Categories: Featured, Ghana

by CurtlyF


by CurtlyF


A Foreigner (Non-Ghanaian) Perspective

Moving to Ghana and purchasing property there is more and more common. Here at Afro Properti, we see this trend continuing long into the future as the country develops further and more people move, creating a snowball effect.

As a foreign investor, it is essential that extensive research is done, and that there is alignment with credible partners to make the transaction work, such as lawyers, surveyors and construction companies.

To assist the inquisitive expatriate on their Ghanian property journey, we have discussed a few topics:

  1. Advantages of owning property in Ghana as a foreigner
  2. The laws governing foreign ownership of property in Ghana
  3. Considerations before buying a property in Ghana
  4. Tips on finding the right property
  5. The legal process for buying property in Ghana
  6. The documentation needed before a property is purchased
  7. The methods for paying for a property in Ghana

  1. Advantages of owning property in Ghana as a foreigner

Owning an apartment in Ghana as a foreigner can provide several advantages, depending on your personal or investment goals. Some of the potential benefits include:

  1. Rental Income: Ghana has a growing demand for rental properties, especially in major cities like Accra and Kumasi. As a foreigner, owning an apartment can provide you with a steady stream of rental income if you choose to rent it out.
  2. Real Estate Appreciation: Ghana’s real estate market has experienced steady growth over the past few years, making it an attractive investment destination. Owning an apartment in the country could result in capital appreciation as property values increase over time.
  3. Diversification: Investing in real estate in Ghana can be a way to diversify your investment portfolio, reducing your overall risk exposure. By owning property in a different country, you can spread your investments across various markets.
  4. Holiday Home: If you frequently travel to Ghana or plan to spend extended periods of time in the country, owning an apartment can serve as a convenient holiday home. This can save you money on hotel costs and provide you with a comfortable and familiar space during your stay.
  5. Business Opportunities: Ghana has a growing economy with potential business opportunities in various sectors. Owning an apartment can provide a base for you to explore and take advantage of these opportunities.
  6. Residency and Citizenship: Ghana offers residency programs for foreign investors. By owning property in the country, you may become eligible for residency which allows them to stay in the country for an extended period.
  7. Tax Benefits: Owning a property in Ghana can offer several tax benefits, such as deductions for mortgage interest, property taxes, and depreciation.
  8. Cultural Experience: Owning an apartment in Ghana can offer you a unique cultural experience, giving you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the country’s vibrant culture and traditions.

However, as with any investment, it’s essential to do your due diligence and consult with local experts to ensure you make an informed decision.

2. The laws governing foreign ownership of property in Ghana

The following are some of the laws and regulations regarding foreigners owning property in Ghana:

1. Land Ownership: Foreigners are not allowed to own land outright in Ghana, but they can own up to 50 years of a leasehold interest in land. This means that they can acquire a long-term leasehold interest in land for a period of up to 50 years, which is renewable.

The following are the types of land, all of which have different entitlements to ownership:

  • Private Land : Lands owned by individuals or private organisations
  • Family Land : Lands owned by families
  • Government Land: Lands owned by the government
  • Stool-owned or Customary Land : Lands under the custody if the chief

2. Residential Property: Foreigners can own residential property in Ghana, including apartments and houses, on a freehold or leasehold basis.

3. Commercial Property: Foreigners can also own commercial property in Ghana, including office space, retail space, and warehouses, on a freehold or leasehold basis.

4. Registration: All property transactions in Ghana must be registered with the Lands Commission. The registration process can take up to three months, and it is essential to ensure that all legal and regulatory requirements are met.

5. Taxes: Foreigners who own property in Ghana are subject to property taxes, which are payable annually. There are also taxes on rental income, capital gains, and other property-related transactions.

6. Residency: Owning property in Ghana does not automatically entitle foreigners to residency in the country. However, property ownership can be used as evidence to support an application for residency.

It’s important to note that the laws and regulations regarding property ownership in Ghana can be complex, and it’s essential to seek legal advice from a qualified lawyer before making any property investment in Ghana.

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3. Considerations before buying a property in Ghana

Buying an apartment is a significant decision, and there are many factors to consider before making a purchase. Here is a list of important factors to keep in mind:

  1. Budget: Determine your budget and consider the overall cost, including the purchase price, taxes, insurance, and any additional costs such as maintenance fees, utilities, and parking.
  2. Mortgage and financing: Explore mortgage options, and interest rates, and get pre-approved for a loan. This will help you understand what you can afford and streamline the buying process.
  3. Location: Choose a neighbourhood that aligns with your lifestyle, work, and social needs. Consider factors such as public transportation, nearby amenities, schools, and safety.
  4. Property size and layout: Determine your space requirements, including the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and living spaces. Consider how the apartment layout will affect your lifestyle and furniture placement.
  5. Building and unit condition: Inspect the building and the specific unit for structural issues, maintenance, and overall quality. Look for signs of water damage, mould, and pest problems.
  6. Age and construction: Consider the age and construction of the building. Older buildings may have charm and character, but they might also require more maintenance and upgrades. Newer buildings may offer modern amenities but could come with a higher price tag.
  7. Homeowners association (HOA) fees and rules: Understand the rules, regulations, and fees associated with the apartment’s HOA. These fees can impact your monthly budget, and the rules can affect your ability to make changes to your unit or use common areas.
  8. Amenities and facilities: Evaluate the amenities and services available in the building, such as parking, gym facilities, swimming pool, and security systems. Determine if they meet your needs and if they are worth the additional cost.
  9. Legal and Regulatory Requirements: Ensure that all legal and regulatory requirements are met before purchasing the apartment, including the registration of the property with the Lands Commission.Taking the time to consider these factors before buying an apartment can help you make an informed decision and ensure that your investment is a wise one.

4. Tips on finding the right property

Finding the right property to buy involves a combination of research, planning, and professional guidance. Here are some steps to help you find the ideal property:

  1. Determine your needs and priorities: Make a list of your must-haves and preferences, such as location, property type, size, layout, and features. Consider your current and future needs, including work, family, and lifestyle.
  2. Establish a budget: Analyze your financial situation and determine how much you can afford. Don’t forget to include additional costs like taxes, insurance, maintenance, and closing fees.
  3. Get pre-approved for a mortgage: A pre-approval will give you a better understanding of your borrowing capacity and streamline the buying process.
  4. Research neighbourhoods: Investigate different neighbourhoods based on your preferences and needs. Consider factors such as safety, amenities, schools, public transportation, and proximity to work or social activities.
  5. Hire a real estate agent: Engage a professional real estate agent who has experience and knowledge of the local market. They can help you find properties that match your criteria, negotiate on your behalf, and guide you through the buying process.
  6. Attend open houses and property viewings: Visiting properties in person will help you get a better understanding of what’s available in the market and refine your preferences.
  7. Stay updated on market trends: Keep an eye on the local real estate market, including price fluctuations, inventory levels, and demand. This will help you make an informed decision when it comes to purchasing.
  8. Trust Your Gut: Finally, trust your instincts and don’t rush into a decision. Take the time to evaluate each property carefully and make a decision that feels right for you.By following these tips, you can increase your chances of finding the right property to buy and making a wise investment.

5. The legal process for buying property in Ghana

After you’ve identified the ideal property, the subsequent step is to register it with the Lands Commission. You will be required to pay transfer duty, stamp duty, and obtain a certificate of title.

Once these procedures are finished, and you’re ready to move in, you must register your home with the local authorities and present evidence that you reside in Ghana permanently (for instance, by providing your passport).

Upon registering your property, the Lands Commission will issue a certificate of title. This legal document confirms your ownership and grants you specific rights. You can use this document to sell or mortgage your property.

The Lands Commission is a government agency responsible for managing land in Ghana. It falls under the Ministry of Land and Housing and was established in 1997. The commission has a primary office in Accra and another in Kumasi.

The Lands Commission oversees land management in Ghana and issues title certificates. To purchase property in Ghana, you must register with them.

Throughout all these processes, remember to seek advice from a professional or legal expert to assist with due diligence.

6. The documentation needed before a property is purchased

Before purchasing an apartment in Ghana, you must present various documents. These include:

  1. Passport – to verify your identity and nationality;
  2. Visa – to confirm your authorization to enter Ghana;
  3. Work permit – to validate your employment status, salary, and duration of employment; and
  4. Proof of residence in Ghana (if applicable).
  5. A letter from your employer indicating their willingness to sponsor your application; and a letter of recommendation from your bank (if applicable).

If you are self-employed, you must provide a letter from your bank verifying your account balance and copies of tax returns.

These steps are typically completed during the initial stages of the buying process. However, if you opt for a mortgage, your bank will require the following:

  1. Proof of identification: Ghana card, passport, and driving license.
  2. Letter of intent.
  3. Applicant age (18-55); Prospective tenants must be at least 18 years old and not exceed the retirement age of 60.
  4. Current bank statement.
  5. Personal guarantee from the applicant.
  6. Property tenure ranging from 5 to 15 years.
  7. Life insurance requirement for the property.

Note that foreign nationals may need to provide additional documents depending on the bank’s requirements.

After the preliminary stage, you proceed to the pre-approval stage, where the bank evaluates the borrower’s creditworthiness. The documents from the pre-qualification stage are collected and reviewed, and the borrower’s overall financial health is assessed. At this stage, the borrower learns the interest rate and mortgage payment and once all checks are done and worthiness is approved the mortgage is issued.

7. The methods for paying for a property in Ghana

In Ghana, there is often a lot of flexibility in how you finance a property. The most suitable financing option depends on the borrower’s financial situation, credit history, property type, and intended use. Property purchasers should seek legal counsel with any bespoke financing options but prospective buyers should be open to negotiating.

We have categorised the purchase options into the following categories:

  1. 100% Purchase: Full cash payment
  2. Bespoke Purchase Terms: negotiating some payment terms for the property, multiple payment instalments for example
  3. Mortgaged Purchase:

Having a bank to facilitate the purchase. typically the deposit will range from 15%-30% and interest rates on cedi: 23-31%, or on the dollar 11-12.5% as of 2020.






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