Previously, a young family, the Quists, embarked on a journey to acquire their first home. At this point, they are convinced they don’t want to be tenants anymore. But how do they make the transition to be “Land Lords”?

Jackie was also tasked to think and define clearly what she wants in her first home. Before you finally commission an Architect with your project, whatever it is, first you should be certain of what you want and possibly how you want it. This will give him/her something to work with.

Today, the Quists try to figure out what they have.

What do you have?

After dinner, she sat by Kofi on the terrace. He put his magazine aside and asked, “how was your day? “ Jackie’s face lit up immediately and Kofi smiled realizing she had quite a lot to say, almost wishing he hadn’t asked.  Jackie told him all that had transpired at the entrepreneurs’ event, reposted all the questions to Kofi, shared her thoughts with him and started to table some ideas.

Then she stopped. Staring blankly, she said “we need to get an architect, but I don’t know where to get one” worry lines were appearing on her forehead. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Slow down, Kofi interjected her thoughts, trying to bring her back from wherever she had transported herself to. “You have been busy! Wow! But before you go looking for an architect, shouldn’t we first figure out what or how much we have to do this?” Looking back at Kofi she nodded in agreement.

“Jackie”, Kofi started, “we have already lost both pieces of land we acquired some time ago, so it means that we have to start from the scratch and tread very cautiously this time.”

Jackie nodded thoughtfully dreading the very notion of having to deal with this land purchasing “wahala” again. Kofi was still speaking, he informed Jackie of the mortgage package in their bank, the loan amount, repayment period, the interest rate, and the monthly deductions that will be made from his salary and all the other requirements.

Jackie shared hers also, pulling out investment certificates, bank statements on their savings accounts, list of people who owe her and the amount owed by each of them on her network marketing business she runs on the side.

They analyzed their cash flow for the next two years. Having considered all these things, they decided that Jackie would not access the mortgage from her bank as that will result in financial strain on the family. With this clarity on what they had and when they wanted to get this done, they were ready to proceed.

Jackie got pensive again with the “far away” look on her face. Kofi asked, snapping his fingers in her face. As if trying to wake her from hypnosis “what are you thinking about?” she sighed and without blinking said, where can we get a good architect or somebody who can help us through this?

“Well, from  your conversation with Mrs. Ansah she did mention that she had gone through this building process a number of times, right?” She nodded. “Why don’t you try and speak with her again at the event tomorrow. I’m sure she will certainly have some good recommendations,” Kofi suggested. Yeah, I think that’s a good idea.” Jackie said, now relaxing her back in the cane chair. “I’d better not miss her at the coffee break then.”

The traffic at Jackie’s stand on the second day of the event was heavy and she couldn’t afford to move. She managed to grab Mrs. Ansah’s attention for some five minutes after the program. “Good evening Mrs. Ansah”.  Though tired, she was delighted to see Jackie again. “Hello, how are you today?” “I’m well, Madam, thanks for asking.” Hesitantly, being fully aware of the fact that it was getting dark, she drew close to Mrs. Ansah and gave her a super summarized version of her conversation with her husband the previous night.

She sighed deeply and said; “but Auntie we are stuck; we just don’t know where to get an architect or a professional who can guide us through this journey. We have made mistakes before and we cannot afford to repeat them”. Mrs. Ansah smiled, her own face lighting up with relief as Jackie’s worry lines had had her somewhat worried herself.

“You’re in luck then, my lady, the speaker for tomorrow, Madam Tekoa, is an architect. In fact she was the one I used on my last project and boy, what a relief; she’s good! I could introduce you to her tomorrow. I’m sure she’ll be of tremendous help to you. Working with her on my previous project took a lot of the heat away from me.

Jackie’s smile was the widest she had had all day. “Thank you so much Mrs. Ansah. I can’t wait for tomorrow. May I help you to your car please?” Jackie said grabbing her bag totally oblivious of the proximity of Mrs. Ansah’s Personal Assistant.

As they walked to the VIP parking, Mrs. Ansah thought it wise to spend the time to educate Jackie a bit on hiring an architect.


Assess your financial strength before starting a new project. This will help you clearly define the scope and possible timelines for the project.

  1. Cash flow
  2. Budget
  3. Cost of applications and other processing fees
  4. Running cost of the building
  5. Interest rates and payments (if you use a loan)
  6. Property taxes and cost of the insurance for the property
  7. Payment plan for project
  8. Cost of maintenance
  9. Possible lifestyle impact


About the Aurthor

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.