•South-West REDAN Chairman
Debo Adejana is the Managing Director of Realty Point Limited, one of Nigeria’s finest real estate companies. He was elected Chairman of The Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), South-West Zone, a few months back.
Realty Point 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), and now the Chairman, South-West.
He is a celebrated Subject matter expert, author, blogger, speaker, radio host and Tony Elemelu Foundation mentor (2016).
He lectures Masters students at the University of Lagos in the area of 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. He 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 (08155107955), spoke with him on the issue of real estate. He spoke about the potentials of the sector despite Covid-19 challenges and what government should do to help the sector. Below are the excerpts.
Can you please tell us the state of things in the real estate sector because we are just recovering from Coronavirus lockdown, how has it affected the sector?
Well, the market is just there. But it all depends on what people are offering; some people are into real estate right now just to keep their money and a place where they can secure their money. But there’s another party that can’t afford it just because of what has happened to them, probably they lost their jobs because of the state of our economy etc.
How can the government help the real estate sector? What policy should the government adopt to help the sector?
They started something already. I will commend them on that. They have started building some houses. It’s a good step. Also, there is another thing they can do, like palliative to the suppliers in the real estate industry. The government can give some per cent discount on the product that is being supplied to the people in the sector. We are not seeing that yet.
The Real Estate developers association of Nigeria has a project of 77,400 housing units across the 774 local governments. 100 housing units per local government. But we would be getting support from the states government in the provision of land and another document to fast track this project for this to come into fruition. So we want government to help us more in those areas.
What have you done to stay afloat as a company during and after lockdown?
We had to sit down and think. It is still an ongoing process though. One of the things we have done is that we communicate better with our people; the people that are doing business with us, to let them know that we understand the situation. So, we have communicated more with our database and we have also offered some palliative to some of our people especially to those who have an ongoing transaction with us. Unfortunately, we also had to do salary cut, though we are now back to full payment, we had to do salary cut for 2 months just to be able to adjust to what’s happening.
We also brought in some new products that we think will better suit the period that we are in.
What are those products, sir?
We launch some real estate products where people can pay three thousand five hundred nairas daily to own a property and not just land, a two-bedroom bungalow or a 3 bedroom bungalow, depending on what they need. They pay 3 thousand five hundred or 4 thousand nairas for 5 days of the week.
We also have a corporative that can accommodate these things. There’s so much opportunity in the real estate sector. You can invest as low as 25 thousand nairas to invest in the sector.
What do you understand by short term letting in the real estate? And do we really have the market for this in Nigeria, especially Lagos?
Service apartment of short letting is not new actually. However, because of the application of new technology it’s gaining more grounds; it’s getting wider spread. Short letting is the middle point between the regular rental and hotels. Short letting gives you like a home environment and you can only do that for a short period of time and a lot of what you need to live your normal life has been provided there already, all you just have to do is come there with your personal belongings. Yes, it’s gaining ground. And as people move from one place to another, and people coming from other countries to Nigeria, there would be a need for more and more people coming to demand short letting apartment because compared to the hotel probably it’s will be cheaper and affordable for them. Yes, it’s the way to go and it is more popular and lucrative in some certain areas and not just every area.
Short letting is not something that has to be in every environment.
Can short letting work in this environment?
Of course, there are numbers of areas that short letting is doing well in Lagos. The Lekki, Victoria Island, Ikoyi axis and some other areas where you have big industries, short letting would always do well in those areas. Also, in an area like GRA Ikeja, short letting is not doing badly there because people who come to Lagos many of them prefer to stay in Ikeja because of their trip to the airport and from there navigate to wherever they want to go, especially now that most government parastatals are on the mainland. So Ikeja, Maryland, Magodo are not bad at all for short letting.
Finally, what can you say about the deceit in the sector where someone lies that the land he’s selling has a C of O, or Excision in process and at the end of the day, you find out it’s all lies and majority are doing this just to sell their market. What can you say about this, sir?
We’ve had the cause to talk about this a couple of times and I know you know my stance in all these. Real estate is buyer beware! The buyer must take responsibility for their investment and also not be carried away by what people say.
I have always said that anything they said to you like excision in the process are not the title. And it’s unfortunate that I see some adverts around and all that they put this in their products. We always tell our members, the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria because I am the South-West Chairman right now. We always warn them about this and those of us in Lagos they are also doing same to regulate this industry. But I can assure you it won’t be business as usual with what we have put in place with the government. People won’t have a choice but to do their business in a more credible way.