FINE AND COUNTRY IS 8 YEARS. A Journey of Inspired Confidence. Excellence. Leadership.




It’s amazing to think that Fine and Country W.A is 8 years old today. Amazing that we launched this business on the 28th day of November, 2008 at Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. Such high hopes and expectations and now looking back, we wonder where the audacity came from? How could we launch a real estate brand targeted at the upper quartile in the middle of a recession in 2008? How could we come into a market that was already saturated, and defined by established local real estate firms and make bold claims that we would lead and transform the industry? How could we step into the ring, and boldly choose to work only with specific types of clients and projects in a market where we should have been content and counted ourselves lucky to get just any business?



INSPIRED CONFIDENCE. Unique Opportunities in a developing economy. 
Why did we believe there were developers and investors willing to adopt a professional and international benchmark, and who wanted a creative marketing approach to presenting their real estate projects in a largely unsophisticated market?We are proud to state that, we took the bold steps in 2008, because we believed then as we do now, that the real estate sector is a key building block to any economy, and that there are unique opportunities especially in a developing economy, which will require high quality skills set, new thinking and new strategies. We believed at the time, that there were astute clients who would be willing to engage passionate and purposeful professionals in their own quest for excellence and profit. We believed we were the right team, and we set out with confidence in both the market and our clients’ ability to draw out the best in us. We have not been disappointed and continue to welcome the invaluable feedback of our clients and stakeholders.



It’s been an interesting journey with many lessons, and numerous accolades for which we are truly honoured, ranging from the Extra ordinary brand contribution award given to us by Fine and Country International in the early years of joining the global network, to the Arch of Europe award of Excellence in Frankfurt, Germany in 2014 and most recently the international Awards for the African Region held in Dubai in October of this year.FROM TRANSACTIONAL TO TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP.
The last 8 years have seen Fine and Country W.A go beyond transactional to transformational, by demonstrating its’ leadership in the industry using initiatives such as the ‘Real Estate Leaders Network’ to connect leaders in the sector for shared knowledge, the ‘Institute of Real Estate Excellence’ for training the next generation of real estate entrepreneurs and professionals, the ‘Finer Wealth Series’ for women investing in real estate, and the annual ‘Refined Investor Series’ for providing accurate and current insight to investors which just concluded on November 22nd, in Lagos.


We are truly grateful to all our clients who have continued to entrust us with their most valuable asset class, and who continue to be our biggest motivation to excel. We are especially grateful for the championship team at Fine and Country in West Africa who are the real force behind the brand’s reputation and to all our colleagues across the 300 offices where we operate, for the exemplary standards they continue to set in all our markets. Our core values remain Inspired Confidence, Excellence and Transformational Leadership.

We remain committed, competent and confident to handle the opportunities and challenges of the new horizons that lie in the years ahead in an increasingly uncertain local and global economy.




On behalf of all of us at Fine and Country W.A
Udo Maryanne OkonjoCEO/Vice Chair
CategoriesBlog Real Estate

Living and Working in Victoria Island


Lagos is the business hub of West Africa, and it claims the region’s largest and most impressive banks, ports and markets. Furthermore, multinationals and massive corporations, many of them mining the oil-rich Niger Delta, have set up shop in Victoria Island, the nation’s commercial hub. Although Lagos used to be the capital of Nigeria but that was moved to Abuja a couple of years ago, it remains a vibrant business community with a lot of expatriates living and working here. Read more “Living and Working in Victoria Island”


The Refined Investor Series: Photo Story

“Some people, businesses (and investors) will emerge from the downturn stronger and more dominant than when it started. Others will weaken and fade. It all depends on critical choices that they make right now.” – Udo Okonjo (RIS 2016)

The 22nd of November witnessed a ray of hope in the Nigerian real estate industry as stakeholders, real estate investors and economic influencers converged at the at the Refined Investor Series to share creative insight and unlock the opportunities that abound in the Nigerian and International real estate market. This annual conference hosted by Fine and Country had in attendance over 100 participants made up of investors, major real estate developers and companies.

Here are some highlights of the event:

“You’ve got to be the no. 1 sales person of Nigeria. Give Nigerian Investors Confidence in these times.” – Atedo Peterside (RIS 2016)

Speakers: Mrs. Udo Okonjo, Dr. Henrietta Onwuegbuzie, Mr Atedo Peterside and Mr. John Woodruffe.

“Post delivery services, flexible financing, love for customers and integrity should be your part of business.” – Femi Akintunde (RIS 2016)


A cross-section of the attentive audience.

“2017 will not be much different from 2016. Stay on the game till the end of recession for the benefit of the boom” – Hakeem Ogunniran (RIS 2016)



From left to right: Chinwe Sagna, Head West Africa JLL; Andrea Geday, MD Elalan Construction; Hakeem Ogunniran, MD UPDC; Udo Okonjo, CEO Fine and Country West Africa; Femi Akintunde, MD Alpha Mead Facilities; Ugo Arinze, MD Onyx Property Consultants.

Contributions to the conversation were made by professionals in real estate and related industries who emphasized ways that developers, investors and value enhancers can jointly creatively seek ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions to current real estate challenges in the current economic climate. Practical examples and case studies of the opportunities that still abound in real estate investment were highlighted.

“Quality projects and developments are about tenants attraction, retention and separation.” – Femi Akintunde (RIS 2016)
Speakers: Mr. Hakeem Ogunniran, MD UPDC; Mr. Andrea Geday, MD Elalan; Mr. Femi Akintunde, MD AMF; Mrs. Udo Okonjo (CEO, Fine and Country West Africa)

“The present economic challenges present a huge opportunity for Nigerians in Diaspora.” – Udo Okonjo (RIS 2016)

From left to right: David Mbah, Business Consultant Fine and Country W/A; Chinwe Sagna, Head West Africa JLL; Michael Chu’di Ejekam, Retail Investment Platform; Victor Nkwocha, Research Lead Fine and Country W/A and Sholape Oyinloye, Director Energo Buildings.


Prime vs Emerging Urban Properties. What Are The Differences and Benefits?

A prime property should offer an exclusive lifestyle to discerning investors/buyers who understand the immeasurable advantages of an enhanced lifestyle in relation to great Location, expansive amenities as well as infrastructure to serve its inhabitants.

The housing units or types are usually fewer and less clustered/lower density. This exponentially increases productivity and longevity leading to better quality of life.

Prime Properties are usually bespoke and exclusive and usually un-affordable to the general working or emerging class, however therein lies its appeal to the high net worth clientele who typically can afford them and see the value more clearly. Read more “Prime vs Emerging Urban Properties. What Are The Differences and Benefits?”


Living above recession: Is this the best time to invest?

“Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy. Profit from folly rather than participate in it.” – Warren Buffet
There are people who see recession while others see an opportunity. Most average investors tend to panic during an economic downturn, forgetting that all markets have cycles. In times of uncertainty, the two most important qualities, an investor needs are the ability to stay “focused and confident”. Astute investors understand that market conditions are irrelevant if your investment strategy is right. Risk typically comes from not knowing what you are doing. Putting what you can afford to invest in real estate is now the safest, most secure and most sensible option for many. International and diaspora investors have a unique opportunity because it’s never been easier to acquire generally under-valued assets.
Click HERE for a free download of the Astute Investor Guide.

Read more “Living above recession: Is this the best time to invest?”



It is no longer news that the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg was in Nigeria and visited Lagos and Abuja. Mark has a vision to connect individuals around the world through technological innovation and has successfully done so with Facebook. His Nigerian trip was focused on entrepreneurship and technology, with technology enthusiasts, tech entrepreneurs, network coders and fans all excited about the opportunities this opens up in  projecting Nigeria to the world as an emerging hub for technological ideas and advancement.

So What does this mean for the Real Estate Industry?

The Nigerian real estate industry still has a long way to go in a world that is moving fast technologically. Two (2) very basic but key areas that the real estate sector could benefit dramatically from the use of technology include:

  1. Title Registry and planning approvals: A secure web based registration system would help expedite and make title registration more efficient. This will also impact the security of title and aid research, which has long term impact on real estate growth. Using technology to fast track planning approvals would also be an advantage. Having these online, will provide a trail of data which could become valuable real estate intelligence for future economic planning.
  2. Access to and Improved Real Estate Services: Using technology, real estate firms like Fine and Country could improve customer experience by giving access at the click of a button to 3D live viewings, interactive communication irrespective of the client’s location, access to comparable information, and automated progress on property developments to aid intelligent decision making and save time.


Technology comes with endless opportunities for improving returns in the real estate sector and we believe there’s no time like the present to explore some of the low hanging options for innovation. At Fine and Country we believe  “Impossible is nothing… the word itself says “I AM- POSSIBLE” according to Audrey Hepburn.


Invest in Orange Island today. A rapidly growing residential development


Orange Island, located in Lekki Phase 1 is an exclusive, well designed and secured neighborhood planned with world -class infrastructure. It can be accessed via its own road off the Lekki Expressway roundabout and through Lekki Phase 1 (Admiralty Way).

Fine and Country strongly believes that Orange Island offers a solid value proposition as an altenative ‘urban escape’ from the increasingly busy, commercialised LEKKI Phase 1 Scheme.

Although the Island plots were fully subscribed at launch, and no additional plots have been released for over 1 year, we currently have a limited number of private plots available for sale with all inclusive prices starting from N110 Million. Flexible payment plans are available, making this both an easy entry investment opportunity and a cash flow friendly one.


Reclamation Completed

The developers recently announced the completion of the reclamation of Orange Island ahead of schedule.

access road Aug 2016  reclamation complete

 The reclaimed land at Orange Island


The Residential Enclave

One of the main features of the island are the residential enclaves dotted around the Island.

residential enclave

These unique clusters are designed around cul-de-sacs along the perimeter of the island, providing unique identities as well as functional and secure accesses to the beach.

Orange Island flyer

CategoriesReal Estate

The Future of Urban Residential Living in Nigeria – TWIN LAKES ESTATE, LEKKI, LAGOS

Twin lakes Estates is a mixed use development on approximately 200 Hectares of land located along Lekki Epe expressway and directly opposite Chevron Nigeria Limited Head Office. It is developed by Chevron Nigeria Limited Pension Fund, designed by FMA Architects, built and serviced by Julius Berger with a wide range of uses including offices, educational facilities, medium, high density and single family housing resort and convention centre development.

twin lakes aerial view

The estate had been designed to be self sufficient with a central utility plant that will contain water and sewage treatment facilities central distribution hub for voice, data and television. transmission, a power plant, warehousing, workshop facilities, administrative offices and a rapid response building for fire related emergencies.

Uninterrupted power will be provided to the entire estate whenever the public utility goes down. To ensure the safety of residents, security will be provided by a 3 meter high solid perimeter fence all around the property. Generous setbacks from the streetscape establish a lush environment.

The other distinctive features in the estate include two man-made lakes centrally located within the northern and southern parcels.
Unique Features:
• Two Artificial Lakes
• Excellent and serene location
• Unrivalled security features
• Proximity to the Lekki Conservation Centre, Lakowe Golf Estate, shopping malls,
• American School within the estate
• Roads and Drainage
• Water Supply and Water Treatment Plant
• Fire Fighting
• Sewage system
• Power/Electricity
• Communication and Security

Twin Lakes























The Real Estate Chronicles – Ikoyi…. Historic or lost glory

I loved living in Ikoyi as a child. Growing up in the leafy suburbs of Glover Road under the sponsorship of the Federal Government of Nigeria (Judiciary arm) gave humble civil servants an opportunity to live in what was a good quality decent, clean, environmentally safe and convenient family oriented and yet not necessarily affluent neighbourhood. As a young girl, I’d make my hair (shuku or threading just under a tree by the corner of 2nd Avenue or Club road police barracks Ikoyi.

We would sneak to Ikoyi club as teenagers after home lessons, stroll under the tree lined Lugard Avenue and Cameroun roads to our friends homes, whose parents were mostly civil servants. Some lived in apartments like Mulliner Towers, others 1004 and similar blocks. Most however like our family lived on half to full acre plots usually with a main house of at least 4/5 bedrooms, a 2/3bedroom chalet and multiple boys quarters as we called them then. In our case, the house had to be extended to accommodate the almost family of 20- Father, mothers and children (not counting cousins or domestics – our next door neighbours had almost the same size of family too- so much fun growing up almost as a village in Ikoyi )… And there was lots of grounds enough to park numerous cars even though we had only 2 cars if I recall (odd number and even number as per Lagos law then where you could drive odd number cars on certain days as a way to reduce traffic).

Now, I look at Ikoyi and shrug. I recall, Corona, Federal Home Science school, I recall Ikoyi club suya too- and the Ikoyi hotel comic book shop. I recall great roads. Taken for granted.

The new Ikoyi is different in many respects. Many barely motor-able roads. Forget jogging safely. Heard of a few affluent victims of accidents while jogging. Never mind the security threat or the double lane high streets now in the middle of million dollar residential villas and luxury apartments.

Sometimes I wonder, is it possible for a place to lose its glory? Or as a real estate enthusiast, a better question would be, what gives a place its glory? What makes one location considered prime and qualify for the adage- so reverently pronounced – Location. Location. Location!

Is it the people who live there? Is it the infrastructure? Community? History? Future plans?
What makes a location desirable?

Join me on a journey in August as I explore neighbourhoods and interesting perspectives about real estate, and lifestyle.

PS. Opinion is mine and does not reflect Fine and Country’s official position.

…Culled from the CEO of Fine and Country – Udo Okonjo


Ikoyi is located at the edge of the Lagos Lagoon and known as the most affluent neighborhood of Lagos, It lies in Eti-Osa Local Government Area, northeast of Obalende and covers the newer suburbs of Banana Island, Parkview and Dolphin Estate. Popular with the upper class residents of Nigeria, Ikoyi is arguably the wealthiest community within Lagos State.


During the colonial era, the island was developed as a residential cantonment for the expatriate British community and still retains many of the large colonial residences built between 1900 and 1950. However, upmarket residential properties continued to be built after the colonial period, and the Island and its Dodan Barracks became the residence of some of Nigeria’s military rulers. Ikoyi now contains many other government buildings as well as the famous Ikoyi Club 1938 and Ikoyi Golf Club.



One of the main attractions in Ikoyi is Awolowo Road, which is a high street lined with upscale shops and boutiques. Due to its proximity to Victoria Island and Lagos Island, much of Lagos’s business tourism is centred on Ikoyi, which has a mix of excellent 5-star hotels such as The Southern Sun which feature modern facilities and conveniences.


Ikoyi Club A product of two clubs, the European Club and The Lagos Golf Club, Ikoyi Club is a popular high profile venue in the neighbourhood where sporting events that can be enjoyed such as Swimming, Lawn Tennis, Squash, Badminton, Table Tennis and Billiards/Snooker.

IKOYI CLUB       ikoyibaptist

Other major landmarks and attractions around Ikoyi include: the Freedom Park, Muson center, various shopping malls, children play centres, religious centres. Ikoyi has some of the most opulent residential facilities in Nigeria, and is thought to have the most expensive real estate on the entire African continent.



The Intelligent Real estate Marketing Training – September 15, 2016

The Intelligent Real Estate Marketing Training has been re-scheduled for Thursday, the 15th of September, 2016. Registration is currently on-going. This training is for Real Estate Developers, Real Estate professionals and brokers, Real Estate Marketing and Sales Executives, anyone planning to get into real estate developments or struggling to achieve results in a tough and changing market place.

Do reserve your space today. Call 08096000027 or email

irem sept 2016



Renting upmarket properties has traditionally been the preserve of multinational corporates and large size local companies, however, as the economy continues to contract, with signs of recession looming, companies and families are reviewing their residential requirements and adjusting to the rapidly changing markets.

Most corporates have dramatically reduced their residential budgets, and are now focused heavily on good quality, well maintained but just as importantly well priced residential properties. The days of bloated budgets are over, with most companies looking at issues of proximity, security, total cost of renting which covers the full service cost and professional fees. In addition, dollar denominated rentals which were a norm are now being hit, with most corporate tenants negotiating proactively to benchmark against the official rate.  Sensible landlords will have to become more sensitive to the market demands to attract good quality tenants and go the extra mile in maintaining a well kept property at reasonable costs to ensure they don’t have a high turn over or worse long vacancy periods.

Front view
1 Cooper Miramar Residences, Ikoyi, Lagos

A new group of tenants who stand to benefit, are families who are now transiting from larger homes to renting either for the medium or long term as a stepping stone to buying a home in prime areas or for lifestyle reasons. This trend carries a number of benefits from its lower ownership expenses, to flexibility and predictability. In a cosmopolitan city such as Lagos, finding a suitable home to rent which provides all the amenities a good quality lifestyle, in a location that is central to  schools, hospitals, entertainment centres, financial institutions, religious centres, and at an attractive rental charge can be a herculean task.

ikoyibaptist View from the top floor of 1 Cooper Miramar Residences

However, the growing stock of over priced rental properties which in most cases do not offer any special features has given new entrants which address a growing market gap for well priced, efficiently managed and well finished prime properties an edge over their nearest competitors.

Living Area
A typical Living Area at ! Cooper Miramar

The Cappa D’alberto built and newly refurbished 1 Cooper-Mirama Residence, which is strategically located on 1 Cooper road in Ikoyi, and offering a  superb collection of 18 units of 3 Bedroom apartments with a sprawling executive penthouse apartment across 10-floors with panoramic views of the Ikoyi metropolis.

Fully fitted kitchen
Fully fitted kitchen at the I Cooper Miramar Residence

Special care has been taken to ensure that tenants are well indulged and have no worries with the presence of  a highly efficient facility management services which ensures maintenance of all facilities such as;

  • swimming pools for children and adults,
  • fully fitted gym,
  •  uninterrupted electricity supply with 900KVA standby generators,
  • fully fitted kitchens with all the necessary amenities
  • Extra large living rooms and bedrooms with modern finishings, which are particularly positioned to provide excellent lighting and ventilation.

The prime address, along with the sensible value pricing and superb presentation of the property, makes a significant difference in today’s market place. Extra security has also been taken into  consideration with the provision of modern security devices as well as 24-hour  security personnel.

Swimming pool - Adult and children
2 Swimming pool – Adult and children

1 Cooper- Mirama Residence is being presented to the market as arguably a superior address, most efficiently priced and presented prime residential accommodation on the Island and ideal for families of high profile local executives and expatriates.


Nestoil Tower – The best office spaces for the best businesses


Brand new, ready-to-lease, the fifteen floor Nestoil Towers is a world class commercial building centrally located in the business district of Victoria Island at the intersection of Akin Adesola and Saka Tinubu streets.

Sitting on a land size of 3900sqm on 15 floors, the Nestoil Tower is an iconic structure with 9904sqm leasable commercial spaces.



• Iconic edifice in a fantastic location
• Grade AAA office facilities
• Excellent road network that networks Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki districts.
• Panoramic view of Eko Atlantic City and the Atlantic Ocean which provides a serene, therapeutic environment for work.
• Residential apartments to provide flexible accommodation as maybe required by corporate guests, executives and expatriates.
• Restaurant
• A helipad for quick and convenient access to the building by air.  We had our first helicopter land on Nestoil Towers  here
• A combination of the best companies in real estate have been engaged to deliver on this premier Grade A office towers:
• A reputable contractor- Julius Berger. has built some of the most prestigious residential and commercial properties on the Lagos Island.
• A design firm with a solid record of accomplishment ACCL – known for outstanding contemporary design and best in class architecture



• Raised Floor for underground cabling, and flexible configuration of office spaces. Available on all leasable Office Floors;
• Double Glazed Curtain Wall Systems to minimize solar heat gains;
• Plug And Play Internet Facility;
• Borehole and Water Treatments;
• Dedicated Transformer with 2 units of 1.3mVA and 1unit of 910kVA Generating Sets;
• Total of 4,110 Square Meters of Premium leasable Office Areas available;
• Flexible floor plate from 231m2 to 810m2
• Kitchenettes and storage rooms available per floor
• 8 restrooms per floor (including disabled toilets).
• 4 passenger lifts/Elevators.
• Car Parking Facilities for over 225 cars on 18 split levels;
• A Helipad.
• Restaurant/Café/Coffee Room, etc.

The Nestoil Tower Grade A offices can rival any other commercial development in the world. It is for the best businesses


Victoria Island skyline
Victoria Island skyline showing Nestoil Tower

For more information on our commercial portfolio, please contact 08096000021.



We present below a real life residential project, Oakwood Residences, located on Cooper Road in Ikoyi as a case study to analyse the key success factors that make a good residential investment.

Every serious investor should recognise before committing to a purchase especially in a market with numerous shades of opportunities, that there will always be some good, many terrible, and other marginal properties. Your task as an investor is to dig through the marginal and terrible ones towards identifying the great opportunities. It requires asking the right questions, working with trusted professionals and educating yourself through independent research.

Untitled-3 Oakwood Residences, Cooper Road, Ikoyi.

Here are 5 key reasons to investing in a great property.


ikoyi bridge

Ikoyi is still one of the most desirable residential location in Nigeria for the affluent and aspirational class. It will always be an appreciating location as far as real estate prices go. How many times have you heard stories of someone who bought a property years ago and today the property is worth significantly in excess of what they paid. In prime locations, when the market rebounds, typically the rate at which prime locations grow exceed other locations exponentially. In addition, Cooper Road in particular is still one of the best preserved roads, retaining its old colonial charm and serenity. This gives it an added value over other busy or not so favoured locations even within Ikoyi.



Living Area
Living Area of Oakwood Residences

Buying off-plan typically  gives you an opportunity to buy below the actual market price upon completion. In some cases, developers release an early bird investors pricing to kick start the project, this is usually the time to get the most benefit and room for growth as prices are usually increased as more properties are sold. This property has not yet been launched, and is been currently offered at below average Ikoyi prices, plus discounted further for early bird investors. We think it has a lot of room for growth- at least 30-40% by completion stage. This is a hidden secret for astute investors. It beats having your cash depreciating in a savings account or on low yield assets.



oakwood yield

Rent is estimated at N13-15m amounting to approximately 10-12% yield of current early bird and estimated completion prices. Because it’s priced below market price, you can charge a sensible rent  and get good quality tenants rather than have the property vacant for long periods of time while waiting for an unrealistic rent like most investors who bought over priced properties. Average rental yields for most investments are approximately 6-8%.




Low deposit required to reserve Oakwood Residences, gets you into the property ladder in a prime location with minimal stress. The ability to pay over the construction period of approximately 18 months makes a huge difference to some investors ability to get onto an opportunity. Investment is usually about sacrificing, and money usually follows vision. Most investors have found from experience that when they commit to an investment, they become more disciplined about their spending, and even become more creative about finding business opportunities to generate the income needed to complete their property investment which they’ve committed to.




Good title is the bedrock of any real estate investment. You don’t buy bricks and mortar, you buy a secure investment, that contributes to your wealth creation plan. Peace of mind, a sense of financial security and freedom to live the life of your dreams are some of the reasons people invest in real estate, and a good title is the foundation of all those aspirations. At Fine and Country, we stake our brand on this particular factor.


Oakwood Residences comes highly recommended and is an excellent investment opportunity for any serious or aspiring investor, whether to live in or to buy to let.


The Beauty of Building with Bricks

Brick buildings have been around for a long time and is a trusted building material that lasts for centuries. The Oakwood Residences located on Cooper road, Ikoyi is being constructed using bricks. The classic brick design is been incorporated in the building exterior with a contemporary twist.

Untitled-3Oakwood Residence, Ikoyi made with the latest bricks technology  is currently under construction. On offer are contemporary, 4 Bedroom apartments and 5 bedroom penthouses with facilities such as a fitness centre, swimming pool, spa, standby generating set for uninterrupted power supply and efficient security systems.


Using bricks for construction has plenty benefits top of which is the attractive look it gives to building.

  1. Genuine clay brick is made from natural materials and are significantly stronger than concrete bricks.

Bricks today are subject to much more stringent manufacturing processes than used in the past, which results in a more consistently performing end-product.  While it is still possible to purchase hand-made brick, it is also possible to buy the type of architectural brick that meets extremely strict product specifications.

caged-light-fixtures-600x467Culled from


  1. Brick offers superior protection over other wall cladding materials

Bricks provide superior shelter in Fire Protection, High wind protection, and Superior moisture control. Bricks are made from non-combustible materials and is an excellent cladding choice to resist or confine fires. They help minimize mold growth, wood rot and infestation by insects.


  1. Brick looks better, for far longer and with less maintenance, than other building materials.

Brick offers lasting value.  It does not rot; dent, or necessarily need to be painted, and it will never tear or be eaten by termites. It looks better with age and also absorbs noise.white-soaking-tub-600x467


  1. Brick is naturally energy-efficient.

Brick is a building material that has exceptional “thermal mass” properties. During the hot weather, your brick home stays cool while during the cold/rainy seasons, brick walls store your home’s heat and radiates it back to you.

A bedroom at Oakwood Residences. Excellent lighting and full ventilation


  1. Brick is the most sustainable green building material made.

Given the significance buildings have on energy consumption, brick should be part of a comprehensive green strategy because today’s brick includes:

  • Inherently Natural Ingredients.
  • Countless Recycling Options.
  • Minimal Waste.
  • Brick is the first masonry material that can attain a “Certificate of Environmental Claims” from a third party source.
  • Environmentally Friendly Manufacturing Processes.
  • Low Embodied Energy to Manufacture Brick.

Women creating wealth through Real Estate investments

In a volatile economy, real estate provides a safe hedge and store of value against inflation. In addition, the opportunities to negotiate great deals are more rampant than in a stable economy.  Real estate is an integral part of our personal, professional lives, the economy and is the secret to long term wealth creation. Women can no longer afford to shy away from investing in real estate.  There is a growing trend in women climbing and staying on the property ladder. This saying could not  be more true as over 70  female professionals and entrepreneurs convened at the Wheatbaker hotel on Thursday, 12th of  May, 2016 for the inaugural edition of “The Finer Wealth Series”

DSC_6314B L-R: Subu Giwa-Amu, CEO of Brookstone Investment and Properties Limited; Nimi Akinkugbe, CEO Bestman Games Limited; Udo Maryanne Okonjo, CEO/Vice Chair, Fine and Country West Africa; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Abosede Osho, MD Land of Promise Limited; and Idowu Thompson, Group Head, Private Banking, First Bank of Nigeria Limited at the First Bank Private Banking, Fine & Country Finer Wealth Series  recently

This initiative of  Fine and Country International WA which was supported by First Bank of  Nigeria Private Banking was aimed at connecting and building  a community of women to build their confidence for real investments through informative sessions in order to create wealth and impact lives and the nation as a whole.

The key note address was presented by the chairman of First Bank of  Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika who educated the guests on the anatomy and mindset of wealth creation through real estate investments. She unearthed the value of real estate investment by sharing her personal experiences in accelerating the real estate ladder through quality investments. She stressed the need for women to embrace delayed gratifications and lifestyle adjustments by focusing less on satisfying immediate wants and developing a mindset of long-term wealth building. Real estate investment according to her is not about the individual personal preference but about the value the investment brings. You can invest anywhere in real estate and do not have to like the location of your investment as long as it yields high value.


Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, Chairman First Bank of Nigeria Limited giving the keynote address at the Finer Wealth Series

The CEO of Fine and Country, Mrs. Udo Okonjo shared on the importance, value and benefits of investing in real estate and how the involvement of women can greatly impact the economy positively in the long run.


Mrs Udo Okonjo discussing the theme of the event “Climbing and staying on the real estate ladder”

Some of the issues that currently affect real estate investors according to her include poor access to finance, limiting government policies/ regulations, and high cost of land. Some of the proposed investment strategies include;

  • Buying land and hold for capital appreciation
  • Buying wholesale and selling retail
  • Upgrading old buildings and sell for a premium
  • Developing new building for rent or sale
  • Investing in bank repossessed properties

The Finer Wealth Series was also sponsored by Giant Beverages, Glitters, and Blue Mahogany.

The Finer Wealth Series is an ongoing series with the next edition holding in Abuja later in the year.



Udo Okonjo, Ibukun Awosika and Fmr. deputy Governor of Lagos State, Princess Sarah Sosan


Aishah Ahmad of Diamond Bank, Nimi Akinkugbe of Bestman Games, Uche Pedro of Bella Naija, Osayi Alile, Fadeke Adepetun


Subu Giwa-Amu, Toyin Bakare, Fadeke Adepetun


First bank of Nigeria Private Banking team





Toyin Bakare, Taiye Aluko, Ivana Akaraiwe and Bose Osho


Toyin Bakare, Udo Okonjo and Bukky George of Health Plus



Fine and Country team




Real Perspectives – Benefits of buying discounted prime residential properties


Why Now is the Best a Time to Invest.

(A practical guide on how to create real estate wealth in a slow market.)

Recently an old client shared a story about how he had bought a property at the height of the real estate downturn. Less than a year later when the market started regaining momentum, he had a property that was essentially worth three times what he had paid, and even received numerous offers. He refused to sell, subsequently building his dream home on the more than two acre property in a choice part of Ikoyi. In future, this investor will extract more layers of value from the same property by developing a multi unit luxury apartment block. Even in today’s sluggish real estate market, you’d be hard placed to find that same sort of value in a similar location. His story is not unique. Investors understand that money is made during tough market times. We have definitely seen an increase in investors specifically looking for “Discounted Properties” and where better to find these than the prime residential market in Ikoyi and Victoria Island where many sellers are getting more realistic.


1. FEAR FACTOR : Every investor in what ever asset class knows that the real gains are to be made when the market is sluggish, when the ‘average, sensible and mostly fearful investor’ is holding back investment decisions. Most serious investors know this is the best time to pick up bargains in all real estate categories, especially prime residential real estate in Ikoyi and Victoria Island and indeed in several other locations. However, if you can afford it, it makes sense to go for the top of the cherry sticking to prime locations or as close to it as possible at this time because that’s where the deals are to be had mainly.

2. CAPITAL GROWTH. SOLID ASSET . Appreciation tends to happen faster and at a higher margin in prime real estate especially when you buy at a discount. Buying at this time in the economy essentially guarantees you immediate capital growth if done right. You could buy it to use as an owner occupier, therefore having a great asset and collateral if needed in future. Alternatively, you could invest as a buy to let investor. Many multinational corporates and top executives who make up the bulk of tenants in this space continue to require good quality rental properties but their budgets have largely been adjusted downwards, so by buying at a discount, you can attract them with a good value market related rental unlike those investors who over capitalised and have a tough time adjusting to reality. Always do the math to see that the numbers stack up and there’s a real discount and upside.

3. MOTIVATED SELLERS/INVESTORS : To supersize your returns, look for motivated sellers in the current market who want to move their property stock because of high interest rates and slow sales. There are also opportunities for buying off investors who bought at the early stage of an off plan project and who may no longer be in a position to complete due to change in financial circumstances. Where the transaction was denominated in dollars, it may also be possible to negotiate a further discount with both the seller and the buyer for cash investors and end up with an exciting investment property with high rental yields and immediate capital appreciation. These type of opportunities present a gold mine for the investor with a keen eye and ear to the ground. Even if you already invested in a project, which is still under construction, if you have holding power and perhaps an ability to buy more, this might be the time to ask your broker for more opportunities. You never know. (We have a couple of these types of opportunities on Fine and Country’s books currently and it’s interesting to see how keen investors are to find great deals.)

4. SAFE HEDGE AND STORE OF VALUE AGAINST INFLATION : For those with mid to long term funds, investing in real estate is a great bet and a good protection against inflation and low deposit rates. With the equities and bond market going through its own upheavals, and rising inflation, it’s clear that this is not the best time to leave cash in the bank, unless it’s emergency funds, or short term funds as real estate is fairly illiquid. That said, it’s probably best to invest in a discounted property opportunity with a large upside and take a short term loan in an emergency situation rather than erode the value of your money daily by leaving it in a low yield investment that gives you a negative return against inflation.

5. FOREIGN CURRENCY ADVANTAGE : And a word for those with foreign currency….wow, do you really need convincing? Now is definitely the time with your currency (USD and GBP at an all time high, why not look for Naira denominated transactions and get real value especially if you have long term ties/plans to Nigeria and can either use the property or lease it.).

Possibly the biggest reason to invest now is that when everyone is playing it safe, the big boys and girls come out to play, picking up the best deals, creating massive wealth, the proverbial rich get richer while the safe stay well, safe and jumping back on the band wagon when everyone else is, and usually paying too much when the market rebounds.


Here are 3 quick tips if you are thinking of looking at discounted property opportunities but don’t have enough immediate cash.

  • FLEXIBLE PAYMENT TERMS . Remember that real estate investment is really about terms. Are you able to close quickly or do you want to put a deposit and negotiate a longer time to pay, and in some cases without incurring interest whether for off plan or already completed properties. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Get the best payment terms possible.
  • CASH IS KING : Remember that cash is king. Your ability to conclude with full payment upfront could make a massive difference to the discount you get.
  • PARTNER/LEVERAGE : Remember that you may not have all the cash, but you could partner with another/other investors to take advantage of discounted properties, if the opportunity is really great. You might even consider a bank loan if your future cash flow supports it and the opportunity is really great.



Finally, everything depends on how you view things. Your perspective makes all the difference. You can see the sluggish real estate market as a reason to stall, stay safe and miss opportunities or you could seize this market opportunity to grow your real estate wealth. As two great biblical investors I know (Joshua and Caleb) said,” Let us go up at once and occupy, for we are well able to overcome the land. It is a very good land”. The question is which land, which real estate will you take over this season.

Udo Okonjo
Ps. Are you interested in exploring some discounted opportunities? Check out this great top grade investment buy or contact us with your specific requirements.



Commercial real estate according to Wikipedia refers to buildings or land intended to generate a profit, either from capital gain or rental income. Commercial real estate includes office buildings, strip malls, restaurants and any other real estate in which people conduct business. Investing in commercial real estate just like any other business decision, has its risks and benefits. There is the need for expertise and careful strategizing before a well informed decision can be reached on whether or not to purchase or lease a commercial real estate.

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There are some basic steps to take before you purchase a commercial real estate and they are outlined below;
1. Analyze the risk and benefits of purchasing commercial real estate:
When making the decision to purchase a commercial property, it is important to take into consideration the potential risk and benefits that a purchase may hold for your business.
Some of the risks/benefits involved in investing in commercial real estate are as follows;
• Buying in to commercial real estate may be more beneficial than leasing if you are buying to maximize return on investment.
• Owning your commercial property adds to your asset appreciation over time, which means that your company’s equity grows.
• It is critical to buy commercial properties in the right location. The right location ensures that your business is at the heart of select target audience and is easily accessible by your clients, key suppliers, and associated businesses. The right location also conveys a certain kind of impression to your target audience which in turn benefits your business. It is also important to note that the locations that are “hot” today might not be so tomorrow and vice versa.

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• Buying of commercial real estate when the finances to do so is not readily available can lead to loss of liquidity.
• If you intend to put up your commercial real estate for lease, it is important to understand that leasing is not always the best option for cash flow. Tenants can default with their payment date, or even out rightly decide not pay at all, and if you are depending on the income it can turn out to be very disappointing.
• The income that a piece of commercial real estate produces is directly related to its usable square footage which leads to higher yields.

2. Seek advice from a team of experts:
When considering the option of buying a commercial real estate you need knowledge and experienced advice before you go ahead with the purchase to enable you make the right decisions. Your team should be properly selected based on their track records and working styles. The team should consist of a Real Estate Professional who specializes in commercial real estate to help select suitable properties in preferred location within the budget and also facilitate negotiations between buyers and sellers; an Attorney to conduct due diligence on the property, prepare formal offers, reviewing all documents, and ensure contracts are sufficiently detailed, and structured to your maximum advantage; an Accountant to help figure out what your business can afford and analyze the tax and operating budget benefits; an Insurance Agent to insure your assets; a Business Advisor to provide solid perspective and advice in the financial process; and/or a Mortgage Broker/Lender to provide finance if required.

Overview of Victoria Island, Lagos
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3. Choose the property wisely:
Some of the things to take into consideration when choosing the right commercial property for your business include location, accessibility, sale/lease price, size and layout of space, type of building, construction, available facilities including administrative support and meeting areas, car parking, security, opportunities for expansion, and lots more. Once you have shortlisted the commercial property that best suits your requirements, work with the owner on the right price.

4. Get financing for the purchase of the property:
Make sure before you apply for any mortgage (if needed) you already have the down payment covered, as well as proof of income to cover the monthly payments. Commercial properties generally attract a higher down payment than residential properties.

At this point, you need to have your lawyer explain every detail of the sales/purchase agreement (SPA) so that you know exactly what your rights and obligations are.
Commercial real estate like residential properties is also affected by the law of demand and supply. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for purchasing commercial real estate. That decision must be weighed by individual businesses and their specific requirements and goals. Investing in commercial real estate is a long-term affair and it is important you get it right from the start.


Intelligent Real Estate Marketing Training for Developers








Following the highly successful REFINED INVESTOR SERIES which held in November 2015 and feedback from stakeholders, Fine and Country International (W.A) in collaboration with the Institute of Real Estate Excellence (IREE) are pleased to invite you to participate in this mid-year Training/ Conference specifically designed for Real Estate Developers and Investors.


Developers Conference Flier 2

Target Audience? 

  • Real Estate Developers – Niche, Mid size to Premium Developers and Individual investors looking to Position, Create and Sustain substantial profit from their developments in a challenging market.
  • Anyone responsible for creating and delivering results in a Real Estate Organisation.
  • Anyone planning to get into real estate developments or struggling to achieve results in a tough and changing market place.
  • Top real estate professionals and brokers.

Please contact Nkechi Chikwendu on 08096000027 or for more information and to confirm your attendance. Also visit here for more information.


Live . Work . Play at the Eden Heights Residences

People increasingly value properties that offer “extraordinary moments and experiences.” That, we can confirm, admirably and accurately describes Eden Heights when it is fully completed later this year.

Eden heights - living area of show apartment

With unique features such as its Asian theme spa,  fully fitted fitness centre and entertainment room, Eden  Heights  offers 1-4 bedroom apartments and 5 bedroom penthouses (180ft in the sky on two floors). These units are 80% SOLD OUT

Eden heights gym    Eden Heights spa


Fully fitted gym and Asian theme spa

Traditionally, there are a few ways to make serious money as an entrepreneur. They include business ownership; securities investment and speculation; and, perhaps the most personally rewarding, real estate entrepreneurship. As the market continues to buckle with  decreasing purchasing power and investments losing their value, there is need for a hedge against the effects of devaluation. Like gold, real estate tends to retain its intrinsic value even during periods of inflation. It holds its value and purchasing power during inflation.

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Fully fitted kitchens and well designed en-suite bedrooms


Early investors are already befitting from their investment in Eden Heights as its growth has exceeded inflation and beaten the currency function risk with 50-75% increase from the initial off-sales price.  The rental prices currently have a higher yield leading to an increase in the Return on Investment (ROI).


With contemporary and modern technological features, Eden Heights is both a dream home and an astute investor’s top choice. It is also in close proximity to leading schools, financial institutions, business districts, restaurants and entertainment centers.

To view its well designed show apartment or for more information on this development, please contact us on 08096000024 or 08096000049.


Strengthening the economy – The Naira and Yuan Swap Deal

Nigeria recently signed a currency swap agreement with China. This is the Federal Government bid to manage the exchange rate crisis and reduce the strain on the Naira due to the rising exchange rate in relation to the dollar. China is one of the biggest exporters to Nigeria and make up more than 70% of Nigeria’s imports. In lay-man terms, Nigerians will not need to use dollars when doing business with the Chinese but can use yuan directly. It is expected to reduce the demand for dollar and in the long run strengthen the Naira. 

Since 2014 when Yuan was recognised as a likely global reserve currency, Ghana, South Africa, Malaysia, South Korea and Zimbabwe have integrated the currency into their financial markets. The Naira will be joining other currencies which directly currently trade with the Yuan like the dollar, euro, yen, pound, the Australian Aussie, the New Zealand dollar, Russia’s rouble, Swiss francs, the Singaporean dollar and the Malaysian ringgit.

Protagonists are of the opinion that this will strengthen the economy and increase the growth of businesses ad investments in the country while antagonists believe that this will open the economy a lot more than necessary to the Chinese leading to an over-flooding of Chinese goods and services to the detriment of locally produced goods and services.

How does this affect the real estate industry? Some of the materials used in construction, design, fittings, home accessories are imported from China. With the use of yuan, there will be a noticeable reduction in the cost of building. But care needs to be taken that high standards are upheld and enforced.


The best development for the best brands – Nestoil Tower, Victoria Island, Lagos

Nestoil B

Iconic, Innovative and of International Standards are some of the words that describe the Nestoil Tower

This sixteen floor development  consists of office spaces, multi-storey parking, recreational facilities and world-class security features strategically located at 41-42 Akin Adesola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

 office interior

The open plan commercial space at Nestoil Tower. Constructed by Julius Berger, Nestoil Tower is of quality build and maintenance is guaranteed.

Its strategic location at the intersection of Akin Adesola and Saka Tinubu streets with unmatchable accessibility, convenience and to top governmental organizations, financial institutions, 5 star hotels, recreational centres, leading schools and the Eko Atlantic makes the Nestoil Towers easily accessible and in the heart of the commercial business district.


The view of the Eko Atlantic from the 8th floor of Nestoil Towers

Constructed by Julius Berger, Nestoil Towers has attained the LEED standard Certification (Silver) making it an energy efficient and environmentally friendly development and also an indication of Nestoil’s commitment to a culture of innovation and environmental consciousness.

nestoil helipad

The presence of a helipad makes for quick and convenient transit for any location directly to your work place.


• Raised flooring and dry wall partition systems in all office spaces  to allow for flexible configuration of office spaces.
• Dedicated, state-of-the-art restroom facilities(with special consideration for the disabled) for every general office space in line with the British Standard Code.
• Central  canteen facility for the entire building
• Covered roof terrace which may be used  for top executive to host private functions.
• Special facilities for people with disabilities.
• Automated Access Control facilities  throughout the apartment levels in order to maintain very high level security
• Central atrium with water features to enhance the ambience of the Residences. • Ducted cold water chillier air conditioning system
• 24hr Security and electricity with 3nos. generating sets and 2.5mVA dedicated transformer
• Generous car parking space


WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO NEXT IN GLOBAL REAL ESTATE? Lessons from Oxford Real Estate Conference.


Where will the money go next was the key note and topic at the recently concluded Oxford Real Estate Conference at the Said Business School, Oxford University recently.


Pitching African Real Estate.

As an alumni of the Oxford Estate Programme, I was particularly delighted to be reconnecting with some alumni, and  our professor, the affable Dr. Andrew Baum author of Global Real Estate who I had a really interesting debate with at last year’s executive real estate programme. I had questioned the over emphasis on corporate real estate (offices and retail mainly) as the main form of profitable real estate investing for institutions. I had also tried extremely hard to draw the class’s attention to emerging opportunities in Africa (especially Nigeria), in the residential and other emerging sectors such as educational, medical, warehousing, localised retail and similar specialised real estate. I even convinced my project team to do our group presentation and allocate the $50 million or so dollars towards setting up a world class educational centre to be located in Eko Atlantic and attracting a top private school such as Harrow or Eton to operate it either under licence or joint venture similar to the models being seen increasingly in some parts of Asia. In addition, we considered an ultra high end specialised retail centre attracting all the international luxury retail brands, to be created along ‘private boulevards’ (never mind we have no such thing yet in Nigeria, although Raymond Njoku with its many niche boutiques appears to be shaping up as a class B potential “boulevardish” destination).





At the previous more in depth real estate executive program, we had a stimulating debate about “trophy real estate” and the reason Asians, Russians and other investors appear to be investing in London, and other locations without apparent consideration for real or immediate returns, most times edging out other more traditional and conservative investors. I enjoyed challenging the assumption that all investors were ‘red tied’ fund managers who make decisions purely based on typical technical real estate valuation and investment criteria. Having actively engaged with the top 1% of African Investors in real estate, I had realised that there are other objectives beyond bottom line that drive real estate investment decision making. For Africa, a need to make a difference, to build the future skylines, or to define new landmarks such as the LEED certified Nestoil Office or Civic Centre office Tower, create solutions that solve real developmental problems such as the Eko Atlantic with fixing the ocean surge and damage, or Orange Island in reclaiming land that integrates the communities while providing a new middle class lifestyle community;  all these, while profiting in due course.


A similar debate was put to the panel at the 2015 Refined Investor Series by Fine and Country to Mr. Jim Ovia, Chairman of Quantum, Investor/Developers of Civic Centre Office Tower and Mrs. Maryanne Obiejesi, ED Nestoil about what drives investors, “Vision or Ego”. Of course, this was a tongue in cheek question as we didn’t really expect any one to admit upfront that they are driven by ego unless it was one of the Ibo variation.


The truth however, with even a cursory study, is that there is a healthy dose of ego in any kind of business venturing that seeks to challenge the norm or real estate that will define or change landscapes. It takes a measure of personal belief, at a deeper level than most for the Chagouris, the group behind the visionary and gigantic Eko Atlantic, none Nigerian natives, to be so invested in a project that we all agree is a generational one.


Interestingly at the Oxford Conference while speaking on Emerging Markets- BRICs & Mortar: it was agreed that as with all entrepreneurial pursuits, bravery not bravado is what’s required.




Various topics were addressed and debated, and of particular relevance was the session on: “Where will the money go next? Interestingly not to Africa, although Cheryl Mills, CEO, BlackIvy Group and Larry English, CEO of Reall, both made a spirited call for investors to become more creative in their view points of real estate risk and look at the growth story in Africa which can not be ignored for much longer. Although the examples focused mainly on Ghana and Tanzania, Cheryl Mills’ presentation was very compelling. Here are a few of the highlights on what she referred to as success factors for investing in sub Saharan Africa.




  1. BIG APPETITE BUT START WITH SMALL BITES  Africa may have a large appetite but can only eat in small bites. Take on bite size fights. If you are investing in Africa, be ready to invest in smaller doses. E.g. Telecommunications companies changed their outcome when they started selling smaller denominations of pay as you go.
  2. PASSION. Passion for Africa is critical. Have a lot of humility.
  3. TRUST & TRANSPARENCY: Relationship is key. Ability to build trust with all stakeholders especially where dealing with communities or government. They want to know how much you care and are willing to give/ invest or if you are merely exploitative.
  4. IMAGINATION. Ability to use imagination. Dig deep and move from traditional expectations or approach.
  5. COURAGE & PATIENCE. Be Courageous. Be brave. Be willing to walk away from what goes against your values. Patient capital in Africa must go beyond 7 years. You must make sure you have the right type of capital to win long term.
  6. LOCAL PARTNERS. Be Willing to work with local partners. But have your own team on ground to communicate your values and be able to pivot when needed.


Finally, you have to be interested in wanting to win for more than the money. In addition to the money, there has to be the sense of having contributed to something that makes a difference to the lives of the country, whether it’s new shopping centres that create jobs, houses with enhanced lifestyle and offices with working environment that attract even better investors, infrastructure that contributes to making sure Africa can become better referred to as “Rapidly Emerging Economies versus Undeveloped ” according to Harvard Professor,  Arthur Segel who did an excellent job of laying the foundation for investing in Real Estate as a unique asset class using the Matrix of imperfections, showing that Real estate is the most imperfect of all asset classes and that these imperfections are maximised in emerging markets.



In Arthur Segel’s words, the stories from African markets are real. Urbanisation is continuing with great increase in population. It’s where the money will be made, not just in Real estate, housing, but innovations of all kinds, technology, telecommunications, power. The risks, we all agreed are also real. Enterprise is equal to bravery.  Exit and currency risks are important factors and EXECUTION in Africa is EVERYTHING.  This is where the money is to be made but you need to be brave, this is the world you are going into and definitely your children.


So to answer the question, where will the money go? As with Cheryl Mills, I really do believe in the African opportunities, especially Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania. But be prepared. Go in with your eyes open and be prepared for the long term.


Udo Okonjo LL.M (Corporate and Commercial Law)

CEO/Vice Chair Fine and Country West Africa

Member of the Oxford Real Estate Society


Intelligent Real Estate with Udo Okonjo is a bi monthly series published in Businessday newspaper. 





The Nigerian real estate industry experienced a breakthrough at the start of the year with the launch of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC). This has brought a welcome change to the industry that has a housing deficit of about 17 million units (with additional 2 million units added each year) and would significantly improve access to housing finance this year.

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What is Mortgage refinancing?
A mortgage refinance refers to applying for another mortgage to replace an existing mortgage on a property. This situation is common in times where there is a fall in mortgage rate. For example, if mortgage rates happen to be lower at the present moment than when the home was originally financed, or if the homeowner decided upon an adjustable rate mortgage accompanied with a lower interest rate than the current rate, the monthly payment will actually go down. Even an interest rate reduction of one-half of a percent can make a difference in the payments that is quite noticeable.

Type of Mortgage Refinance
Depending on your situation, different types of home mortgage refinance will be better suited to address your needs. Common ways to refinance your mortgage include:
Fixed Rate – With this refinancing option, the homeowner is given a fixed rate interest amount. This gives them peace of mind, because they know that ten or fifteen years down the road, their interest rate is going to be exactly the same as it is now.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage – The opposite of the fixed rate mortgage, the adjustable rate would allow individuals to experience seriously low rates. It’s a bit of a gamble, but if interest rates go way down, individuals will be able to enjoy the break. There is always the risk that the rates will increase, though.
Cashing-out Equity with Refinancing – This option allows individuals to cash out their equity and use it for major purchases, improvements, bills, etc. Individuals who decide to go this route can often still choose from a fixed or adjustable rate mortgage and can sometimes increase the term of their loan, making payments smaller and more affordable.

Creative Terms – Some companies offer creative terms for refinancing, such as interest only refinancing and more. The refinancing company should work with each individual to determine what kind of creative terms would best benefit their situation.
Mortgages are refinanced as it;
• Shorten the term of the loan
• Lowers interest rate and payment
• Provides an opportunity to refinance from an adjustable rate mortgage to a fixed rate loan
• Provides an opportunity to cash out home equity

Understand the Reasons for Refinancing
Homeowners often have different reasons for refinancing. Some simply seek to reduce their rate of interest. However, that may not always be to their advantage, as the related fees may end up being more that the gains from the rate reduction. In order to make the best decision, it is important to have an understanding of their reasons. It could be for consolidation of debt, home improvement, or for a major purchase. It could also be for other personal or financial reasons, perhaps taking a loan for cash to purchase a car. Some purchases may be used for deductions on interest payments on the tax return. It is always wise to consult a tax attorney, accountant or financial planner prior to making those decisions.

Benefits of NMRC
The foremost objectives of the NMRC is to bridge the funding cost of residential mortgages by promoting the availability and affordability of good housing through increased access to liquidity and longer-terms funds in the mortgage market.

Mortgage financing through NMRC would also extend maturities for Nigerian home-buyers to as much as 20 years. This means that a longer period of payment would result in a lower amount in repayments on a monthly basis.
The NMRC is also expected to help push down the interest rates for mortgages in Nigeria, from 20 percent currently, to 13 – 14 percent, helping to make mortgages more affordable for prospective home buyers.

What to be aware of when refinancing
Borrowers need to be aware that some mortgage companies may include pre-payment penalties in the loan contract. Offered as a clause in the contract, they may require a penalty payment if the property is refinanced or sold prior to a specified date. While most lenders do not insert penalties for pre-payment in the contract, there are some less than reputable lenders who impose excessive penalties – sometimes as high as 85% or six months of interest on the original balance of the loan. It is important to learn what penalties may be in the contract prior to signing. Employing the services of a professional real estate consultant would ensure that your interests are protected.



The importance of documentation in real estate cannot be over emphasised. It is important to note that 75 – 80 % of real estate business is legal and these legal transactions cannot be void of documentations. Before any real estate transaction can be said to be successfully concluded, all documents have to be up-to-date and duly signed by relevant parties.

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In Nigeria, all land within a state (except those vested in the Federal Government or its agent) is owned by the Governor of the state, who holds land in trust for the people and has power to allocate as far as urban areas are concerned; while the rural areas is allocated by the control of local government authorities. The current land ownership system became operative after the promulgation of the Land Use Act, Cap 202, Volume 11, Laws of the Federation (1990). Prior to this law, land ownership was primarily based on settlement, conquest, sale, gifts or larches and acquiescence.

It is important that as an investor in real estate or as a real estate firm you should know what governs land ownership and the legal documents used in conveying title for land ownership in the state, where your business is located or where you intend to invest in.

What types of documents are required in a real estate transaction?
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Some of the documents required in real estate are as below;
• Certificate of Occupancy (CofO)
• Letter of Allocation
• Registered Title – Deed of Assignment/Sub-lease/Indenture
• Land Certificate
• Governor’s Consent
• Deed of Assent (Registration By Administrators/Executors of an Estate)
• Power of Attorney

All these documents should be duly registered at the appropriate registry.
Before the advent of a Certificate of Occupancy, other documents such as a deed of conveyance, deed of gifts etc, also existed as proof of land ownership. Holders of such documents have statutory right of occupancy and remain valid provided they have been converted to lease hold which is subject to the Governor’s approval.
In land ownership for example, a registered document is usually obtained by customary occupants of a land registering such land at the Land Registry. This is usually done before ownership of the customary land can be transferred to another owner. After that, a deed of assignment is prepared and issued to the new owner who is expected to get a Governor’s consent for the Deed. Upon the grant of a Governor’s consent, a landowner can proceed to request for a Certificate of Occupancy (CofO). It is important to note that a C of O in its self is not sufficient to claim ownership of a property without a Governor’s consent.
The importance of knowing what title documents cover for land ownership in your state, guides a buyer when carrying out due diligence on a property. All verifications of title documents are done at the State’s Land Registry.

Other documents that are needed in a real estate transaction include but are not limited to;
Sale/Purchase Agreement – This is another important document which contains the terms and conditions governing the sale and purchase of a property. This document serves as a guideline for the transaction between a buyer and seller. It covers purchase price, type of title, the date the agreement would become unconditional, any deposit the buyer must pay or cost that must be paid if the seller defaults. This document protects both the buyer and seller from any breach of contract as referrals can be made to this document, which serves as a binding and a legal contract once it is executed.
Reservation form: This is usually presented to a prospective client in order to confirm the prospects commitment in a property and to reserve a property within a given a period of time, which the prospect is expected to make further commitments to buying or leasing the property. This document helps protect the interest of the prospective client and helps save the company’s productive time from non-committed prospects. It evaluates the level of interest a client has in a property.
Receipt of payment: This serves as evidence that monies or other forms of consideration have been exchanged between the buyer and seller.

Why it is important to have accurate documentation in real estate?
1. Title documents when verified give the buyer confidence to use the land without fear.
2. Title documents that have been verified are legal documents that are admissible in a court of law in the event of any dispute that may arise in future.
3. Title documents also serve as a form of collateral which an individual can use to access loans from financial institutions.
4. For the real estate marketing firm, having all necessary title documents gives the firm the edge over their competitors as prospective buyers have confidence in your property listings. It creates a trust level between you and your client.
5. Documentation plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the real estate firm keeps track of its progress and list of clients, take note of flaws if any, in previous transactions and enable the firm measure its sales progress by the years.

It is important that both parties read all documents carefully and fully understand the full content of the documents before signing. It is strongly recommended that professional legal advice is sought prior to entering into any contractual agreement.


Tips to successful negotiation in real estate market.

The Nigerian real estate market is very dynamic with constant changes and evolving trends and has experienced significant growth in recent times with the availability of various financing structures. It is fast becoming the frontier of investment in Africa leading to an improvement in housing supply and increase in effective demand and transactions hence the importance of negotiations. Having interest in real estate is great but being able to elevate the interest to actual sales can be done through negotiations. The “art of negotiation” is not just a simple isolated exchange, but rather a continuing effort. Negotiations can make or break real estate deals so being a skilled negotiator is very important to buyers, sellers and especially real estate consultants.
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Negotiating is an art, one that requires both experience and knowledge. All real estate transactions are unique as both buyer and seller want the best outcomes that favour them or at very least represents a fair balance of interests as nobody wants to feel cheated or slighted. Success in real estate, whether it is buying or selling a house, comes down to negotiations and getting the best deal possible. The strategy for negotiating the purchase of a home is always based on facts – the current price in the real estate market, the seller’s requirements, amenities in the property, and its comparative value to similar properties in the location. In getting the best negotiations, you have to develop a strong bargaining position which can be gotten from having in-depth knowledge of the property. A strong bargaining position can also be derived from the ability to answer the following;

1. Do you understand the market?

At various times we’re in a “buyers” market, a “sellers” market, or a balanced market where housing supply and demand are roughly equal. In a buyers’ market, supply outstrips demand so the buyer has more control of the negotiations. The reverse is the case in a “sellers market” where demand outstrips supply and sellers get the price that is being offered or even more. However, in a balanced market, this is where the real negotiations take place as there is an equal supply of homes and buyers. Counteroffers are rampant on this phase and transaction closure takes longer than the other markets as both sides feel no urgency and personal priorities reign

2. Do you know what to leverage on?
Leverage means everything when it comes to negotiations and both the home seller and home buyer should be aware of where they stand before stepping in to the bargaining process. For example, if the home buyer knows that the home owner is desperate to sell for whatever reason, the home buyer has a lot of leeway in the negotiation process. On the other hand, if the home buyer is one of many vying for the home, the home seller then gains the upper hand.

3. Is there available finance?
The available finance for the real estate purchase is very important as a pre-qualified buyer with known financial capacity increases the chances of the transaction taking place and represents less risk to owners than a buyer with unknown financial capacity. Also, the lower the current interest rates at a particular period of time, the larger the pool of potential buyers. More buyers equal more potential demand, and more closed transactions.

4. What is the Comparative Value of similar properties?
This plays a lot in the transaction as cost of similar properties can be used for negotiation purposes and this could be to the benefit of the developer and buyer. Similar properties could cost significantly less than the property for sale, but with the addition of value enhancers like recreational facilities, amenities could be used during negotiation to get the premium prices demanded by the seller and vice versa.

5. Do you have the right expertise and knowledge?
Employing the services of an experienced real estate professional (for both the buyer and seller) ensures that each side is sufficiently represented and gets the best deal possible from the transaction. The best real estate agents have tremendous expertise when it comes to market value in particular areas and are very knowledgeable. Experienced brokers see opportunities where laymen might not and can extract the absolute best value from any transaction.

During negotiations, never take an adversarial or even aggressive posture in your interactions with real estate agents, buyers or sellers. Doing the opposite actually works better bearing in mind the main reason you are having the negotiations which is to solve your real estate needs as a buyer or seller. All information released during negotiations must be delivered at the right time, place, and manner and designed to improve your position in the transaction.



A real estate advisory is a document that contains detailed information on a property or development along with its estimation with regards to its location, price, budget, current and future returns, etc that guides an investor in making the best decision for investment or reinvestment purposes.
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Real estate is an important asset and investing in it has always been a favored and major source of wealth creation. Astute investors choose to invest in real estate because apart from its financial benefits, it satisfies an unnamed urge to hold and possess property. But as is always the case, any financially rewarding field is always mined with unscrupulous, fly-by-night operators and much hype. This is where real estate property advisors play an important role in navigating the minefield that is real estate.
The importance of getting the right advisory before making any real estate investment cannot be over emphasized but firstly we would need to examine who a real estate advisor is.

Who is a real estate advisor?
He/she is a certified professional and an ‘insider’ of the real estate business with hands-on real estate experience in dealing with investments of real estate funds. He/ she is aware of the shifting and fluctuating world of real estate and is in a unique position to guide an investor by analyzing different scenarios, formulating strategies and applying proven methodologies. Real estate advisors work in all fields of real estate be it commercial and residential sales, rentals, property acquisition and development etc.

Why do you need a real estate advisor?
• They help you make sustainable real estate decisions that are rewarding and open a stream of continuous income due to their broad knowledge on profitable and value added properties and investments in real estate and assets.
• They help propose efficient investment plans which are executed with effective minimized cost, and they later increase the investment value with the help of operational and financial management.
• They explain all procedures and workings of the real estate industry in a simplified manner. His/her knowledge of the laws and regulations governing real estate is an added advantage.
• They link you with the right agents, brokers, lenders, appraisers and inspectors.

What are the duties of a real estate advisor?
The duties of a real estate advisor will include but are not exhaustive of the following:
• Research – The real estate advisor is expected to provide economic research and regional research of whatever project he has been commissioned to do. The economic research will give an overview of the current state of the Nigerian Economy, the money market and the Real Estate market with full details on the major sectors in the economy and also interest rates that may affect any transactions. The regional research will be more focused on the city and the area of the city the property is located.
(To be continued in the next edition)



We know there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Simply put, trust must be earned and you are only trust worthy if you are accountable. that is where the LEED certification comes in.



LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Among business professionals, LEED certification is becoming the new standard by which grade A commercial developments are judged. Building a LEED-certified building demonstrates a commitment to good environmental practices.  It holds businesses accountable for what they say is true.

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Nestoil Tower in Victoria Island, Lagos has attained the LEED standard Certification (Silver) and it is the first mixed use development in West Africa to achieve this.

Buildings that LEED’s strict guidelines have been shown to have numerous benefits to employees, public image and a company’s bottom line.

Happier Employees
LEED-certified buildings have large windows, open spaces, and are generally built with employee or occupant comfort in mind as much as energy savings. Besides offering increased sunlight, LEED buildings also have significantly higher air quality and more comfortable work space for employees. By making work a place where employees feel comfortable and happy, productivity will also increase.

Community Benefits
Having a green building that is recognized by LEED certification is a dramatic and public way of demonstrating a strong commitment to green practices and improving the environment. LEED-certified construction projects also stimulate the local economy, since one of LEED’s best practices is utilizing local materials and labor wherever possible.

Lower Operating Costs
This is perhaps the most obvious benefit of LEED-certification, and it ranks high on the list of any corporation considering new construction. LEED-certified projects do typically have a higher initial investment because of the need for stricter standards for construction, materials and labor, but this initial investment can be recovered in short order. Various studies have been done to measure increased efficiency among LEED buildings, but the largest of these studies was conducted by the New Building Institute in 2008 and found an average decrease in energy consumption of approximately 24 percent. This sort of savings can easily translate into millions of dollars per year.

Public Image
Green technology is a popular way of improving public image, and for good reason: people want to know that local businesses are committed to good environmental practices, and nothing demonstrates this commitment like LEED certification. Although many companies consider LEED certification purely for the environmental benefits, the improved publicity and public image are another reason to consider LEED-certified construction.




What really is Luxury in the Nigerian Real estate

In today real estate market, just flipping the pages of a property magazine depicts most of the properties (especially in choice locations) as luxury. But what really is luxury in the Nigerian real estate? Is it defined by location or by the product?
Cities in Nigeria such as Ikoyi, Banana Island, Eko Atlantic, Victoria Island in Lagos and Asokoro, Maitama, Wuse in Abuja have been labelled as being home to some of the most expensive real estate in Africa. Owning a home in these locations can cost a buyer more than he or she would earn in two lifetimes. The question therefore is ‘does location provide you with luxury? Or is the luxury factor vested in the snob appeal of the location?













Eden Heights – Premium residential development offering 1-4 bedroom apartments and 5 bedroom penthouses in Victoria Island, Lagos with amenities such as a Health Spa, Swimming pool, contemporary fully fitted kitchens, fitness centre and  lots more.

Luxury exists in the eyes of the beholder. It means different things to different people. For example, would a family that lives in a compact, 2 Bedroom apartment in Banana Island be living in luxury? Or would such a family live in luxury if it sold this apartment and moved to a more modern, spacious, 3-4 bedroom duplex in the suburbs? With the increasing shortage of land in prime locations (leading to the creation of new cities like the Eko Atlantic, Orange Island, Rainbow Town), home prices are constantly on the rise and beyond the affordability for most buyers. Homes in such locations are mostly bought for the sake of address value and easy access to the CBD.











Osborne Towers -Premium residential development offering 4 bedroom apartments in Ikoyi, Lagos with amenities such as a 2 Swimming pools (for adult and kids), contemporary fully fitted kitchens, concierge services, leisure centre and  lots more. 

If the true meaning of luxury is assumed to be solely about spending huge amounts of money to buy a super-premium property in a prime location, then certainly only the ‘uber rich’ would get the taste of such luxury. In the real estate market, luxury is mostly focused on the amenities offered, location and price. Value, lifestyle and the Experience are some of the components of luxury that critical to us at Fine and Country.

This is an ongoing debate that we will be looking to develop for the rest of the year.


How to market a development without blowing a budget

Marketing is a very important aspect of any business especially real estate and when done right has the potential to lead to great success (closed transactions). In order to carry out successful marketing, one must have effective ways of reaching their target audience. There is however a general notion that for marketing to be effective, it has to be cost intensive. Expensive marketing does not necessarily translate to increased sales.
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Most companies or individuals trying to market property developments usually have a marketing budget. A marketing budget is an estimated projection of costs required to promote a business’ products or services. A marketing budget will typically include all promotional costs, including marketing communications like website development, advertising and public relations, as well as the costs of employing marketing staff and utilizing office space. Marketing budgets ensure that your marketing plan or campaign is realistic.

There are several ways of marketing real estate. A relatively cost efficient and effective way of marketing a property is through the use of the internet. Over the years there has been an increase in internet usage in Nigeria leading to an increase in the number of Nigerians are searching for properties to buy or lease online. Thus it is of great importance that real estate companies ensure they have some sort of online presence. The internet is also an inexpensive form of marketing when compared to other mediums like renting a billboard for instance. The use of the internet is flexible and can be customised so that adverts of property developments are directed solely at the target market.
The internet can be used to market properties in the following ways:
Company Website
This is one of the most cost efficient and effective ways of connecting with your target market. The website should be straightforward and simple to navigate through. It should also have sufficient information about any development being marketed and should answer most questions clients might have. Steps should also be taken to have the pages optimized so that it will rank high in clients search engine results. This is a great way to reach the target market without blowing your budget.

Social Media
A large number of Nigerians are active on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This is a fantastic way to reach your target market. After conducting research on the general pattern of usage of social media by your target market, you can ensure steps are taken so that you are reaching them directly. For instance you can try and get relationships with Face book pages frequently visited by members of your target market and get your company and developments introduced creatively on your Facebook page. Social media can be used as a marketing tool without blowing your budget.

Online Newsletter
Periodically, newsletters can be sent to clients in a company’s data base to build relationships. It can also be used as a tool to attract new clients. The newsletters may contain information about new and old property developments on offer. This is an efficient way of marketing because you can ensure that the newsletters are being sent purely to your target market and it costs next to nothing to do this.
Apart from using the internet to market property developments, other cost efficient methods of marketing a development are:

Creative Pricing Strategies
Nigerian properties in certain areas are very expensive. There are also not many effective ways of raising funds externally to buy a property. Therefore, in order to attract people to your development, you can create pricing strategies. These are innovative financial structuring schemes that are tailored to suit the needs of clients, and are a valid and effective method of adding real value in a changing world of property market dynamics. Some of the schemes that have worked well in the past are;
• Flexible payment plan options by paying in instalments, especially when purchasing a development over long periods of time
• Offering buyers the option of renting a home at a minimum monthly rent, along with a specified deposit and a three-five year lock-in period, with the option of buying the rented home at a later date and other creative strategies. This marketing strategy should however take into account the developer’s financial ability, cost and source of funding.

In certain Nigerian social circles, most people know or know of each other. Hence people within a company’s target market may be acquainted with each other. This means that existing clients can use the process of word of mouth to help market the real estate company and its products to similar people like them who are within the companies target market. Thus it is important that excellent services are provided at all times and on-going relationship is maintained with them even after the business relationship has ended. A good client relationship is important because it is just as easy for them to blacklist your company and the properties you offer if you have a bad relationship with them.



The Refined Investor Series which held on November 27 at the Civic Centre is still being talked about widely in the industry.

Refined Investor Series is a real estate thought leadership event targeted at economic influencers, industry leaders, real estate developers, astute investors, and real estate/property enthusiasts. The theme of the event was “Building The Future: Where Do Skyscrapers Come From? Aimed at exploring the past, present and future of Nigeria’s skylines, and  HOW, WHO, and WHAT should shape it to attract the right local and global investors.

Our speakers at the event: Mr Jim Ovia, Mrs. Nnenna Obiejesi of Nestoil Towers, Mr. Pierre Edde of Eko Atlantic, Mrs. Yinka Ogunsulire of Orange Island, our very own Mrs. Udo Okonjo from Fine & Country West Africa, Mr. Idowu Thompson of First Bank Private Wealth, Professor Fabian Ajogwu S.A.N. and a host of other industry leaders and economic influencers gave compelling presentations on the Real Estate industry and the path to building an exciting future in Nigeria.


From L-R Pierre Edde, Development Director of South Energyx Nigeria; Udo Okonjo, Vice Chair Fine and Country West Africa; Nnenna Obiejesi, Executive Director, Nestoil Limited; Jim Ovia, Chairman Zenith Group & Quantum Luxury Properties; Yinka Ogunsulire, Managing Director, Orange Island; Frank Aigbogun, Publisher Businessday Newspaper at the recently concluded Refined Investor Series hosted by Fine and Country in collaboration with the Institute for Real Estate Excellence.

Some of the notable facts from the event include the following below;

1. Real estate sector is the 6th largest sector in the Nigerian economy with Lagos state covering 37% of real estate activity in Nigeria (according to the National Bureau of Statistics). The sector contributed 7.57% to the GDP in the third quarter of 2015

2. It was gathered that approximately 61.58% of real estate establishments in Nigeria are owned by individuals, sole proprietors who are personally liable for the full cost of the properties and have absolute control.


Udo Okonjo, Vice Chair Fine and Country West Africa and Nnenna Obiejesi, Executive Director, Nestoil Limited.

3. Nigeria attracted $3.96 billion (about N780.12 billion) in real estate development in 2014, which represents 11 percent of the total sum of $36.4 billion expended on infrastructure construction projects in the country.


Jim Ovia, Chairman Quantum  Luxury Properties and Zenith Group with Nnenna Obiejesi, Executive Director, Nestoil Limited and Yinka Ogunsulire, MD Orange Island.

4. The best solution for African cities (many of which are creaking under the weight of growing populations and rapid urbanisation rates), is to channel the growth into new satellite sites as they are properly located, developed, planned, serviced and managed. New urbanism is the most significant trend in African real estate today. New urbanism is the concept of creating new urban communities within our existing cities to cater for the growing population and the “emerging class” such as the Orange Island in Lagos.


Catherine Bickerstheth, Director Strategic Educational Advisory Services; Onari Duke; Yinka Ogunsulire, Managing Director, Orange Island; 

5. Real estate is a flexible, tangible and stable investment that can be adapted to suit most financial situations.

6. The Nigerian Real Estate sector is valued at N6.5 trillion, and estimated to grow at an average of 10% annually for next few years.


 George Chidiac, The One Eko Atlantic; Pierre Edde, Eko Atlantic; Onyema Okonjo, Giant Beverages




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+234 809 600 0017

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


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