Tuesday, Apr 23, 2019
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Building your home without the bank

Recently one of our government members said instead of seeking bank financing we should build our homes out of pocket ourselves, rather than pursue financing from banking.

In my humble estimation I would like to think the majority of Bahamians would like to execute many projects without using banks, but rather our own financing! I am sure the good gentleman meant well with his suggestions that we consider bypassing the banks and construct our projects devoid of their financial assistance.

Unfortunately, the days have gone when parents from the old school would encourage their children to put aside money and plan for the day to purchase a piece of property and have enough of a nest egg to start their first home.

It appears as though this generation would rather fork out thousands of dollars on a automobile that could have been used to buy a lot.

Gone are the days and in fact the generation which would have been gleeful to help you on weekends with the mixing of cement and laying the blocks to get your new home started.

In addition, once the house is closed in, you can take your time and finish it off. Instead we live in the microwave generation, where we want it now and can’t wait, so we go out and splurge and get ourselves so deep in debt we find it difficult to pay our bills and put food on the table.

The definition of a startup home is exactly what it means: a “ startup”. Instead we jump in hog wild trying to keep up with the Joneses and build these huge houses that at times cannot be finished and the money runs out.

I am sure if you take a moment to look around, the landscape is littered with unfinished homes, a result of poor planning and getting in over your head.

There is no shame in taking your time to complete your home, as I said, once your house is closed in then you can take your time to finish it off; resist the urge to spend thousands of dollars on new furniture and that new car and hunt for bargains from yard sales or second-hand stores which can offer some good deals,

Please take my advice: Those expensive drapes can wait! If need be, hang sheets or newspapers in an effort to be frugal! If you are naturally handy, construct your own furniture, for example cement blocks and leftover lumber can serve as a bookshelf or even a table.

As far as the landscaping is concerned, get cuttings from family and friends and start potting months before the house is ready. By the time you are ready to move in, your yard will be taking shape.

There are so many shows on television showing how to do certain projects around your home; you would be amazed how much of this stuff can save you money.

If you are anything like me and useless around tools, call on your friends. I call on my brother Barry who can fix almost anything. Mind you it might cost you a meal and a few beers, but imagine the money you would save, from plumbing issues to installing a water heater.

At the end of the day your stress is minimal, there are groceries on your shelves, your home is secured and most importantly the bank is not on your case.

We all can learn from the recent U.S. government shutdown, where the government employees had no salary for well over 30 days and most of them at the maximum had two weeks of funds and had to go to food banks to feed their families.

I suspect most of us are in that same boat, with little reserves to carry us through some tough time. Perhaps it is imperative that we learn from this painful experience and get ourselves prepared.

Let’s plan for those rainy days.

• William Wong is a two-term president of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation and two-term president of the Bahamas Real Estate Association. William Wong is a partner at Darville-Wong Realty. E-mail: williamuwong@gmail.com.

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