We all desire to own ‘property’, don’t we? ‘Property’, for us, are real estate, buildings, landed property, and for the ambitious, the more the better!

While, it is a target plan for many people’s retirement, shelter is a basic human need, a requirement for survival. From the least to the greatest, shelter is right next to food and clothing.  The difference between what the ambitious seek and the basic human need is the location, size, comfort levels, value and the lifestyle of the owners.

Since creation, man’s shelter has developed tremendously, from mud to thatch houses, burnt bricks, stone, glass and steel and is now pursuing outer space. The realization of this desire to own shelter, one that can be called yours (even for a while), can be easy or difficult, depending on the society in which you find yourself and the systems available to make this possible.

In Ghana, the realization of this dream can be an arduous task and a rather high-risk venture, especially when one does not know exactly what it takes to translate this intangible desire into a tangible asset. Shelter comes in various forms, depending on its primary use: a residence (house), a place of work (office, factory, warehouse, hospitals, and commercial facilities), a place of worship (Church, Mosque, and Temple) and play centre (cinema, resort, etc.).

This monthly series seeks to enlighten the public on the nuances of the building industry, from foundation to door knob, and it seeks to demystify the process of acquiring the most highly demanded form of shelter i.e. a house.

Residential Houses in Ghana are woefully in short supply, and this huge deficit presents various opportunities, challenges & options, and every step of the process, has its own consequences and ramifications, they could be positive or negative.

We will embark on this enlightenment journey using the experiences of a young couple in their quest for a home of their own. Stay tuned for the Quist Family story in the coming weeks.

About the author

Karen Evans Halm is an architect and an Associate, of the Ghana Institute of Architects with over a decade’s experience in the field.

She is also a co-founder of Spektra Global, a company that specilises in Architecture, Interior Design and Construction.