Wanted Home to Rent in Lome Togo
Lome Togo West Africa
Sunday, June 10, 2007
I want to rent a home in Lome, Togo West Africa.
Map of Area
My experience of 14 years of being a Real Estate Broker in the state of Indiana, USA has made me afraid and cautious. I do not know the value of real estate until I know the real prices of home sold or rented in an area. The asking price is a guide only. I need to look at 3-10 homes before I can make a decision to rent or buy.
This phenomenon in the minds of expatriates induces them to agree that prices that I considered gouging are real.
I wish to rent a home, and then will offer it as boarding house or temporary home for travelers. I wish to rent the rooms for around 3000 CFA per day or about 6 US per night. This rental price number then forces me to back into the properly priced rental home and in my opinion semi-tells me the sales value of homes in the area.
A room for rent in this defined area will rent at the low of 5000 CFA per month for one room or Chambre in a Compound Home to as high as 30,000 CFA per DAY for a Hotel Room. I believe that 6-10 US is the fair asking price of any hotel room in the developing world. The prices of Hotel rooms in West Africa need a correction to be in concert with global rates and open West Africa to mass tourism.
To learn the fair price of a home to rent, one must first define the area. Homes outside this defined area are dramatically different and are not comparable homes. It is not good practice to use comparable rates of rent from an area farther than say two blocks away, it is misleading.
I first define the area, and then only look at homes in this area, all others are excluded, if I looked at only one home, then rented the home, I would not be able to understand value.
I therefore feel a need to know the asking rental price of many homes. I will not rent a home in any specified area until I have looked at and compared prices of many. I also must change agents to stop one agent from inflating the prices and keeping the inflated prices consistently high.
I speculate, I am not sure, please do not use this number, it is only a guide, however it appears presently a home in this area with three bedrooms and independent will rent around 150,000 CFA per month or about 300 US. This area is a tourist area, or expat area, I would believe in Togo the normal should be about one quarter of this price.
I have a friend in Atakpame, who rents room for 3000 CFA per month, a very nice room and the building is new.
Wanted Home to Rent in Lome Togo
Writing Two Lease Contracts in Africa
Lome, Togo West Africa
Friday, July 6, 2007
I was on the Island country of the Barbados, I stopped in a small bar close to my room for a drink, many on the corner of the bar expats where there. A man asked me where I was from, I said,
“The United States of America.’
He was expecting me to say,
He started to laugh and said,
“I think you are the first American to say the correct answer to me, they also assume I know they are from America.”
Well, since I know the game, and I knew he was being a smart ass, I gave him the tit for tat, I said,
“And you do know, you should not call us Americans you will make all the South Americans and Central American and North Americans angry.”
They will correct me in these areas of the world if I say American, as they are Americans also, one of them Politically correct geography lessons where people do not listen for intentions, they are trying to find a reasons to argue.
I am here in Lome, however today I leave for Kara, Togo, and then over into Ghana or Benin, maybe both. I am trying to rent a home or two in West Africa, and am taking a long time to arrange and write a lease. I am going to lease the property for 12 years with some renewable clauses, and incremental increases in rent, and all sort of real estate legal words.
The Lease will be written in Togo French. I will read it in Togo French, and understand in the USA culture. The owner will read in Togo French, and understand in Ewe Mina Culture. The French man who has lived for 17 years in Togo will read in French, understand two thirds in French culture and one-third in Togo culture. The Togo Real Estate agent will not read it; however explain it in Ewe Mina culture.
I was a Real Estate Broker in the State of Indiana, in the country of the USA for 14 years, and purchased, sold, rented many properties. I think I was involved in as best I can guess about 1200 Real Estate contract negotiations.
1200 contracts and 2400 people.
I have seen about 25 people read the contract,
I think maybe five understood the contract.
I believe that all 2400 thought they understood the contract.
If you know a person that sit at a Real Estate closing and read all the papers they signed, the closing would take about five to ten hours. We sign the contract because we know we are all from the same culture and language and believe we have the same intentions. Moreover, the redeeming feature is we have the same legal system for about 300 Million people with some state variations.
In Togo, they have about eight major customs of understanding a contract.
1. Mina or Ewe
2. French Culture less than 1 percent
3. Kabye (sometimes spelled Kabiye)
5. Lebanese Culture less than 1 percent
8. Tribal Religions
I need to have two groups understand and agree me and the Ewe, Mina Africa culture; however, the contract has to be written in proper Togo and France French.
I do not want to argue with someone 8 years from now, and I am 100 percent sure that 99 percent of people will try to break a contract if they think it not fair.
So, I am trying to get three major cultures, ME, the Togo Ewe Mina person and the French Translator to agree to the same un-written contract, then I hope to have a contract in writing that agree with what they will never read.
I am trying to get a Meeting of the Minds, an African and American.
A contract is not a contract until, and I agree, the owner or I should not be bound to a contract that we do not understand the intentions.
What this means is a person from France that buys a property in the USA without a lawyer and no translation into French has a good legal argument to break a contract.
I am always amazed at expats signing contracts, they just sign and hope it works and it does work about fifty percent of the time.
Fun and games in Africa
The solution is this, I look at people minds. I look at their eyes, when I feel, see and know they understand then we will sign the contract, and not before. I made, in the past, and will continue to make contracts that work, not that I hope work.
Meeting of the minds
Meeting of the minds (also referred to as mutual assent or consensus ad idem) is a phrase in contract law used to describe the intentions of the parties forming the contract. In particular, it refers to the situation where there is a common understanding in the formation of the contract. This condition or element is often considered a necessary requirement to the formation of a contract.
The reasoning is that a party should not be held to a contract that they were not even aware existed. A mutual promise between friends over simple personal matters should not be a situation where legal remedies are to be used. Equally, any such agreement where the obligation is primarily a moral one rather than a legal one should not be enforceable. It is only when all parties involved are aware of the formation of a legal obligation is there a meeting of the minds.
Under the formalist theory of contract, every contract must have six elements: offer, acceptance, consideration, meeting of the minds, capacity and legality. Many other contracts, but not all types of contracts, also must be in writing and be signed by the repsonsible party, in an element called form.
I know a handshake is just about as good as a written contract.
American are anal, they will tell someone in the Caribbean they are from the Georgia and expect the person to understand. It is not their fault, the whole world has to deal with another language just 100 kilometers away, and the USA lives in a bubble. Maybe the least prepared culture to buy or rent a home outside the USA, and the most confident in their decisions. The good part, the person with the money does make the rules.
Writing Two Lease Contracts in Africa
Togo Overpaid Real Estate Agents
Lome, Togo West Africa
Saturday, July 21, 2007
I laugh at myself, this applies to me, and I was an overpaid Real Estate Broker or Agent in the USA. The value of the work I did was less than the amount of money I received.
This is the system of Togo Real Estate Sales and Rental of Home and Property. There are these chalkboards as best I understand all over the country of Togo and on the board is two sides, one is the homes for sale and other is the homes for rent, not that simple but you get the idea.
My friend Walt, so perfectly explained Real Estate, I can never stop laughing, he said,
- There are two things people think they are experts at, Sex and Real Estate, and there are two things they are never expert at, Sex and Real Estate. -
There are joke about the job of a Real Estate Agent, one is the comment,
- The person I pay to find the key and open the door. -
If you ask a Real Estate Agent what they do, they will probably say something close to this, I show people homes or real property. Then according to the agents understanding of Real Estate law, they will slice and dice the jargon.
Sadly this is true, 90 percent of real estate agents are in Key Management.
In Togo and as best I know, most of the planet is the same, for sure Mexico is the same, the only other place I have been involved in an Real Estate transactions, it has been ten years, I hope Mexico has change, but I highly doubt it. In Togo and Mexico agents do Key Management only.
Money, this is all about claims to money, or commissions. Agents fight over clients, who showed the property. This fighting over the showing of a property is the proof of key management, if they are fighting over who showed the property, they are fighting over key management, not over what should be their jobs, the arbitration between two groups and the creation of a valid enforceable contract.
A fight over commissions is some of the best fun I have experienced in my life, one of the most hilarious comedies of errors, when watching idiots fight it is maximum fun, like watching the Three Stooges.
PHASES of transaction in the USA.
1. Key Management or showing the property.
2. Signing an agreement or contract to rent or purchase.
3. Closing or signing the lease or contract.
4. Handing the keys to the buyer or renter.
They skip step 2, as it is verbal.
This means, the Agent is 100 percent in the Key Management business and almost worthless.
The closing is done here at the office of a Notary, this is more like a Lawyer in actual practice, and this is another comedy. You can agree to a list of conditions and the Notary will then go and change all of the conditions here in Togo. Then the negotiations start again, I get to negotiate with the Notary.
More or less this is his method of negotiations:
- Sign the lease and shut up, I do not want hear you talk, give me the money. -
Which reminds me of what Agents call a good closing Agent in the USA. I have never had a difficult closing, I have difficult offers to purchase and this is where the problems are meant to be resolved, not at closing. If there is a problem at closing 100 percent, sure the agent performed negligently. A bad agent loves a good strong closing agent to finish the job they never did, so they can make money they did not deserve.
Solution here in Togo. I have learned how to write a Lease in French, and I now have a Buyers Representation written in French. What makes this even more fun is there is no legal obligation of any type to pay the agent, other than the local custom of paying him one months rent. If I rented a property for 50 dollars per month, then I would need to pay 50 dollars.
I rent a room for one month, the agent wanted one month… hehehe.
I gave him one day.
My buyer’s representation contract pays him a fee for every home he finds that I go and see, if I do not go and see, I do not pay, and there is no commission, only the fee now.
What a mess, and what fun, however the great part, I can pay him what I believe is fair and not pay attention to what he said. The sad part is 90 percent of the white people now screw the agents out of commissions, because all things being equal both the buyers and the agents are crooks, not just the agent.
I have it easy, I am not a crook, I pay fair fees for fair services, and I do not allow words to get in the way, I will explain managing the keys is an annoying job, best done by the guard in front of the door and guit extortion does not work on me.
I personally think buying land outside my home country is rarely needed and 99 percent of the time stupid. Renting a home or land can be of value, however best done by a lawyer, not by humans, and the lawyer needed to go to Harvard, and top in his class, specializing in Real Estate, when I think there is not specialization in Real Estate law at Harvard.
What am I paying the Agent now? I am paying 20 US dollars to find the keys, name of owner and the telephone number of the owner. I must look at the property or I do not owe a fee, note I said fee, not commission.
Andy Real Estate History and Boring to Read:
I was a Real Estate Broker for 14 years, however, I became a Broker to buy, not to sell, and therefore I have not special love of Real Estate Agents. I became a Real Estate Broker because I did not like Brokers. If you buy a home, there are two Agents in involved, the Sellers Agent and the Buyers Agent.
I became a Broker to remove one of the idiots in the food chain. I became a Broker to be my own Buyers Agent. If I sold a home to myself, I saved half the commission. Therefore, if a home cost 100,000 and the commission was six percent or 6000 US dollars, I was paid 3000 and the net down payment needed was 3000 less.
I am also a Real Estate Broker or Sales instructor, which also bridges on insanity, because I did not teach people how to sell, I taught Real Estate Law or Real Estate Terminology and maybe 1 percent sales.
Togo Overpaid Real Estate Agents