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How to Start a Real Estate Business in Cameroon (Guide)

Ultimate Guide On How To Start A Real Estate Business In Cameroon. Realtors and types of real estate businesses in Cameroon. Land and Houses Cameroon

 Starting with the right real estate business in Cameroon may not be as easy as it sounds. However, once you get the right tips and advice about it, you can be sure of making quite a profit. 

There will always be a demand for property, no matter where you are. This is why many businessmen are interested in the real estate business.


Real Estate Business In Cameroon

When it comes to making money from property, there are several different ways.

Deciding on what path to take depends on various factors, including (but not limited to) the risk appetite, available capital, location constraints, and so on.

If you want to start a real estate business in Cameroon, you have already taken the first step toward profit-making the right choice.

The Cameroonian real estate market is one of their most promising investment avenues.

This is the place to start for any investor on the hunt for a good opportunity.

Before entering the property market, it is vital to understand different property offerings and what to look for.

Before getting into a Cameroon real estate business, let us review some precautions and knowledge points.

After that, the next thing is to understand the various types of real estate property in Cameroon.

Additionally, knowing what factors influence them will help get a complete picture of the market before entering it.

What should one know before getting into Cameroon's Real Estate business?

To start a real estate business in Cameroon, one has to do the following:
  1. Take time to build a real estate team.
  2. Have a fair and binding contract
  3. Understand the Market-Types of real estate to invest in

Cameroon has an up-and-coming real estate market, slowly expanding from the big cities to tier-II and III cities.

This is one of the best times to get into a real estate business in Cameroon, but that does not mean it is all easy.

Recent market trends, as mentioned, have favored growth in Cameroon's real estate and property market.

Opportunities are abundant for domestic and foreign investors looking to start their real estate business in Cameroon.

The most important thing with starting a real estate business in Cameroon is to do significant research.

With the market growing at such a pace, there is a lot of competition, bringing in people looking to make a quick buck.

Reading about those who sell a property three or four times the buying price in less than a day (more on that ahead) makes it sound like easy money.

However, it is essential to understand that much research, effort, and groundwork go into such deals.

Taking time to build a team

Often, people spend months just scouting the market for a property, performing analyses, and speaking to owners & buyers before investing anything into it.

For one's first time starting a real estate business in Cameroon, speaking to seasoned investors and agents in the market is an excellent way to understand the property's ground reality.

Next, one must have a trusted lawyer or someone specializing in real estate and property law.

Property contracts can be complex, especially in Cameroon, and one must know what they are getting into.

A contract that lists all the agreed-upon terms and protects your assets and interests is a must-have before any money goes through.


Along with a fair and binding contract, performing due diligence before purchasing any real estate business in Cameroon is a must-do.

Especially in residential real estate such as homes, there is no way to 'return it' if the property is not as expected.

Due diligence, paying a little extra for the correct inspections, and home-owners insurance are some small yet highly effective instruments in protecting land and property.

Understanding the Market-Types of real estate to invest in

Start with a home of your own

This may sound obvious, but its importance cannot be stressed enough.

For those preparing to enter the real estate business in Cameroon, the first step is to invest in a home for themselves.

It serves as the base property element for a real estate portfolio.

A residential property in a prime location adds to one's assets.

This is also one of the best guarantees in terms of property for taking loans for any business.

For those who cannot afford a home, a mortgage at an affordable rate is the wise step.

Monthly mortgages increase your equity in the home over time, contrary to rent payments that go to the landlord.

Once completed, these mortgage payments will add up to give you ownership of the property.


Property Insurance

It is the most important thing while buying a home for yourself.

  • Property Insurance protects the house as well as the owner. 
  • It protects against property damage and any injuries caused by staying in it.
  • This, along with a qualified inspection before purchasing the house, provides excellent peace of mind and security.

These are not just 'extras' but essentials one must get before purchasing any Cameroon residential property.

Additionally, having these things helps sell the home quickly as the next buyer knows the house was protected and covered.

Having one's own home also gives security and peace.

These two things are crucial while starting any new venture, including a real estate business in Cameroon.

Once this is taken care of, the risk of venturing into other real estate forms decreases slightly, for one investment is already secured.

Residential Real Estate

After setting up one's property, investing in other residential property is another good option.

According to the Ministry of Housing stats, there is currently a deficit of 300,000 houses in Cameroon.

This gap in demand and supply is one reason developers hold on to properties indefinitely in many cases.

Many owners do not further sell their residential properties after earning back the principal and a profit.

Residential properties are comparatively easy to rent out.

Depending on the type of area the property is located in, you can include suitable facilities.

With this, you can also market it accordingly for bachelors, families, students, etc.

Study the market, area demands, average rent, and population before investing in real estate for rentals.

A large residential real estate also doubles up as a home for the owner to stay in one of them.

This makes property management more manageable and allows for a better understanding of the area for more opportunities.

See Also: Confident Real Estate Cameroon

Real estate properties

Further, any property sale or purchase will consist of over 10-15 people, from the bank to buyers' agents, inspection agencies, and many others.

Having a trusted real estate agent is a good step for those who cannot afford the time or effort to do it all.

Investing in multiple real estate properties will increase the need to have an agent or more to manage these with ease.

It is essential to know that handling residential property and tenants isn't as easy as it seems.

Just because it was easy being a tenant doesn't mean managing one (or several) will be easy too.

A couple of basic things like signed contracts, background checks on tenants, and following all local regulations and laws should be taken care of before venturing into this.


Industrial Real Estate

Industrial property investment is more straightforward and comes with fewer capital requirements.

It does not require complex designs or construction, which may be the case in residential properties.

With industrial property in Cameroon, location is the most crucial factor.

Distribution centers, depots, warehouses, and the like require less capital.

Also, these are hassle-free to set up, unlike residential property.

Light industries like bakeries require several of these, so investing in an area where bakeries are in demand or already doing well is a good move.

Some of the best aspects of investing in industrial real estate are the type of tenants and the agreements involved.

Most such real estate is rented for a long duration, which relieves both the owner and tenant.

In Cameroon, the minimum period for industry rentals is 5 years and 1 month.

All these factors make this a good option for smaller developers.

While this may sound like an accessible market to break into, it does have its own set of issues.

There is quite a lot of bureaucracy involved in changing owners and getting permits.

Instances where investors had to face issues, even after all permits were in place, are rare.

More so, there are cases of local bodies interfering in the same.

Commercial Real Estate

Shopping malls are all the rage in Cameroon right now, opening up commercial real estate investment channels.

This involves using a property to lease out to different business owners.

Currently, retail property is among the most lucrative real estate avenues.

However, this is easier said than done and is not for those just starting the business.

Commercial real estate requires high capital.

The advisable strategy in this avenue is often to have a contract with an anchor tenant.

This anchor tenant, in simple words, is nothing but a popular large-scale retailer.

The size and popularity of this business should serve as the base for drawing other commercial tenants.

Additionally, anchor tenants also finance some part of the construction.

Their return is in the form of rent-free premises for a fair number of years.

Raw Land

For the seasoned real estate business in Cameroon, raw land is where the big profits lie.

This is nothing more than a piece of land that does not have any development.

Raw land buying should involve a catalyst- which could be any event that would push up the price.

Typical catalysts include an upcoming development plan, such as constructing a major road or highway.

Renting or leasing out land by dividing it into smaller plots is also a suitable approach.

With raw land, bank appraisals may not be the most accurate way to get an idea of the price.

It involves gathering knowledge about the local government, reading about their development plans, and the locals' advice to know the next potential catalyst.

Property agents who have been in the area for years can help get a better idea of this.

The Factors

The key to making a profitable investment in any property in Cameroon is knowing the market and its trends.

Over the last 20 years, there has been a lot of growth in the real estate segment.

Cameroon's real estate had become a significant part of its total GDP.

While recent trends have declined, experts say it will recover over the coming years.

A brief look at some of the factors one should look out for will help one better understand this market and its property.

Interest rates

Real estate has 2 basic needs- capital and attractive interest rates.

Cameroon banks have strict rules regarding giving out loans for real estate investment.

There have been attempts by the Cameroonian government to help people with that.

Cameroon's Central Bank has lowered the interest rate to 9%.

There is also a limit of 4 points on these lending rates.

The City and Area

As mentioned earlier, knowing the area is key to any real estate investment.

Significant cities like Douala and Yaounde have seen a sharp rise in land prices, making small and mid-sized investors and buyers look for other avenues.

Douala was the fastest growing real estate market around 2012, ahead of Monaco and Miami.

However, for those without high capital, mid-sized cities are the smart choice now.

In these cities, the rates have not increased that much, and there is enough demand, which is steadily growing.

However, these prices must be combined with the type of land to get the complete picture.

For instance, the Cameroon retail market has seen decentralized growth, spreading from significant hubs like Douala and Yaounde to Limbe and Buea.

For industrial lands, rents are still affordable even along Buea road.

Residential lands have sharply increased along the Limbe area and in cities like Bamenda and Kribi.

In terms of offices and business spaces, Douala continues to be the hub.

This market had a trend of oversupply of retail land, but this is slowly coming towards stabilization.

See Also: Guidelines For Building Real Estate Sites In Africa

What should be the next step?

Once one gets an idea of the market, the next obvious question is how to invest in suitable land?

There are several ways of investing in this market. A look over some of those can be a starting point for the savvy investor.


Construct and Transfer: The VC Approach

Owning land in a prime area is one thing but developing something on it is another.

It may seem like there is no approach other than selling it if one does not have the capital to develop it, but that is not so.

One approach that can be utilized here is finding a Venture Capitalist or VC who would develop on that land.

There is an agreement between the owner and the VC developer, which lets the VC operate it for a fair number of years.

This allows them to get a return on the investment and recover it. After that, it is transferred to the landowner.

This investing strategy has gotten a significant boost over the past few years.

Land investors from outside Africa are on the lookout for getting into partnerships with local owners of lands in prominent areas.

This opens opportunities for investors both in and outside of Africa.

Additionally, since capital gains are low in Europe and Asia, investors from those regions look to invest in Douala and surrounding lands for better profits.

These investors require 'ready land' that allows them to start working for a few years.

Most such investors operate and cash out after this period with significant profits.

Real Estate Investment Trusts: REITs

REITs provide an excellent solution for those investors who wish to enter this market but do not have the time or resources to manage it actively.

REIT refers to the process wherein several investors (generally small investors) buy stakes in some entity. This entity then proceeds to purchase commercial lands or developed real estate.

The investors get income from this entity in monthly or yearly payments, depending on the individual contribution.

This can thus be thought of as the meeting point of the stock market and real estate.

Since the risk involved in REITs is relatively low, the returns are also lower than in other avenues.

However, the benefit of REIT is that it allows those with low capital to invest in Cameroon real estate without too much hassle.

Property Groups

This approach involves investment groups, in most cases, from different professions and experiences.

It may also include land agents too.

They are provided with much-needed expertise and help avoid high consultation fees.

Such an investment group should form clear guidelines for the investment plan.

While there is a high possibility of disagreements in property groups, they do have a benefit too.

Discussion and disagreements help to forecast risks and further critical analysis.

Weeding out bad investments is even more critical in real estate, and Chamas can do just that if operated efficiently.

Short Term Buying-Selling or Flipping

Property flipping involves investing in and then selling a property for profit within a short period.

Often, this short span is not more than a few weeks. 

While it sounds highly lucrative, it is not as a direct investment as it may seem.

There is a lot of effort and time that needs to be dedicated to accomplishing this.

Some people have made entire careers from property flipping.

Nevertheless, bad deals are also not uncommon, hence the caution.

Many professionals state that the key here is to make a profit before you even buy.

This means one should know who the property will be sold to before buying it.

The real estate market has an imperfect nature, which allows one to buy land for Sh1 million shillings and sell the same piece of land for Sh3 million or even more within a day.

Discussing with seasoned real estate valuers to know the property's highest value accurately is essential.



Wholesaling sounds like property flipping, but it can be done with little capital investment.

In this method, a speculator enters a contract to buy all the property from a seller with little or no down payment.

This contract is then sold to another buyer by the speculator.

Whatever the difference is between the wholesalers buying and selling price becomes the profit.

Read Also: Reasons To Start A Business Blog In Cameroon

The gains coming through this can be pretty high, but so are the risks.

Wholesalers often include a clause that allows them to get out of it if no buyers are found by some fixed date.

Wholesaling has been gaining popularity in Cameroon lately.

Speculators commit to purchasing the property and finding buyers as its construction progresses.

This makes it possible for them to do a lot with limited investment.

Real Estate Business in Cameroon what next?

This brief yet detailed study of the Cameroonian property and investment market can serve as the starting point for looking to start a real estate business in Cameroon.

However- that is not all there is to it. As Cameroon continues to grow and evolve, so does its real estate sector and the potential investment one can make in it.

For those who want to make the right set of investments, research and knowledge are the way to go about it.

Starting a real estate business in Cameroon can be as easy as one wants it to be with the correct facts.

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Temo Group: How to Start a Real Estate Business in Cameroon (Guide)
How to Start a Real Estate Business in Cameroon (Guide)
Ultimate Guide On How To Start A Real Estate Business In Cameroon. Realtors and types of real estate businesses in Cameroon. Land and Houses Cameroon
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