It helps to know a few things ahead of time, including important updates you may want to make to your new house before settling in. Here are three important things to do before moving into your new home:
New Locks
After moving in, you’ll likely want to relax, so you won’t want anyone with a key to come in unannounced. This is why you should change the locks as soon as your name is on the lease. By extension, you may want to have your local locksmiths on your contact list, just in case you can’t get in and there is nobody there to open the door.
Pipes and Plumbing
Another necessity you’ll likely use immediately after moving in is your tap water. Whether you’re washing dishes after your first dinner in the new house, taking a shower in the morning or flushing the toilet, you don’t want any clogging or overflowing after you’ve settled in. That’s why it’s wise to make sure your pipes and pluming are working securely.
Electricity
Working electricity is crucial no matter where you move. You can’t have family movie night if you can’t turn on the television , and what will you do if you have a lot of food that belongs in the freezer? Not to mention, you can’t call anyone if you can’t charge your phone. Therefore, it’s necessary to have reliable electricity, even if it means you have to upgrade it.

Even if you live alone, it is important o make sure these things are taken care of before you officially settle. So, if you plan on moving into a new home, whether with the family or on your own, be sure that you remember these essentials ahead of time.

Posted by Sterling Homes

Top 5 Questions To Ask Your Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents are very important when buying, selling or renting a house in Nigeria or any other place at all. Their place in the successful buying or selling of a property cannot be overemphasized. However, it is equally important to understand that not all estate agents are for you. The way to know the right agent to work with/for you is to ask vital questions that will determine this. A few questions will be highlighted below but before that, here’s the meaning of a “Real Estate Agent”:

An estate agent is a person or business that arranges the selling, renting, or management of properties and other buildings.

Sometimes, people need to sell their houses for reasons varying from relocation to change of vicinity taste and even if they put up a signpost announcing the sale, there’s a very low chance of getting a buyer that way. A real estate agent therefore serves as a middleman between the buyer and the seller.

He is bound to know more potential buyers to connect with the seller. This is because both buyers and sellers contact him frequently, asking for his service. There is therefore no better channel to buy, sell or rent a property other than hiring a real estate agent. In hiring an agent, you must understand that you’re hiring a partner who you must trust with details concerning your property. Asking the following questions will help you know who you should trust with your property:
What’s Your Price/Percentage Gain? 
Although this is not a question that should come first, it is a very important question that determines a lot of things in your endeavors with your agent. Whether you’re renting, selling or buying, the price of your agent is a determining factor in your work relationship. The reason why this should not come first is because you should not be looking for the cheapest agent around. Not everyone who has a real estate firm is very much up to the task.

Before asking for the price, get to know if he/she is up to the task first. In the later parts of this article, you will understand how to do that. After confirming that you can work with a real estate agent, you must then bargain for price. Estate agents usually charge a percentage fee which can be between 0.75% and 3.5% of the agreed selling price of your property.

For rents in Nigeria, it is no news that “agency and agreement” fees are added to the rental fees for an apartment in the first year. People who have experience with Nigerian agents for rents revealed that sometimes, these agency fees can be the exact amount of the apartment/room they are renting.

This happens mostly for extremely small apartments like one room apartments or one room self-contain apartments. This means that a person would pay twice the rental fee for the first year before paying the original rental fee the next year without the agent and agreement fees.

Some agents do not charge the exact amount; some charge less and some charge more. It is expedient to get to know the price before deciding to work with an agent to buy, sell or rent an apartment.
What Are All The Costs?
You need to know if there are any additional costs. You need to get a breakdown of all the costs. A professional agent will naturally give you a breakdown but in case he doesn’t, you need to ask for it. When renting an apartment in Nigeria, don’t just accept the “agent and agreement” fees as N30,000. Ask for a breakdown of that amount. What does it entail? You have a right to know these things.

When selling a property too, you need to know if there are additional costs like “Professional photos, floorplans or any other marketing or legal costs that may apply according to the laws of the country.

Some real estate agents will take advantage of ignorant clients by simply stating the agency fees before they’ve been hired and bring up other unknown costs after they must have secured the job. Try not to be the ignorant client who will be boxed up in many other unplanned costs because you did not know the right questions to ask.
What Type of Contract Do You Use? 
There are different types of contract and each contract has its own benefits and disadvantages, so it is important to know the type of contract that best suites you even before the arrival of your agent. Here are the types of contract to consider:

Sole selling rights – If your contract gives the agent “sole selling rights”, then it means the estate agent in the contract is the only one allowed to sell your home during the period stipulated. And even if you find your own buyer, you will still have to pay that estate agent.

Ready, willing and able purchaser – This means you have to pay the agent for finding a buyer, even if you decide not to sell to that buyer or you change your mind on selling your property.

Multi agency – This type of contract allows you to use as many agents as you like and only pay commission to the one who sells your property. The more agents you get to work for you, the more potential buyers you will reach. This also means you get higher offers – but you will pay higher fees.

Sole agency – This is the same as sole selling but if you find your own buyer, you won’t have to pay anything to the estate agent.

Most estate agents will be on a no sale, no fee basis, so they are only paid if they successfully sell your home.
How Do You Intend To Market My Property?
This is where estate agents demonstrate their experience and knowledge. If you want to sell your house, you deserve to know your agent’s plan for marketing your home. Ask them what’s most effective when selling houses like yours (the vicinity, property type, e.t.c).
Does Your Contract Include a Tie-in Period? 
A tie-in period is the minimum time you must allow an agent to market your house before the agreement can be ended. This could be anything from 8-16 weeks. Many estate agents include a tie-in period. But if you become unhappy with their service, you may decide to terminate the contract.

So, you have to ensure your contract gives you the flexibility to terminate the contract without incurring a penalty (no withdrawal fee), and go elsewhere if you’re unhappy with your agent. You should check the tie-in period and negotiate this as well.  You should not be locked in for more than 12 weeks (including your notice period).

Finally, before working with any estate agent, you need to ensure you get more knowledge on what you’re about to do so that your ignorance is not taken advantage of. If you are unable to get knowledge on this, the right and wise thing to do is to involve a trusted friend or family member in your endeavors with your agent.

Also, check your contract well before signing it. It is not a document to be signed hastily.

Posted by Sterling Homes

FAQs for First-Time Buyers

We’re so excited that you’re finally taking the big step into home ownership, as a first-time buyer, there are many things you should look out for in the house and environment of your choosing. Here are some common FAQs that first-time home buyers in Nigeria have, along with the answers.
1. Do I need a home checklist?
Answer: Absolutely! Creating a checklist of what you need your house to have is essential, you need to have a target of what you’re looking for, which neighborhood or location you want to live in, and the features your home must-have.
2. Do I really need an agent?
Answer: Hiring a real estate professional to help you with the buying process will not only save you time but also stress. An agent can send you listings directly that fit your parameters, and you won’t waste time looking at houses you have no business with. Agents often know of new listings coming up that are not yet on the market. An agent can generally spot overpriced listings and advise you accordingly.
3. What is the minimum price?
Answer: If you’re on a budget, you’ll need to ask for the minimum price that the buyer is willing to sellthe house at, a good estate agent will often give you an indication of the minimum price because it’s in their interest to make a sale, even at a lower price. At Sterling we offer three payment plans, Full Payment, Installment and
What documents should I expect to receive as the buyer of the property?
Answer: Survey plan, Deed of Assignment, Certificate of Occupancy, Governor’s Consent, Power of Attorney.

 

If you have any more question about buying a house, reach out to our contact lines and we’ll walk you through the process. Buying your first home is an exciting journey, so make sure to do it right.

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