The Chairman, BABATUNDE O. GBADAMOSI Explains To City People
How To Buy A House There
If there is one housing estate in Lagos everybody is talking about right now, it is AMEN Estate in Lagos. If there is one housing estate Nigerians in the diaspora are calling up to buy houses from, it’s AMEN Estate. Talk of a housing estate in Lagos that can boast of world class infrastructures, architectural masterpiece designs, quality of living, serene and conductive environment and sited on a large expanse of land, we can confidently tell you it is Amen Estate. It’s built on Eleko Beach Road, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos. And Redbricks Homes International Limited is the developer of Amen Estate. It is an indigenous, independent and innovative real estate company.
Recently, this housing estate attracted a lot of attention, because super actress, Funke Akindele and her music star husband, JJC, moved into Amen Estate.
Lately, a lot more celebrities have moved into this luxurious estate. We must mention that it has become where most of the Music & Movie stars come to shoot their movie, because of the elegance and serenity of the neighbourhood. This is because Amen Estate is now Nigeria’s new Dubai, as it offers standard and world class infrastructure to make their videos look appreciated, like it was done abroad.
At Amen Estate, each house has its own pool. There is 24 hour electricity, constant street light, 24 hour armed securities at different sections of the estate. Waste management services is always on point. A lot of sporting facilities are available within activities arena is at the estate like tennis courts, football pitch. There is also a public park and gardens, fire hydrants, free internet access and so on. No wonder it has become a destination for celebrities. The management of AMEN Estate has made it easy for potential customers, those who are interested can get all the information they need online at www.amenestate.com.
Last week, City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE and Senior Property Reporter, ISAAC ABIMBADE spent a day at Amen Estate, on a courtesy visit, where we met with Mr. and Mrs Gbadamosi, the Chairman and Finance Director of the firm. The couple work together and they are both committed to the continued success of the estate.
They are hands on. Both drive strong jeeps which enable them to reach any part of the big estate in no time. They drive around the estate to constantly monitor work on the various sites that are on going. They also live on the estate so they understand and appreciate what life and living is like on the estate. In this interview with the Developer and Chairman of this first class housing estate, Babatunde Gbadamosi, he reveals a lot about the estate and why people should fall in and buy houses from them. Below are excerpts.
Tell us the story of Amen Estate. What made you believe at that time that a project like this would thrive?
Amen Estate was born of a desire to first of all return to Nigeria after a 17 year sojourn in the United Kingdom and also the desire to live a better and quality life. And also to give the children an opportunity to be assimilated into the Nigerian culture.
You also talked about your real estate experience whilst abroad in terms of what you were able to learn from the real estate business. Can you share this with us?
Whilst in London, the hustle and bustle and the daily grind of being in real estate initially as an investor and developer in the UK taught me a great deal on how to introduce what type of infrastructure, how to build, the longetivity and how to manage the infrastructure as well. The quality of the actual homes was also an issue in the UK. The NHBC system set out a lot of standards and that is the standard that was adopted at Amen Estate. Whilst we moved away from the wood base construction method, we have reintroduced bricks because that is what our environment calls for. Our ancestors would build mud houses because it was and it is still a great insulation material. If you remember the clay pot of old, water in them remains cool. Almost cool as what you have in the refrigerator. That gave us the impetus to go for slightly more modernized fashion of that. And in term of infrastructure, the lesson are there. We have already learned, that if you don’t plan well then you are going to fail. We have brought all the results of all that learning to Amen Estate.
Can you help us differentiate Amen Estate from the parent company itself, Red bricks?
Red Brick Homes International Limited is the developer of Amen Estate. Amen Estate is simply an address and it is one of the many developments we are going to be doing. This first one is our signature or flagship, so to speak. But we have decided that we are going for the masses. We are going into mass housing, starting from Emerald Bay. It is a new development that we are doing in conjunction with a foreign based Nigerian partners. They are partnering with us to develop affordable, independent housing estate. It is much more affordable than Amen Estate because Amen Estate is a luxury.
Absolutely luxury development. Emarald base is less luxurious and more affordable. But they are all anchored by Red bricks Homes International Limited.
What was the vision when you set up this estate in 2004 and have you been able to achieve that?
In actual fact, when I said 2004, I mean the time we acquired the land Amen Estate is built on. In actually fact, Amen Estate did not start proper construction until about 2008. Secondly, to your second question, we liquidated our assets in the UK and step by step we implemented the things that we needed to do, like land purchase, clearing, fencing, getting government consent and we started the infrastructure and building houses. The infrastructure comes at different levels, the road, electrical network, the water, the broad band internet access. We were able to do all that but we did it in a modular way because we didn’t have enough finance to do all that at once. Regardless of that, we knew what we wanted and we knew it was a dream people are going to buy into ones they saw the physical evident of it. So, we just went ahead and did it anyway.
Can you tell us the various options and products available at Amen Estate?
We have a number of houses, differentiated largely by the number of rooms available in each house. We have tried as much as possible to make the houses as large and comfortable as possible in order to give enough breathing room to each property. In terms of spacious arrangement we have done our bit to ensure that the residents can feel comfortable, both in and out door. So, we have Afin, Agbala, the Queen Amina, the Iga, the Olori, the Lolo and a number of other variations are about to be introduced into the mix.
The Afin is a 7 bedroom mansion, followed by the Agbala, which is 5 bedrooms detached mansion and the Queen Amina is 5 bedroom semi-detached mansion. The Iga is 4 bedroom detached mansion. The Olori is 4 bedrooms semi-detached and there is 4 bedroom town house or terrace, and we have the Lolo which is 3 bedrooms. At the lower end of the place we are introducing smaller entity homes like one bedroom and two bedroom apartments.
For those who are interested in buying, how can they go about it?
First thing to do is for them to register on the website (www.amenestate.com) . The website basically tells you the basic instructions on how to register. Once you have done that, you fill the form. We also do background check for everyone who wants to buy because we want to avoid all “the obvious things”. We also don’t want people of bad characters at Amen Estate. So, we check peoples backgrounds before we actually give them the opportunity to buy. So the first thing is to register and once you register, we have different payment options like pay at once and get a discount. Or you can go for payment plan which is up to 2 to 5 years as you want it. You can start that with 20 percent minimum payment and then you get 2 years interest free and after 2 years, if you are going to 3 year you will pay 5 per cent on the outstanding balance. You pay 10 percent on the 4th year and 15 percent on the 5th year.
Obviously, it’s in the interest of the buyer to complete the payment as quickly as possible. We also have for part buy, part rent ownership. We have that option for people who have reached up to 50 percent payment. But like I said earlier we don’t go beyond 5 years.
We have been to different houses at Amen Estate and we saw that you have made everything ready for the potential buyer. What is the concept behind this?
It is really about convenience for our customers.We want them to have a seamless experience in moving to the house. We furnish, we finish, we embellish. If you decide to furnish it on your own, it’s allowed. But we will furnish it to the highest standard. It is more or less like in the UK, when you bought a house and everything was already in the house, unless you wanted to change something.