Don Okereke - Nigeria Property Centre

Posts by Don Okereke

Food for thought:

"You don’t need to be an expert in order to achieve satisfactory investment returns... Focus on the future productivity of the asset you are considering.. If you instead focus on the prospective price change of a contemplated purchase, you are speculating.. Games are won by players who focus on the playing field – not by those whose eyes are glued to the scoreboard... " - Warren Buffett

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    If we must move forward as a nation, we need to whittle down a penchant for raw use of power, coercion and extortion. A while ago it was reported that Soldiers were used to stop Ikoyi’s 850 capacity car park project been carried out by the Lagos state government because of a dispute over ownership of the piece of land. Incidentally, the Lagos State government is not immuned from the use of bravado, force and fiat while ejecting folks whom they deem to have ran foul of the law. As they say, what goes around comes around. In our clime, it is common practice to see folks using their positions to intimidate or frustrate other people. It beggars belief that in a country that lacks an encouraging mortgage regime, it is a harrowing experience before people can build their own houses because some so-called omoniles and corrupt, over-zealous town planning authorities are bent on frustrating prospective home builders.

    For the uninitiated, "Omonile" is a Yoruba word for 'owners of the land or son of the soil'. The irony however is that in many cases those claiming to be 'sons of the soil' migrated from somewhere and are not true indigenes of that locality.

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      The current article is the third in our series on personal and residential security. Here is the link for the Part I and Part II of this series. Herein we shall highlight some issues, oversight that will pose a security risk, lapse if not factored in.

      The first one is a penchant for hosting private parties, events, reception inside one's premises. This is quite common in Nigeria. The unprecedented insecurity situation in Nigeria calls for caution, restraint in organising "owambes" (parties) within one's premises. The snag here is that more often than not, uninvited folks will tend to gate crash into parties. The exception is where there is adequate access control and security practitioners on ground to checkmate intending gate crashers. Even when all the guests are duly invited and armed with their IV's, there is no guarantee they will not use such occasion to spy on the hosts property or acquisitions. Common sense should let us know that it is not everyone that has come to 'celebrate' with us that is truly happy with us, some may have some ulterior motive. More often than not, items and personal belongings grow wings aftermath of hosting parties, events within homes.
      If you are concerned about the prospect of your personal effects disappearing sequel to hosting a party in your premises, please consider doing it in an Event Centre which are not in short supply these days.

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        By and large, Ikoyi is a posh neighbourhood with a mishmash of exquisite residential apartments and commercial presence.
        Ikoyi borders the Lagos Lagoon and takes up the eastern half of Lagos Island. It is one of the towns that make up the Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos state.
        Originally, the British Colonial Governments designated Ikoyi as a residential area for the expatriate community perhaps due to its proximity to the sea. However this arrangement changed with time with big establishments locating their corporate headquarters at Ikoyi. Ikoyi is home to the creme de la creme of the Nigerian society, from diplomats to senior company, business executives and senior public servants.

        Cost of Accommodation in Ikoyi

        Ikoyi is definitely a splendid place to live or work in. Peopled with well educated, enlightened group of residents and with a superfluity of luxury apartments in this part of Lagos, you can be sure to secure a comfortable accommodation comparable to those in Europe and America so long as you have the financial war chest. A typical 3 bedroom apartment in areas like Banana Island, Park view estate, attracts rent of as much as N24 million (about $150, 000) per annum while the average price of buying an apartment in Banana Island is upward of $8 million. It is common to see prices of real estate in this part of Lagos denominated in United States dollar. Banana Island an exclusive playground of Nigeria’s obscenely wealthy, is reportedly Nigeria’s most and expensive neighborhood – at par with the Seventh Arrondissement in Paris, La Jolla in San Diego, California and Tokyo’s Shibuya or Roppongi neighborhoods. Accommodation in places around Obalende and Dolphin estate are comparatively less expensive but still beyond the reach of many middle class folks.

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        Technology and the internet in particular have revolutionized the way we do things. It’s a digital world we live in and there are software applications for just about anything. Lately I scanned and emailed a tranche of my personal documents right from my phone. It is amazing how a phone now does everything a typical 'business centre' can boast of. No wonder this is not the best of time for cyber cafes and business centres.

        Herein, we are going to chronicle some software applications that will enhance your real estate or property management business. If you are still analogue, running your Real Estate Agency or Property Management business manually, then it is high time you embraced innovation.  This is not necessarily an endorsement but an attempt to make your work easier and more efficient. Now here is a rundown of Real Estate, Property Management software and companies selling them:

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          Our next port of call in this series of profiling what makes the different parts of Lagos tick, is Ibeju-Lekki.

          The name Ibeju-Lekki is derived from the name of two autonomous communities: Ibeju and Lekki. Ibeju-Lekki shares boundaries with Ogun state to the north, Eti-Osa local government to the west, Epe local government to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. Some of the prominent communities in Ibeju-Lekki include: Abijo, Awoyaya, Lakowe, Bogije, Sapati, Igando-Oloja, Arapagi, oke-odo Elemoro, Akodo, Magbon-Alade, Eleko, Debojo, Solu-Alade, Iwerekun amongst others.

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          In this series, we shall be chronicling different parts of Lagos State vis-a-vis what makes them tick, cost of accommodation, commercial activities and so on and so forth.

          Where else can we begin this series than from Ikeja - the Lagos State Capital/Seat of Government. Ikeja is part of what is known as Lagos Mainland. As well as been the State Capital, Ikeja is also a Local Government Headquarter. Official census figure put the population of Ikeja at about 4.5 million people which is keenly contested by the Lagos State Government. However, A United Nation's 2011 data suggests Ikeja is plausibly home to 11.2 million people. Ikeja is one of the most densely populated parts of Lagos State.

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          There seem to be some misunderstanding as to what precisely a "self-contained" apartment and a "mini flat" is. The purpose of this essay is to clarify the ambiguity surrounding the aforementioned notions.

          A self contained apartment or room is a single room that has all the facilities such as toilet, bathroom and most probably a kitchen en- suite. On the other hand, a mini-flat is an apartment that consists of 1 bedroom a sitting room, kitchen, bathroom and toilet. A mini-flat is akin to a typical "room and parlour".

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            The advent of the internet has revolutionized and enhanced human activity. One of the beneficiaries of this is the real estate industry. Prior to now, real estate experts did not have a choice on where and how to advertise their business. Same applied to prospective property buyers or those wishing to rent properties. Both sides relied on either the print or electronic media to either advertise (sell their properties) or to buy. All of that has changed.

            Now, people who wants to rent out or sell a property have the opportunity of advertising their business on any of the ubiquitous websites and even free of charge. This can be done from the comfort of their home or even while on the move through any of the handheld devices such as smartphones, tablets, etc. Apart from the cost-effectiveness and convenience of the internet, another major advantage is that it blurs geographic boundaries. A real estate advert on www.nigerianpropertycentre.com can be seen by billions of people from all around the world within the twinkle of an eye. That is the power of the internet and social media. According to Wikipedia, about 55,930,391 Nigerians had access to internet in 2012.

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              The Lagos State Government enacted a Tenancy Law a while ago. Tenants in the State saw this as a step in the right direction. From all indications, it appears the frenzy has fizzled out and it is business as usual again. This made me to pen an article titled, "is the Lagos Tenancy Law a Paper-Tiger?". Nigeria is no doubt awash with laws, we are not lacking in them. We should endeavor to make the laws enforceable.

              One salient issue that begs for solution is how to regulate the activities of "Real Estate Agents" in Nigeria. Right now it is an all-comers affair, just get an office (some don't bother having one), know a couple of landlords and you are good to go. There are rampart cases of these folks absconding with people's money and nowhere to trace them. This brings me to the issue of 'agency fee' which these guys charge their clients. How do you rationalise a situation where one pays say, N150,000 as house rent per annum on a new apartment and pays extra N60,000 to an 'agent' in the name of 'agency fee'? How can one justify an 'estate agent' charging upwards of 10% of the total cost of buying a property bearing in mind that these guys seldom incur any expenses in that process. They insist on collecting 10% 'agency fee' just for linking a buyer and a seller. Envision where somebody buys a property worth say N100 million naira and an agent insists on being paid 10% which amounts to N10 million! The buyer will also probably fork out another 5-10% as legal fees in addition to other sundry charges. Before you say bingo, the total cost of that real estate will shoot up by 20-30%.

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