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Put your money and mind towards home ownership

 Photo: Courtesy

Put your money and mind towards home ownership

A week ago, I visited my friend’s site where she and her husband are putting up a home. The project is quite major and when the house is done, it will be an edifice to behold.

As we ‘surveyed’ the work in progress, something caught my attention; the wife’s disinterest in the project. So what was the particular room she had her stamp on? I asked. Actually none, she explained. The husband was building while she took care of other issues such as ensuring the family is fed and clothed.

Another friend’s advice from long ago came knocking hard at that moment; when it comes to building a home, your home, you must chip in financially, emotionally and physically. Never let your husband carry the burden alone, she had advised me in my early adulthood.

You are the one to live in that house so you better leave your touch in every room. You want the kitchen to face east? Say so from the onset. A walk-in closet? Insist that is what you want and when it comes to the colours you want your particular space painted, put your foot down and go ahead, purchase the particular paint and have your house painted to your taste. I shared this with my friend and much more.

Putting up a family home means you are a shareholder. And this must start from the conception of the idea, which is the house plan.

Where are you going to put up the home? If you have various pieces of land, your suggestion of the one you prefer must be given audience and you argue your case for that area strongly, convincingly. In fact, I am assuming you contributed some money to buy the land. But even if you did not, your chance comes when you are constructing the house.

As you plan how to do it, say how much you want to put into the project. Take a loan if you must. Contributing to the house gives you a sense of ownership and confidence to talk of “my house”. From buying cement to payment of contractors or fundis, record your expenditure - how much you have spent.

This is to cushion you against hurt in case things go wrong in your union. If someone threatens to kick you out, you can confidently say, “This is my house, you are the one to leave if that is what you want to do.”

If you contribute money to the buying of the plot and later the building, it is important you co-own the property – that is having both names in the title and once the house is complete, a certificate of joint ownership.

Always have an idea where these documents are kept. In fact, they are better off being in your custody. They will be safer and it is a fact that a woman’s interest is generally her children’s solid future so there is no way she will mess up with such an investment. Okay, there are some rotten apples in every package – there are a few women who do not follow this natural rule and extravagantly waste their children’s heritage.

Keeping the documents is to shield you from the many incidents we have seen or heard about women, when the marriage is on the rocks, being said not to have contributed anything to such an investment.

Besides giving money, choose to be different in making your home. Avoid the path where women sit back and wait for the man to shelter them because “a house is a man’s responsibility”.

I know women who have built homes. And many more who have pushed their partners to build after the women started piling up materials. Then the man was sufficiently challenged to take over the project.

In all family investments, ensure you are actively involved otherwise; you will end up like many women who are not in the know about their husbands’ or partners’ financial engagements. When he passes on, other people enjoy his sweat instead of his descendants. Be different. Be actively present in all family investments.

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