Accommodation in Ghana
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Finding suitable accommodation in Ghana is often a new arrival’s first priority and will play a significant role in ensuring that they settle into their new life successfully. For expats employed by a national embassy, a large multinational corporation or an international development agency, accommodation is often provided by the employer as part of their employment package.
However, the expat community in Ghana is steadily growing and becoming more diverse, and the country is now welcoming more and more independent workers, entrepreneurs, university researchers and volunteers. These foreigners are often faced with the daunting task of finding safe, affordable housing for themselves in an unfamiliar country where suitable accommodation is in short supply.
Types of accommodation in Ghana
While it is not always easy to find an abundance of property, those moving to Ghana will find that there are a variety of housing options available to them, from large family homes with gardens to luxury apartments in modern complexes.
Many foreigners moving to Ghana only work on short-term contracts, so fully furnished accommodation tends to be the most suitable option. Fortunately, many apartments come furnished in Ghana, but houses may be unfurnished in some instances. Furniture can be sourced easily and cheaply through local suppliers. As most expats do not remain in Ghana for more than a few years, it may be pointless to have goods shipped into the country from home.
The biggest problem is lack of housing stock, especially in popular expat areas. Those who a suitable property will need to act fast to secure it.
Finding accommodation in Ghana
There are a number of ways to find rental properties in Ghana. Some expats can simply take over their predecessor’s accommodation or have their employer assist them in finding a home.
Those searching for homes on their own should consider using the services of a real estate agent – these professionals will have a better understanding of the property market in Ghana and can help foreigners find properties that may not be listed publically. Relocation companies can also aid in searching for accommodation while offering additional assistance with other aspects of the move such as obtaining a visa and shipping goods.
Otherwise, new arrivals can also find homes through property listings in local newspapers as well as through online property portals. However, expats should be aware that Ghanaian online services are not utilised to their full capacity as internet penetration in Ghana is not as high as it is in Western countries.
Renting accommodation in Ghana
As high-quality housing is in short supply, rent tends to be expensive and it can be difficult to find a house to rent in Ghana. In addition to the cost of rent, expats also need to consider the cost of hiring security staff and gardeners, as well taking responsibility for the maintenance of generators and water tanks.
Most of these things will be taken care of by the building management for those living in secure apartment complexes. Thus, most new arrivals opt to live in affordable apartment complexes instead of renting a standalone house. Expats living in Ghana’s major cities, such as Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi, should expect to pay more than those living in rural areas.
Although local legislature forbids this, many Ghanaian landlords expect rent to be paid for the whole year in advance in order to secure a lease. Many Ghanaian landlords might also not expect a security deposit, although some may require an amount equal to half a month's rent to serve as a deposit. Despite the trend requiring upfront annual rent payments, many furnished apartments and short-term leases, especially those aimed at foreigners, require monthly payments.