Pros and Cons: Buying or Building Your Home in Nigeria

One of the ultimate goals of every living human is to own a home, either by building from scratch or buying. One of the frequently asked questions by intending home owners  is – “is it cheaper to buy or build a house in Nigeria” ?

Many Nigerians not only see owning a house as a topmost priority, they see is at as a means of escape from many  Nigerian landlords and their yearly increasing house rents.  Many even see it a status symbol; with many Nigerians owning several homes across different cities in the country.

With many Nigerians living within the middle class, building a house from scratch is the most popular and perhaps only way to own a home in Nigeria .

While building a new house is the norm in most Nigerian cities, there’s been an increasing trend of buying houses most especially in cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Abuja.

 The rise of real estate companies and the increasing demand for luxurious real estates has made buying homes an increasing popular culture among the elites and a few middle class Nigerians.

While building and buying have their own pros and cons, location, budget, taste, time, and several factors play a very significant role in choosing which to go for.

Buying a House Vs. Building a House

Building a home from scratch

One of the biggest advantages of building your own house in Nigeria is the overall cost. Only a few Nigerians can afford to pay  millions of naira in cash for a bungalow in Ibadan or any other big city in the country. Another benefit is that you are likely to get exactly what you want. Building your own home allows you put your desired designs into reality: Do you want a bungalow with a garden or bar? Do you want your swimming pool in your bedroom?  Whatever your design fantasy is, you can have it built for you. For many Nigerians, these two factors alone are enough to choose building over buying, but there are other advantages, too.

Pros of building your home from scratch

  • Building is relatively cheaper than buying: In most cities in Nigeria, especially across the south west and parts of Lagos mainland, it’s very economical to build than buy.
  • You can build a house from scratch with almost any amount and do it at your own pace, as the resources come.
  • You get full satisfaction and desired taste.
  • You’re rest assured that quality building materials, accessories and finishing will be used for your new home.
  • Eliminate any superstitious belief arising from buying. There have been several occasions of people buying homes and later begin to experience incidents of paranormal activity in the home (Which may or may not be true).
  • According to architectural psychology, everyone has his/her own area of interest in a building, building your home from scratch enables you to build based on what you appreciate most in a building: it could be your kitchen or even your garage

Cons of building your home from scratch.

  • Buying a well-documented land in Nigeria is a very tedious process, you have the government regulations and  “omo  onile wahala”  to contend with. There’s also a very high probability of being scammed.
  • The huge stress of managing artisans and workmen – there’s always the stress of running after masons, electricians, painters, plumbers, welders etc. except the task has been awarded to contractors. For some people, this isn’t worth it at all. Some might even steal or mismanage your building materials and still complain to you for more money.
  • Building doesn’t guarantee you won’t be ripped off or that you’ll get the quality you paid for.
  • Fraud can come in form of people parading to help you. They could be contractors, friends or even blood relatives Nigeria. There have been many incidences of contractors, even relatives vanishing into thin air with people’s money. For most Nigerians in the diaspora it’s usually safer to buy.

Buying an Existing Home

The main advantage of buying an existing home is convenience. Buying an existing home in Nigeria saves you the stress of: building approval saboteurs, managing artisans and workmen, omo oniles and reduced chances of fraud.

Pro of buying a new home

  • Buying completely eliminates the stress involved in building a new home in Nigeria
  • You have the option of choosing from varieties in the market and in your preferred location.
  • Most modern existing homes have an  estate type of  arrangement with reliable power supply , utilities and adequate security
  • Buying is cheaper in prime locations:  You may not be able to see a bare land for development in prime locations such as Asokoro in Abuja or Banana Island in Lagos , even if you do , it’ll most likely be in hundreds of millions .So in such case it’s best you buy a house there. It’s also cheaper to buy in most parts of the Niger Delta.
  • Buying is the best option if you’re in a hurry to move in. All you have to do is fill some paper works, make payment (Full payment or negotiate a payment plan) and  the house is you can move in
  • For anyone with a high taste for designs and aesthetics, an existing building can be bought and remodelled to your taste.
  • Fraud is reduced to the barest minimum. The only chance of fraud you may encounter is the property seller.

Disadvantages of buying an existing home.

  • Most existing buildings are built with a profit motive .Therefore, the cost of buying an existing building is usually higher than building in most cities in Nigeria
  • Most modern buildings in estates have an homogeneous design structure offering no flexibility of design
  • Some newly built existing homes begin to fall apart after a few years due to quality of materials used.
  • Remodelling an existing building to taste may cost as much as building a new home in some cases.
  • Building collapse: this is one of the biggest fears in buying an existing building. Even credible real estate companies are not left out of this.

The choice to either build a new home or buy , boils down to personal convictions that may not  be made through a blog post.

But if you have low income and have do it at your own pace as the resources come, build it. If you’re looking at the outskirts or suburban areas where land is cheap its best you can build for self.

If you hate all the stress involved in building a new house, then buy a home. If you can afford an already built property that meets all your tastes, buy.

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