Choose a neighbourhood that suits you

Wednesday August 7 2019

If you want a stand-alone house, as a security

If you want a stand-alone house, as a security measure, it is advisable to pick one in an area where neighbouring homes are not too distant from each other. File Photo 

By Paul Murungi

Most residential areas are increasingly becoming a hub for commercial activities. This mixed land use makes it tricky to find a purely residential neighbourhood these days. That is why one must outline their needs before renting or owning a home in a given area. Here are a few pointers to help you establish what you need.

Cost of living
It is a fact that some areas are more expensive than others. Rent for a one bedroom house in Bweyogerere could be Shs400, 000 per month, while in Buziga, the same house could go for Sh600, 000. Also items sold at a supermarket in one place could cost more than they do at a supermarket in another area. The question to ask here is, can you afford the cost of living in the area of your preferance or are you better off in another?

Peace and quiet
Bars, churches, mosques and students’ hostels now share the same spaces with homes.
Therefore, if you cannot live in a noisy place, make sure the neighbourhood you are looking to move to does not have any of the above establishments. Places in Kampala such as Wandegeya, Makerere Kikoni, Kansanga, Kabalagala are littered with university students hostels. If you are looking for a quieter environment, these might have to be scrapped off your list.

Kenneth Galabuzi, a house broker, says: “If you are looking for peace and quiet, you must consider how close the house is from the road, whether there are nearby bars or places of worship.”

He adds that before settling in a new neighbourhood, it is important to visit the place on different days of the week and at times of the day, to get a full picture of its activities.
“A quiet place on a Saturday morning might turn into a noisy one on Friday nights,” he notes
Social amenities
Take time to explore the neighbourhood you are considering and to establish if there are functional, affordable and decent amenities.

If the neighbourhood is more suburban or rural, you’ll have to determine how far you are willing to travel to get to a supermarket, saloon, health services and more.
More people prefer areas where the supermakets, restaurants and shopping centres are a walking distance away.

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Schools
If you have school going children or plan on starting a family, schools in the neighbourhood are an important determining factor. Find out about schools in the area including primary and secondary schools. Their quality and affordability. Having nearby schools eases the morning commute unless you don’t mind spending hours in traffic jam just to go to a school across town.

Aside from schools, find out if there is enough outdoor space for children to play such as football pitches and if there are, whether they are safe.

Transport
The amount of money spent on transport everyday in case you commute to work is something to consider. This will be determined by how far the area is from work or school and what means of transport is available.

The time it takes to commute to and from work takes a toll on one’s health and time spent with family.

Joseph Kwolekya, an engineer at Baruga Technical Services, says he chose to live near his workplace to save on transport costs.

Security
Crime is on the rise. From iron bar hitmen to sexual offenders, the list of criminals to protect oneself from grows by the day.

While choosing a new neighbourhood, find out the criminal history of the place from the area chairperson and other local authorities. Know if there are any known black spots in the area.
Establish quick rapport with neighbours. They are usually the best source of information about an area.
Find out if there’s any police post or station in the area and pay them a visit too.

Proximity to neighbours
How much privacy do you want? While stand-alone houses offer privacy and independence, they do not have the advantage of having your neighbours watching out for you. However, apartments although they might seem more secure, fall short when it comes to privacy.

Renting a two bedroom stand-alone house in the suburbs of Kampala costs between Shs600, 000 and Shs2m while rent for an apartment of the same size is between Shs600,000 and Shs800,000. A stand-alone house has multiple benefits especially if one has a big family or relatives and needs plenty of space.

However , with a stand-alone house, one might need to find one close to neighbouring houses.

Way of life
There are certain things that one can live without but there are those that are non-negotiable. List down those you are not willing to forego and then base your search on that.

William Mugenyi, a resident of Kitintale, a Kampala suburb says before you begin house hunting, consider your current lifestyle and needs.
For instance can you live without a neighbourhood gym, health club or church?

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