•LAGOS Property Player, DEBO ADEJANA
Debo Adejana is the Managing Director of Realty Point Limited, one of Nigeria’s finest real estate companies. The company is primarily involved in the supply side of the industry, with a strong presence in real estate development, investment, training/consultancy and marketing syndication. He owns the popular trademark “Sack Your Landlord”.
Adejana is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School, having attended the owner manager’s Programme. He is the founding President of Prime Asset Housing Cooperative Multipurpose Society, a position he held till 2016. He served the South West zone of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), as Treasurer (from 2009 to 2012) and Vice Chairman (2012- 2015).
He is a celebrated subject matter expert, author, blogger, speaker, radio host and Tony Elemelu Foundation mentor (2016).
He lectures Masters students of the University of Lagos the Marketing of Housing Development. He teaches other profit and nonprofit organizations. He has an interest in Social Housing provision. A member of the Heinrich Boll Stiftung & Arctic housing for low-income groups in Lagos state working group. He is humorous, fun loving, focused and very hard working individual who has a way with words. His clients find in him a very knowledgeable, dependable, honest, innovation and die-hard professional with excellent service culture.
Last week, City People’s ISAAC ABIMBADE, interviewed him on real estate issues. He spoke about potentials of the sector as we start in 2019. Below are the excerpts of the conversation.
How do you think the real estate sector in Nigeria will fare this year?
Firstly, the trend will not be different from what we experienced last year. For the first 6 months at least, in the sense that, a lot of people will still like to wait and see what will happen. The market will still be a bit slow interms of Demand. Only necessary and important demand will be made.
However, I believe for a smart developer, it is the period to start creating Supply that would be fulfilled when the situation turns good. And those kinds of supply should not be just bogous property but property that would meet the existing needs in the market; property that people build for who wants to use; things like flat apartments for people to live or rent or buy or use for business, things like shop in places that are strategically located and stuff like that. Those are the kind of things smart developers should do in this period so that when the economy improves it would meet the need of people.
Now, hopefully, the hope is that the economy will improve at least from the 2nd half of the year, no matter the government that comes whether it’s the existing government or the new government comes in because the euphoria of election would have been taken care of. We expect that the person coming in would have been sworn in by the middle of the year and I don’t want to think that it would take the person the kind of record time we witnessed before appointing people into the ministries again.
Are you saying that the problem in the housing sector can only be resolved if developers focus more on Mass Housing and Affordable products?
That is not exactly what I am saying. When you say affordable, affordable usually is a confused word; it has confused a lot of people. The truth of the matter is that, affordability is relate. What is affordable to me, if you go by the definition of that word may not be affordable to you. And what is affordable to me may not be affordable to everyone.
What I am saying is that, developers should create product based on findings, based on need in the market. They shouldn’t just go out, buy land and build. If I want to do development now, my first assignment would be to find out about the market needs; what do they need? How do they need it? And at what price do they need it?
People should not just be buying land and build anything on it. So, many of these developers know better now what the market needs before you start churning out those products. So, it is not about Mowe, Ibeju-Lekki. Those types of things may come into the market and they may not because they have their own dynamic.
You said earlier that real estate business in Nigeria will improve from the second half of the year. Why did you say that?
Yes but I didn’t just say real estate, I said the Economy. It is not just about real estate but generally Nigerian economy, and the only reason I gave for that is this: it is an observed norm in the Nigerian system that election year slows down business, usually from the peak of campaign to election time. For example, we are going to vote in February now, they will announce the winners and their will be various Tribunals set up and litigations. All of that will be settled before May 29; the swearing-in period. That means from the first half of this year, the business in the sector will still remain the same and little business is what will be taking place. But aspirational transactions would start coming up from when the new government is sworn-in and that is why I said the economy would be better from the second half of the year.
Do you think the emergence of Jimi Agbaje or Sanwolu-Olu as Governor of Lagos State will affect the business of real estate in the state?
I think that regardless of who comes in, Lagos State already is a state on its own. So whoever comes in should just do it better. I want to believe that the person coming would not make the same mistake this administration made, which was, when they came in, they reshuffled the whole ministries. The documentation for example did not really continue; it stopped for almost a year before people started finding their feet. They have changed a lot of things. They elongated a lot of things in an attempt to make it better.
We know they tried to digitalise some things, especially in the Land Bureau and if that is well implemented and well done it will definitely be good for all. But I don’t think they should come and scatter, reshuffle everything again. I don’t want to believe such will happen again.
I believe real estate should do better regardless of who comes in, whether APC or PDP.
If you were to advise subscribers on where to buy land and what to look out for when buying property, what will you tell them?
Like I always tell people, if you are into buy property make sure that you are informed about what you want to buy and where to buy it. Don’t buy property that can’t be documented or that is not documented. Don’t take risk that you don’t know off. I tell people to make use of professionals when acquiring property; people that are knowledgeable about the sector. A lot of property companies spring up everyday and they also go out of the market everyday. There are those that were there last year that are not there again. People just have to be careful.
When you are buying properties, do due diligence, especially when you know that property transaction rest on two major things: documentation and possession. You must know the stature of what you are buying regarding documentations and then posession. Those are the indicators of the risk you are taking.
In terms of profit, it depends on where you can afford. If you want to do land banking for example, you can buy in places where development is going to. You can buy that kind of land and then look it up. But if you are buying and you want to build on it, there are other considerations you have to put in place. You should visit the place or you ask them to show you the video of the surroundings before you commit yourself to such land.