Vickie Remoe Institute of Digital Communications

Make Sierra Leone Famous Podcast Shares Insights on Home Building Challenges of Diasporans

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In the fourth episode of the Make Sierra Leone Famous Podcast: ‘Diaspora Home Builders Beware’ our host Vickie Remoe is in conversation with Kathleen Jah-Davies, CEO and Co-Founder of Architectural company, Arch Design SL and Victor Remoe-Doherty, real estate enthusiast who doubles as Vickie’s father, to discuss the challenges of building homes in Sierra Leone, especially for individuals residing in the diaspora. 

A Rising Investment Hub Amid Home Building Challenges

Sierra Leone has gained international recognition as a prime destination for housing and property investment. The prospect of Sierra Leone emerging as a lucrative hub for property investors has sparked enthusiasm and prompted people of African descent to consider returning to build their dream homes and invest in real estate.

However, the challenges faced by Sierra Leoneans attempting to build homes on the continent can be described as horror stories, deterring others from pursuing their home ownership dreams.

Remoe-Doherty decided he would build a house for himself after seeing his senior in the police workforce delay his retirement due to not having a home for his post-work years. This predicament motivated him to start building his home, but he faced significant challenges during the construction of his house and later a mini-estate, which he now owns.

While living in the US, Remoe-Doherty sent money to a relative to construct his building in Sierra Leone hoping that his dream home would make positive progress by the time he arrived back in the country.

Unfortunately, he came to find an unfinished house which did not suit his taste, while his relative’s house, which hadn’t even been started when Remoe-Doherty contacted him, was fully completed and furnished.

This predicament is common among many diasporans who wish to build houses in their homelands, as individuals who work hard to send funds often find their money not being invested properly.

Another predicament Remoe-Doherty faced was taking 20 years to complete a property because he and the man overseeing the construction, who claimed to be an architect, lacked a definite building plan. They had to rely on word of mouth and their imagination to complete the building.

Jah-Davies discussed the frequent occurrence of similar issues in Sierra Leone, where individuals lacking the required qualifications and expertise often masqueraded as architects, resulting in poor execution of the building plan for their clients.

The building process involves several  stages, from land acquisition and house design, to implementation and building maintenance. It is important to involve experts at each stage to realise the vision of a dream home, otherwise, one may have to settle that falls short of the dream.

“Building is not getting easier. We are in an era where there are so many expectations when it comes to housing and unfortunately in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the habit of ‘winging’ the construction process has failed us. I feel that it is time we take building more seriously and as something we need to prepare for,” Jah-Davies said.

Make Sierra Leone Famous Podcast is Available on Video and Audio on Youtube, Spotify and Apple Podcasts

This episode also touched on understanding real estate in Sierra Leone, budgeting for home building projects, how to avoid land ownership issues, and doing due diligence on land ownership and documentation. To catch a rewind of the episode, click on this link to stay in tune.

A new episode of the Make Sierra Leone Famous podcast will go out this Thursday at 10:00 AM. It will be available online via YouTube, Apple Podcast, Spotify, and Audiomack, so make sure to not miss it!

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