Buying Land In Ghana
Buying land is no longer the challenge it once was, but the issues surrounding land buying and the many types of land available can be confusing. This site aims to provide you with all the information you need to get the most out of your land.
There are no restrictions for non-Ghanaians to buy or own land and property in Ghana but they might follow a different set of procedures. Ghana’s trade liberation program and massive support for inward investments had led to promoting foreign investments. For this reason, the government is working closely with Ghana Real Estate Developers Associations to restructure and remove obstacles in the property sector. A
foreign property investor who makes purchases in Ghana will also benefit from series of government incentives which include taxation breaks, and capital gains and all monies can be transferred out of Ghana without any charge should the investor decide to sell the property at a later date.
Categories of lands in Ghana
There are 4 different types of land in Ghana, some of which cannot be privately owned:
- Government Land
- Vested Land
- Customary/Stool Land
- Family/Private Land
Stool and family lands take up a huge percentage of available land. Customary land belongs to different Stools in Ghana, who have the authority to grant the particular customary land for which they are responsible. The 1992 Constitution states that there must be no free hold interest granted in land.
Customary land granted to individuals or families before the 1992 Constitution is considered private land. In this case, buyer has to approach the land owner directly, a lot of parcels of land fit in the category above are already sold in our website on Ghanafind.
To acquire Government or Vested land, an application has to be made to the Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission. Alternatively, depending on the land location, application can also be filed with the Regional Lands Officer.
Top things to look at when buying land
Buying land is a huge investment, and one needs to make sure that all checks are in place. There are various aspects that need to be looked at before making the purchase.
Remember the estate agent cliché: location, location, location. Decide what exactly you want and the location(s) that you are interested in buying in. Depending on what your criteria is, you'll find that water, roadwork, electricity and general community amenities vary with where the land is. Once this is settled, you can then narrow the search area.
Building costs will not go down if you choose to build in a less desirable neighborhood. While the cost of the lot will be higher in a better area, the price difference between lots will typically be far less than the added equity you will gain by building in a better neighborhood.
You can view a list of plots for sale in Ghana on Ghanafind. Our team will be able to advice you on the potential areas and sales statistics in the chosen area to give you bargaining power.
Utilities would include water, gas, electric, phone and television cable. Discover how close the service is to the property. While electricity may be available, the cost of bringing it to the lot may be more than you imagine. If you cannot hook up to a sewer, what will it cost to install a septic system, for example?
If you are not sure what utilities are available or close to your lot, we'll survey is and let you know. You just need to get in touch.
3. Zoning Requirements
Once you have settled on the location(s), check with local authorities to determine zoning ordinances and whether you can build the type of house you want before committing to buying the land. It is also worth checking with the Town & Planning Department as that is the best place for you to get information on future planning such as malls, highways or airports or to change the nearby land uses that could devalue your land.
4. Land Lease Type
Determine whether the land will be sold as a freehold land or a long term lease.
Leasehold: This means that you have the property for the duration of the lease, it then returns to the owner of the Freehold. There may be specific obligation written into the lease that you need to be aware of, such as maintenance. You will also have to pay the freeholder ground rent, usually a small yearly sum.
Freehold: The owner of the Freehold has complete control over the property and land subject only to planning and building regulations. This increases the value of the property.
If you are a Ghanaian, there are no restrictions to the type of lease. However, for non-Ghanaians, further restrictions may apply. Please contact us for more details. Technically a non-Ghanaian does not have the right to own land outright in Ghana, however a Ghanaian business is a Ghana entity and it may own land outright.
If the land is located near hills, how likely is the land to move? Some slab foundations can crack if the land is unstable. Find out if your parcel lies within the path of a potential landslide. For construction near bodies of water, you might want to consider building a raised foundation and make sure to buy flood insurance. If the land was once a swamp, it is in your best interest to ask them about the condition of their foundations.
Easements are simply put, the right to be able to use someone’s landed property. If access to your land is provided by driving across an adjoining parcel, you should obtain an easement and make sure it is recorded. Find out who maintains the roads and what your prorata share might cost for upkeep. What rights do neighbors have to cross your land? Are the boundaries clearly marked? Obtain title insurance, which will disclose easements and restrictive covenants or conditions. These questions can be clarified by the local authority or real estate lawyers. Having this information will help you ensure that you have more control on the property.
7. Financing Option
Explore the financing options for purchasing the land. If there is a loan on the land, it will typically need to be paid off before you can obtain a construction loan, as lenders are reluctant to subordinate to a construction loan. Some home builders use equity from existing property to purchase land, and others work with lenders to find suitable construction loan packages. Please contact us or visit our Mortgage Guide page for further information.
8. Land Survey
One of the often forgotten steps in any real estate purchase is the land survey. The best time to have land survey undertaken is before you complete the process of purchasing the land. This step is particularly necessary if the parcel of land is in a rural or unchartered area. If purchasing land in a housing tract, surveying would not typically be necessary but always advisable. A proper survey will highlight all boundaries, services, overhead power lines, public or other rights of ways, flood risk etc.
Walk the lot, from the front to the back to get a feel of the terrain. What might seem like a level lot when looking from the street may actually be considered slope and require additional grading. During the inspection period, have your contractor look at the lot and give you an idea of what it will cost to have the land prepared for construction.