Building in Zimbabwe while you are in the diaspora can be complicated. A few months ago I read about a lady from Bulawayo who was defrauded twice by her own brother. The lady was sending money to her brother who was supposed to take that money and buy building materials. The brother thought of “spinning the money” an act on investing the money to derive another flow of funds. He was defrauded by his spinning partners and all the money the sister had sent went down the drain.
When you are residing and or working out of the country, its common for us local based Zimbos to conclude you can afford it. Most people have different quotations for different people and the diasporans are the ones charged the most because “they can afford it”.
Some people I know used funds enough to build 2 houses just to construct one property because of the people they trusted with the task of building their homes. Building in Zimbabwe requires that you be on the ground to supervise everything that is going on. However, should you decide to do it remotely, these few tips will make you save a few pennies.
- Know the verified supplier of the items you require for your project – when building a house, you will need, bricks, cement, roof tiles etc. A quick search on the internet can just show you the ones that are online. Usually, the bricks being sold online by the established brands are more expensive than the ones we find on the informal market. However, since you are doing it remotely it’s better to buy expensive material that you can trace than affordable ones which run the risk of either not being delivered on time or not being delivered at all. Following up on anything remotely is a tedious if not an impossible task.
- Don’t rush into agreeing to the first quotation you get – like we said constructing any building can be complicated. Complications may lead to frustration. Frustrations may lead to rushed decisions. Never take the first quote you get for any good or service. Negotiate, and take 5 more quotes before making a decision. This will allow you to compare prices and eliminate the ones that are simply poised to get a little bit more from you because ” you can afford it”.
- Make arrangements to pay the suppliers directly without involving third parties.- third parties involve friends and relatives who appear so trustworthy and honest that you surrender your project investment in a whim. Yes, a few cases are there of people who are very honest and can help you build your property without fattening their pockets in the process. Thing is im yet to hear about them. Nomater how you trust so and so, minimize trusting them with a lot of money. Money has tendencies of bringing out the worst in people and its a risk you wouldn’t want to take with your project.
- Take all recommended suppliers with a pinch of salt – some dear cousins and dear friends have or have met ”very good suppliers” along the way. Like we said money have tendencies we didn’t even know exist. Whilst there may be no way of telling if your supplier is conniving with your referer its always good to be cautious with these recommendations. People will always come up with new ways of making some quick buck.
- Keep a tab on all your suppliers and document everything they are providing – this will keep you from paying for the same thing numerous times.
- Make the big suppliers your best friend – Be it The Builder’s Home, Halsteads Timbers or Union Hardware, make sure they are your first port of call if you need any material, before going to secondary suppliers They will help you save some bucks, refer to item 1 while at it.
Its always good to think before you entrust your entire investment to a friend or relative.