Finding a place to stay is often a tiresome task! Just recently in Ghana, our editor was traipsing the streets of Accra to find temporary accommodation at the mercy of an agent. It doesn’t matter the budget you have, the agent will take you from pillar to post showing you all types of properties, mostly way out of the budget. If you don’t find a place, you are made to give the agent money, if you do find a place that you like and meets budget you are likely not to have been reminded that on top of that you have to pay the agent fees, pushing you over budget anyway!
Rant over, but it is a complicated task to rent or buy in many cities across the continent. With large payments upfront on rentals, and issues with land ownership when buying property often making it a stressful and lengthy experience. But now it is time for new young companies to move in and take up the strain for buyers and sellers, making the process easier.
Innovation is necessary across the industry, not only to support the real estate developers in finding wealthy clients, but to support those with lower income in finding affordable, but comfortable properties in suitable locations. One issue is the amount of empty luxury apartments, with owners not willing to lower their prices, rather leaving themselves with no income.
Today, one such company, Tofiee in Ghana, is telling us about themselves in this complicated market. Kennedy Annom Larbi writes below:
Tofiee, which means “buy a house” in one of Ghana’s local dialect, Twi. is an Electronic Commerce brand and a market place with Real Estate as a niche with a unique selling proposition of selling your property in one month. The main purpose of the company is to increase sales for real estate developers or real estate companies, and make the process quicker and easier for buyers, contributing to economic growth and promote international trade.
Real estate developers and property owners find it difficult to sell their houses at a rate they expect, leading to cashflow problems difficulties in growing their businesses. On the other hand, buyers have bitter experience when dealing with real estate agents. They are often asked to pay additional agency fees when they want to acquire a property.
Buyers are often naive about the industry, leaving them in a weak position in the market. Uptake in use of e-commerce in general is only now increasing, with users often skeptical. There is not much in the way of education around real estate and it is very easy to get into difficulties with the technicalities of buying and selling property in Ghana. What documents do you need, how do you define proof of ownership, are there any ongoing land disputes that could effect the purchase in the long run? Without education and understanding sellers leave themselves open to being cheated along the way.
Talking of cheating, Tofiee.com will solve the problem buyers face when dealing with agents in the real estate market because the prices of the properties are not inflated and buyers will not pay any additional agency fee.
We have found that most real estate market places only serves their local country and not Africa as a whole. Tofiee.com aims to connect buyers and property owners worldwide, in the same way that Alibaba.com connects Chinese products with consumers across the globe. With the increased visibility to a larger market, we aim to sell properties within one month of the initial listing on the platform, which we believe is unique in the African market.
Tofiee uses a varied arsenal of techniques to make sure sellers make their sale. It is often hard for prospective buyers to have a realistic view of a property first hand, especially if they don’t live locally. This effects the decision making processes and slows sales down.
Tofiee TV is an extra service provided by the platform, which gives online content specifically about real estate. As well as showcasing the available properties, it provides much needed information and education from experts around the topic of real estate to empower both buyers and sellers in the market. Clearing up some of the issues we discussed above.
In some communities there is a low uptake of internet use, which reduces the potential market. To counter such situations, Tofiee.com will invest hugely in education for clients to know how easy and credible buying on the platform. There will also be a toll-free line in which potential clients that are not comfortable using the internet can receive support.
Editor – Thank yo to Kennedy for his contribution. If you want to find out more about Tofiee.com go to their website or follow them on Twitter.
If you want to feature on Inventive Africa, please reach out to us on InventiveAfrica1@gmail.com, or on Twitter, and let us know. We are always looking to showcase innovative ideas from across the continent.