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What to look for when buying a house in Uganda.


What to look for when buying a house in Uganda
Buying a home? You wouldn’t purchase a car without investigating what’s under the hood, or buy shares without deciphering the returns on your investment. So don’t cut corners when it comes to your biggest investment of all: Your family home.

If you’re about to jump into the market and invest in a property, consider these tips.

There’s no such thing as a perfect plan

Investing in property, or planning a refurbishment, requires a degree of compromise. It’s unlikely you’ll walk into a unit, townhouse or single dwelling that ticks all your boxes.

Determining what you can live without and what you can’t is super important. A floor plan that’s open and spacious might be appealing at first glance, but when your kids are watching TV in the living room, this layout could make it hard for you to concentrate in your adjacent home office.

Weigh up the pros and cons when looking for the right floor plan for you.


Get familiar with what you need Vs what you want

This kind of overlaps my first point. Everyone wants it all bigger and better. Ocean views, wine cellar, media room, play room, pool… the lot. But is bigger seriously better? Have you ever taken a moment to really ponder what you actually need?

How do you use your house? What makes you tick? What things make a space great? For some people, a sense of volume and height achieved through void space is more important than added floor space. Perhaps a green oasis makes your heart sing, but rather than a big backyard you’ll have to maintain, a courtyard with potted plants might suffice.

Good design doesn’t have to be ostentatious, in fact, the best design is often the most simple. Small is the new big.


Development Applications: Know your stuff

Your eyes may glaze over at the thought of reading local planning controls but there truly is value in knowing your stuff if you’re planning to renovate now or in the future.

Should you strike gold and chance upon a property with an already approved plans, consider yourself lucky. Obtaining planning approvals can be an onerous and costly process. So your plan might not look too fancy now, but imagine how much better that view will be when you build your second storey!


Budgets & what belies the facade

Foundations, footings, and skins may not sound as sexy as polished floorboards, appliances and abundance of natural light but let me tell you, these terms need to be on your radar.

The next time you see floor-to-ceiling windows in a property description, ask yourself this: Are they single or double glazed? Double glazing will significantly reduce transfer of noise and keep you warm in the winter, as will a double skin construction.

Also, steer clear of sweaty walls. Sweat means wet, and wet means damp. Last but not least, footing/foundation fundamentals are a must. Shallow and unstable foundations result in movement and cracking, and before you know it, what was once a mini refurbishment turns into a full blown new build.

Sexy or not, these big-ticket items require investigation before you can decide if this is the house for you.


Think long term

Don’t be blinded by bling. There isn’t great value in floor finishes, countertops and appliances. The real value is in spatial qualities like proportion, scale and flow.

So when investing in property, take your Critical Hat off and put your Potential Hat on – rather than seeing the peeling paint and the canary yellow kitchen, choose to see what a property may have to offer.

Ask yourself: Does it have room to grow? Is there a basement I could turn into a home office or rumpus room for the kids? Is there room in the garden for a granny flat or a pool? Instead of going straight for the palace, opt for the slightly less beautiful house with good bones and extra girth, and make it your own.


When weighing your options, look at every unit, house or dwelling with open eyes and register where the golden opportunities lie within each. Most importantly, don’t overextend yourself.

Consider how much upfront renovations will add to your mortgage and factor that in when considering how much your baseline truly is. In other words, pick a house that fits within your budget.

Don’t get sucked in by the fancy agent speeches or what your best friend just bought. This is yours, and yours for life, so take the time and do your research.

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