My Ten Year Build

It is not uncommon for someone to take several years to finish building her house in Zambia. This is because most people don’t have access to credit. I started building my home in 2006 and did not finish it, including the landscaping, until 2016. I have access to credit but I didn’t feel the need to get some so I just didn’t.

What usually happens is that people save, buy a plot and ‘forget’ about it for a while. However, they are actually in the meantime saving to start building. They do the slab, stop and save for some more months then continue. When a few rooms are finished, they put a roof and a main door and windows then move in. There is no power at this time but that is fine as long as the occupants have a loo, washroom and access to clean water (usually outside). Usually after this, the construction moves faster as the money that was being used for rent is now pumped into the building. The authorities don’t mind this, so that helps. The only disadvantage of doing this is that it is rough living in unfinished quarters.

You can only imagine my shock when I heard of 30 year mortgages here in the US! I realize that it is more expensive to build here and the rules are more stringent.

A slice of my ‘heaven’ which took a decade to achieve. Some family members lives here.

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The easier rules in Zambia have helped people from all levels of life being able to own property, now matter how small. In fact, it is almost a requirement for one to own a house even if it’s a one roomed one because we don’t have social protection.

How can one own property in your part of the world?

18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. YellowCable
    Aug 21, 2020 @ 00:14:16

    It looks lovely and especially when you know how much effort and how long you have put and waiting for. 10 years are a long time.


  2. anotherday2paradise
    Jul 14, 2020 @ 18:50:47

    How wonderful that you finished your house and now are able to accommodate some family members. They must be so happy there. 🙂


  3. Lisa Bradshaw
    Jul 14, 2020 @ 09:28:18

    Wow amazing.. I remember Greece being a bit like that.. So many unfinished buildings as you built and saved..


  4. restlessjo
    Jul 14, 2020 @ 06:13:15

    Much the same can happen in Portugal. In the villages more than in the towns, where rental is common. In the UK my son pays an exorbitant rent and is desperate to get on the property ladder. My daughter, who is a lot older, pays a mortgage.


    • Zambian Lady
      Jul 15, 2020 @ 14:13:13

      It’s sad when people can’t get on that property ladder. Wishing the best to your son. It’s easier in Zambia as one just needs to have a bit of money to buy a plot before starting the slow build.


  5. rosemaylily2014
    Jul 11, 2020 @ 02:33:06

    Interesting post – it is hard for many people to get on the property ladder. Unfortunately the pandemic is going to make things harder especially for younger people. So glad you finished your house in the end! 😃


  6. Lakshmi Bhat
    Jul 09, 2020 @ 14:37:28

    We bought the land in which we have built our house in 2002 and started building our house in September 2004, it was completed in May 2005. We took loan from the bank and repaid it in a few years. Land price had increased a lot depending on the area. But now people are not buying land or apartments. The pandemic has changed the world.


  7. arlingwoman
    Jul 06, 2020 @ 01:40:45

    Sometimes people here in the States do the same thing if they live in the country. I have some friends who built their house themselves, with occasional contractor help, while living in a trailer on their land.


  8. bluebrightly
    Jul 05, 2020 @ 17:59:21

    You know the answer to your question in the US, and I doubt that it’s much different here on the West Coast than it is in DC. I really found your post interesting – it’s good to learn how basic things are done in different places. Thank you!


  9. heidi ruckriegel
    Jul 05, 2020 @ 01:36:18

    Nice, looks very green and shady! Here most people end up with a mortgage, but some (especially in the country) save by doing something similar, living in a shed with toilet and bathroom and basic kitchen facilities while owner-building their actual home. The shed is usually a basic corrugated tin thing. Even better if your block of land already has a shed and/or you can live in a caravan, although some councils don’t like permanent caravans. The shed has to have the bathroom removed once you move into the house, so it can’t be used as a home, if you’re in a zone where only one house per block is permitted. It can all get pretty complicated, that’s for sure. Now with so many bushfiires, there are some really strict standards on fire safety that add to the building cost, too.


    • Zambian Lady
      Jul 05, 2020 @ 05:34:17

      It’s great that people are/were allowed to live in temporary structures, otherwise it would be hard for many to afford houses. It’s sad about the fires, though. Hopefully this year there won’t be fires as bad as last year.


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