Thursday, 18 December 2008

HOUSE-HUNTING IN K’LA

I have an informal employment offer in the works-nothing in writing yet. But I decided to look for a place to live in when the time to settle here comes. A colleague recommended a broker, whom I went out to see in Ntinda. Apparently real good. I go see the broker, broker says I give him UGX 20K (roughly Ksh 900) as some sort of fee. Seeing as it is that I am tired of living out of my suitcase in a hotel room for more than a month and a half, I duly give the 20K. We agree that once he gets a place that fits my description, I will give him an unspecified amount as ‘appreciation fees’. In my mind, that can’t exceed another UGX 20K. Sunday 14th Dec comes and I meet the broker, who is now with a colleague of his. We go around in my colleague’s car ( I fuel it), look at various houses, and I like two options. I promise to get back to broker by Friday, 19th Dec. That’ll give me time to see some other places with broker numero dos, who I’d also paid UGX 20K and we had an agreement to meet on Wednesday afternoon. Lakini before I leave, broker asks to add something small, Nyabo (ma’am)? I say, but we agreed on the 20K, and something more once I decide on the house? Broker says but now I came with him. Me I say, but that was not the agreement and I don’t know what agreement you had between the two of you blah blah blah. Broker says, now I’m begging, you can deduct from the other fee, but me I say no, that’s not what we agreed. So, me I refuse, but promise to get back to broker by Friday. By this time the colleague is pissed, as I am and I’m guessing broker did not quite say he had received something earlier.


Wednesday, I call other broker. Broker says to come at 5pm. Me I ask, with the K’la traffic jam as I know it at that hour, what can we possibly do at 5pm? Will probably take an hour to get to one estate, means we’ll be seeing the other houses at night? I tell broker, we agreed afternoon, 5pm is evening? Broker says evening is 6pm, and all this time I’ve been thinking afternoon starts after noon? Broker says good question, let me think about it, I’ll call you back. Broker doesn’t call back. 3pm, I go to broker’s office (at least this one has one, other one we met some place in the open). I tell him I’ve had a bad experience with another broker, I want my money back, will come back when I have enough time. After a while he gives it back, but then his cell-phone rings. Apparently there’s some place in Bukoto that meets my criteria. I get excited - Bukoto would be a v. nice place to stay at the range I am offering. So I have to give him back the 20K-I do. Broker tells me to go meet his agent (who I had actually met earlier at broker’s office) right away. Not that I know the areas that well. Well, I go and meet said agent at Kayunga road. Agent says he is working with yet another agent of theirs, so we wait. Other agent comes. Says I have to give 20K. Me I say, but I gave 20K at the office? Says he’s working independently, so I turn to former agent and ask you guys work how? I paid? Says there was a mistake. Calls broker in office, who says give other agent 10K and get it back at office. Other agent says it’s OK, I’ll show you the place, as long as I get a commission-eer, many landlords actually want 4-6 months worth of rent in advance. OK…. But other broker says we have to wait for a colleague of his. Colleague comes, turns out the place is quite different from what I’d described, and they’d described, and none of the agents had any idea. None had seen it. Other agent says he has yet another place right over theeere! So we go. Right over theeere! is not quite right over there. And, whoever has the key to the place had an accident, so is not around. Agent says we can look outside and then, what do you think? I say I haven’t seen it, so I can’t decide. I head straight to broker’s office, say everything looks very sketchy, I even feel like I may be being taken advantage of, can I get my money back, since I didn’t see any house? I get it back bila hustle. When this jobo comes through, it seems like I may have to do room-mate for a couple months. Or more?


As for right now, I am so looking forward to being home for Christmas after missing out three years in a row.

6 comments:

Maishinski said...

lol! Adventures... They sound like Nai fundas - except that they give refunds.

Wow, 4real? They give refunds? Unbelievable!

PKW said...

Maishnski; Yes, 4real! Some things you don't request, demand. Or maybe I was lucky.

Zax said...

Refunds??? Lord... We live in different worlds 4 sure...

Anonymous said...

Now I can see that like most things the house hunting business in Kigali was adopted from Kampala.

You have described my frustrating experience in Kigali.

Good luck

Iwaya said...

Bambi, I totally understand the frustrating experience. I used to live in Ntinda once...nice place but damn hard to find a good place there that I think is reasonably priced.

Meanwhile, for sure you got that Nagenda book?

jny23ug said...

Just stumbled onto yo blog and must say its so interesting.

That my friend is how brokers behave. I live in Ntinda but getting a house was such a hassle.
I now meet many who "stole" my money and they smile broadly before greeting me.
If us nationals suffer, i pity yu a foreigner trying to deal with those crooks called brokers.

And oh yeah, yu was so lucky to get a refund.