Continued from the last edition
Having pointed out some of the benefits of off-plan purchase, we would now consider the downsides of it.
• The most likely is the possibility of delays in completing or delivery of the project. This would affect home owners who want to move in immediately

• One has to commit to their purchase early on, put a non refundable deposit down, sign contracts and exchange usually within a relatively short period of time and then wait however long until the house is built. Because you are buying off-plan, you cannot see what you are buying and therefore do not know what the finished product would look like in reality. Buyers based their purchase on past record or reputation of developers, or word of mouth.

• There is tendency for developers to use sub-standard, low end materials for construction and finishing. Off-plan buyers run the risk of getting low quality products after investment.

• There might also be the risk of the property not been constructed because of financial problems encountered by the developer. Problems like this tend to make the purchaser loose time and other possibilities for investment.

• Many financial companies would prefer to provide funding to properties they can see visibly unlike the off-plan option, thereby reducing the financial options for buyers.

• For some developments, the developers make specific arrangements with banks for exclusive mortgages, although not all developments have this option. It is always wise to exercise caution and get competitive quotes from other mortgage suppliers before simply accepting the developer’s option.

• During the time until your property is built and ready to be handed over, there is a possibility of a change property market which could lead to an increase or decrease in the prices of houses. This means that in many cases, your new home could be worth more than the price it was bought. However there is always a chance that the property prices could crash and decrease so when the keys are handed over to you. This is not so much of a problem as the property can be kept for a while until property prices increases. However if you were looking to buy off plan properties as an investment and sell on soon after purchase, this means that you will probably not get the right price and be able to cover your costs so you may have to consider renting it out. It may not be possible to always predict whether the price of an off plan development will increase upon completion. For example although economic recessions are thought to reduce property prices, the price of Nigerian properties were on the rise despite the economic meltdown.

The cons highlighted can be mitigated by implementing the following below;
1. Potential buyers should question the number of sales being reported by the developer. There are situations whereby developers communicate a fast sales rate of their projects which is in reality far from the truth. Buyers should always ask the tough questions, get conviction as well as proof before committing funds.
2. Check that you have all the information of the developer and their track records. Ensure that the fixtures, fittings and finishings promised in the display and printed material are guaranteed.
3. Investors must seek advice from an experienced solicitor to ensure there are no loopholes or ambiguities in the sales contract. All loopholes should be brought to your attention so you are aware of what you are getting into.



Buying or owning a property is a lifetime investment and it is critical that great care is taken before one embarks on this journey. When looking for a dream home it is easy to forget to consider important steps in the process and to just dive in head first. However, when making such a huge financial commitment it is important that you are as informed as you possibly can be and you are fully aware of what you are responsible for doing before purchase. There is a great potential for unwanted surprises when investing in such a variable and vast product. If well prepared, one can anticipate these unpleasant surprises and be in a better position to deal with them.
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This article will help inform property buyers on essential steps to take and things to consider when purchasing a property in order to ensure the best decision is made.


A key aspect of a property to consider when doing property inspection is the terrain or topology of the area where the property is located.
A property can be located on a flat ground, the slope of a hill or at the foot of a hill. In Nigeria, properties located on flat ground or on a slope are better options than those on the foot of a hill or drainage. This is to prevent flooding and poor drainage issues which are prevalent in our nation especially Lagos. Also to be noted are the available amenities and facilities surrounding the property and their positive impact on the property.
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With the high rate of building collapse in Lagos, it is important to ensure that the building being invested in is solid and built with high quality, durable materials. Potential home owners of investors need to properly examine the building Therefore, take a good look at the building, examine the walls for irregularities and cracks, check all the fixtures, piping systems, electrical wirings, roofing, and any signs that may indicate that the building is structurally defective. Once you buy a house, you buy its assets and liabilities and a house with major structural defect is a big liability.

Before purchasing a property in Nigeria especially in Lagos, you need to verify the owner (s) of the property and ensure that all documents such as the Certificate of Occupancy, contract of sales, purchase agreements, deed of assignment etc are in place. It is also very important to have a Governor’s consent on the property which is needed for the assignment of title to use, occupy, and improve property with a statutory certificate.

Price is a deciding factor in arranging an inspection. The price of the property to be purchased has to be competitive and of a good value relative to what facilities the property would be coming with and the facilities. With the aid of a real estate consultant, a great price can be achieved as real estate consultants have more access to property listings and can help find a home that fits your needs and your budget. Once the price range specified for the property you’re interested in is within your budget, an inspection should take place.
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The value of the property to be purchased would be dependent on the type and state of the various facilities and amenities it has such as swimming pools, high tech security equipment, electrical and water supply, fittings and type of sanitary wares, adjoining land uses like schools, hospitals, restaurants, shopping malls, recreation centres, etc. What facilities does the house have?

This is applicable if the property to be purchased has a previous occupier. If the house is occupied, you need to find out the nature of the tenancy, the tenancy schedule, the tenancy agreement, and how soon the existing tenants will vacate the premises after you make the purchase.
It is very important to employ the services of a professional real estate consultant who would advise you on your investment and ensure that you get the best value for your investment. He/She would provide professional judgement on key aspects of the transactions saving you time and providing security and convenience.


The Art of Marketing and Selling Real Estate in Nigeria (Part 2)

Even though much has changed over the years as a result of the improved dynamics in information technology and other factors, the actual art of selling real estate remains the same. No matter how bleak the real estate market appears to be, some people keep selling properties. There would be always be tons of real estate professionals who provide the same services you offer. Regardless of your profession be it banking, consultancy, journalism, copywriting, etc, there will be competition. Therefore it is imperative that one stands out. As a real estate professional, you can’t expect to stand out from the crowd using the same marketing strategy everyone else does. In order to stand out, you have to try different approaches. Below are some approaches which we would be highlighting in this discourse.

• Focus on your company’s brand and position your firm as experts

In real estate, branding is very crucial as it demonstrate credibility, improves the firm’s reputation ultimately leading to the closing of the sales. Building a brand that can stand firm as an expert in the industry does not take a day to create. It takes a combination of various factors such as paying attention to details, providing excellent customer service, excellent marketing presentation, properly trained personnel etc. It is essential that real estate practitioners acquire the required, relevant skills and knowledge to practice real estate. Currently, the Nigerian real estate industry is filled with non-professionals who practice real estate activities giving rise to cases of theft, wrong allocation of properties, deceits and misrepresentations thereby portraying the noble industry as one replete with dubious people which should not be the case. The success in real estate is – and always will be – about honesty, integrity, knowledge, professionalism, connections, timing, personality, and excellent customer service.

• Target Your Market More Precisely

Targeting one’s market is very important as it enables the real estate professional channel resources, time, and strategies to a focus-driven direction as opposed to channelling them to various contested aspect of the market. It enables the professional provide specialized solutions to target clientele rather than dealing with a broad, diverse market and at the same time ensure that the target market is large enough for business to be highly profitable. When a real estate professional is clear about whom his products and services really cater to, he then attracts more clients and even charges more fees because of his specialization.

• Adapt modern marketing tools

Marketing strategy tools such as hosting open house events, client referrals and pairing with the right company and the right realtor are tried and tested tools which are still very important to real estate transactions. The advancements in technology in recent times have also helped to bridge the gap between real estate agents and prospective clients. The internet plays a significant role in the real estate industry and has made online property search more popular and convenient to property buyers as they can browse the internet round the clock. The rise in popularity of smart-phones and internet connected devices has made it easier to access web information from any place in the world without the need for a home or office computer. Property listings can now be sent via emails, text messages and websites to target market instead of just relying on the print media thus ensuring that the brand and the product are always in the consciousness of the target audience.
• Get the right price
Competitive pricing is the most important part of any property sale, especially in a tough market. Everyone likes a good deal and when your pricing is right, the property is as good as sold. When homes in the area aren’t selling well, the best strategy is often to compare recent sales on similar properties in the area, and try to sell it a little bit lower than the market price. This saves you time, gives you a quick sale, and ensures you make a profit as not many resources would be needed to promote a fantastic product with a competitive price. Great pricing is king.

• Use professional imagery to sell.
The type of images used to depict houses, villas and mansions should be such that people can experience the fantasy woven around the property without even being there. Great imagery and well-written descriptions can really make a listing stand out and sell out as it encourages people to dream. When these are combined with well thought of and professionally designed videos, 2D, and 3D models, it would be very difficult for a prospective client to resist.

• Build Strong Relationships With clients
It is imperative that real estate professionals build and maintain strong relationships with prospective and existing clients. Building strong relationship ensures repeat clients for future transactions. This can be done by providing excellent, unrivalled customer service, being punctual to meetings and viewings, providing vital information to the clients and lots more Staying in contact with your prospects at least once a week and giving them ideas that they can use continues to demonstrate your expertise and present them in a personal, engaging way. Your prospects are more likely to buy from the person they know the best.

What is considered one of the slimmest buildings ever designed?
The Carnegie Hall Tower, designed by Cesar Pelli, is only 50 feet wide and 60 stories high.


The Art of Marketing and Selling Real Estate in Nigeria (Part 1)

Home for sale
Home for sale

In the real estate industry, there are several types of properties – residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural and special-purpose. Residential properties include properties that serve as housing or a dwelling, such as single-family homes, duplexes and other multi-family homes in urban, rural or suburban areas. Commercial properties are properties where business or commerce takes place such as shopping centres and malls, office buildings, parking facilities, hotels, motels or theatres. Industrial property is sometimes confused with commercial property as it has a commercial use but requires the use of heavy machinery and large scale manufacturing also takes place there. They include factories, warehouses, manufacturing firms, power plants. Special purpose properties include agricultural properties, churches, cemeteries, schools and government held land.
When marketing and selling real estate, there must be a plan, a style, and a strategy that should be implemented in order to achieve results. With the availability of thousands of agents in the industry –professionals and lay men alike, there is need to master the art of marketing and selling properties.

What is Property Marketing and Sales?

According to the 8th edition of the Oxford Advance Learner’s Dictionary, marketing is the activity of presenting, advertising and selling a company’s products in the best possible way. It is the bridge that links a product to the consumers by understanding the consumers and finding ways to provide products or services that meet their needs. It is the art of encouraging sales of your products through communication to the public by identifying your objective, performing research in the market, analyzing the research, developing a plan of action to achieve set objectives, and implementing the plan. Selling on the other hand is the act of completion of the marketing process whereby there is an exchange for the product with money or money worth. It involves creating a relationship with clients, identifying the client’s needs and wants, providing possible solutions that meet their needs and wants and closing the sale.
Property marketing therefore is the development and execution of strategies which include research, advertising, promotions all ultimately leading to the sale of the property. In today’s competitive environment, businesses of all sizes and structures must establish effective marketing strategies through various marketing tools to ensure successful sales. In real estate marketing, it is difficult to figure out the best strategy that will attract the attention of potential clients to your properties as there are no best strategies. The strategy that would work for one project may not necessarily work for another project.
In selling real estate, there are several essentials that need to be put in place. They are basically known as the 4Ps of property marketing – Product, Price, Place (Location), Promotion.
The ‘product’ is the type of property, development or apartment that is up for lease or sale. The ‘price’ is the monetary value that is placed on the property either for lease or sale and it is often subject to market forces of demand and supply, the design of the property, facilities available in the property, and even the property owner. The ‘place’ refers to the location of the property. In real estate, location is critical as the property in the right location hastens sales. The ‘promotion’ is the actual marketing of the property by the use mediums such as radio, television, print adverts and press releases to bring it to the attention to the target audience, etc. The effective combination of these factors leads to the sale of the property.

In order to drive people to act, the use of marketing materials cannot be over emphasized as people are visually minded and tend to buy what they can see, feel, and experience. All marketing materials should have a call to action. There are a number of options through which real estate can be presented to the public for purchase and they include:-
• Newspapers
• Magazines
• Postcards
• Business Cards
• Billboards
• Referrals
• E-mails
• Advertisements on the internet
• Brochures
• Website
• Television adverts
• Social and Business Networking
Once this happens, there is need to further encourage sales of your properties by giving out proper information about your property and highlighting its unique selling points as prospective clients would need you to justify why they should buy your property and not the other thousands of properties that are available in the market. Information such as the location of the property; the lease or sale price which must be comparable with that of properties having similar features; exciting features and facilities on the property; the tenure on the property; adjoining developments that might be of interest to a potential client such as schools, supermarket, recreational centers, hospitals, etc must be made available to prospective clients.
Marketing is not instant and it takes a while for the strategies to be set in place and promoted consistently to ensure that it remains in the minds of the target audience. It has been observed that longer marketing strategies go a long way in increasing the number your clients ultimately leading to sales but care needs to be taken so that the target audience is not bored and the product gets disregarded hence the marketing needs to be creative, engaging, dynamic and interesting.
(To be continued)

What is considered one of the slimmest buildings ever designed?
The Carnegie Hall Tower, designed by Cesar Pelli, is only 50 feet wide and 60 stories high.


Introduction to Real Estate

Red Sold For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of House.
Red Sold For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of House.

Real estate plays a very significant role in our world and it is a vital part of the essentials required to sustain mankind. There is hardly anything that is not sustained by some form of real estate from businesses, to family living, even recreation.

What is Real Estate?
Real estate refers to land and anything fixed, immovable, or permanently attached to it such as appurtenances, buildings, fences, fixtures, improvements, roads, shrubs and trees, sewers, structures, utility systems, and walls. It covers residential housing, commercial offices, trading spaces such as theatres, hotels and restaurants, retail outlets, industrial buildings such as factories and government buildings. Real estate involves the purchase, sale, and development of land, residential and non-residential buildings. The main players in the real estate market are the land owners, developers, builders, real estate agents, tenants, buyers, facilities managers etc.
Real estate can include business and/or residential properties, and are generally sold either by a realtor or directly by the individual who owns the property. It can also be termed as “an interest in land”. The word “interest” can mean either an ownership interest – where the investor is entitled to the full rights of ownership of the land and assumes the risks and responsibilities of a landowner; or a leasehold interest – where by a landowner agrees to pass some of his rights on to a tenant in exchange for a payment of rent. The real estate market is tied to the rest of the economy; when the economy thrives, so too does real estate.

Who are the key players in the Real Estate industry?

The key players in the real estate industry, include investors, financiers, developers, building and construction companies, mortgage banks, commercial banks, policy makers, realtors, property managers, quantity surveyors, lawyers, and tenants. These key players work hand in hand to ensure that the industry thrives and they are all dependents on their demand and supply.

What are the professional fields in the Real Estate Industry?

The Real Estate Industry comprises of four distinct fields: Sales and Leasing, Property Development, Property Management, Property Acquisition and Analysis.

In Nigeria, the most popular field is the Sales and Leasing as most parties believe that all that there is to real estate is the buying, leasing, and selling of properties. The least popular field is the Property Acquisition and Analysis as this requires in-depth knowledge of the market trends and also projections for future developments.

Real estate holdings are one of the most important asset classes, as it can be used as a hedge against inflation as well as to achieve diversification. Currently, real estate contributes less than 2% to Nigeria’s GDP. This is due to a range of factors like the lack of mortgage facilities, tax legislations, government policies, hitches in land acquisition, poor infrastructures etc which has hindered the growth of the real estate industry. This however also shows that there is a lot of room for growth in the industry if these issues are properly tackled.
The huge potential of the Nigerian real estate industry cannot be over emphasised. Experts have predicted that the industry will experience exponential growth through the influx of capital from both local and international investors. This year has already witnessed an increased interest in Nigerian real estate as there has been visible increase in the development of commercial structures, the commencement of The Mortgage Refinance Corporation (MRC), the introduction of The New National Housing Commission (NHF), change in the modus-operandi of the real estate business with more online presence, and much more.
There is a gradual evolution in the industry and this shows signs that exciting

Question: What is the most expensive piece of property ever recorded in the world?
Answer: In October 1988, the Mediya Building in central Tokyo was quoted at $248,000 per square foot.



After almost seven years of providing Intelligent Real Estate Marketing services to the upper percentile of the Lagos market, Fine and Country West Africa has expanded their influence to the nation’s capital through unveiling a new Abuja Office at Harrow Park Club, Wuse 2, Abuja.
The “Keys to the City” launch event started out with a welcome address by the Country Managing Director (Nigeria) Mr. John Strang, who welcomed guests and reiterated “Fine and Country’s resolve to deliver world class real estate services to various sectors”. He continued that “Our love and passion for real estate strengthens our promise to deliver cutting edge services in real estate and Abuja plays a pivotal role in the development of real estate in Nigeria and Africa”.
The event which took place at the new office witnessed guests from both the public and private sectors, real estate developers, investors, distinguished members of the upper legislative arm, high network individuals as well as a few family and friends from Abuja and Lagos.
The Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Fine and Country West Africa, Mrs. Udo Maryanne Okonjo thanked gave a brief background of the company’s entry into Abuja through the Access bank funded Maitama Heights project in 2009. She said even though Fine and Country had been present in Abuja, the unveiling represents “Fine and Country’s readiness to open new frontiers as we replicate the culture of excellence, expertise and confidence of which we have been reputed in the past 7 years”

Presenting the symbolic ‘keys to the city’ to Mr. John Strang, the special guest, Mr. Dumebi Kachikwu a long time Abuja resident, International Consultant and entrepreneur, described the occasion as “a strategic and bold move for Fine and Country especially at this time in the nation’s development.
The evening came to a close with cutting of the cake, more pictures and entertainment by a jazz band while networking continued after the official closing.

About Us

Fine and Country are ‘research driven, understanding markets and anticipating trends’. We analyse and refine to create project differentiation and to identify and define a development’s unique selling point in order to maximise value creation and market acceptance.


5 questions to ask a potential housemate

Interviewing for new housemates is a stressful business.

You want to get all the important information you need without coming across as a control freak or a detective who’s compiling a comprehensive criminal history report on any potential house fellows.

You don’t want to ask too many questions but you want to ask the right ones, so you get the answers you need before accepting a new housemate into your home.

We’ve narrowed down the top five most important questions to ask a potential housemate before they move in.

Guaranteed to get you the information you need without making yourself look like an obsessive weirdo.


Higher earning: Investing in uni towns

Most states have a least one provincial centre which plays host to a seat of academic endeavour. These institutions can make a big difference to the local economy and are attracting Gen Y investors and others who want to get a foothold on the property ladder.

Regional universities typically cater for out of town and overseas students, providing lots of benefits to the local property market. Many students decide it’s better to live off campus and universities are also big employers, resulting in a steady stream of tenants.

Listed here are some examples of regional cities where university campuses play a prominent role in the local market.


Living through the renovation process

Something often overlooked when deciding to renovate is the reality you may have to live somewhere else for part of the process.

A major renovation, extension or build means your home may temporarily have no running water, flushing toilets, electricity, walls and/or a roof.

This lack of services and amenities may last a few days or half a year, depending on the scale of the works.

So, short of pitching a tent in the backyard, what are your accommodation options during this domestically disruptive time?

Professional renovator Bernadette Janson, founder of The School of Renovating, has lived through two major home renovations.

The first experience was while her four children were quite small, which created safety issues.

By the second time her children were teenagers: “They saw it less of an adventure and more of an inconvenience putting a strain on relationships,” she says.

“My advice to anyone considering living in a property while renovating is to avoid if at all possible,” says Sydney-based Janson.

“The more complex the renovation, the more difficult it will be. I have lived through two structural renos and both times found it extremely challenging.”

Get in touch


+234 809 600 0027
+234 809 600 0017

10, Onisiwo street, off Lateef Jakande, Ikoyi, Lagos.


about us

Fine & Country is a global real estate brand, specializing in providing a premium service through exceptional marketing and professionalism in the upper quartile of the market.


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