Friday, August 9, 2013

Frus Of House Hunting

DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, in their classic song, Summertime sing: “And if it ain’t broke then don’t try to fix it…” has a point because here in Uganda, I would sing: “Don’t hire somebody…just do it yourself…” I say that because I spent a good part of last week dealing with house brokers’.

House Broker was a unique brand. He seemingly knew everything including the house I was looking for well before I opened my mouth and spewed out the specifications that I was looking for. He was a man who knew it all. “Three bedrooms inside a wall fence” he quizzically asked. “Don’t worry mugaga (rich), there are plenty on the market in Luzira”. Ok but why, would I be in his Buziga hovel of an office looking for a house in Luzira? If I wanted to live in Luzira I would have taken myself to that part of town and spoken to the resident house broker. Secondly, if I was a mugaga as he put it, why would I rent instead of just buying the crib?

But he is House Broker and he ‘knew more than I did’. I had barely left him when my cell phone rang. He’d already found a house. I admired him for his speed and promised him an extra 20k if I liked the house. I have to say that when we got there, it was a house that was right down my street – three bedrooms, wall fence and plenty of garden for the kids to run about in. However, there was a BUT looming. The crib was not in Buziga but Ntinda and the asking price though within my range of 700 had issues and guess what they were? The 700 was in US dollars and not Uganda shillings.

I reminded me of OPP who once saw a nice house in Muyenga at 850. He turned up at the house with the required three months advance and only to find out as he signed the contract that they wanted dollars and not shillings. So I rebuked House Broker and told him to style up amongst other things.

The next house he showed me at the right price came with no compound space. There wasn’t even the space to turn the car round except open the gate and drive the car straight into the garage. To know it was that small, you wouldn’t be able to host a garden party for more than ten people.

He also took me to a flat near Namboole Stadium. It was a nice flat but there was something amiss about it. There was the servers hole – if indeed that is what they call it that links the kitchen to the dining room which, was fine with me but they appeared to be no door to link the kitchen and the dining room. Well to get to the kitchen, one had to walk out of the flat down a communal corridor and into the kitchen! Both House Broker and Landlord thought I was making a big meal out of it all.

Exasperated I sat him down and I told him – House Broker that is, to get a grip if not, I would employ somebody else. But still he did not get the gist. Now you see where Jazzy Jeff, Fresh Prince and I are coming from? It only leads me to believe that in Uganda rather than rely on people to do things for you and to your specifications, you are better off doing it yourself. It will save you a lot of time and hassle. Trust me.

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