Bashir Jimoh is a real estate player. He is the Managing Director of Bashmoh Homes, the company he floated about 8 years ago to bridge the deficit in the Nigerian Housing sector.
The company is also into estate development, mortgage advisory, building engineering and consultation, property leasing and letting, and general land consultation. City People’s ISAAC ABIMBADE (08155107955), spoke with the MD, Bashir Jimoh, and he talked about what the company is doing to bridge the deficit in the housing sector and why he prefers selling at affordable prices. He spoke about how real estate is faring in this Covid-19 period. His revelations are quite interesting. Excerpt.
What do you think about the current real estate strategy by players?
The current marketing policies and marketing programmes real estate firms now adopt are strategies that are realistic, that could make an impact on both demand and provide reasonable and real solutions to the housing programmes in Nigeria. Definitely, we are looking at it at Bashmoh homes as opportunities than a programme.
Why are real estate businesses not affected by Covid-19 pandemic?
All over the world, the land has huge appreciating value and because it’s not produced and no one is producing more of it, so what we have is what we have got. And as such, real estate, especially land is the only aspect that the prices have not gone down. And that is the value you’d only get if you are into buying land, properties and development. Yes, the cost of building could go down, I mean the value in the market, but because the land is not produced by anybody, the best you can get is for the price to remain same, but definitely, prices are not coming down, that is in the land aspect of the business.
You said something that the real estate was affected. What do you mean by that sir?
The part that was drastically affected, that COVID has affected, is on high-level income properties. Properties in Ikoyi, Banana Island, Lekki Phase 1, etc. Demand for all the properties in highbrow areas have drastically dropped.
Is there any reason we have a sudden increase in the demand for land in this period, in this COVID period?
Yes, because that is the only aspect of the economy that is slightly stable. If you look at what is happening in the financial aspect, what is the optional investment plan? It’s either you put your money in a savings account, or you FTCA or you put it in stock. If you want to go into FTCA, we all know that there is clout in the financial system even the cost of treasury bills has come down. It has dropped from the initial 14% to around 11% or thereabout. What most banks give as savings account is in the region of 4%. What you have as interest in a fixed bank deposit account, if you are giving 100 million and above is in the region of 6%. The only investment that you can be sure to retain the value of your fund is land. So, if you get a piece of land in a good location with good documentation, you are so sure that you would have the capacity to retain your funds and as well make something out of it. And for the stock market, we all know what is going on in the economy. Naira has been devaluated, there is the devaluation of the currency. Most of the production companies in the country are bleeding from this devaluation and as such it has affected their profit margin. In a situation that there is low demand as well as an increase in the cost of production, certainly it is going to affect profit margin and turnover.
Let me now ask you this sir, what are the techniques you use in selling during this COVID-19 period, because a lot of real estates agents have adopted different techniques for selling in this COVID period sir. What do you think are the main strategies for selling in this COVID period?
Yes. One: What most of us are doing to sell and that includes Bashmoh homes, is to redesign most of our buildings. When you redesign your building, and it becomes much more affordable, and you spread the payment. These are one or two things that you could do to recreate demand. Second, sell in bulk. We sell to groups at discounted rates. And since it’s a group that is buying, let’s get to sell at a discounted rate in this period. These are one or two things that we do to, at least, cushion the effect of the drop in demand.
What do you say about those who also adopt other methods, which is using brand ambassadors, using those in the diaspora to sell their products? Are they really effective in your own view, sir?
Yes. For Bashmoh homes, we do not use brand ambassadors because of our experience. The experience we had with a brand ambassador wasn’t palatable, however, I know something. Nigerians are also beginning to understand businesses and they know that a brand ambassador is only canvassing because he’s being paid. So, it’s just like he’s trying to earn his own income and as well just advertising the company to make his own income. However, for those having representatives abroad, that is a bomb because the rate of the dollar has gone up, Nigerians in the diaspora are really really investing in real estate in the country. So, if you have a sales representative abroad, it shows the level of your seriousness, shows the level of your involvement, shows that you are on the ground at home because there is someone with a residency programme, documentation in a foreign land who could attest to it. UK, US, Canada are not like Nigeria. Everyone and everybody is traceable, so before anybody would accept to be your brand ambassador, the person must be well documented in the country of residence. You must have conducted a full investigation on the operations of the real estate firm.
If you are to assess your sales in the last 3-4-5months of COVID, will you say that 70% or 80% has been from outside the country in terms of those who patronised you?
I’d say that will all emphasis, yes.
Do you have connections abroad? How do you do that sir?
Of course, we have families. we have those we’ve recruited. We have employees who are based in the UK. We have those that are based in the European Union countries and we have those who are based in the US. We sell through these people and there is always contact from the home base. Moreso, we have correspondence partners, law firms in the UK, law firms in the US that we have signed agreements with to sell each other’s properties. They sell our properties in the UK, US, while we sell their properties here to Nigerians who have the capacity to buy.