Would you rather buy in an estate?

By Agnes K. Namaganda, Daily Monitor

Wednesday, September 12 2012

In Summary

The idea of living in an estate revolves around living in an organized environment where housing and social amenities like a football ground, schools, medical centre, worship places and shopping centres have all been planned for.

Previously, when you thought you had raised a substantial amount of money to buy land, all you had to do was to task a broker with looking around for a piece of land in a location you favoured. Many people still do take this route. However, mainstream real estate companies have introduced a new concept as to where you can own a home. It is called living in an estate which is not entirely new.

The customer care manager of Jomayi Estates Limited, Leticia Balaba says buying a plot of land in one of their estates at Shs2.5m comes with all the facilities like electricity, piped water, security and garbage collection services at hand which makes life far much easier and better than buying land in an isolated location at the same price and having to provide these facilities for yourself.

“We have police posts in most of our estates and in Nalumunye, one of our estates, we put up a police post and provided housing to the police officials there. So people know that they are secure with us,” she says.

Organised living
Justine Muganwa the assistant administrator at Hosanna Real Estates adds that an estate comes with organised living so it is unlikely that you will wake up to find a pit latrine constructed right next to window of your living room.

“There is also a proper access road to each plot such that neighbours do not have to worry about wasting or giving up or forcefully selling off a part of their plot to construct a road. Even where we do not provide utilities like water, it is easier and cheaper for estate residents to organize themselves and bring these services closer,” Muganwa adds.

Difficulty of acquiring land
Have you heard about the frustrations and bribery surrounding land transfers at the Lands’ Registry office? Try buying land outside the estate setting and you’ll see. First, you have to get a surveyor to help you with the process of getting land transferred in your names as pursuing it yourself can turn into a nightmare.

The surveyor will bring up all sorts of excuses to extort money from you. He will never bring up any receipts mind you to explain his money demands. This where the other advantage of buying from an estate comes in handy; “We work on all your land transfer documents because the land is in our company names. All you have to do is pay a transfer fee of about Shs 300,000 and you will only have to come to our office to pick the land title in your names without going through the hustle that comes from getting a land title on your own,” Muganwa explains.

Certainty of land ownership
Balaba of Jomayi also adds that when you buy from an estate developer you can be certain of land ownership because companies like Jomayi sell only Mailo land.

“Our land is not leasehold that the lease will expire after say, 45 years, no. We are proud to provide a defined type of ownership where the owner can easily pass on the land to a sister, mother, child or a relative, or even sell it. You have the right to sell it at whatever price you please.”

But living in an estate is also comes with its own disadvantages as Dr Benson Tumwesigye of Ministry of Health has discovered.

Un-sustained amenities
A resident of Jomayi’s Nalumunye Estate, he says that real estate developers will only make certain that the roads are in good shape for the beginning.

“But they do not have the capacity to sustain these roads or the security they provide in the beginning,” he notes.
He suggests that since government is facing a problem of accommodating urban residents, it should partner with established real estate developers who are putting up estates that can house say, up to 500 homesteads.

Dr Tumwesigye who has spearheaded a campaign to maintain the main road leading out of Nalumunye Estate says the estate system may fail to function if government does not come in to help out the people.

Design monotony constraints

For uniformity, some real estate developers insist that all houses built in their estates should be built with a certain design and roofed with particular iron sheets. In some cases, they these standardised houses are built and then put up on mortgage.