Building A House In Nigeria…While Living Abroad

For many Nigerians home and abroad, it is a dream to one day build a place for themselves and their families.

Especially if you are a son, there seems to be an extra burden for you to erect an impressive structure.

The satisfaction gained from constructing a house in the village or your local city, is a visual reminder that you have done well – you have made it.

While many have built homes already, there is a new crop of Nigerians that find themselves in a situation that is getting more challenging to make their dream home a reality.

For Nigerians living abroad, the challenges can be two fold…

Challenges exist for Nigerians abroad

For one, the cost of construction materials is prohibitively expensive, which makes the process more difficult. Some have to gradually build their homes as they get the money to do so, and we have seen projects taking over two decades to complete.

For Nigerians living abroad, the challenges can be two fold. They have to send money home to help families, and then also send money specifically for the development of a house.

They also have to consider other obstacles – who will oversee the project, Is there a guarantee that they wont get ripped off? Will someone steal the materials?

These are all very valid points that need to be considered. Prior to starting the project all of these issues should be discussed with a plan to deal with them as they arise.

house under construction in a Nigerian village

Strategies for success

Here are a few tested ideas that can help building a home from abroad be less stressful.

  • Save money monthly. Set up an amount to be put aside specifically for the house project.
  • Watch the Niara exchange rate closely – exchange money when it is favorable for you.
  • Find a trusted overseer or manger – sometimes family is not the best option.
  • Ship items from abroad that you can easily and cheaply attain (furnishings, fixtures etc)
  • Schedule big work when you are home on holiday -that way you can supervise.
  • Hire a security man to watch your property.
  • Take pictures and videos of your progress.

Sustainability Options

Other options to consider when building a residence back home:

  • Sustainability – Harness the ubiquitous African sun. We all know that electricity is never reliable, so why not create your own by installing solar panels.
  • Dig bore holes for water and use solar pumps to lift the water.
  • Use less cement. Cement is costly and it is not the best material for hot humid climates. Consider alternative building materials such as compressed earth blocks.
  • Use palm trees and other foliage for beautiful landscaping and for shading.
  • Be mindful of erosion and account for the rainy season hazards.

solar array installation

Persistence Pays

Constructing a house takes time, patience and lots of money, so remember that this process can be a long drawn out affair. Be persistent. Save and budget wisely. If you have these basics covered, you will soon be on your way to building, finishing and enjoying your Nigerian forever home.

What challenges have you had while building your homes? Please share your stories and helpful tips.

Roman Kingsley

Journalist based in the United States and Nigeria, focusing on Real Estate Development and the stories emerging in and around the built environment.

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