Real Estate, unreal prices!

Yes sir.. yes it’s brand new but your property is not connected to NPA nor Guma Valley Water Company so sorry, it is not worth $45,000 a year in rent!

It might sound strange for someone who is involved in the Real Estate business to say that but it’s true. Anyone who has tried to rent a property in Sierra Leone will know just what i’m talking about. I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing here but I still wonder why we insist on building huge 5 or 6 bedroom properties hoping to command $30,000 in rent when either the workmanship is crap or it lacks adequate road, water or power facilities. You know what else? You only have two kids, the chances are that they will go to some other country for studies and God help you if they ever return to this country.

Sierra Leone has a high youth population so it’s no surprise that the bulk of requests we have is for 1 to 3 bedroom properties under $5,000 a year – young couple and individuals starting out their independent lives – unfortunately there is a drastic shortage of those in the market. I think it’s also a hangover from the days the UN and other many NGOs  used to be here, just after the conflict and were paying funny money for the limited properties on the market. Those days are well and truly gone but it seems no one told landlords.

As someone involved in the real estate business, it is really not in our interest to have overpriced properties on our books because that’s just where they stay. Properties that stay in the books earn no commission. I’d much rather have 2 properties rented in a year with a commission of $1,000 (for arguments sake) – than wait 2 years to earn $2,000 on one property.

Interestingly, we paid a visit to another estate agent today under the guise of looking for a property. We talked for a while, before he admitted to us that the problem is that the properties are overpriced and he launched into a bit of a rant. So this is a national problem huh? Oh well. He said they tell landlords but they are having none of it.

What is the point of holding out for $15000 annual rent (for a year) when you could have rented it for less and not lose that amount in revenue. Of course you end up spending more to do up the property after a year because an empty house deteriorates pretty rapidly.

We’re still pretty new to this but my hope is that eventually landlords will start getting a real sense of what their property is worth. A property is a long term investment for most people that’s why ordinary folk don’t pay a mortgage back in 5 years. 

Landlords, if your beautiful property has not rented for over a couple of years.. hint.. your pricing may be wrong. They say the right price of a product is what people are prepared to pay for it.

As for those looking for a property in Sierra Leone, trust me – I feel your pain. This is a task which requires three vital things… patience, luck or money (and lots of them). Good luck!

Continue to check out VSL Property for Real Estate Listings in Sierra Leone.

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