CategoriesReal Estate

BUYING OFF-PLAN. THE PROS AND CONS (Part 2)

Continued from the last edition

Buying a property that is non-existent is not for the faint-hearted. The idea of parting with hard-earned money when brick is yet to be laid is difficult to chew; therefore there is need for a substantial amount of bravery and trust to be in place. Before making a decision about whether or not to buy off plan, it is important to consider some of its benefits and pitfalls:-
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PROS OF BUYING OFF-PLAN DEVELOPMENTS

• Lower Purchase Price
Buying off plan allows buyers invest into a development very early and secure it at a much lower price than usual. There is an advantage to paying upfront for a property that is still being built rather than paying when it is fully constructed as the savings could be quite substantial. Sometimes, some developers need to sell many units ‘off the plan’ before they can begin/ continue construction. Without the initial financial investments of subscribers buying ‘off the plan’, the developer may not be able to complete the project. Hence, developers are able to offer attractive prices and discounts to those who invest early in the development.

• Returns on Investment (ROI)
Buying off plan developments can provide buyers/ investors with large amounts of capital on their initial capital outlay over a relatively short period leading to accelerated wealth growth and capital gains which in turn means good returns on investment (ROI) as the market value of properties appreciates after a period of time. Some buyers can also opt to sell a property before it is completely built for a tidy profit, but in most cases require the permission of the developer to do so.
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• Ease of Payment
Although unique to each country, developers require payments in installments from their buyers throughout the period of construction. Typically, a certain percentage mostly between 5-20 percent is required as an initial deposit and/or reservation fee, followed by other split deposits to be paid up until completion. This is favorable to buyers since they do not have to pay the entire purchase price of the property in a one-off payment.

• Preferred Choice
Off-plan buyers who subscribe at the early stages of construction usually benefit from selecting the best available units on the development. Depending on the developer (as some might not be so accommodating), they might also have the opportunity to make certain modifications to their selected units like having customized fittings, restructuring or redesigning of the floor plans, personalized finishing of units, etc bearing in mind that additional cost which might accrue would be borne by them.

• Side Attractions
It is important to note that for off-plan properties to be attractive, the fundamentals must be high and favourable. Invariably, large developers are professional enough to construct in current or up-and-coming hotspots ensuring optimum potential for high returns on your investment. They often times have already researched proximity to infrastructures including modern amenities such as schools, medical services, recreational facilities, public transport and places of interest or natural beauty. Buying an off-plan property situated close to modern infrastructure will in the long run increase capital gains

• Availability of favourable mortgage facilities
Some developers will offer pre-arranged mortgages as part of the off-plan deal. No one is obliged to take this mortgage, although it may save the buyer who decides to take a mortgage some arrangement costs and hassle.

• Tax and Other Incentives
Purchasing a property off plan comes with a number of financial incentives. Buyers of new developments are given certain tax breaks that they wouldn’t receive from buying an old or existing structure. Furthermore, since age plays a factor in insurance matters, buildings bought ‘off the plan’ will save you a large amount of money on home insurance and other costs. Despite the fact that there are no real property taxes in Nigeria, home insurance is available thus investors in Nigerian property may save on home insurance costs if they buy off-plan properties. Developers on some occasions offer special incentives to entice customers to purchase their products off-plan. For instance, buying a property worth a stipulated amount can come along with a luxury car, an all expense paid trip to choice locations etc.

Fine and Country enjoys guiding her clients along their off plan investment journey. Fine and Country is pleased to introduce the Adler residences, an off plan project and opportunity currently up for grabs! Adler Residences is a high-end luxury family – friendly living opportunity with proximity to everything required for an exclusive experience within the La Vida right at the heart of Lekki phase 1, by the end of Admiralty Way, off Freedom way.

Significantly improve your lifestyle with easy access to all key business and leisure districts – Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki.  From choice of Malls to the beautifully styled floor plan and refined ambience, Adler Residences deftly sets the scene for the experience that awaits you. Adler residences pairs modern architecture with innovative landscaping to create a refreshing lifestyle that changes with the seasons. A flexible payment plan of 25% initial deposit and balance spread over 18 months is also available.

(To be continued in next edition)

This kind of medication is used to treat people with pulmonary hypertension a type of high blood pressure in your lungs. Using a guanylate cyclase stimulator along with Cialis may cause your blood pressure to become dangerously low. An example of a guanylate cyclase stimulator is riociguat Adempas. revatio This medication can be used to treat pulmonary hypertension PH that happens in your arteries of your lungs pulmonary arterial hypertension or PH that happens due to a blood clot in your lungs.

CategoriesReal Estate

BUYING OFF-PLAN. THE PROS AND CONS (Part 1)

What is an Off-Plan development?
In recent times we have been inundated with newspaper adverts, bill-boards, sponsored ads across social media, radio jingles talking about off-plan sales of developments both locally and internationally and the benefits of investing in off-plan developments. So what exactly is an off-plan development?

An off-plan development is a development that is being sold before it has been fully constructed or completed. Most times, all there is to the development are its renderings, pre-construction developments documents, and property plans which have been generated by the architect. A visually appealing story is then created around the development along with its offerings and facilities and then marketed to property investors, property speculators and buyers by the real estate developers and/or marketing firms. Early adopters who purchase properties in this way do so with the hope of making substantial capital gains. This is possible because most developers offer off plan properties at special discounts.
ART 7
The demand for off-plan properties from developers continues to remain strong due to the fact that one can purchase a property at the current market price and enjoy capital appreciation in a strong market when the development is completed or after a few years. People are becoming increasingly aware of the gains of property investments and are taking a dive towards it especially with the “off-plan” concept. There is also an added value of having flexible payment options in the course of construction period. With so many new developments on offer now and in the years to come, this question pops up, “is purchasing an off-plan property a good idea?”

Buying off-plan in a market where prices are depreciating can put your investment at a greater risk. However, buying a property off-plan and getting it right can be extremely rewarding. The idea of parting with hard-earned money when construction is yet to begin is quite difficult to convey to prospective investors therefore there is need for a substantial amount of bravery and trust to be in place. Before buying off-plan, there are several processes that should be observed.

Engage in thorough research

It is important as with any property purchase to find out the most essential information before making the decision to buy for instance, who is the developer? What is his reputation? Where is the location? Is it secure? Is it close to basic amenities? What is the rental value for such a development in that area? What are local property prices in the market? Get an information pack/ brochure of the property; get all the relevant off-plan details and go for an inspection if possible or take a good look at the models. Ask all the questions, as you do not want to be left in a vulnerable position in the nearest future.

Engage the services of a professional real estate firm

When acquiring properties especially in off-plan developments, be sure to engage the services of a professional real estate firm. This would help minimize the risk of bad investment as they would help you in making the best decisions.

Ask questions

Ask relevant questions to determine what is covered as part of the purchase price, for example, what fittings, floor coverings, painting and decorating is part of the package and what is additional.

Obtain guarantees of the developer’s financial status written into the contract if possible, to avoid encountering financial complications with the developer

Ask to see the developer’s balance sheet to determine their financial strength as there is the risk that if the developer goes into liquidation before the property is finished you may lose your deposit and other costs.


• Make certain to arrange the appropriate finance for the property purchase well in advance.

• Discuss your expectations for the property with your developer and have them written into the contract to avoid disagreement with the developer at the completion of the project.

• It is important for the buyer to arrange for a surveyor’s valuation of the property. The financial company lending the buyer will require the surveyor’s report after an offer has been made.

• The earlier you get access to the property for sale, the greater your chances of securing the bests units on offer. Make a reservation for your chosen property and pay the reservation price (if necessary) having discussed with the developer the available options, pricing, contract agreement etc. You may also be given the option of re-modifying your house, make changes to finishes and fixtures etc. since it is off-plan.

• Next step is to exchange legal contracts. Carefully review the contract with a legal professional and take note of the completion date and penalties that would be obtainable if the developer exceeds the completion date and if you withdraw from the contract. This is very critical especially in this part of the world where there are no policies protecting investors. In Dubai for example, plans are being made to release the Dubai Investor Protection law which allows a full refund of paid amount to investors if the developer fails to complete or handover a property within a certain timeframe from date specified in the sales contract, deliberately defrauds an investor or alters the specifications of the unit without obtaining requisite permission. Laws like this protect the investors and ensure that both parties (developer and investor) benefit mutually from the development.

• Pay the initial deposit (make sure that a legal professional or real estate advisor is present for guidance and to minimize your risks). Other payments follow subsequently as agreed in the contract.

• Conduct a survey (also called snagging) some weeks before final completion. Check the property for defects just to be sure everything is working as planned.

• Final stage is completion and handover of unit to buyer by developer.
(To be continued in next blog post)

CategoriesReal Estate

Commercial Properties; The devil is in the detail

The Commercial real estate space is quite dynamic and requires expertise of the processes involved, as it is clearly more complex than leasing a residential apartment. However, too many corporate tenants take it for granted and end up making huge mistakes as a result of not following and understanding due process. To help minimize potential risks and other costly errors associated with this, we have compiled a list of some of top 5 mistakes corporate tenants make when leasing commercial real estate.

1. Beginning the negotiation of a renewal or new lease too late.

Delayed negotiation of a renewal or new lease is one of the biggest mistakes we see corporates tenant make. In simplest terms, if you wait until your when your lease expires before you start speaking to your landlord about renewing your lease or before you start looking for a new space, you may have a hard time finding exactly what you need especially in a competitive market.

2. Competence and Expertise.

Many corporate tenants go into lease agreement process without properly having adequate and required knowledge and as such, they have made lots of mistakes that have impacted their business negatively. Lack of knowledge combined with time pressure usually causes corporate tenants to make wrong location decisions without being aware of all the choices. This will sometime result in errors that cut into their profits and/or increase financial exposure. To guide yourself, consider getting the services of a commercial real estate advisor to walk you through the process and confirm that a space will meet your current and future needs.

3. Commercial Lease Clauses- the devil in the detail

There is usually a lot of documentation as well as clauses in a commercial lease contract that are mostly in favour of the landlord. It’s therefore important to understand what those clauses mean and how they can they positively or negatively impact your business. Most times your real estate advisor/legal team can help you understand these and negotiate clauses that will be more in your favour.

4. Focus On Strategy, Not the Transaction

Whenever there’s a need for a company to move to a new development or to renew their lease, in the excitement of ensuring the transaction goes on smoothly, corporate strategy is often neglected. All negotiations tend to focus only on the major financial terms of the lease agreement and as a result, the impact of the transaction on the portfolio strategy is easily forgotten, important terms like rent review, expansion and contraction rights seem to have low priority in the leasing process.

5. Do not underestimate the time the process will require

The inability of corporate tenants to understand the time process required often results in companies having to stay longer in their existing premises and may negotiate a soft lease renewal with the landlord. A successful relocation transaction time process should include time for a site analysis and property selection, negotiation, executive approval, legal documentation, fit-out, relocation, etc. All these processes need to be completed within the remaining period of the lease and if not the landlord will demand compensation as entitled as per the terms of lease.

 

CategoriesReal Estate

SOCIAL MEDIA AND REAL ESTATE (Part 2)

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LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great social media application that connects professionals around the world. Real Estate professionals are therefore able to connect and acquire the services of one another through this tool. These could include Real Estate professionals, Real Estate Marketers, Developers, Architects and other active players.

• YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website that Real Estate professionals can use to showcase their properties online through the use of 3D videoettes which gives a clear view of the properties and can reach potential buyers in different parts of the world. It has the added merit of providing the client with a first-hand virtual feel of the property.

Zoom
Zoom is an app that provides video-telephony and online chat services through a cloud-based peer-to-peer software platform and is used for teleconferencing, telecommuting, distance education, and social relations. This app has become the go-to for most corporate organizations, as a result of the covid-19 pandemic and its effects on normal physical gatherings prior to the pandemic. Real estate professionals can now hold meetings on zoom with their respective clients.

• Instagram

Instagram is a photo and video sharing social networking service app that allows users to upload media that can be edited with filters and organized by hashtags and geographical tagging. Posts can be shared publicly or with pre-approved followers. Users can browse other users’ content by tags and locations and view trending content. Users can like photos and follow other users to add their content to a feed. This is an extremely effective marketing tool for real estate professionals today as luxury properties can be showcased on Instagram.

Blogs
A real estate blog offers great opportunity to continuously post information rich in content about expertise, specialty and professional work. Entertaining, educative, exciting and useful information will attract an audience with similar interests.
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The social media is a powerful marketing tool and a good source of making and retaining clients and building relationships. In the last seven years many real estate companies engaged in developing and selling houses, service apartments, service plots, corporate office space etc. have taken advantage of the social media to market their products, share listings, tours and showings, lend expert advice, rebrand their products or even test the acceptability of their products in the market. Several payment plans and value added services have been circulated via social media networks by many Nigerian companies to increase their market share, stimulate customer interest in their products as well as develop new products tailored for each segment they choose to service. Above all, transactions have been closed by real estate professionals with clients locally and internationally as a result of the effective and efficient use of social media.

The core goal of real estate pros utilizing social media is to attract sellers looking to list their homes or buyers looking to purchase homes. Naturally, the use of social media for real estate is for setting up pages on social networks that fit your company’s content and audience.

While an occasional listing may be appreciated by your social media community, many experts advocate engaging your audience with industry knowledge and an expert perspective, rather than alienating users with irrelevant information. There are so many factors that must align to make a listing pertinent to a single customer, such as pricing, location and size. As a result of this, there is a high probability that most listings might not pertain to most people in a given social media audience.

CategoriesReal Estate

SOCIAL MEDIA AND REAL ESTATE (Part 1)

The internet is fast becoming an integral part of the modern society and our everyday lives. From the time the internet came into existence and social media emerged as a result, it has been used as a platform for connecting with people and communities, encouraging interactions and sharing content. Social media according to Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopaedia, refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.
social 1
We find today that lots of people are plugged into the internet in more ways than anyone ever imagined. The irresistible force that the internet holds and the vast opportunities it offers attract users of all sorts to explore its potentials and use its resources to the advantage of their businesses. Over the past few years, real estate professionals have found creative ways to overcome the real estate crisis, including finding innovative uses for social media. Real estate professionals have therefore been forced to develop their offline skills in an increasingly social way online. To be successful in an ever increasing competitive market, businesses must adapt to modern technology and trends, employ the use of social media as a platform to reach out to the public, interface with its target market, build a solid database and market their diverse products. The 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry reports that;
a. 94% of all businesses with a marketing department used social media as part of their marketing platform.
b. Almost 60% of marketers are devoting the equivalent of a full work day to social media marketing development and maintenance.
c. 85% of all businesses that have a dedicated social media platform as part of their marketing strategy reported an increase in their market exposure.
d. 58% of businesses that have used social media marketing for over 3 years reported an increase in sales over that period.
The use of internet in real estate is however not an entirely new trend. Social media has been used in the real estate sector as a very strong tool for communicating, promoting and selling. In the real estate world, listings, open houses and tours are the main triggers towards making a sale and online communities have made all these much more easier. The core objective of real estate professionals or companies utilizing social media is to generate leads/businesses, build brands (on an independent and corporate level) to attract sellers and buyers alike. Real estate professionals, brokers and realtors use the following mass social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, Instagram, and Blogs.
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Facebook
Facebook is a great online community which boasts of nearly one billion users. The primary method used here is by creating a “Page” where information about the business is uploaded in the profile section. This platform allows realtors to share their listings using pictures, videos and information. Events for open house and display of upcoming activities can be uploaded in the “event” feature. Clients can have live personal/group chats or interactive discussions with realtors. Most liked or shared posts/topics are easily monitored. This way, realtors are aware what attracts people’s attention more, what does not and how engaging they are.
Twitter
This has been described as the fastest growing social media network and now a marketing tool which allows the user post updates of up to 140 characters at once. It also allows the user give straight to the point information on products and offerings. It offers a great opportunity for real estate professionals to promote properties to a wider market. Twitter acts as a free press release tool that can generate traffic to a company’s site when enough followers have been built up. It creates room for a two-way interaction with potential and existing clients, thereby building trust, loyalty, lasting interpersonal relationships and ultimately the brand.
(To be continued)

CategoriesReal Estate

CUSTOMER SERVICE IN REAL ESTATE (Part 2)

 

Continued from last edition
For real estate companies to have an excellent customers’ service, below are some vital factors that need to be considered for implementation on a consistent basis:

Eliminate procrastination – As much as possible, try to respond to your clients promptly. If the request is time consuming or cannot be delivered at the moment due to unavailability or other factors, try to inform the customers in advance, providing a timeline to deliver on the request/task. This way they are prepared and aware of the situation or else, have an option of opting for an alternative. But if this can be avoided, it is better to respond promptly.

Answer the phone – Customers always almost reach for the phone in the event that they need to lay complaints about a service before sourcing for other options. It can be upsetting to call the customer care of a business without receiving any response. Ensure that the phone is answered at all times. People prefer to lay their complaints to real people and robots or recorded messages.

Keep clients updated – Constant status updates keep clients abreast with ongoing situations about a project. Informing them of a development’s milestones, construction, repairs or maintenance progress, changes made if any, market analysis etc gives them some sort of reinforcements that they’re involved in the project and more confidence in the project itself.

Be Reliable – Being reliable is a major factor in delivering on good client service. Never make promises if there is no guarantee of keeping them. It is better not to promise than to promise and fail. A client will most times want to continue doing business with a company who stays true to their words in terms of appointments, deadlines and delivery. It goes a long way to show the company’s level of professionalism.

Always listen to your Customers – It is paramount to try to listen and understand what a client is communicating. Some clients have difficulty expressing themselves or can be ambiguous with words. Still, it is the responsibility of the customer service personnel to ask for clarification where there isn’t any to avoid the customer leaving with the joy that there was understanding while there wasn’t. Such can only lead to more complaints, unsatisfied customers or worse more, bad publicity.

Be well informed – Knowing all there is to know about the project or service and having up-to-date information that answers to customers questions or needs put the company in a position of confidence and professionalism. Train your staff to be knowledgeable and courteous and always helpful. Knowing the basics of customer service interactions equips them better to handle those curious and questioning clients.

Be Patient – Refusing to display agitation to the knowledge of your callers who either derive pleasure in pushing peoples buttons or do not in truth understand the message been relayed to them takes a lot of practice and expertise. It is important to maintain professionalism at all times.

Go the extra mile – Often times, clients come up with one request or the other. Whatever that extra step may be, good client service takes it. Clients always notice or know when an extra effort was put into delivering on task, and though some may not say it, others actually show gratitude or appreciation. Now, not only will these lead to an indebted client, it would have paved a path for future businesses or transactions.
Many more companies are turning to good customer service to differentiate themselves from the competitors. This is the only way they can stand out. This is why Customer Service is essential in real estate.

Under-promise and over-deliver – The level of expectation in today’s real estate environment is so low that simply doing what you say you are going to do or following up when you say you will follow up is often all it takes to make a customer happy. Never promise what you do not mean or are incapable of offering. Doing a little more that the customer expects makes a positive impression and ensures repeat business or at the very minimum a referral.

CategoriesReal Estate

CUSTOMER SERVICE IN REAL ESTATE (Part 1)

In today’s world with the overload of information, the fast pace of life and the exposure to boundless real estate services; personalized services and full customer experience is a powerful value proposition and differentiator.

WHAT IS CUSTOMER SERVICE?
Customer service as defined by Wikipedia is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase, According to Turban et al. (2002), It can also be seen as the knowledge delivered with care to make life easy for the customer. Customer service is a collection the different activities that a company has designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction by satisfying the customer needs and exceeding their expectations. It is that one-on-one contact with the customer.
Good customer service involves the careful development of personal and interpersonal relationships with customers and gaining confidence of new customers plus solidifying those of the old customers via the product or service been offered. Unfortunately in recent times, many businesses have lowered the standards of customer service with inconsistent delivery of promises while customers have equally lowered their expectations and therefore expect poor service at all times. Companies with proactive attitudes can leverage on this to their advantage by applying enforceable customer service strategies and tools to maintain the old customers and attract new ones.

SIGNIFICANCE OF CUSTOMER SERVICE

Quality customer services have the following positive outcomes:

a. It adds value to the product or service the customer purchased from the company because the customer leaves feeling he/she has bought a product worthy of the amount paid for it.

b. It offers competitive advantage to the customers and provides an opportunity for elaborate understanding of the product.

c. Good service creates a good public image for the business by elevating the brand in the public eye which is essential in order to survive competitive business.

d. Without the customer there is no business, therefore the customer is very important. Excellent customer service leave customers satisfied. And these customers would most likely do a repeat business in the future, would help spread the word/give referrals, become loyal customers who in turn would result to increased sales and profits. On the Contrary, companies with poor customer service may lose customers and this would definitely have a negative impact on the business. It would cost much more money for a company to acquire a customer than to retain them, due to advertising costs and the expense of sales calls.

e. Customers always have complaints about a product or a service from time to time and require support in solving those problems. Good customer service that address questions, answers to complaints or problems timely leave customers satisfied. These results in fewer complaints from the customers and shows the customer that the company cares about their satisfaction and happiness.

f. A good customer service can also increases the morale and confidence that customers have in a product or service.


g. It converts your clients to your raving fans.
Because customers are vital to any business, real estate companies need also to be well equipped in offering real customer service solutions. However, good customer service is not easily achieved. It takes time to establish. It requires investment to deliver consistent standards. What real estate investors and end users are really interested in today’s investing environment are competence, expertise, intelligence, transparency and availability. They want to do business with people that help them feel comfortable with making investment decisions, people that answer their questions promptly and appropriately, people that invest time ensuring that they are satisfied at the end.

Customers should always feel special whenever they experience your brand. This is very important to the real estate business which majorly thrives on referrals to survive.

(To be continued in the next edition)

CategoriesReal Estate

How to Future Proof Your Real Estate Investment

How to Future Proof Your Real Estate Investment

The Real Estate industry can be very dynamic. Although very rewarding for the investors with foresight, it could be quite frustrating for the one who dives in uninformed. This is because the Real Estate sector is easily affected by political and economical factors such as a change in government policies or even fluctuations in interest rates. Since investing in real estate is a huge financial commitment, every wise investor needs to be sure of what the future holds before
putting in his hard-earned funds. This article shares tips on how you can future proof your investment and ensure that it not only stands the test of time but of course brings a maximum return on investment. At Fine and country, we address this with a mantra we call the 5-Ws.

Who: Who is the developer? It is important to know who is behind the development and if they have a track record of completion, or if it is their first time. The same applies to the contractor.
Will the building be completed on time and to the stated quality? It extends also to future management.
What: What is actually being developed? The development must be relevant to the market and its location in order to raise finance and not end up as a paper project. The development should have the relevant facilities required by its target market. For example, a development describing itself as luxury should have at a minimum in this location, basic lifestyle amenities such as a pool and a gym to justify the asking price. The luxury of course should go beyond basic amenities and should typically offer features that create a sense of exclusivity and desirability
that regular buyers would aspire to. Luxury is after all more about a sense of pride and accomplishment more than anything else.

Where: Where is the development located? Location is more than Just its immediate surroundings. Important location considerations include the area’s security, access to transportation, proximity to good schools, hospitals, restaurants, leisure centers, etc.

WoW!– Does the development have the wow factor? That something special that sets it apart from the competition. This can be a combination of many things from extraordinary views such as Lakowe Golf Estate and Asokoro Gardens Abuja, defining water features such as the man-made twin lakes by Chevron, including the use of technology and distinctive architecture. These types of features not only attract the initial buyer but also underwrite the value of Your investment long term. I conic projects speak for themselves, create an enhanced return on
investment and retain their value long term.

Fine and country believe that the future of premium real estate is in future-proofing developments by investing in not just iconic but relevant design niche marketing, technology innovation, and sustainability as the key drivers for value. We believe that these are strategic areas of enhancing stakeholder values across the board, ranging from investors, financiers to owner-occupiers and users

Testing out our mantra on the Adler project we have the following outcomes:
● Who: The Adler Project is being developed by well-known developers that are respected for surpassing industry standards when it comes to quality.
● What: The Prestigious Adler Residences, is an off-plan development located in Lekki Phase 1 by end of Admiralty Way, Off Freedom Way, consisting of 4 bedroom terraces and 4 bedroom Semi-detached apartments.
● Where: Located in Lekki Phase 1, away from all the city noise and within a secure gated community, Adler Residences promises a high-end luxury family-friendly experience that is in close proximity to everything required for complete living.
● Wow: Adler Residences is armed with luxury amenities that simply make life blissful. A dedicated cycling track that ensures that residents can safely ride their bicycles without worrying about cars running them down, a Standard Lawn Tennis Court, Central Swimming pool, Children’s playing ground, 24 Hours Power Supply, High tech Central Security and Access Control, Water Treatment Plant Waste treatment, 24 hours Mobile Police Patrol, this is indeed where life finds you.

● Felxible Payment Plan: With a flexible payment plan with a minimum 25% deposit with a balanced spread over 18 months on a quarterly basis, the beautifully styled floor plan and refined ambiance of Adler Residences deftly set the scene for the experience that awaits you.

CategoriesBlog Real Estate

POWER BROKERS 4.0 Introduces Real Estate Agents to the Corporate Client

The Power Brokers Circle 4.0 held on Friday 31st August, 2018.

The Power Brokers Circle is a network of fully profiled real estate agents and brokers periodically equipped by Fine & Country with accurate, relevant and current real estate insights to co-promote higher industry standards as well as leverage on aggregate networks and connections.

The most recently concluded edition was titled: ‘The Diary of a corporate tenant: ‘The ABCs of commercial properties.’ The event held at One6Temple, the iconic commercial property The One6 Temple is strategically located at the intersection of two major roads (Kingsway Road and Olu Holloway Road). The One6 Temple is a 15 floors highrise prime commercial development in the heart of Ikoyi. This property offers prime office spaces, generous parking, cafeteria, modern finishes and cutting-edge technology

Power

The event attracted over 100 attendees both physically present at the venue and virtually on Fine & Country’s online channels.

The objective of this edition was to expose real estate professionals to the fundamentals of commercial real estate and broaden their understanding of the needs of a corporate tenant.

One of the key highlights of the day was the walkthrough of the One6temple. The attendees were able to get first-hand experience of the property.

Another highlight of the event was the presentation by the Head of Commercial Sales of Fine and Country WA, where she underlined definitive distinctions between the features and amenities of a commercial property, the difference between Grade A and Grade B properties as well as the intricacies of dealing with corporate tenants and how to make the best of a transaction.

By the end of the event, attendees commented on the high level discourse of the event and how it has advanced their knowledge of commercial real estate.

 
CategoriesBlog Real Estate

Legal Contract Series: Elements of a Contract

As a real estate enthusiast, investor or practitioner- your success or ability to thrive in the real estate industry depends on how frequently you increase your knowledge and skills. We will be deep diving into the technical legal aspects of being a professional real estate investor.


The core of our series will be on legal documents, and knowledge of contracts a practicing real estate enthusiast must be aware of.


First, what is a contract?

 

A contract is a LEGALLY ENFORCEABLE AGREEMENT between 2 or more parties that creates an OBLIGATION to do or not to do a particular thing.
It is an exchange of promises that the law will enforce.
What are the elements of a contract? We will take each of these elements one after the other and for today we shall focus on the first element.


The first element of a contract is an OFFER

An offer is a promise to act or refrain from acting, which is made in exchange for a return promise to do the same.

A buyer’s power of acceptance is created when the seller conveys a present intent to enter a contract in certain and definite terms that are communicated to the buyer.

Like marriage, acquiring a space (lease or outright buying) is one part love, one part legal transaction, and starts with a proposal. When brokering the transaction for your client making an offer is important: oral promises are not legally enforceable in real estate sale.

Below are 2 more duties you have as an agent to your client:

  1. Act with prudence in the Client’s interest: You have to put your client’s needs over your personal gain, this way you become known for your integrity and increase your client base.
  2. Duty to account to the client: Any and all plans to front-load the price of a property must be revealed to the Client (whether buyer or seller). This is part of the Duty to account.
CategoriesBlog tips & tricks

7 Ways to Enhance your Energy Level and Maximize your Productivity

Do you ever feel like you didn’t get everything done on your to-do list at the end of the day? You start the day with a plan and a goal in mind, but by the end of the day, your to-do list has grown even longer.

There are various things you may do to enhance your energy level and maximize your productivity. Fortunately, here are seven ideas to consider:

  1. Get More Sleep
    If you often feel tired throughout the day, you may need more quality sleep. Try going to bed earlier and reducing screen time before bed.
  2. Reduce Stress
    High levels of stress can make you feel tired and drained. Finding ways to minimize lifestyle-related stress can help keep up your energy levels.
  3. Move More
    If you live a sedentary lifestyle and feel low on energy, participating in regular exercises like brisk walking or cycling can boost your energy levels.
  4. Eat a Nutritious Diet
    A diet based on whole, healthy foods benefits your health and your energy levels. In contrast, a diet high in processed foods can negatively affect your energy levels.
  5. Avoid Added Sugar
    Eating foods high in sugar can give you a short-term energy boost followed by a slump. To avoid this, minimize your intake and focus on eating whole foods instead.
  6. Stay Hydrated
    Dehydration can make you feel tired. Make sure to drink enough water throughout the day and respond to your thirst, especially during exercise.
  7. Be Social
    Getting out of the house and mingling with other people is beneficial for both your energy levels and your health.
CategoriesBlog Real Estate

IF INVESTING WAS A PENALTY; Would you score?

Yes, it is the World Cup season and there are lessons to be learned from the games- especially as regards investing. While we are excited about Nigeria making it to the world cup and not so happy about losing our first game- we stay patriotic & positive for better results in the future.

Have you made any losses in your investments in the past? You cannot give up now- It’s time to review & play the next game with superior knowledge, skills, focus & positivity.

We can only imagine how Lionel Messi felt losing that penalty kick; we are happy an African country finally got a first goal of the tournament yesterday even though they eventually lost the match largely due to losing focus just as they got into extra time- all these twists and turns make for a good investment analogy.

Are you an astute investor with years of experience & returns or are you still behind the ball, contemplating what, where and how to invest? This week we bring you 4 key elements to successful investing. Remember even the world’s best players like Lionel Messi with three consecutive FIFA Ballons d’Or, including an unprecedented fourth as well as Barcelona’s all-time top scorer can still lose a penalty kick.

What are the factors to consider before investing or while you’re in an investment cycle already;

  1. STANCE; Your (financial) standing is very important; before investing it is imperative that you conduct a detailed evaluation of your finances to make sure you are prepared to see the investment opportunity through. Real Estate opportunities abound everywhere you look, from Social Media to Billboards & even flyers in traffic. A good investor does not commit to any opportunity until a careful review of the investment has been done vis-à-vis your capability. That way you do not to start what you cannot finish.
  2. SIGHT & FOCUS; Like a good footballer- every investment player must KEEP THEIR EYE ON THE BALL. You can not afford to have too many things in your sight at the same time. You must imagine every shot you take will determine the outcome of your investment. Keep your ball (investment) in sight. Hold it by yourself & place it in the right spot; Streamline your options with your vision (& outcome) in mind. If you are uncertain seek the expertise of real estate professionals in making this all-important decision.
  3. SHOOT; Or like we like coined it this June- #JustDoIt. After a careful review of your financial standing as well as an expert evaluation of your investment options. JUST DO IT! GOT FOR IT! Take the dive! Do not be crippled by analysis paralysis. It doesn’t serve you in any way to stand behind the ball & not take the shot. Remember you will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take! There is no time as good as now!
  4. SCORE & WIN; Always remember the objective of your investment- to make good profit. We understand from experience that the most important question every investor will ask is “What’s in It for me?” this is why at Fine & Country we deploy an adept process in choosing our real estate opportunities to ensure that our investors score every time! But not just score, we are committed to our investors- WINNING! i.e. we do not believe in marginal profit- we believe in exponential returns. So, whatever you do- make sure you score & win!

IT’S A GOAL!!!!

The 3 magical words every Nigerian looked forward to hearing on Saturday June 16th 2018

As we wish our super eagles a more positive outcome going forward, we also wish our investors the very best in their future decisions.

Get excited! We are working hard on some new & exciting investment opportunities at Fine & Country to be announced soon. Go ahead & contact our team if you’re looking for carefully profiled & profitable real estate investment opportunities.

CategoriesBlog Real Estate

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SPACE; beauty and the beast

How often do you think about your space?

Have you ever imagined living or working in a forest with tall trees all around- how would you feel? Would the sounds of the breeze on the trees and woody scents help you concentrate? You would probably feel uncomfortable working in such environment. Looking at your work environment, how does it make you feel? Do you feel challenged by the space around you, does it limit or enable you? Does what you see, feel and smell help you stay focused and relaxed, or does it distract you and keep your mind wandering?

There’s a Chinese thought called “Feng Shui”, described as “a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation of space in relation to the flow of energy, it is a belief that the way you arrange objects in your space affects your success, health and happiness

The spaces we occupy to large extent shapes our performance & productivity & ultimately- our results.

A large part of our lives is spent in physical interaction with the space around us. The spaces we occupy directly influence our psychological well-being and creative performance. Space has the ability to shape who we are and how we behave, and the fact that many of us spend large amounts of time, even years, working in the same space, it makes sense to optimize that space for maximum benefit.

In 2005 a study looking at a range of organisations found that allowing employees an element of control over their working space and environments engendered increased satisfaction and productivity. Interestingly, lots of developers, urban planners, designers, architects and business owners are accepting the knowledge that a large part of how we define ourselves and success is caught up in the close relationship we have with the spaces we occupy and the way in which we inhabit them. In reality space has so much influence on the way we live and work such that it can easily empower or dis-empower our lives.

Beauty and the Beast

Let us juxtapose two concepts; the Beauty and the Beast psychology of spaces. The Beauty psychology of space creates a synergy between recreation, relaxation, serenity and work.  It provides for more flexibility and room for relaxation and enjoyment – creating a contented and happy work environment. An environment with wide open space to use for networking and collaboration with a clear and relaxed mind to get work done easily.  A case in point is ‘The Finery, Ikoyi’  a beautiful well-spaced green landscape located in the heart of Ikoyi, Lagos- Nigeria. The Finery provides a serene environment for collaboration and co-creation, equipped with a well-trimmed garden, a studio for events, generous car-park space and a work-fun experience.

‘The Beast mode’ is generally believed to connote the concept of hard-core, high impact activity; the Beast Space for the purpose of our expose will be a high rise building in the middle of a busy business district that provides a good working space environment meant to produce, store and maintain enormous volume of knowledge and information rather than a place to simply perform work and relax. Spaces in Beast mode are characterised by their structure and construction, they are mostly high-rise building with creative architectural urban designs that gives a big visual effect to people so that it is considered as a critical factor for a conducive work environment.

‘Beast’ spaces emphasize on mostly brick, mortar, glass, structure and form. We have a couple of office spaces that fall within the Beast mode –The Post Square on the intersection of Adeola Odeku & Ologun Agbaje streets, in Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. It is a premium office space that offers flexible spaces to suit the ever changing, dynamic needs of fast growing organizations as well as generous underground parking.

 

CategoriesBlog Real Estate

7 STEPS TO OWNING YOUR FIRST HOME 

The reality of having your dream house is a beautiful feeling, it is indeed an amazing experience everyone would love to and should have.

Buying your first property can be a challenging task, but the beauty of it is millions of people have been there and have successfully gone through this process to purchase their first property; armed with the right information, you will have the best possible chance of getting a great, affordable property at a price you can afford.

Because of the risks associated with the process- one needs to be cautious. These steps are meant to guide you through the process of purchasing your first property. You should follow the steps in order to ensure that it is done safely and properly.

STEP 1; FINANCIAL CLARITY; What is your budget?

Before getting too excited about your dream house and clicking through pages of online listings, there’s need to do a serious audit of your finances. First, you need to take a close look at your monthly income and savings. Do you earn enough income to generate the amount required to purchase your dream house? Don’t even consider purchasing a property before you have emergency savings account with three to six months of living expenses. You need to consider a property you can afford, a property within your means.

Buying a property is a big step involving substantial long-term financial commitment, so think hard about what you can afford.

STEP 2; Knowledge of the Market/Market Insight

Yes – you will have to conduct an extensive research about the real estate industry- trends, insights and information that will assist you in making an informed decision. These can be gotten from real estate experts, property magazines & other online resources as well as real estate reports. Fine & Country also conducts bespoke market research for intending buyers. (Please watch this space for an event targeted towards first time home buyers this April).

Having clearly identified your budget and gained relevant knowledge about the real estate market, figuring out a good payment plan for your new home is very important.

STEP 3 – PAYMENT PLAN:

Most first time home buyers are always under the impression that paying for a home only involves applying for a loan and making payment to the developer, however, It will surprise you to find that there are various payment types & options. Figuring out the best payment plan for you can go a long way in ensuring your financial stability.

  • Down payment plan: This involves you making an initial deposit of the price upfront to the developer. The remaining amount is then released by your bank to the developer within 45-60 days, the duration may vary depending on what is agreed upon between yourself, your bank and the developer.
  • Possession-linked payment plan: This is a more straight forward payment plan that involves making a down payment at the time of booking the apartment and the remaining balance is paid once the buyer takes possession of the property. It is ideally suited for first time home buyers looking to purchase completed projects or projects near completion.

STEP 4 – IDEAL LOCATION:

Your intended property location largely influences your budget. Location is a key factor that influences the price of your property. Often times you need to consider proximity to your place of work, if you have a family you need to consider proximity to your children’s school, family, friends, place of worship and other socio-environmental facilities. This should help you narrow down a general region in which you wish to live.

To be continued…

CategoriesBlog Real Estate

THE WATERFRONT ADVANTAGE – How your view influences your lifestyle

There’s something unique about Waterfront properties that creates a standout factor to your real estate investment portfolio. Whenever you have an opportunity to invest in a piece of property that has anything to do with water, lakes, oceans, rivers, streams or even artificially created water features – you should take advantage, even if you are within view of it, and not with direct access.

Direct waterfront access is however the golden standard. There is an exponential increase in value (especially in estate/developments where it is in limited supply). Sometimes people waste time trying to negotiate a great deal- and negotiating is great, but never lose an opportunity to invest in a waterfront property if you can afford it. Also, be ready to pay the premium because it always has a guaranteed exit. The demand and supply ratio will always make it worthwhile.

So when next you want to make a property investment, you have to consider how big a difference choosing a waterfront position could make to your portfolio

We would share with you 3 main reasons why you should invest in Waterfront property.

Health and wellbeing benefits
Research shows that living close to water has significant benefits to one’s mental state, the theory being that water has a calming effect. Further research also shows that living by the water offers more fitness and recreation options. Also, conscious health and wellbeing is becoming a top priority for Nigerians, influencing how they commute to work, spend their leisure time and even where they choose to live. As result, it should become a major criteria for investors to opt for waterfront properties to facilitate a healthy lifestyle.

A rewarding investment

Waterfront properties accounts for a significant value in terms of return on investment. Waterside properties are normally scarce to find and as a result, it allows them to retain their value over a longer period as compared to properties in the city hub. Along with its excellent resale value, it can also be used for lease purposes. People want to lease waterfront homes for the same reasons that you want to buy one.

Demand for the water’s edge

Everyone desires the strong wellbeing and affluence factor associated with waterfronts so it’s always in demand. Research shows that a property on the water’s edge is on average worth more than those located inland, the more reason why a waterfront property in Banana Island (Ikoyi) is far more expensive than properties even within Ikoyi and also in high demand.  The reason for this comes down to the simple laws of economics. Properties which are genuinely on the water are few and far between. The exclusivity of waterfront properties often requires larger upfront capital, however the long-term capital appreciation will be far greater. Therefore, ensure your finances are in order so you can make an offer the minute you have an opportunity.

CategoriesBlog Real Estate Uncategorized

EXPLORING EKO ATLANTIC CITY

Eko Atlantic is arguably Africa’s most ambitious project and most significant real estate opportunity. The Fine & Country WA team had an exciting time exploring Eko Atlantic with Mrs. Ibiene Ogolo, MD, Eko Development Company.

Sitting on 10 million square meters of land, and 2km off the shore of ‘Bar Beach’ as we knew it, sits a jewel Eko Atlantic. Eko Atlantic is bounded by beautiful coastlines on the Western, Eastern and southern borders. The Great Wall of Lagos stands out as a shore protection wall separating Eko Atlantic from the Atlantic ocean. This new horizon city seeks to satisfy the needs for financial, commercial, residential and tourist accommodations in Lagos. The visionary project kicked off in 2002 and has made great strides since then. Eko Atlantic promises to be a self-sufficient city with a state of the art high-tech infrastructure with its own portable water Infrastructure and dedicated Power lines. Eko Atlantic resulted as a solution to protect the shoreline of Victoria Island and also to create a city that would be well-planned as well as developed in accordance with 21st century best practices. Speaking from the perspective of investment, this project is a critical part of the transformation of Lagos, Nigeria, and Africa at large.

 

In actual sense, there is a real dearth of knowledge about the  Eko Atlantic project and its impact on the Environment.  In keeping with one of the objectives of Our Refined Investor Series, (you can learn more about it here), addressing the myths and misconceptions, we delved in deeper to understand Eko Atlantic’s impact on the environment. At the start of the Eko Atlantic project, an Environmental Impact Assessment Report was commissioned and granted to Royal Haskoning, a leading EIA firm in consultation with the Federal Ministry of the Environment and the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) as well as Lagos State Ministry of the Environment (LASMOE). The Eko Atlantic Shoreline and Reclamation Project seeks to provide approximately 1000 hectares of high-quality land for development within the heart of Lagos, and will indeed offer a long-term solution to the shoreline erosion problems at Victoria Island, Lagos but many people are unaware about the major positives. That’s why one of our objectives is to address the myths and misconceptions surrounding real estate in Nigeria. Fears around the Eko Atlantic are largely unfounded and relies on the assumption that all things Nigerian are fraught with a substandard approach.
To provide a bit of background, and include excerpts from the EIA report, The shoreline of Victoria Island has retreated significantly over the past century, and the main cause for this erosion began with the blocking of coastal sediment transport after the construction of two moles of breakwaters (between 1908 and 1912) at the entrance to the Port of Lagos. Coastal protection activity was frequently commissioned to reduce the erosion threat to Victoria Island, including several nourishment schemes, However, those attempts only temporarily mitigated the erosion and there continued to be intermittent flooding in this coastal area. Many would remember the erosion which culminated in 2005, when the protective beach disappeared with resultant flood damage to the road infrastructure and property along Bar beach.

The Eko Atlantic project adapted a two tonged approach to solve, firstly, the environmental threat of the intrusion of seawater and the damage that would have caused damage to commercial property along that axis, but even more so, providing additional strategically planned urban areas within Lagos, recognizing  increasing population growth and aspirations for greater economic development.

This project is certainly a focal point for investors capitalizing on rich development growth based on massive demand – and a gateway to emerging markets of the continent. Eko Atlantic presents a unique opportunity for the discerning Investor and is unarguably Africa’s boldest and most visionary project.

 

CategoriesBlog Real Estate Uncategorized

Interview with Businessday: Our key objective through RIS is to inspire confidence in real estate market’

Our economy is looking up once again having exited a 13-month crippling recession. But real estate is still lagging even when it is supposed to be a growth driver. How do you explain this?

Real estate is a solid asset class that mirrors the economy. It’s therefor unusual that it will be sluggish during a recession. It’s impossible for real estate to drive growth when the other fundamentals that drive real estate growth are not in place, including factors like monetary to economic policies, mortgages, and lower purchasing power. As much as housing is a necessity, it does not exist in a vacuum. People will take care of basic needs such as food and clothing at the lower end of the market, while at the premium end, corporates and high net worth individuals will attend to restructuring, in most cases downsizing their real estate requirements and budgets to suit a leaner business structure, as part of risk management. As such real estate will lag for a while, even as the economy recovers slowly. There are obviously more liquid and lower value assets that act as interim safe houses for investors including treasury bills and foreign currency hedges. Long-term, however, real estate catches up and overtakes the market, leading sometimes to what’s called a bubble. We are however a long way from any such heady investment climate, as bubbles are caused when there is excess liquidity and over confidence in the economy. 

 

In economic parlance, this sector is described as a laggard, always shifting after the economy must have shifted. How soon or otherwise do you think it will take for the sector to come around? 

As indicated earlier, real estate is best viewed as a long term asset and is not as liquid or easy to invest or dispose of especially in a developing economy. As incredible as the potential of the sector is, there simply has not been as strong an investment from all relevant stakeholders to ensure that it delivers the growth that it is capable of. Despite the NMRC which was established to stimulate private mortgages through the PMis at specific thresholds, is not yet delivering the impact. The Economic Recovery and Growth plan is itself a recovery plan, and as it takes effect, along with improved business confidence, we can expect to see it rub off on the real estate sector. In the meantime, the sector is in for a long haul of readjustments and needing reinvention across all segments but especially at the premium end of residential and offices, if it’s to deliver the growth expected of it. Serious real estate stakeholders are however not expecting to do business as usual, and that’s a good thing. It’s times of difficulty that brings out the best from those willing to adapt. I think better a slow reawakening of the sector with sustainable private investor strategies, regulatory structures, and policies than shallow growth. 

You and your collaborators, particularly BusinessDay, are perfecting plans to take Nigeria to the World early October. What story are you going to tell?

There’s so much that is positive about Nigeria while there’s a lot that still requires correction leaving room for growth and in some cases radical change. Our governance structures are a weak link and one that organizations such as ANAP Foundation and many other Non-Governmental Institutions are focused on building. That’s a good thing when we have private sector leaders who have no desire to play the ostrich just because they are not in full-time public service. They realize that the business climate and economy play a major role in their long term financial and corporate well being, but more importantly for the future generation. Real leaders think generationally. And so through this two-day event, we will we draw attention to and celebrate leadership, both in the private and public sector. We will highlight the fact that there are good leaders in Nigeria, have been and will continue to be. In addition, by drawing attention to various leading corporate brands not just in Real Estate, but home grown institutions, whether it’s Access Bank, Stanbic, First Bank, Seplat, Platform, Famfa Oil, South Energyx, Landmark, Crown Ltd and numerous others, we demonstrate that the story of Nigeria cannot be told without the private sector. It’s the leading brands, the selfless and visionary leaders in various sectors, and the innovative and astute real estate companies that champion change that we want to celebrate. We have to remember that most sectors of the economy interact with real estate and we have a story to tell about the real estate companies setting the pace and blazing trails even within the difficult terrain. The public sector, of course, cannot be left out, because to a large extent they set the temperature and climate of the economy. From security to education, infrastructure, health, housing, monetary policies, there are all relevant, and it’s our intention not to whitewash the reality of our painful pathway to development in all these areas, but we can’t focus only on the difficulties or deficiencies without identifying and celebrating what’s positive, no matter how incremental. The work of the Trade Minister and his team, representing our president, with the ease of doing business campaign and the progress made with investors being able to easier entry, the Lagos state initiatives around title registration, and some of the latest and exciting new cities and projects going on in Nigeria from Enugu to Kano, Abuja, Ogun State, Lagos, Port Harcourt are all areas to be showcased. Our aim is to provide accurate and current insight on the real estate sector and the economy as a whole. We want to help shape the narrative more accurately by sharing the positives as well as the areas of desired growth. No nation can survive if its nationals are not proud of their country. We have a responsibility to deliberately craft platforms that enable us to showcase the best stories of our nation, its people and its path to greatness. That’s why we are kicking off the Refined Investor Series with an Independence Celebration Dinner on Friday, October 6th. We want to celebrate our country, its people, both local and in diaspora and the initiatives, brands, and projects that are contributing to it positively.

Tell us more about this epoch event already scheduled for London where you intend to present the best of Nigerian real estate market to international investors. 

 

The Refined Investor Series (RIS) Event is a 2-day Series. An Exclusive Independence Celebration Dinner themed, I.L.E.A.D: “INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP, ENTREPRENEURSHIP ATTITUDES & DEVELOPMENT” will be hosted on October 6th Friday evening at the prestigious and historic Landmark Hotel, London. We will be celebrating Nigeria’s 57th independence, visionary leadership in projects and financial institutions shaping the Nigerian Real Estate sector while encouraging networking with private wealth clients and leaders in Diaspora. The full day Premium but Free Access Investor Series and exhibition will hold on Saturday, October 7th in the same location. The Exhibition and Seminar will feature an extensive exhibition from all our partners and stakeholders providing direct engagement with diaspora and international investors.

 

The Eko Atlantic City is one of the prime projects you intend to present to investors as Nigeria’s flagship project. How are you going to manage concerns about inclement weather conditions, environmental impact and all?

In actual sense, there is a real dearth of knowledge about the  Eko Atlantic project and its impact on the Environment.  At the start of the Eko Atlantic project, an Environmental Impact Assessment Report was commissioned and granted to Royal Haskoning, a leading EIA firm in consultation with the Federal Ministry of the Environment and the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) as well as Lagos State Ministry of the Environment (LASMOE). The Eko Atlantic Shoreline and Reclamation Project seeks to provide approximately 1000 hectares of high-quality land for development within the heart of Lagos, and will indeed offer a long-term solution to the shoreline erosion problems at Victoria Island, Lagos but many people are unaware about the major positives. That’s why one of our objectives is to address the myths and misconceptions surrounding real estate in Nigeria. Fears around the Eko Atlantic are largely unfounded and relies on the assumption that all things Nigerian are fraught with a substandard approach. However, that premise is faulty and not supported by both local and international observers of this We have to remember that successive federal and state governments have been involved in certifying this project, including former Governors Tinubu, and Fashola, and now current Governor Ambode. It would take an incredible level of conspiracy to expect that every one of these leaders will turn a blind eye to something so significant. In addition, we have some of the most highly regarded diplomatic missions, and financial institutions already actively working on their new head offices and embassies at the Eko Atlantic. This simply wouldn’t be possible if they didn’t carry out the highest level of assessments themselves. The Refined Investor Series is a great opportunity for the developers of the Eko Atlantic who are being represented at the very highest level by Ronald Chagoury Jnr and his team to engage directly and address the misconceptions. I must say, this is unarguably Africa’s boldest and most visionary project.

 

Some people say that in spite of the situation in the market, there are still pockets of opportunities that investors can latch on and get good returns. Do you share this view? If yes, where?

I’ll restrict my comments to the opportunities for mid level to prime real estate in the residential and office market in a severely contracted market. Fine and Country’s main business is in the upper quartile, and we are very familiar with recessionary markets, considering our launch in 2008, the height of the market crash. We have, however,  always maintained that astute investors understand that every market not only has cycles but that within each cycle, real investors don’t look for last seasons opportunities. Astute investors engage a creative and intelligent process to unlock opportunities irrespective of the market cycle. 

With mid to prime residential, we believe that the top executives, mid level professionals and High Net worth Diaspora investors present a unique opportunity for residential developers. 25% of our clients in the last year has come from Nigerians based overseas. The main reason is the currency advantage that came as a result of the Naira devaluation. This is a largely untapped and confusing market for most Nigerian developers who tend to go after them sporadically without a well articulated and coordinated strategy for not just exposing their projects but creating the right narrative that resonates with their target market. Back home, the mid level entrepreneurial class (long standing business owners with some measure of liquidity and stability looking to downsize and relocate to more convenient locations) or to invest their capital in an inflation proof solid long term real estate, are a segment for developers who are willing to be creative recognising that their needs are unique. Good quality properties, in residential and office segment, is still not to be taken for granted. With quality, however, our view is that developers need to be mindful of balancing quality with ability and pricing, and with purchasing power significantly reduced, value pricing remains important while more efficient spaces and flexible terms have become important. The heady days of $1000 per square meter for prime offices have clearly taken a break, and prices are now at a more sustainable $500-650m2 for prime offices, with quarterly to bi-annual payments now becoming the standard. Although there are still long term leases being signed, those are few and far between, and typically pre-arranged.

Are there still opportunities for ultra luxury residential, the answer is yes if you have staying power, meaning long term funds, patient or legacy capital as I prefer to call it. The true luxury market will never really disappear, as luxury is a reward for extreme hard work and having attained a certain height in life. At this point, people don’t ask mundane questions. Perhaps, the thing to note is that most people who say the luxury market have disappeared, are really referring to the aspirational luxury market or the ‘white market’ of undisclosed source money who may be uncomfortable to invest in a more accountable economy. There’s a difference with real luxury level investors and it’s always been a tiny sliver of the market. In any case, real luxury developers who don’t have patient capital, shouldn’t be in the game. Invest in this segment only if you can afford to outride the market, while of course taking on board market feedback and ensuring you provide real luxury. The low to mid price point residential, office and retail segments remain the highest growth potential, but it’s a game of numbers and a race to slimmer margins that will benefit from higher efficiency in construction and customer service delivery. This market believe it or not is still anyone’s game and not yet dominated by any player. There’s an opportunity for an existing luxury developer to pivot in this direction with economies of scale and dominate specific locations. I could go on, but hopefully, you can see there are still opportunities. 

 

Let me take you back to the London event. The diaspora and international investors you are going to woo to Nigerian market are people used to mortgages as a means of buying property. But here’s is a country where mortgage is virtually non-existent. What argument are you going to present in this respect?

 

A: It’s true that the Nigerian mortgage infrastructure is weak compared to the highly structured mortgage frameworks in the UK, the US, and Europe, however, that in itself presents opportunities for Investors and Developers alike. Most developers offer flexible payment plans, and longer payment periods, which is an attraction for potential investors especially when tied to their cashflow. Indeed many projects in Nigeria have routinely been sold through creatively structured payment plans.

For buyers, even though these real estate investments may be capital intensive at first, there is the potential to save more than the total repayment sum of the mortgages which include the principal amount plus the interest especially in a high-interest environment. Investors also have the opportunity, to avoid the fees associated with mortgages by buying directly with developer flexible financing.

I think in working with the current weaknesses that surround the Mortgage Infrastructure, it is important not to overlook, the downsides, of the high-interest rates, and the overall increased cost influenced by interest rates. Despite these challenges, it’s interesting to note that there are banks who have become creative about Diaspora credit and this is an area that will be discussed extensively at the Refined Investor Series in London. We have one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions, Access Bank Plc whose dynamic Group Managing Director, Herbert Wigwe is fully committed to engaging diaspora investors using Access Bank UK and its global footprint to tackle this effectively. Indeed the topic of Creative Diaspora Financing is at the fore front of our discussions at the upcoming event. 

 

For too long, the Nigerian mortgage system has remained a fledgling. Where do you think the operators are getting it wrong? What, in your opinion, needs to be done to get it right?

Ultimately, we agree that the best chance of Nigerian real estate playing a real role in economic growth is to have a viable and sustainable mortgage system and we can all agree that this currently doesn’t exit. We have to however, agree that this is not a mortgage operators deficiency, it’s a market deficiency. We don’t completely have the right enabling structures, although the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Corporation is an attempt towards stabilizing that sector. The real issues are more fundamental and go to our very economic, financial and legal regulatory framework. Transparency and enforcement of title remain a slow trudge. Double digit interest rate regimes nearing 25% due to the lack of liquidity, and long term funds, combined with uninspiring monetary regimes, are all factors. A lack of strong formal employee market means that it’s a challenge for mortgage providers to conduct an objective assessment of many applicants. The list goes on. This issue is one that requires a holistic review, otherwise, we may end up seeing  mortgage companies convert their businesses and become real estate development companies because at least they will not be subject to the stringent regulatory supervision, while they’ll be in a position to be more creative with buyers financing. 

 

Looking back to when you started this event (the Refined Investors Series), what impact do you think it has had on the Nigerian real estate market? What are the prospects in the years ahead?

 

Our key objective and mission through the Refined Investor Series has always been to ‘inspire confidence’ in the Nigerian Real Estate Market through providing a platform for good quality information, insight, and intelligence. As a company, we are on a quest to raise the standards in the real estate sector to international levels so that we become an attractive destination for our own citizens wherever they live, as well as international investors. We believe that limited transparency, access to current and accurate data, are major weaknesses of our economy and certainly the real estate market. Investors, whether local, diaspora or international go where they are confident. Confidence is inspired when people feel they have the right information and an understanding of the market. Our vision is to help investors invest more intelligently and confidently as a result of the Refined Investor Series.

 

The previous editions of Refined Investor Series held in Lagos has had in attendance over 1000 private investors over the past 5 years, with speakers and participation from notable personalities such as Mr. Atedo Peterside, Chairman of ANAP Foundation and formerly of Stanbic IBTC , Mr. Jim Ovia, Chairman of Zenith Bank and Quantum Capital, firms such as Elalan Construction, ANAP Business Jets Limited, British High Commission, Trustbond Mortgage Bank, YF construction, Lakepoint Properties, Urban Shelter Ltd, Famfa Oil Ltd, Total Nigeria Plc, Lagos Business School, Stanbic IBTC Bank, First Bank Private Bank, AM Facilities, Fidelity Bank, Palton Morgan Group, JLL, Energo Buildings , UPDC, LGV Gas.

Seeing top level investors, developers and stakeholders make decisions based on insight gained at the Refined Investor Series, is the proof of its impact.  Our ultimate objective is to shape the Nigerian Real Estate sector positively, so that we can unlock the real wealth that exists within it for many more investors, especially at the mid to prime markets. That’s our focus, and we intend to continue to scale this up using both technology as a way of reaching more investors with the relevant investment information. Next year just before the summer, the Refined Investor Series will debut in the US and Canada, with a Lagos and Abuja edition in February 2018 (The Economic and Real Estate Outlook Edition) in collaboration with our standing partners Business Day, and an ‘Astute Investor Seminar for High Network Clients in April, 2018.

We also have a gender focused Real Estate Series, the Finer Wealth Series, which helps to shape the way female investors tackle real estate and build financial security. This has been on for 3 years now and will formally launch the first female property investment club later this year. For now however, our 100% full on focus is on the London Series, as all roads lead to the Refined Investor Series, UK Diaspora and International edition at the Landmark Hotel, London on October 6th and 7th in a few weeks. 

 

CategoriesBlog Real Estate

GETTING MILLENNIALS ONTO THE PROPERTY LADDER. Secrets every Young Nigerian Should Know.

The Finer Wealth Series, a real estate investment and wealth initiative launched by Fine  and Country in 2015, aims to enlighten, encourage and equip more female investors get onto the property ladder individually and collectively to leverage the power of numbers.

The theme at this year’s edition which held on the 26th of May, 2017 at the Clear Essence California Spa and Wellness Resort was “BUILDING BLOCKS: Understanding the Fundamentals of Real Estate Investments”. It focused on engaging and enlightening younger female investors and their families with practical knowledge on investing in residential property.

We are pleased to feature below an account from one of the female guests, Joy Ehonwa a Lagos based writer and blogger.

REAL ESTATE SECRETS EVERY YOUNG NIGERIAN SHOULD KNOW.

I’m not wealthy yet, not by a long shot. Editors don’t earn much, and writers are paid even less, so when a client I have great respect for invited me to a real estate investment seminar last week, I wondered why.Perhaps she has seen into my future and I’m about to come into money! After all, investing in real estate is for rich, financially free people, isn’t it?

I gladly went, eager to learn something I could use in the not-so-near future.

It turns out I was wrong. Real estate isn’t just for the rich and established! Real estate is for me, a young woman in her 30s trying to build a career and raise a family. Real estate is for you, too. And we can start now.

The event, which held on Friday May 26th, was an introductory seminar, simply encouraging women to be bold enough to “consider a field” as the Proverbs 31 woman did, even if you’re not ready to buy the field just yet.

As I listened to seasoned professionals – Abigail Aneke, former United Bank for Africa (UBA) ED, Subu Giwa-Amu, MD/CEO FBN Mortgage, and the host Udo Okonjo, CEO of Fine & Country – share their real estate investment stories, my mentality underwent a major overhaul. MAJOR.

I cannot possibly share every single thing I learnt at this edition of Fine & Country International’s Finer Wealth Series – it would take 5 articles to do that – but here are just a few priceless nuggets:

1. The Starting Point For Anyone Who Wants To Invest In Real Estate Is Considering It And You Don’t Need Money In Your Pocket To Do That.

Being bold enough to consider it is the foundation.

2. It Is Possible To Invest In Real Estate Without Money.

Udo Okonjo told the story of how a book titled Nothing Down taught her this and changed her outlook, leading her to earn $100,000 on a single investment 18 years ago, without her putting any money down.

3. If You Would Like To Finance Your First Investment, You Can Start Saving For It Right Away.

This meant the most to me as a young person who has never invested in real estate before. Treasury bills were recommended (look this up if you’re not already familiar with it) amongst other low risk investments that can help you multiply your money. I already knew that saving towards a goal makes it easier and more enjoyable, but whereas I thought real estate investment too lofty a goal for me, I no longer think so.

4. Instead Of Thinking Affordability, Think Collaboration.

You don’t have to invest in real estate alone, or even save up for the investment all by yourself. People come together to acquire property all the time! Even if you don’t have any money now, check out this scenario: you and 9 other women save 100k every month. In a year, your group would be able to afford property worth 12 million that none of you can afford individually. And you already know that even if all you do is buy land and sit on it for a few years, it will appreciate and you’ll all be richer for it when you offload and share profits!  This is what Finer Wealth Circles are about.

5. The First Step To Making Money In Real Estate Is Research.

Know your location and ask lots and lots of questions.

6. An Unsuccessful First Venture Need Not Mean Failure.

Udo Okonjo, who is an incredibly successful real estate investor, shared the story of her first investment which was a disaster. According to her, such a thing can only be termed failure when you don’t get up, unpack it, and learn from it. Understand that you will make mistakes, even when you become astute. Learn to forgive yourself.

7. When Buying Real Estate, Control Is Key.

This was the main lesson Udo Okonjo learnt from that first disaster. Invest around where you are, and make sure due de-risking has been done. If you don’t know how, invest through schemes that have done the groundwork of securing the title and dealing with the baales and other such issues that can derail you.

8. When Investing In Property, The Title Is Everything.

This is why Fine & Country settles this first, before proceeding to anything else.

9. When Starting Out In Real Estate, Start Simple.

For instance, it’s always a good idea to house people. People are crying out for affordable accommodation.

10. Know That Real Estate Is A Long-Term Play.

It’s not liquid, and it takes time to extract liquidity from it, so don’t come at it with a “make it quick” attitude.

11. Even If You Can’t Do Anything Else For Starters, Buy Some Land.

Land is a great option because you can’t go wrong once you’ve secured it. Unlike developed property which you need to maintain, land increases in value on its own as time passes. You can even decide to lease it to a farmer, or rent it to a telecommunications company. Udo Okonjo quoted Mark Twain: “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.”

I came away from the seminar feeling wealthier than I ever have, even though my account balance was exactly the same.

I may not be able to buy land right now, but I’m no longer ignoring real estate broadcast messages and ads.

The possibilities are endless if you simply open your mind to the fact that you, too, can invest in real estate. Once that can happen in your mind, it can happen in your life.

I missed the 2016 edition of the Finer Wealth Series last year (Mrs. Ibukun Awosika Chairman of First Bank shared her real estate investment stories, please cry with me) but I certainly don’t want to miss next year’s.

Neither should you.

CategoriesBlog Real Estate Uncategorized

Investors should recognize that there is always a cost to leaving buildings empty

For reasons ranging from unaffordability to over-supply and unmotivated sellers, many residential buildings, especially at the high end property market,  are vacant. UDO OKONJO, Vice Chair/CEO, Fine and Country West Africa, in this interview with CHUKA UROKO, Property Editor,  highlights the implications of this to both the buildings and the investors. She also speaks on emerging opportunities in the real estate market. Excerpts:
 
We are well into the second quarter of the year. Looking back to the end of last year to now, tell us about the state of the real estate market?
In the upper tier of the residential market which is our point of operation including Ikoyi, Victoria Island, the Oniru axis and, to an extent, Lekki, if you segment those areas, you see that in Ikoyi, for instance, 40-50 percent of the high rise buildings appear to be vacant. There is a very high vacancy rate in this area.
Some of the buildings that appear to be 100 percent empty are generally old buildings which appear to be completely abandoned. The question to ask here is who owns those buildings and why are they abandoned? I think that some of those buildings have the challenges of the tension between the federal government title and the Lagos State regularization.
We have, therefore, to recognize that lack of enabling environment is playing a key role in business people’s inability to create opportunities for people to own homes. In spite of the state of the market, especially at the high end, people still need quality properties that are well priced.
I continue to maintain that there is still market for good location, good quality and good pricing for properties. Old or new, if a property is over-priced because the owner is not interested in what the market is saying in terms of pricing, maybe because he is using it as a means of storing wealth, then for us at Fine and Country, that is not our market.
This is why we advise before we sell. Our strategy is to offer advisory service from the first stage. We prefer to start to give advice first because that enables us to determine the objective of our client. If the client is one that is not interested in what the market demands and requires, then such a client is not for us. We call clients like that unmotivated sellers and we advise buyers to avoid such sellers. These are also part of the reasons you see a lot of empty buildings in that segment of the market.
Investors should recognize that there is always cost to leaving buildings empty. Such cost comes in terms of maintenance, depreciation, decay, etc. It is always good to have people in a building.  Any serious investor recognizes that markets come in cycles and so make all the adjustments they want to make and when they do,  they bid their time and wait for the cycle to return.
For us, what is fundamental is how you acquire a property and why you are acquiring it because that will determine what you are going to do when things go wrong. If you are in for a long term which is what real estate investment is all about, the fact that there is a downturn should not make anybody feel that the world is about to end.
Given the state of the economy, do you still see people who are looking for houses at the high end market?
There are still clients looking for properties but the properties here are over-priced, but those that are adjusting to the market are getting results while those that are not remain where they are and this is happening in both rental and sales market.
We are now highly involved in creating market opportunities. These are real estate solutions and developments that speak directly to the market. This gives investors clear view and understanding of the kind of properties people want to buy and where they want them to be. It is no longer time for lavishness or supper luxury. At any point—whether it is upturn or downturn, the super luxury segment of the market is always a thin one because you don’t have many people playing there as buyers or sellers.
It is a tiny specialized market that is not for everybody. Our advice in the residential segment of the market remain the same: create products that people want; don’t over price the product; find a creative way of delivering convenience and luxury without breaking the bank because if you break the bank, you won’t get a return because people are not in a position to pay. Good quality remains a willing proposition any day but you need to find a way of delivering that quality at a sensible price. This is not rocket science but unfortunately a lot people don’t want to acquire it.
Even when the market was very dull last year, the low-middle market still upbeat with reasonable demand. What has changed in this segment of the market?
There are still first time buyers here including professionals, young families, returning professionals etc. Some of them are not necessarily first home buyers, but people who are investing in order to get rental income in what could  be called buy-to-let investment. In many countries, a lot of professionals create wealth through buying real estate which they rent out to tenants. But the buy-to-let market in this country is not going to flourish because we don’t have a viable and proper mortgage system that can offer single digit interest rate. At double digit interest rate, taking a mortgage does not make sense.
The winning proposition is for the developer to work with younger buyers and their cash flow. He has to structure his development to match that cash flow. This proposition is already catching on because there are a few developers that are already doing it. It is very competitive but there are opportunities there. Efficiency is key. The developer has to be mindful of how seeks building materials, how he develops and sources capital. The development has to be standard, otherwise there will problems.
Businesses have not fared well in the last 12-18 months because recession which has reduced uptake in retail and office space. Looking at the commercial market generally, what is the story?
Grade A office space is still a very small market. Most of the people who play in that space are institutional investors and ultra-high net-worth investors. These people generally have long term horizon because they are astute investors and so they know that the market is in a cycle which will not last for ever. Most of these investors are ready to adjust because they are astute. They recognize that the market is what it is and so they become more flexible and that is what they should be if they want their property to be let. They give out concessions and vary their terms of payment.
Some are, however, still constrained by virtue of their vision even though they try to be flexible. Their vision is not always their financial. They are always bent on attracting the sort of tenants that will add value to their property. So, the adjustment they make is only for the right kind of clients but for other people they will remain rigid.  There is however some sense in all of this because real investors don’t just adjust their vision because the market is down.
Where we see great opportunities emerging is the B-Grade and even below office space. If this Grade is within the range of $60 to $65 per square metre and above, there is still market for below $500 per square metres and this market is largely untapped and is now being filled by informal offices. But developers that build good quality, well finished and well priced, say within $250  to $300 per square metres, will find ready market.
There is a new wave in office space development that encourages small units of office space. What is driving that development and what opportunities are there for investors?
I think there is quite a number of emerging and interesting opportunities that are being driven by younger, more innovative investors and professionals who are riding on the wave of digital technology. Lots of companies don’t need as much space as they used to have. People are now renting smaller work spaces and converting their spaces into smaller units so that emerging entrepreneurs can come and take up those units. There is also big opportunity in that space created by informal investors. If there is a way investors can formalize and scale up that, there is an opportunity there.
Lekki, for instance, is becoming one big retail hub because people are renting houses and converting them into shops. There is a bit of a challenge here because this is a bit untidy and informal. I foresee Lekki becoming a bit like Victoria Island and most of the people living there now will, in future, start looking for residential enclaves or havens where there is sanity, order, orgainsed systems such as power, security, etc. These havens will never be  like government areas such as Lekki where anything goes.
The emerging residential havens like Orange Island, Imperial City, Gracefield Island, Mayegun Beach Resort etc, will begin to do better because people will come to Lekki to do business but will retire to those communities where life is organised. 
We at Fine and Country are very bold and bullish about promoting those enclaves because they are the future of residential development where you have virtually everything including schools, lifestyle, hospitals, retail shops, worship and recreational places, etc.
 
Since many people, especially young families and professionals, are no longer looking for large-size houses, where exactly do opportunities exist the most for investors?
We feel that opportunity now exist in smaller residential units because the young professionals we are talking about are no longer looking for 4 or 5-bedroom apartments because they can’t afford them nor do they even need them. What they need is one-bed and two-bedroom for those that are planning of getting married. These days, room-sizes are getting smaller because of the cost of materials such that where we used to get three-bedroom of 250 square metres, we now have between 250 and 300 square metres. It all now depends on design which makes such rooms efficient and functional.
There is now a good number of developments going on in places like Lekki where you get studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments targeted at young professionals and families. There was a project we did of recent that comprised just studios and one-bedroom and they sold out. Similar developments are now coming up in Victoria Island and Oniru axis.
We think there are opportunities for similar developments in Ikoyi which is a highbrow area. Families are downsizing and there are young families looking up to their parents to help them to buy properties in good locations such as Ikoyi where they have grown up. Currently however, these smaller units are being built in the outskirta of town but there is an opportunity for them in the city centre and also in the highbrow areas.
CategoriesBlog Real Estate Uncategorized

Taking Nigeria to the World debuts in Fine & Country’s Refined Magazine

The Refined Magazine is out!

The Fine and Country West Africa signature real estate magazine now available for download, features exciting real estate intelligence with a recap of key events in the past months. This Refined edition is focused on ‘’Taking Nigeria to the World’’ by spotlighting the megacity Lagos. Lagos will be 50 in May and we are convinced the Lagos Success Story must be taken beyond the shores of Nigeria.

Having earned its place as one of the most important cities in Africa, Lagos mirrors the challenges and the growth dynamics of African cities from a comparatively positive standpoint. The dynamics and challenges range from managing mega slums alongside mega city, Lagos being the first choice destination for the Fortune 500, Lagos holding its place as one of the 100 Most Resilient Cities in the world and of course, the future of Lagos were all painstaking analysed in the Refined Magazine editorial.

We at Fine and Country are happy to be a part of the Lagos Success Story hence, the Refined Investors Series holding in May, in the United Kingdom, is targeted at bringing Nigerians in the diaspora to come invest in Nigerian real estate in general, and Lagos real estate in particular. The need to invest now is critical going by the prevailing matrices and their interpretations as intelligent real estate indices. These indices are reflected in the choice of properties listed in the Refined Magazine.

Prominent amongst the featured properties is the Oakwood Residences on Cooper Road Ikoyi. These luxury residences comprise contemporary three bedroom and 5 bedroom apartments with a panoramic view of the lush Ikoyi skylines. The build quality and finish are the top of pack and the price point is relatively going 20% lower than market value. The window of opportunity of buying at the current price closes within a couple of days.

Call Ifueko on 08096000024 to buy an apartment!

Download a copy of the Refined Magazine here.

CategoriesBlog Real Estate Uncategorized

THE OAKWOOD RESIDENCES IKOYI, OFFERS THE LAST TWO APARTMENTS

http://fineandcountry.ng/properties/oakwood-residences/

Real estate typically stimulates fond emotions, and for great Real Estate, the emotions are a lot more profound. We all honestly love great real estate because it delivers value, both aesthetically and functionally. This photograph of Oakwood Residences Ikoyi does not do justice to it when compared to what it is in reality. This is because this property ticks all the right boxes which rarely happens, by the way. Let’s see some of these boxes The Oakwood Residences ticked rightly;

  •  Location
  •  Pricing
  •  Quality build
  •  Flexibility in payment terms
  •  Functionality
  • Aesthetics
  • Creative spacing

Now, top all of these up with the Fine and Country West Africa seal of guaranteed title. One would honestly, be unsure of what else an astute investor would be looking for. This property is great for those looking for the convenience factor, scaling down and moving from congested Lekki axis or mainland or for diaspora Nigerian buyers wanting security in title and peace of mind. This explains why we are sold out mainly to owner occupiers and diaspora investors- with only 2 apartments available.

To initiate your first step to owning a luxurious apartment in the upscale Ikoyi neighbourhood, call;

 

Ifueko on 08096000024 or Bukola on 08096000027

CategoriesBlog Real Estate Uncategorized

Taking Nigeria to the World: Spotlight on Nigeria’s Mega City, Lagos

Fine and Country West Africa

The megacity Lagos, will clock 50 in May, having earned its place as arguably the most important state in the country and the 4th largest economy in Africa, a home for all and a land of opportunities where dreams are made and fulfilled. Being the technology, investment and economic hub of Nigeria, Lagos has taken the mantra, “Centre of Excellence”, to a reasonable level. According to a KPMG report, African’s cities are fast emerging as centres of entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity and invention and Lagos is leading in these areas.

Lagos also recently attained the status of one of the 100 most Resilient Cities in the world. This means Lagos is more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. Lagos endures and survives in spite of the challenges that come with urbanization and migration.

Governor Ambode, the state governor, had mentioned at the 14th Prof. Pat Utomi led, Annual Lecture and Symposium organised by the Centre for Value in Leadership, that 85 new people migrate to Lagos every hour. As one of the fastest growing cities in Africa and one of the leading destinations for Fortune 500 companies, with over 14 of them already in Lagos, there is no doubt that urbanisation is a key driver for economic development and prosperity.

THE CHALLENGE OF GROWTH. MEGA CITY VERSUS MEGA SLUM?

There are however challenges and opportunities in the rapid growth. These challenges range from inclusive growth – Urban cities have a responsibility to focus on realising the potential of these cities as inclusive and resilient centres of economic growth and job creation with a critical but often ignored question: “Who are we building the cities for?  Secondly, the infrastructure deficit is also an obvious area that presents an opportunity for forward thinking governments to partner with the private sector to deliver world class infrastructure ranging from transportation, power, sanitation/waste management to softer infrastructure including health/medical, educational and recreational facilities. Population growth typically outpaces the infrastructure growth which often needs to be addressed against the backdrop of limited or dwindling revenues. Thirdly, informal settlements and unregulated urban growth especially in young cities as is in clear evidence all around Lagos, constitutes a threat for both the settlers and residents.

As highlighted above, these present clear opportunities but also a major challenge to the key stakeholders to be proactive in tackling the current needs while being visionary about building the future.

THE FUTURE MEGA CITY

Lagos recently flagged-off the Ambode-led Massive Infrastructural Plan, as it seeks to adopt models of public-private partnerships to fill infrastructural gaps   . The Lagos City Initiative also signed an MOU with the Dubai Smart City to create the world’s first carbon neutral city- The Lagos Smart City. Other significant projects in the state are the 4thMainland bridge project, Light-up Lagos, the Lekki deep seaport, Lekki axis airport, the Dangote refinery and Lagos’ fast rising software developers’ hub profile. The mass housing scheme, the massive reform in waste and sanitation management system and structured transportation system befitting of a megacity; which explains the drastic establishment of massive lay-bys, rehabilitation of inner-city roads and the construction of flyovers in different parts of the state, are strong indices showing the reinvention taking place in Lagos State.

Lagos is a prime example of a proactive and fast developing megacity. Despite the challenges peculiar to a developing megacity like Lagos, a vast pool of opportunities, however, exist as very low hanging fruit, for the discerning.

TAKING LAGOS TO THE WORLD OF DIASPORA NIGERIANS

Fine and Country West Africa is taking the lead in attracting Nigerians in the diaspora (with an estimated $21-35billion in remittance level at 2016)  to invest in real estate in Lagos. Lagos receives the highest percentage of the remittance made into the Nigerian economy.

In light of this, the forthcoming Refined Investors Series UK, themed ‘’Taking Lagos to the World’’, holding on the 15th and 16th of June, 2017, in London, is billed to provide a platform for showcasing Lagos Real Estate opportunities to foreign investors in general and Nigerians in the diaspora in particular. Stakeholders from all key segments of the value chain will be available, to inform and present, through conferences and exhibition, various offerings to Nigerians in the diaspora.

As Lagos hits the big 50, we hope that the continuing transformational leadership of the state will strengthen its system to help create more transparent building approval processes, and marketable titles to inspire confidence in investors. This is the bedrock of creating sustainable wealth, and the winning strategy to tap the true potential of Lagos and other emerging Nigerian cities.  The future of Nigerian cities may well appear bright if we follow through with sustainable governance, solid institutions and a culture of transformational leadership.

Udo Okonjo, LL.M (Lond)
CEO/Vice Chair Fine and Country W.A.
A member of the Oxford Real Estate Society

CategoriesBlog Real Estate Uncategorized

Taking Nigeria to the World: Spotlight on Nigeria’s Mega City, Lagos

Fine and Country West Africa

The megacity Lagos, will clock 50 in May, having earned its place as arguably the most important state in the country and the 4th largest economy in Africa, a home for all and a land of opportunities where dreams are made and fulfilled. Being the technology, investment and economic hub of Nigeria, Lagos has taken the mantra, “Centre of Excellence”, to a reasonable level. According to a KPMG report, African’s cities are fast emerging as centres of entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity and invention and Lagos is leading in these areas.

Lagos also recently attained the status of one of the 100 most Resilient Cities in the world. This means Lagos is more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. Lagos endures and survives in spite of the challenges that come with urbanization and migration.

Governor Ambode, the state governor, had mentioned at the 14th Prof. Pat Utomi led, Annual Lecture and Symposium organised by the Centre for Value in Leadership, that 85 new people migrate to Lagos every hour. As one of the fastest growing cities in Africa and one of the leading destinations for Fortune 500 companies, with over 14 of them already in Lagos, there is no doubt that urbanisation is a key driver for economic development and prosperity.

THE CHALLENGE OF GROWTH. MEGA CITY VERSUS MEGA SLUM?

There are however challenges and opportunities in the rapid growth. These challenges range from inclusive growth – Urban cities have a responsibility to focus on realising the potential of these cities as inclusive and resilient centres of economic growth and job creation with a critical but often ignored question: “Who are we building the cities for?  Secondly, the infrastructure deficit is also an obvious area that presents an opportunity for forward thinking governments to partner with the private sector to deliver world class infrastructure ranging from transportation, power, sanitation/waste management to softer infrastructure including health/medical, educational and recreational facilities. Population growth typically outpaces the infrastructure growth which often needs to be addressed against the backdrop of limited or dwindling revenues. Thirdly, informal settlements and unregulated urban growth especially in young cities as is in clear evidence all around Lagos, constitutes a threat for both the settlers and residents.

As highlighted above, these present clear opportunities but also a major challenge to the key stakeholders to be proactive in tackling the current needs while being visionary about building the future.

THE FUTURE MEGA CITY

Lagos recently flagged-off the Ambode-led Massive Infrastructural Plan, as it seeks to adopt models of public-private partnerships to fill infrastructural gaps   . The Lagos City Initiative also signed an MOU with the Dubai Smart City to create the world’s first carbon neutral city- The Lagos Smart City. Other significant projects in the state are the 4thMainland bridge project, Light-up Lagos, the Lekki deep seaport, Lekki axis airport, the Dangote refinery and Lagos’ fast rising software developers’ hub profile. The mass housing scheme, the massive reform in waste and sanitation management system and structured transportation system befitting of a megacity; which explains the drastic establishment of massive lay-bys, rehabilitation of inner-city roads and the construction of flyovers in different parts of the state, are strong indices showing the reinvention taking place in Lagos State.

Lagos is a prime example of a proactive and fast developing megacity. Despite the challenges peculiar to a developing megacity like Lagos, a vast pool of opportunities, however, exist as very low hanging fruit, for the discerning.

TAKING LAGOS TO THE WORLD OF DIASPORA NIGERIANS

Fine and Country West Africa is taking the lead in attracting Nigerians in the diaspora (with an estimated $21-35billion in remittance level at 2016)  to invest in real estate in Lagos. Lagos receives the highest percentage of the remittance made into the Nigerian economy.

In light of this, the forthcoming Refined Investors Series UK, themed ‘’Taking Lagos to the World’’, holding on the 15th and 16th of June, 2017, in London, is billed to provide a platform for showcasing Lagos Real Estate opportunities to foreign investors in general and Nigerians in the diaspora in particular. Stakeholders from all key segments of the value chain will be available, to inform and present, through conferences and exhibition, various offerings to Nigerians in the diaspora.

As Lagos hits the big 50, we hope that the continuing transformational leadership of the state will strengthen its system to help create more transparent building approval processes, and marketable titles to inspire confidence in investors. This is the bedrock of creating sustainable wealth, and the winning strategy to tap the true potential of Lagos and other emerging Nigerian cities.  The future of Nigerian cities may well appear bright if we follow through with sustainable governance, solid institutions and a culture of transformational leadership.

Udo Okonjo, LL.M (Lond)
CEO/Vice Chair Fine and Country W.A.
A member of the Oxford Real Estate Society

CategoriesBlog Real Estate Uncategorized

Is Lagos Ready For Fortune 500 Companies?

Nestoil Towers

 

 

Lagos has earned itself a position among the top destination for Fortune 500 companies seeking expansion in the Middle East and African (MEA) territories. Overall, there was a 17% increase in the number of companies in MEA in 2016 compared to 2015, with Johannesburg and Lagos being the leading destinations for Africa and West Africa respectively. This means Fortune 500 companies are actively seeking new markets to expand into.

 

A new report released by Infomineo, a global business research company specialising in Africa and the Middle East, indicates that the region has become increasingly important for the majority of global Fortune 500 countries. Typically Fortune 500 companies lease or buy Grade A office spaces.

Nestoil Towers

 

The key features of Grade A office spaces include the following:

1. A landmark status or central business location

2. Good accessibility and adequate car parking

3. A modern BMS(Building Management System)to control access and security, fire, life safety and other building services

4. Provision of multiple power sources to ensure a constant power supply in the event of a local power grid failure

5. Provision of a raised floor with a minimum clear service zone of 90mm

6. Environmental Standards (AD) to achieve one of LEED Gold Standard BREEAM(Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) Standard, with a Very Good point mark.

7. The quality of build and minimum structural loading floor capacities for each office floor level with an area allocated for high loading levels on each floor.

Nest oil | Fine and Country

 

The future prospects for Grade A spaces appear bright, and a number of office buildings including the international award-winning Nestoil Tower, standing tall in this regard. This Grade A building is a one-of-a-kind mixed-use development, strategically located at the intersection of two major business roads – Akin Adesola Street and Saka Tinubu Street- in Victoria Island Lagos, with a panoramic view of the Eko Atlantic City and the Atlantic Ocean. The development is targeted at dynamic businesses, multi-national industries, financial institutions that require top brand positioning and desire to be at the very heart of their target market. Sitting on a land size of 3900sqm on 15 floors, the Nestoil Tower is an iconic structure with 9904 leasable commercial spaces and 23 residential apartments to provide a flexible accommodation to occupiers.

With the likes of Nest Oil Towers, Heritage Offices, The Wings, Nipost Tower, Temple Towers and a handful of both grade A and B offices coming into the market, we can say that Lagos is getting ready for the influx of Fortune 500 companies notwithstanding the current challenging times in the office market.

Looking to develop, list or lease a Grade A office space in Lagos? Talk to us

Call David Mbah 08096000021

 

CategoriesBlog Real Estate Uncategorized

The Intelligent Investor: Getting Detailed and Organized

 

Real estate Investing in Nigeria | Fine & Country 

“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned”
-Benjamin Franklin

As an investor, it is pertinent to know,  that you are probably not the only bargain seeker out there looking for great investment opportunities in a slow real estate market. You may have an edge on the sellers as cash is now king, but another buyer could snap up your great deal if you delay the buying process.

It is, therefore, important that once you’ve decided to look for great deals, you should get your down payment ready to move once a transaction is agreed. In the case of financing with a mortgage facility, you will need to have got pre-approved for the loan to prevent undue delays.

Real Estate transactions are better handled when you get a well-informed advisor on your side.  These professionals provide valuable information and let a buyer investor know early on in the process what to look out for and what they can use to their advantage. Researching your advisors is a critical element especially in developing economies like Nigeria. It’s best to get a referral rather than to rely on the internet wherever possible as integrity is still a big issue in our market.

CategoriesBlog Real Estate Uncategorized

THE LAGOS BUSINESS SCHOOL CEO’S ROUNDTABLE ON SUSTAINABILITY

At the baseline of Sustainability lies the Instinct to Survive; this was the lead conversation at the recently organized CEO’s roundtable discuss on Sustainability. Adversity triggers innovation and this was also a position taken by all the CEOs present. It was also gathered at the event that the greatest threat of all is Poverty of the mind. ”Nigeria alongside her businesses are desperately in need of Transformational Leadership because of the present situation we are in economically” this was the central focus of the keynote presented by Tonye Cole, Co-Founder Sahara Group.

THE LAGOS BUSINESS SCHOOL CEO'S ROUNDTABLE ON SUSTAINABILITY

He went on to illustrate that businesses that would succeed in this era are businesses that are have developed winning survival strategies and with a penchant for dynamism and Innovation.

These forward-looking businesses have certain characteristic traits in common and they are:

  • Ability to foresee the future by reading the signs we see today
  • Being consistently and deliberately relevant in your line of business
  • Advocacy, adding value and Engaging with relevant stakeholders
  • Knowing when to change strategy/tactics
  • Opening up new frontiers and Markets
  • Build Lasting Relationships – One key pillar to sustainability is lasting relationships, Relationships outlive Governments
  • Grow your business while others are afraid
  • Collaborate

During the plenary session on Investing in Talents for Sustainable and Competitive Advantage, Udo Okonjo, CEO Fine & Country WA gave an insight into how leaders of 21st-century businesses can leverage on a healthy, happy and properly engaged employee. She also said that CEO’s need to constantly think about going back into the Nigerian society and help build the fallen structures.

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Speaking from her experience as a 21st-century business leader, she maintained that the companies that have a strong sense of purpose will retain people with a strong sense of purpose and the people with strong personal vision, tend to last longer in the company.

Mrs. Okonjo rounded off her session by touching point on the importance of creativity and its impact on the collective growth for both the employee and the employer. She said that ”Creativity is very important when you give employees an opportunity to contribute to the vision of the company so as to grow it; and the kind of people who will thrive in that environment are people who are Dynamic, Innovative and Creative”.

 

CategoriesBlog Real Estate Uncategorized

The Intelligent Investor

The intelligent investor | Fine and Country

                                                    “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper questions to ask”
                                                                                                                                                             – Albert Einstein
                                                                                                                                   ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTION 
Real Estate Buyers (Investors) more often than not have the lead in a recessive and challenging market but this doesn’t mean they should walk into a transaction inadvertently.

Prospective buyers are expected to search the internet for listings, inquire with a renowned property manager or agent and also check the daily property newsprints to gain insight on a particular location, property type and average asking prices.

www.fineandcountry.ng and Refined Magazine are good sources and many others. As a buyer, one of the objectives when asking questions before investing in Real Estate is to get to know the price range for the location you want to invest; in order to ascertain what is excessive and what is considered low. This investigation will help you make a reasonable bid and also provide the first perception that there is bargaining room on a particular property.
Other questions to ask should border on title, developer history, documentation fees, year of construction, facility management, service charges, transfer of ownership etc.

Subsequently, we will be discussing other important steps to take when considering an investment in Real Estate. These steps will centre on the following touchpoints:

  • Getting detailed and organized
  • Buy from Motivated sellers
  • The Art of negotiating Well & Throughout the Transaction Phase
  • Titling: Getting it right

 

 

CategoriesUncategorized

The Confidence Factor vs Diaspora market Investment

Confidence in the economy and its markets is a critical driver of economic, financial fluctuations and of the entire business sectors. When confidence increases, investors and consumers want to spend more on goods, durables and invest at prevailing prices. When confidence decreases, consumer spendings and investment risk-taking show a declining trend.

Attracting foreign Investments (especially from Nigerians in the Diaspora) is very key if the FG Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which unveils a roadmap for Nigeria’s economic recovery, growth, and sustainable development, is truly going to result in positive outcomes; and this begins when the confidence level and news about the future is good.

Recently, Dr. Okechukwu Enelemah, The Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment and Prof. Pat Utomi made a key reference to the Confidence Factor and how a positive Confidence Factor Index will create an enabling business environment and positively impact the of ease and transparency on attracting investment into the country.

Furthermore, the 800% over subscription of the Euro bond and the recently announced changes in Nigeria’s Immigration policy, Real Estate Developers can draw up 3 key insights:

1. Attractive Returns: High-Value Pricing attracts all investors in a down market. The Eurobond was arguably oversubscribed due to its aggressive pricing. Where there’s low investor confidence, the reward has to be made more attractive.
2. Ease of Doing Business: Lowering the acquisition/investment barrier through Flexible Pricing and lower deposits to attract commitment and quicker decisions.
3. Transaction Integrity and the Confidence Factor: Real estate being high-cost transaction benefits from ensuring transaction integrity. Historical Track record and Excellent Documentation processing, answer questions upfront and clearly without hidden costs and ambiguity.

Investing in Nigeria /Fine and Country West Africa

The Confidence Factor is a big issue in both attracting investors to the Nigerian economy and also attracting real estate buyers especially those not resident in Nigeria to the market. Raising Nigeria’s Confidence Factor Index is an important leading indicator for investors given its ability to predict the gross domestic product (“GDP”) growth performance of an economy and also the effectiveness of the monetary policy in combatting low unemployment and inflation.

Going foward, we expect that the real estate sector will outperform other investment classes as the Confidence Level of foreign investors increase especially the Nigerians in the Diaspora. According to a report by Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development, remittances into Nigeria totaled $20.8 billion in 2015 and grew by 40.57% to $35 billion in December 2016.

This is a leading Indicator that fosters the possibility of a broad economic turnaround, including resumed growth in real estate contribution to GDP as a result of increase patronage from diaspora first-time residential real estate buyers. Other sectors of the real estate value chain especially the Retail and Premium Real Estate space, will experience a positive impact on the revenues and transactions closed over time are highly correlated with the economic performance and consumer spending patterns.

CategoriesUncategorized

Top Properties for Sale in Lagos

We’ve Shortlisted the top properties in Lagos that are perfect for investors and first-time buyers. In no particular order:

Oakwood Resdences Ikoyi
Oakwood Residences, Ikoyi

OAKWOOD RESIDENCE, IKOYI

The newly constructed Oakwood Residences is located on Cooper road in Ikoyi, Lagos and provides contemporary 4 Bedroom apartments and 5 bedroom penthouses with excellent build quality and finish. These homes will come with facilities such as Fitness Centre, Swimming pool, service apartment, study,  Spa and Standby generating set for uninterrupted power supply.Read more

Oakwood Residences
Oakwood Residences

 

Eden Heights
Eden Heights

EDEN HEIGHTS, VICTORIA ISLAND

Located in the heart of Victoria Island, Lagos with close proximity to leading schools, financial hubs, Eden Heights is an off-plan property which has on offer beautifully designed, modern 1, 2, 3, 4 bedroom apartments and 5 bedroom penthouses. Each apartment comprises well-appointed en-suite bedrooms, floor to ceiling windows, modern fitted kitchens, spectacular views and access to the Swimming Pool, Spa, and Gym. Eden Heights is expected to be completed by Q4, 2016. Flexible payment options are available. Read more

Eden Heights
Eden Heights

 

CategoriesUncategorized

Abandoned Government Monument; What is the way forward?

 

Old Federal Secretariat Complex
Old Federal Secretariat Complex Ikoyi

The old federal secretariat, Ikoyi was before its abandonment a powerhouse for deliberation and implementation of issues that concerned the development of the country. It was an administrative complex built by the Yakubu Gowon led administration to cater for the administrative need of the country. At the point when the capital was moved to Abuja, it was left to rot. Presently it houses rodents, reptiles, and hoodlums who take advantage of the derelict and overgrown compound to propagate unlawful activities.

Abandoned building and transforamtions
The table above describes the abandoned buildings around the world and how it has been transformed.

 

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

Liverpool's grade ll listed gladstone conversatory
Liverpool’s grade ll listed gladstone conversatory

 

It would be an advantage to Nigerians if the custodians of the old federal secretariat look inwards and proffer creative ways the buildings can be transformed either for commercial or residential purposes.
It can be used for mixed use developments or work live and play. It can also be used as a co-work space, multi-studio apartments. Alternatively, it can be used as Retail spaces in order to reduce the 2.7 million space deficit across the nation.

The big question is… Would you buy a serviced apartment in here? Lease an office within it? Rent short let boutique residences or hotel? These and many more questions need further deliberations.

Recently we started conversations around Pockets of Opportunities; we know there enormous opportunities that can be explored from the transformation of abandoned monumental properties.

CategoriesUncategorized

POCKETS OF REAL ESTATE OPPORTUNITIES IN 2017 and beyond

Pockets of Opporunities by Udo Okonjo
A Cross section of guest at the Economic and Real Estate Outlook 2017.

Udo Okonjo, CEO Fine and Country WA, recently described the real estate sector as a mirror of the economy which directly reflects the economic status of the nation, however she noted there are pockets of opportunities for those who are willing to be creative and deal with real owner-occupier and investors demand rather than opportunistic oil leaks/corruption fuelled market . Below are some of the excerpts from her review titled: Pockets of Opportunities at the just concluded Real Estate Leaders Breakfast meeting held at the Radisson Hotel where she sought to provide some guidance to investors and stakeholders.

 

LOCATION.Real estate as we know it is changing. The concept of location needs a re-look. Prime locations such as Ikoyi, Banana Island, Victoria Island, and environs will remain attractive, however, we need a redefinition of the old real estate maxim. Location. Location. Location should be looked at in a developing economy in light of emerging locations especially new cities/locations which offer good infrastructure, or locations that have become more accessible as connectivity increases and redefines the value of certain locations.

It is important to note that there are still pockets of opportunities within prime locations at the very high end for investors who are interested and financially capable of building “legacy  or trophy projects.” However, for the rest of the market, residential now needs to be ‘’re-designed to fit the present day reality’’. One of the trends is certainly towards apartment style versus large villa style housing. Market intelligence is increasingly pointing towards good value and convenience, which does not mean the same thing as low quality housing. Oakwood Residences on Cooper Road typifies this model of market intelligence- contemporary good value and good quality apartments in the prime Ikoyi suburb, which were offered at below N150M at launch, now 90% subscribed and nearing completion.

Oakwood Resdences Ikoyi
Oakwood Residences, Ikoyi

MILLENNIAL HOUSING.  An important trend, which needs to be explored further as  Millennials begin to come into the housing market, with more functional requirements in terms of unit sizes and facilities. This market is important for residential developers with opportunities to target first-time homeowners, buy to let investors and parents of the “boomerang generation”  -those caught between staying at home out of financial convenience and fending for themselves. Their lifestyles are different and needs to be studied to adapt the right properties.

DIASPORA Investors. Diaspora investors are a huge source of foreign direct investments which can no longer be ignored. This is a market segment with unique requirements and for whom the real gap is a confidence crisis. Any attempt to tap into this market will require this confidence gap to be filled with both on a country economic and market level. The source of the properties, the standards and the process of engaging those in diaspora are critical factors.

 

LIFESTYLE GATED ESTATES. These are an emerging opportunity in residential and are specially favoured by the younger professionals and middle class families who value a sense of security, convenience, and community. The diaspora market is also keen on lifestyle communities as they largely mirror their lifestyle experiences overseas.

Other low hanging opportunities include Neighbourhood retail hubs, noting that Ikoyi, still a largely residential location, lacks a proper shopping centre, with Falomo Shopping Centre still in limbo. Hostel Accommodation for top universities, including the Pan Atlantic University/Lagos Business School and across the country were reviewed. The Federal Secretariat and the multiple abandoned properties in prime Ikoyi and environs was noted as opportunities to be reviewed creatively against the backdrop of the emerging entrepreneurial class of owner occupiers, who have real demand versus the opportunistic investors whose

 

The keynote speaker, Professor Pat Utomi, session focused on the four growth drivers’ framework; policy choice, institutions, human capital, and entrepreneurship.

 

A Real Estate Outlook Report for 2017 is also available at Fine and Country to investors and anyone looking to consider an investment.

For further enquiries, please contact victor.nkwocha@fineandcountryng.comor call 08096000042.

CategoriesUncategorized

The Economic and Real Estate Outlook 2017

economic and real outlook 2017
A cross section of guest at the Economic and Real Estate Outlook 2017.

 

 

The Economic and Real Estate Outlook 2017 which held yesterday at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Victoria Island, saw a great turnout of Real Estate leaders. We are grateful and thankful to everyone who participated. The keynote speaker Prof Pat Utomi delivered an excellent lecture centered around the lessons from 2016 and all the policies to watch out for in 2017.

The Economic and Real estate outlook 2017
Udo Okonjo, CEO Fine and Country West Africa

The prospects for 2017 is centered around “Choice” and response to growth drivers factors. Choice; It is all about the choices made, poor policy choices lead to poor growth of the economy. African leaders are making the wrong policy choices and as a result, Africa is not growing- Prof Pat Utomi.
Culture(Leadership), human capital, institutions, entrepreneurship and policy choices make up the growth driver framework.

The host speaker Udo Okonjo, CEO Fine and Country, also shared some valuable insights for 2017. Below are her views;
Housing is one of the most basic human need, corruption is arguably fuelled by lack of housing. “With Real Estate sector in 2017, l see some bright lights, there are pockets of opportunities
but with pockets of opportunities you have to be creative, innovative and note the real demand” -Udo Okonjo.

Some of the other pockets of opportunities Mrs. Okonjo explored focused on the “The Real Market” which is the middle market, millennial market( housing), emerging market, migrant market and community retail. She noted the increase in growth and increase in demand for residential and commercial properties.

The Economic and Real Estate Outlook 2017
Panelist at the Economic and Real Estate Outlook 2017

A comprehensive report generated from this breakfast session and Fine and Country’s Market Projection & Review will be available on demand. Do contact Victor on 08096000042 or email victor.nkwocha@fineandcountryng.com

 

 

CategoriesUncategorized

WHY NIGERIA?

Eurobond Nigeria

 

“The best luck of all is the luck you make for yourself”
…Douglas MacArthur

Contrary to popular opinion, the $1 billion Eurobond offering has demonstrated that the international investment community has a strong market appetite for Nigeria.The bond was oversubscribed 7.87%, in spite of the volatility in emerging and frontier markets. This shows a commendable degree of healthy confidence by the international investment community in Nigeria’s economy.
If the international investment community has seen beyond the recession and perceived policy challenges, perhaps there are pockets of opportunities tucked in the economy which might only be obvious to the discerning investor. The astute investor who deliberately observes and digs deep stands the chance of “getting lucky”.
The first and major lesson learned from the $1 billion Eurobond oversubscription is that this market still has the capacity to deliver with the right yields.
This is a great time for smart Nigerians in the diaspora to take advantage of the favourable forex disparity and make sound investment decisions in favour of Nigeria, particularly in the real estate sector.
Most real estate offerings do not currently reflect the weight of the prevailing inflation in the economy, and therein lies the opportunity. Astute investors should take full advantage of this low pricing structure to ambitiously and aggressively invest in Nigerian Real estate especially in Lagos where the bold vision of the successive leaders have become a backdrop for economic stability and future growth.
Fine and Country is championing carefully selected pockets of real estate opportunities in the current ‘mixed signal’ market. These opportunities are parallel realities- recession on the one hand and the opportunities on the other hand. These realities are no alternative truths but palpable reality.

CategoriesUncategorized

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

 

fc-anniversary-4

 

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.

 

 

A QUEST FOR EXCELLENCE.
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.

 

anniversary

 

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”

CategoriesUncategorized

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)

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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:
RIS PLENARY 1: UNLOCKING OPPORTUNITIES IN TRANSITION AND RECESSION ECONOMIES

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

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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)

 

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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)

 

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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.
RIS PLENARY 2: THE RESIDENTIAL INSIGHT CONVERSATION: AN ECONOMIC MELTDOWN OR AN OPPORTUNITY TO REINVENT?

“Quality projects and developments are about tenants attraction, retention and separation.” – Femi Akintunde (RIS 2016)
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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)

RIS PLENARY 3: COMMERCIAL & RETAIL INSIGHT: THE STATE AND FUTURE OF OFFICES IN NIGERIA.
“The present economic challenges present a huge opportunity for Nigerians in Diaspora.” – Udo Okonjo (RIS 2016)

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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.

CategoriesUncategorized

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?”

CategoriesUncategorized

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?”

CategoriesUncategorized

THE ZUCKERBERG FACTOR ON THE REAL ESTATE SECTOR.

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.

CategoriesUncategorized

Invest in Orange Island today. A rapidly growing residential development

PIC

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CategoriesUncategorized

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

FEW FACTS ON IKOYI, LAGOS

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.

History

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.

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Attractions

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.

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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.

 

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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 nkechi.chikwendu@fineandcountryng.com

irem sept 2016

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PRIME RESIDENTIAL TRENDS. WHY RESIDENTIAL TENANTS ARE NOW SPOILT FOR CHOICE IN IKOYI.

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.

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Nestoil Tower – The best office spaces for the best businesses

ICONIC… 

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.

INNOVATIVE  …

UNIQUE ADVANTAGES OF NESTOIL TOWER

• 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

INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS….

FEATURES

• 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.

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5 SUCCESS FACTORS FOR A RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY INVESTMENT

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.

1.PRIME LOCATION 

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.

 

2. LOW PRICE. GREAT VALUE. IMMEDIATE EQUITY

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.

 

3. HIGH RENTAL YIELD POTENTIAL.

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%.

 

4. FLEXIBLE PAYMENT PLAN AND LOW DEPOSITS.

lowdeposit

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.

 

5. GOOD TITLE.

title-policy-scanning

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.

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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 home-designing.com

 

  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.

Bedroom
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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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

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

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Subu Giwa-Amu, Toyin Bakare, Fadeke Adepetun

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First bank of Nigeria Private Banking team

 

 

 

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Toyin Bakare, Taiye Aluko, Ivana Akaraiwe and Bose Osho

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Toyin Bakare, Udo Okonjo and Bukky George of Health Plus

 

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Fine and Country team

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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.

BENEFITS OF BUYING DISCOUNTED PRIME PROPERTIES NOW.

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.

NO MONEY? NO WORRY! BE CREATIVE WITH FINANCING.

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.

 

GET REAL. PERSPECTIVE MATTERS.

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.

KEEP CALM AND BUY REAL ESTATE.
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.

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A GUIDE TO BUYING COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

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.

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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 nkechi.chikwendu@fineandcountryng.com for more information and to confirm your attendance. Also visit here for more information.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

FEATURES OF NESTOIL TOWERS

• 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

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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).

 

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RETURN ON INVESTMENT VERSUS RETURN ON EGO.

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.

 

SO WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO NEXT?

 

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.

 

SUCCESS FACTORS FOR INVESTING IN 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.

 

EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITIES. BIG EXECUTION

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. 

 

 

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MORTGAGE REFINANCING A POSITIVE OPTION FOR REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT

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.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF DOCUMENTATION IN REAL ESTATE

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.

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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.

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THE ESSENCE OF ADVISORY IN REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS

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)

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TO LEED OR NOT TO LEED

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-Certified

 

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.

 

 

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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?

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

Referrals
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.

CategoriesUncategorized

BUILDING THE FUTURE – THE REFINED INVESTOR SERIES

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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CategoriesUncategorized

CONS OF BUYING OFF-PLAN DEVELOPMENTS

Continued from the last edition
Having pointed out some of the benefits of off-plan purchase, we would now consider the downsides of it.
ART 9
• The most likely is the possibility of delays in completing or delivery of the project. This would affect home owners who want to move in immediately

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CategoriesBlog

THE INTELLIGENT BUYER’S GUIDE TO ACQUIRING A PROPERTY

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

CHECKLIST BEFORE YOU BUY

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

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

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

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

CategoriesUncategorized

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

3a
Even though much has changed over the years as a result of the improved dynamics in information technology and other factors, the actual art of selling real estate remains the same. No matter how bleak the real estate market appears to be, some people keep selling properties. There would be always be tons of real estate professionals who provide the same services you offer. Regardless of your profession be it banking, consultancy, journalism, copywriting, etc, there will be competition. Therefore it is imperative that one stands out. As a real estate professional, you can’t expect to stand out from the crowd using the same marketing strategy everyone else does. In order to stand out, you have to try different approaches. Below are some approaches which we would be highlighting in this discourse.

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

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

• Target Your Market More Precisely

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

• Adapt modern marketing tools

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

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

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

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

CategoriesUncategorized

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

Home for sale
Home for sale

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

What is Property Marketing and Sales?

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

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

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

CategoriesBlog

Introduction to Real Estate

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

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

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

Who are the key players in the Real Estate industry?

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

What are the professional fields in the Real Estate Industry?

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

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

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

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

CategoriesBlog

“THE KEYS TO THE CITY” LAUNCH – FINE AND COUNTRY ABUJA

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

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

About Us

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

CategoriesUncategorized

5 questions to ask a potential housemate

Interviewing for new housemates is a stressful business.

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

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

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

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

CategoriesUncategorized

Higher earning: Investing in uni towns

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

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

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

CategoriesUncategorized

Living through the renovation process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get in touch

phone

+234 809 600 0024
+234 809 600 0017

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

email

admin@fineandcountryng.com

about us

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

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