UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Owning a home is an aspiration for many. You can become a homeowner either by purchasing an established house already built, or constructing a home of your own. While some people enjoy building a house brick by brick, others prefer not to go through the stress of building, and instead opt to buy a complete house.
Building a house requires commitment, involving supervision, time, and money. Building a house takes a longer time than buying an existing home.
Nuruh Ashaka built her family house in 2010. According to Ashaka, the construction took approximately two years because they built it in stages, with pauses in between. However no matter how long it took, Ashaka says she is happy because she got what she wanted.
“I wanted some rooms in the house built to suit my preference. I wanted the kitchen sinks and cooker built towards the kitchen walls. I wanted the master bedroom with an inbuilt bathroom and another bathroom in the other rooms. Some homeowners want every bedroom with its bathroom, but this comes at a cost I wasn’t ready for,” Ashaka recalls.
Building in Phases
Ashaka’s story demonstrates that the duration of a construction project is determined mainly by the cash flow.
“Whenever I got money, I would build from one phase to another. At one point, I built from the foundation to the ring beam level and halted it for some time. When I got the money, I started from the ring beam and did the roofing before halting again,” Ashaka says.
“The project was that flexible because I wasn’t in a rush. If I were to buy, it would put me under pressure from the seller to complete the payments. Buying couldn’t give me the option of owning a home by building in phases. When you buy a house and pay in instalments, the seller may want the balance when you do not have ready cash,” Ashaka adds.
According to Ashaka, overseeing your house construction allows you to change some designs or parts to suit your desires, unlike buying a house where it is not easy to change already built sections. For instance, when purchasing a house, you may get one that has the kitchen size you want but has no walk-in closet, yet you want one.
Why You Should Buy a House
Regardless of the many advantages of building your home, some people still prefer to avoid the stress of it. Therefore, they opt to instead buy a complete house.
Unlike Ashaka, Nicholas Tumwesigye bought a four-bedroom family house in Bulindo in 2018 at USh320 million. All Tumwesigye wanted was a house for his family, regardless of how it was built or the number of bedrooms it had.
Tumwesigye agrees that if he had the patience to build his own house, it would have probably cost him much less than USh320 million.
“I did not want to be subjected to the stress of seeing a house being built from the foundation until they completed it. The house I bought was not my dream house, but my family got a permanent address,” Tumwesigye says.
Joseph Oryang, an engineer with Century Investors Limited, says that when choosing whether to buy or build, there is more to it than merely an engineering perspective, since it also involves costs and convenience.
Look at the building and buying options, then look at the pros and cons and see what is suitable for you and the level of risk you are ready to take.
Pros of Buying
Engineer Oryang says you have less hassle and stress when buying an established house. You can pay for what you like. If you see something built incorrectly or not to your liking, don’t buy the house and keep looking for what you want.
“To a great extent, the decision to buy or to build a house depends on you. You might find an estate arrangement, for instance, a block of flats with a well-created ambience you buy into. It may cost a lot, but you get into an ambience you don’t have to struggle with,” Oryang says.
Cons of Buying
According to Oryang, one of the disadvantages of buying an already built house is that you get a higher ultimate cost, yet you’re not informed about the quality of construction. For instance, they could have built that house without a concrete foundation, yet it is key to the strength and durability of any building.
“Some homeowners are good at putting up poorly built houses and dress or finish them nicely to look appealing on the surface. You cannot be too certain about what is underneath with things like the foundation and the quality of the structural work, plumbing and electrical pathways, among other key factors,” Oryang points out.
The other disadvantage is that you need to have money in a lump sum. It is hard to buy a house if you do not have enough money at your disposal.
“If you are to use lump-sum payments, it means you have to go for a loan and this comes with interest rate challenges. The challenge with big loans to buy a house is that they make you a financial institution or money lending prisoner where you may end up losing your house as collateral,” Oryang argues.
Why You Should Build a House
Pros of Building
Like Ashaka, in case of limited cash flow, building your own house allows you to do it in phases. If you have enough money ready, you can still build nonstop until the house is complete.
“You can control the outcome. Although it requires that you have a skilled project manager. If you are not up to it, enlist a project manager,” Oryang says.
Daniel Kyeyune, a construction technician, agrees with Oryang, saying that you need to hire a skilled project manager to oversee the project. Watch from a distance to control the outcome and quality. You will have a lower cost and also gain some skills.
Building your own home gives you the experience and lessons learned to better handle future construction projects.
Cons of Building
The disadvantage with building is that the skills of your construction team may limit you if you don’t have good project management. While using a professional team, take part in every stage and check out the general progress of the project.
With costs, Oryang and Kyeyune say if you don’t use professionals, you will get what you want much cheaper, but this will compromise the quality of the work.
“If a real estate dealer is selling a house, they want to make a profit. Therefore, buying is more expensive than building. If you are to build a house using USh200m, you will part with between USh250m to USh300m to buy the same house,” Oryang says.
When buying a house, it is not only the construction costs that come into play, but the property value also comes in. You can construct a house at USh200 million. Still, if it is in a developed place with a setting such as Bukoto, Buziga, Najjeera, Munyonyo or Lubowa, you can sell it later at around USh500 million.
When a place is underdeveloped, the projections are generally low, and when developed, the price of houses and land automatically goes up.
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