Many a real estate marketing campaign makes you think you’re buying into paradise, only for reality to be more along the lines of standard, if not edging towards mediocrity. While rendered images of homes with high ceilings and luminous finishes are produced to perfection in graphic design firms, actual homes often struggle to live up to the high bar of expectations. And so the cycle of typical excuses repeats, with satisfaction often taking a back seat.
A new real estate developer has come to Ghana claiming that they are going to change this. Their name is Denya Developers and they have quietly established themselves without the launch parties and big billboards of their rivals. Their strategy was to focus on their initial development – a ten story residential high rise in Ringway Estates – and use it as one giant example of what makes them stand out from the crowd. As their managing director, Scot Murray, an American from New York City, puts it: “We came to Ghana because we identified that there was a significant disconnect here between price and quality. We look forward to showing people that a better value proposition can exist.”
Flipping through their sales brochure revealed that all but nine of the forty-eight apartments in their Ringway Estates development have been sold! I found this hard to believe so I pressed Scot for more details: “We went about marketing ourselves one person at a time and didn’t rush. We had a buyer who spent six hours poring over the floor plans and asking questions before he finally bought. That’s actually our ideal client because once someone commits that much time and effort to learning about what we do, they’re more likely to go out and recommend us to others.”
Intrigued by Denya’s approach, I studied up on the company and learned that their parent company is based in Mauritius and that their portfolio of projects dates back to the early 2000s when they built three regional head offices in India and Sri Lanka for HSBC Bank. From there, they pursued residential and commercial developments in parallel. Their largest residential project comprises a mind-boggling four thousand apartments spread across 92 acres in the suburbs of Chennai, India, not to mention a handful of others roughly a quarter of that size.
As I walked into their show apartment in Ringway Estates, I realized that quality starts as a feeling. My first reaction was simply a wow. It took, however, the informative explanation from the company’s head of sales, Akua Davies, before I began to understand the ingredients behind my initial perception. The ceilings are a vaulting three meters in height. The structure is one hundred percent solid – no hollow walls – and it has been designed to eliminate all unsightly beams and columns (something I never knew was an eye-sore until I noticed its absence). All of the rooms are perfect squares and rectangles. The balconies cantilever out, free of any beams, and the view of the ocean surprisingly begins at their very first floor of apartments.
If there was one takeaway from my tour with Akua, it was that Denya’s construction quality is something that you need to see for yourself, and true to their word, the prices are on the right side of the reasonable spectrum. But what really shocked me was when I heard that they are offering a ten-year warranty on the structure of their buildings and a five-year warranty on any waterproofing or leaks. I don’t believe I have ever heard of such a warranty being offered in Ghana. This must be an absolute first.
With one bedrooms around the $100K mark, two bedrooms around $200K and a new concept three bedroom that can split and be rented out as a two bedroom and a one bedroom, value for money just might finally be on the rise.
Before I parted ways with the Denya team, I asked about more affordable housing for those of us who are still climbing up the corporate ladder and I learned that they have some plans in the works. A second development of theirs is soon to launch in East Legon, called The Ivy, and it will be priced lower but with the same quality specifications. They also have been in active dialogues with Ghana Home Loans discussing ways they can partner together to deliver quality affordable houses a bit further afield.
If you’re into real estate and you’re looking for an apartment in town, I would say that Denya Developers should definitely be on your list of those to visit. But always shop around and see what’s out there. The more you become a knowledgeable consumer, the more likely you are to get what you want and be happy in the end.
By Kofi Atta Mensah