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Why FCT, Niger suspend development, land allocation in Dakwa

…tension erupts over marking of houses

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and the Niger State government have agreed to suspend all developments including land allocations around Dakwa which is in-between the FCT and Niger State pending the resolution of the dispute over where the area belongs.

The resolution was reached at a recent meeting held in Abuja between the Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello and the Minister of the FCT, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello.

The meeting was necessitated by looming tension over the marking of properties for demolition on both sides of the disputed area.

Daily Trust reports there has been an age long boundary dispute over whether Dakwa, a burgeoning town in Dei-dei, near Abuja belongs to Tafa Local Government of Niger State or Bwari Area Council in the FCT all the parties have continued to lay claims to plots of land in the area.

It was resolved at the meeting that parties maintain statusquo until a committee which would be made up of top officials of both the FCTA and Niger State as well as the National Boundary Commission-the agency statutorily mandated to handle boundary issues, find an amicable solution to the impasse.

Following ongoing discussions regarding the resolution of the dispute, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has warned developers in the nation’s capital to stop all forms of developments, especially along the disputed area in Dakwa.

The Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), Umar Shuiabu, while speaking on behalf of the FCT Administration, handed the warning when he visited major stakeholders in Dakwa community.

Speaking to the traditional ruler of Dakwa under Niger State Alhaji Zakari Garba Jagaba and Sarkin Dakwa under Abuja Alhaji Alhassan Musa Baba Chikuri at their separate palaces, the coordinator appealed to the traditional rulers and developers in the two places to stop any further developments around the disputed area pending the resolution of the matter by the National Boundary Commission.

According to Shuaibu, the two governments would enforce the temporary ban on further developments in Dakwa in order to allow the federal government to conclude its work on schedule.

Alhaji Zakari Garba Jagaba while responding to the AMMC Coordinator in his palace, located at the Niger State side of Dakwa, pledged support to the government to reach a lasting solution to the boundary dispute, adding that he and his chiefdom were ready to belong to either Niger State or the FCT, depending on the resolution reached by the boundary commission.

Speaking in Hausa language, Jagaba said: “if it is FCT that the government resolves that we belong to, we will abide by it, and if it is Niger State, we will still follow. We will support the government to find a lasting solution to the problem.”

The Sarkin Dakwa, Alhassan Musa Baba Chikuri, who addressed the visitors in his palace on the FCT half of the town, expressed willingness to continue to belong to the FCT, saying “we know where we belong, we are in the FCT. The FCT Administration is the one taking responsibility over our welfare and every other thing in Dakwa. The FCTA are the ones that give us water, build primary and secondary schools and road, as well as other basic infrastructure for us.” he affirmed.

According to the traditional rulers, the boundary crisis which started about 10 years ago, was the handiwork of estates agents who told buyers that Dakwa was in Niger State.

He said the agents told unsuspecting buyers such falsehood so as to facilitate their sales and also help them evade necessary development fees required before commencement of developments in the FCT, fees which are not necessarily requirements for same purpose in Niger State.

Meanwhile, the Niger State government said it is determined to ensure a peaceful resolution of the lingering dispute between the people of Dakwa in Tafa Local Government of the state and Bwari Area Council in the FCT.

Governor Abubakar Sani Bello while responding to Daily Trust enquiry said through his spokesman Mr. Jide Orintunsin that he has taken further steps on the peace process by directing the immediate stoppage of land allocation in the disputed area.

He promised that the state would honour the proposal during the interface with the minister by ensuring that the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Malam Ibrahim Isah Ladan led the state official on the boundary committee that would look into the matter.

He said he went to Abuja to see the FCT minister because he wants a peaceful resolution of the matter following tension over the marking of houses on both sides.

The Tafa LG chairman, Alhaji Ado Abubakar, who was on the entourage of the governor to the Abuja meeting has been prevailing to the people for calm, even though the chairman said the disputed area belongs to the state.

The coordinator quoted the chairman as saying that Tafa Local Government had put up basic infrastructure like school in the area, adding that it was on the verge of building a police station before the current impasse reared its head.

He said the chairman said that the disputed area has been under Suleja Local Government Area before it was ceded to Tafa following the creation of the council.

Malikatu Umar Shuaibu & Ahmed Tahir Ajobe, Minna

‘Marketing communications key to property management’

The Managing Director of boutique real estate agency, BabsGbollys Properties Limited, Mr. Babalola Odunuga, has decried the low level of awareness in managing properties, which he says is often seen as a daunting task.

Odunuga stated that this act of negligence was the reason property owners incur losses when they were unable to tackle certain situations.

He said, “Maintenance issues come top as buildings and individual houses need regular maintenance of the physical features, plumbing, and electrical systems. This is because anything can happen at any time and repairs have to be attended to immediately to avoid inconveniences to tenants.

“The best solution for managing maintenance issues is to have a preventive maintenance plan in place same way you have a regimen for servicing your car, and you need competent professionals attending to the repairs as they arise.”

He stated that customer service excellence would remain one of the critical competitive advantages of real estate firms such as BabsGbollys.

“This is why even when we have complaints about issues with other tenants, we make sure each issue is attended to as soon as it gets to us. Every complaint is looked into and never ignored, especially ones that show potential problems in structural aspects of the building. Our tenants often commend us for the speed with which we address their complaints as they are being heard and appropriate action taken,” he said.

Odunuga stated that in recent years, due to the recent economic recession faced by the country, the issue of not receiving rent on time had been on the rise and had been a major issue faced by most property owners.

According to him, defaulting tenants often have a range of excuses at hand for not making payments.

He said, “All these concerns are often causes of apprehension for property owners.”

We are addressing this by going around sending reminders as due date approaches and collecting payments on the due dates. This has brought the rate of default down considerably as tenants are now aware that they have to keep their payments ready on time.

“Another aspect is that we levy some penalty or late fees, which is a percentage of the total amount owed. This usually works as we are able to enforce it strictly and with precision and reason. The right use of the various marketing communications technique will help in attracting tenants to a property. Proper advertising and good reputation about a property can make a major difference in getting the right tenants.”

Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

Invest more in housing delivery, NSE tells FG

The President, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Mr. Kunle Mokuolu, has called on the Federal Government to provide a proper framework to ensure better housing delivery for Nigerians.

Mokuolu, while assessing infrastructure growth under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the last three years, scored the government high in road infrastructure and power, but expressed reservations about the housing sector.

He said the Federal Government would succeed better in its mass housing drive if more private sector participants were allowed.

According to him, housing delivery in advanced countries is better organised because it is run by the private sector.

“Housing should be off the hands of government; housing should be totally privatised and the government should provide the policy and laws that would back housing delivery,” Mokuolu told the News Agency of Nigeria.

He said the government should concern itself with social housing for those who could not pay rent, because they were either out of job or had other financial problems.

Mokuolu also advised that social housing should be restricted to the local government level and that when such economically disadvantaged citizens found their financial footing, they could start to pay rent or buy homes.

“The Federal Government is to provide the framework to ease the delivery of housing. I am not really satisfied with the housing delivery; some things must be in place to achieve this. We must begin to produce our steel ourselves and that is why the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill is too important. Whatever it takes to produce steel in this country, the government should just do it,” he added.

He said the steel component was important in building high rise structures as the nation’s population was growing geometrically to accommodate more people in less spaces or land.

Mokuolu stated that Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill could substantially reduce the housing deficit, as steel accounted for about 25 per cent of the cost of construction of houses.

He also expressed satisfaction with the delivery of road infrastructure but appealed to the government to give local engineers more opportunities to enhance their capacities to take over and revolutionise the nation’s economy.

He added, “I am satisfied with the level of road infrastructure delivery, but I want the government to pay more attention to Nigerian content in the delivery of this infrastructure. If we are spending our Sovereign Wealth Fund, then we should be spending it for the sole benefit of Nigerians and for building of intellectual capacity.

“The most important thing is the intellectual capacity of those projects and not the physical ones that somebody can carry one bag of cement. Although we need people to carry the cement, we also need people to design the different infrastructure that will be for our domestic use.”

Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

 

Dangote to launch 200 housing units for IDPs in N-East

…Builds multi-million naira hostel for ABU

In a bid to assist the Federal Government to embark on rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in parts of the insurgency-ravaged areas in the North East, Aliko Dangote Foundation has concluded plans to commission a multi-billion naira housing estate.

Aliko Dangote Chief Executive Officer of Aliko Dangote Foundation, Mrs. Zouera Youssoufou, said the commissioning of the 200 housing units for IDPs in Borno State, slated for this month, is coming at a time the foundation also completed the construction of a state-of-the-art hostel in Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.

Mrs. Youssoufou, who made the disclosure at an event in Maiduguri, Borno state stated that the housing units are one of the many critical interventions the foundation had mapped out for execution in the North Eastern part of Nigeria to restore life to the area and help IDPs live a normal life again.

Reacting to the development, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State described Dangote as the single largest benefactor of the IDPs after the federal and state governments.

The governor stated that Dangote’s contribution did not only stop at feeding and clothing the IDPs, which he has been doing over the years, it also stretches to resettling and rehabilitating them, a feat no other private organisation has been able to match.

On the 10 blocks of hostel constructed for the ABU, Group Executive Director, Stakeholders Management and Corporate Communication of the Dangote Group, Ahmed Mansur, said Alhaji Dangote was not resting on his oars, as he plans to up his stakes in the act of philanthropy.

Mansur quoted Dangote as saying: “We have just recently commissioned the Dangote Business School in Kano, the only Business School in Nigeria that is well equipped. We will also be commissioning similar projects in the University of Ibadan, we have done quite a lot in the education system and we are looking to do more.

“Investing in the young people to us means, we are all working together to build a better Nigeria. In equipping Nigerian youths and prepare them for the 21st-century challenges, we established the Dangote Academy in Kogi State, which provides specialized training and management skills for the youths particularly considering the large manpower needed in the manufacturing industries. “Our ultimate goal is to promote rapid industrialization of Nigeria, using our own local talents.”

It would be recalled that only recently, the Foundation donated a well-equipped secondary school valued at N120 million in Lagos. The Foundation donated a World Class Business School worth N1.2bn to the Bayero University Kano while building another one in the University of Ibadan, which is due for commissioning too.

Vanguard

OBASEKI TO SHOWCASE HIS HOUSING INITIATIVES AT AIHS 2018

The Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki is billed to showcase his housing initiatives for the state at the 12th Abuja International Housing Show.

The Coordinator of the Show, Festus Adebayo told Housing TV on AIT in Abuja that the Governor will also serve as a Guest of Honour at the event.

He said ” at the inception of Governor Obaseki’s administration, he invited all the major stakeholders in the housing industry for interaction for inputs on how to provide affordable housing for the good people of Edo State and how to create a new city in Edo State.”

According to him ” as a follow up to that, the Governor of Edo State has resuscitated the Edo Property Development Company to a functioning Organization under the leadership of a highly respected professional in the real estate sector.”

Adebayo noted that “to us at the Abuja International Housing Show, this is commendable, as at today, the House of Assembly is working on bills that will create a conducive environment for real estate development in Edo State . In fact recently the Edo State Government signed an MoU with MIXTA Africa for the development of housing estate in Edo State.”

He noted that it is on record that the state government is working with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to return the workers to the National Housing Fund (NHF) contribution so that the state can be in the list of beneficiaries.

Adebayo said it was on the basis of the achievements of the Governor that he has been invited to speak at the 12th Abuja International Housing Show.

The Theme for this year’s event is Driving Growth and Sustainability in Nigeria Housing and Mortgage Markets- Improving Structures and Policies for Impact.

The 12th Abuja International Housing Show will take place at the International Conference Centre Abuja between July 16 and 19 this year.

The Show will be flagged off by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and is supported by all the leading real estate professionals in the Country.

The Abuja International Housing Show is sponsored by some of the following like AUHF,FMBN,NHFP,NMRC,Urban Shelter,Citec,Brain and Hammers,Haven Homes,Oaknecom,AHCN,Redan,Royal Ceramic, Solignum, CDK, World Bank,UN Habitat, Shelter Afrique, AMMC, MBAN and Platinum Mortgage Bank.

In the past, the Abuja International Housing Show has featured some of Nigeria’s leaders such as Senate President Bukola Saraki, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun and they have individually endorsed the programme as the largest housing stakeholders platform in Sub- Saharan Africa.

The new innovation to the 12th Abuja International Housing Show is the introduction of the CEO Forum . The CEO Forum presented by Abuja International Housing Show is the unparallel gathering of the most influential Nigerian and International CEOs in the real estate industry, Bankers, Investors, Senior business people and high ranking government officials.

This year’s Forum holds on July 16th, 2018 and has become a unique platform for thought provoking discussions. The event brings together, each year, more than 5000 restless minds to debate and exchange ideas on the issues affecting the real estate industry and to proffer solutions to them.

Adeleke Samuel, Housing TV

 

Investors have $4.5bn green building opportunity to latch on—IFC

Investors and property developers in Nigeria have, at least, $4.5 billion investment opportunity to latch on within the next seven years to 2025, International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has projected.

This is the largest opportunity the corporation sees in Sub-Saharan Africa apart from South Africa, and assures it is here in Nigeria to help investors with technical and even financing solutions.

Building green is the ‘new normal’ in the building industry at the moment because of its numerous advantages and benefits. Green buildings are smart buildings that guarantee about 35 percent lower carbon emissions and decrease in water use by 30 to 50 percent.

Green buildings become all the more desirable considering that global water consumption has grown at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century and, in developing countries, this will increase by another 50 percent by 2025.

“By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world’s population could live under water stress conditions”, according to IFC

Green buildings are also 50 to 90 percent cost saving in waste generation; they are more comfortable, healthier, return higher productivity rates and have a higher resale value.

“Building green leads to reduction of operating and energy costs (lower utility bills), higher valued real estate and profits (greater return on investment), improvement of employee productivity (reducing sick building syndrome), extended life of buildings, optimization of life-cycle economic performance and less vulnerability to fluctuating energy prices”, explains Chii Akporji, executive director at Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC).

But IFC says there is bad news which is that there are few green buildings in this country. This means that investors have a large green field to play on. So far in Nigeria today, there are only two or three known and certified green buildings—The Heritage Place, The Wings Towers and Nestoil Towers.

The corporation insists building green is impossibility, but something that is doable. “Green and affordable are not tradeoffs; both are possible and we have a large body of experience to show that”, said Eme Essien Lore, IFC’s Country Manager, who spoke at workshop on green building in Lagos.

“We do not need to do anything drastic; buildings are being built as we speak and financing is being arranged for the next generation of buildings. What we need is a way to put buildings onto a greener path with solutions that are sensible to the Nigerian context”, Lore added.

IFC in collaboration with NMRC launched an EDGE programme in Lagos recently. EDGE which stands for Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies is part of IFC’s creating markets strategy.

According to Lore, EDGE is part of a holistic intervention to steer construction in rapidly urbanizing economies onto a more low-carbon path. It’s an example of IFC’s commitment to creating markets that are competitive, sustainable, inclusive and resilient.

The corporation has a long history of investing in green buildings and its global investment portfolio is over $3 billion, out of which $386 million was invested in Sub-Saharan Africa through its own account and syndicated loans.

“We have expanded that reach through the EDGE programme, which now celebrates more than two million square metres of certified space globally,”Lore disclosed, explaining that EDGE is an online platform, a green building standard and a certification system for nearly 140 countries, tailored for emerging markets, and taking into account local context such as Nigeria.

CHUKA UROKO

 

Why govts should review property taxes, levies

While it is true that house prices are so high because demand and supply forces, inflation caused by the hundreds of billions of funds that banks released into circulation in the years before the financial crisis remains a real problem. Property prices rise much faster than wages, making them become less and less affordable. Anyone who didn’t already own a house before the bubble started growing ends up giving up more and more of their salary simply to pay for a place to live. And it’s not just house buyers who are affected; pretty soon, rents will go up too, including spaces in social housing subsector.

This increase in prices often leads to massive increase in the amount of money that first time buyers spend on mortgage repayments. For example, in USA, while in 1996 the amount of take home salary that a first time buyer would spend on their mortgage was 17.5 per cent, by 2008 this had risen to 49.3 per cent. In London, the figures are even more shocking, rising from 22.2 per cent of take home pay spent on their mortgage in 1997 to 66.6 per cent in 2008.

One of the continuing challenges posed by unprecedented urbanisation in developing countries is the provision of adequate housing. Over the last three decades, Nigeria, like several developing countries, has emphasised public housing schemes, but with little success. This coincides with global paradigm shift from direct public provision of housing to the enablement of private shelter initiatives and housing production. Private housing development features and dynamics and the factors affecting the sector in the country ought to be governments’ focus if the mouthing policies of providing shelter for citizens is anything to go by. This makes it an urgent need for the creation of an enabling environment, including support of housing initiatives and investments by householders, small-scale providers, and entrepreneurial private firms.

The implications of enabling strategy for housing finance, access to land, residential infrastructure, institutional regulations and building materials and related industry, particularly in the light of the need for the private sector to play greater roles in housing, should not be neglected. It draws from aspects of empirical study by various authorities and professionals who review government housing policy-related issues.

In Nigeria, for instance, former Managing Director of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRF), Prof. Charles Inyangete, disclosed that to forestall a housing crisis in the country in the next couple of years, Nigeria would require N3.65 trillion to increase housing stock by 730,000 units annually.

Speaking at a facility management forum in Abuja to mark the World Facility Management Day, Inyangete said the country currently has a housing deficit of 21 million units, just to be on the safe side, adding that going by the current growth rate in Nigeria, there would be a significant housing deficit in the coming years, unless efforts are geared towards addressing the gap.

Asset price bubbles and the speculative behaviour associated with them tend to cause financial crises, which lead to slower growth, higher unemployment and higher government debt. High house prices also act as a mechanism for transferring wealth from the young to the old, from the poor to the rich, and from those that don’t own their own homes to those that do. Even those with housing don’t benefit massively from higher house prices, after all, we all need somewhere to live, and anyone selling their home will find that on average other house prices will have risen by the same amount, leaving them no better off. In reality, only the banks and those with many properties benefit from high house prices.

High prices mean that people will have to take out larger mortgages for longer periods of time, which means more money in interest payments for the banks. The highest point of that being the fact that government charges series of taxes that swell the already bloated house price. This does not help matters because those who cannot afford to own their homes have their problems even compounded with various charges imposed on various property.

For government to be serious in providing accommodation for the teeming population, taxes and charges relating to land, importation of building materials not produced in Nigeria and all other certificates documentation that cost money to obtain should be made tax free, at least, for now. Those who labour to extract and manufacture building materials locally should be encouraged and given some facilities to ease their production.

Nigeria is perhaps the fastest urbanising country in the African continent. One of the most important challenges facing the country is the provision of affordable housing. As more and more Nigerians make towns and cities their homes, the resulting social, economic, environmental and political challenges need to be urgently addressed. A recent study of housing situation in Nigeria put existing housing stock at 23 per 1000 inhabitants. Housing deficit as at 2007 (Mabogunje, 2007) is put at 15 million houses, while N12 trillion will be required to finance the deficits. This was about four times the annual national budget of Nigeria as at the period under review (FHA, 2007).

House prices and rents, on the other hand, have grown ahead of general inflation. Making matters worse, the composition of houses for sale and rent on the market has been inexorably shifting towards very expensive house (Nubi, 2008).

Between 1975 and 1980, there were plans to deliver 202,000 housing units to the public but only 28,500 units, representing 14.1 per cent was achieved.

Also, out of 200,000 housing units planned to be delivered between 1981 and 1985, only 47,200 that equals 23.6 per cent was constructed. Under the National Housing Fund (NHF) programme initiated in 1994 to produce 121,000 housing units, it was believed that less than 5 per cent was achieved. Despite series of government policies towards housing delivery, there exists a gap between housing supply and demand.

Research has shown that 75 per cent of urban housing is situated in slum conditions, and the quality of the housing is poor and clearly an affront to human dignity. As part of efforts to increase qualitative, affordable housing for the masses in the country, the Federal Government in 2004, pledged to adequately fund research pertaining to the manufacture and the use of local materials in the sector.

Housing delivery in Nigeria is provided by either the government or private sector, but despite Federal Government’s access to factors that accelerate housing production, the country could at best expect 4.2 per cent of the annual requirement. Substantial contribution is expected from other public and private sectors.
The production of housing in Nigeria is primarily the function of the private market; approximately 90 per cent of urban housing is produced by private developers.

Due to housing demand created by rural-urban migration, which account for 65 per cent of urban population growth, the fixed supply of urban land and inflation of rental and housing ownership cost (Taylor, 2000).

Maduka Nweke

Real estate: Mortgage operators seek improved access to credit

Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria (MBAN) is currently seeking ways to improve access to credit for real estate recovery and provision of affordable houses for the citizens. For the purpose, the association is considering an agreement with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the National Pension Commission to allow investment of over N7.5 trillion pension funds in the mortgage market.

The anticipated agreement, according to the President of MBAN, Mr. Adeniyi Akinlusi, was aimed at improving access to credit in order to solve the nation’s housing deficit of over 17 million units. According to the MBAN boss, the proposal would help free up money held by fund managers, which is estimated at around N7.5 trillion ($20.9 billion) as at the end of 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Of these funds, he noted that 69.2 per cent is invested in either Federal Government bonds or Treasury bills, with the balance sitting with the stock market, banks or corporate bonds. If the application to regulators is successful, expectation is that it would free up liquidity for investment in individual projects or real estate investment trusts.

Meanwhile, low returns on investment, illiquidity of real estate as an asset class, poor and unreliable real estate assets valuation have been listed as some of the factors limiting investment of pension fund in real estate sector.According to one of the administrators of fund raised from contributory pension scheme (CPS) and the Managing Director, AIICO Pension Managers Limited, Longe Eguarekhide, an estimated eight per cent annual return and about five percent annual rental yield did not make real estate an attractive investment asset class. Besides, he said that real estate assets could not be converted easily to cash when the need arises.

However, he confirmed that discussions were ongoing between pension fund administrators and primary mortgage operators on how contributors to the pension scheme could access part of their retirement savings for use as equity contribution for mortgage loans. According to CEO, IBTC Pension Managers, lack of political commitment and differing approaches between sovereign and sub-national entities were also part of the policy challenges.

He cited the National Housing Fund (NHF) managed by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), which had a total collection of well over N2 trillion, but was yet to fully realise its goal. Another regulatory challenge, as cited by the CEO was the Land Use Act of 1978, which rests the power to allocate and revoke land on the state governors. This, he said, was slowing down process of obtaining titles to ownership of land and also making property registration not only costly, but also difficult.

Contributory pension scheme came into being in 2004. Contribution has been quite significant and has progressively grown from N5.4 trillion a couple of years ago to N7.5 trillion at the moment, coming from contributors who represent a little above four per cent of the country’s 170 million population.

Dayo Ayeyemi

11 Powerful Real Estate Marketing Ideas For Pros

Effective real estate marketing strategies that work

Have you been looking for ways to sell your property? The competition in the market for home buyers can be fierce, which is why you need to differentiate yourself to sell your house faster with creative ideas. These tips will also help you stay ahead of your competition.

Create catchy content to capture leads

When you have a property to sell, consider coming up with content that will deliver value to your intended audience as well as engage them. For instance, a free ebook can work wonders for you. You could create an e-book with the title, ’30 valuable things Nigerians should consider before buying a home.’ Another example is an e-book with the title ’40 crucial things to look out for in a new home.’ The catch in creating this free ebook is to give it out for free in exchange for email addresses and zip codes. it is a brilliant way to get leads. You can then nurture these leads with timely and valuable content on a regular basis so that you are top of mind when they make the decision to buy or rent property.

Work with a professional photographer

Let’s be honest, no matter how great your property is, poorly captured photographs will hurt the interest of potential buyers in your house. You should not compromise when it comes to photos of the property because a successful real estate business relies heavily on the amazing pictures. What you should do is hire a professional photographer. If you can find one with vast experience in architecture and taking pictures of homes, the better your chances of selling your property quickly. Alternatively, if you have a camera and all the tools you need to take a really good picture, you can capture them yourself but be sure that you are capable of getting good pictures.

Consider creating a niche

If you find yourself in a situation where the competition to lock down property buyers is becoming difficult, we suggest that you strongly consider creating a very specific niche for yourself. For instance, instead of being a property agent for houses to rent in Lekki, you could become a property agent for single and working people in Lekki Phase 1 or an estate agent for families with children. The idea is to come up with something very targeted. Establishing yourself as an expert in a particular niche would go a long way in improving your marketing in the niche you have created for yourself. This works wonders in a market where the competition is really fierce.

Emotional storytelling works

Storytelling has everything to do with your business of real estate marketing. The secret with storytelling is that the moment you learn and understand how to tell a good story, your audience is always going to want more and this is where you want to be when you are into property marketing. You can use a good emotional story around your real estate business to captivate prospective homebuyers and land great deals. Wondering how it works? When you are able to tap connect emotionally with people, they will become your audience. From being your audience, they connect with your story and your brand and eventually become leads. From being leads, they become customers and eventually become loyal customers. Humans respond positively to good stories. Tell them a really good story and customers will come to you.

Send a package after closing a deal

Your marketing does not end when you close a property deal with a client. No way! What you should do is to ensure that they remember your name so that there is a possibility that they will share information about you with their family, loved ones and friends who might need to relocate or buy a property in the near future. After closing a deal with a client, you should send a package to him/her/. The package could be anything you might have figured they like from your dealing with them. For instance, it could be movie tickets for two, tickets to a red carpet event, dinner reservation for two at a nice restaurant. Think of something they would really appreciate.

Have a website that offers value

Most clients do not sit back and expect things to happen especially when they have to do something like buying a property. Today, your clients eventually put a call through to you, they would have searched Google for the apartment or property that suits their needs and taste. For instance, a young lady who works in Marina and currently lives in Ikorodu could search for apartments in Surulere using the keywords ‘mini flat in Surulere under N300,000’ or ‘affordable house for sale in Yaba.’ This is where you want to be; to have your property or listings come up. However, this cannot happen when you don’t even have a website.

Before buying a property, some prospective buyers go as far as using Google Map to look at the street’s view. They search online for articles that are relevant to their location they intend to rent the property. For instance, a Nigerian who wants to relocate to Lagos could search for Lekki Neighbourhood guide. What he/she is searching for is to see what the neighbourhood has to offer. Does the place have a good road network? Are the social amenities available? Are there gyms, restaurants, beaches and recreation spots within the neighbourhood? They also search the web for good photos of the neighbourhood. If you have a website with the information they need, your chances of transforming leads into customers shoot up. All you have to do is to make it easy for users to access the information.

Ensure sure all your property pages have great pictures and have easy access to Google Maps and Google Earth.

Consider branding

Now is the best time to make branding work for you. By branding, we don’t mean spending N3 million on a billboard. Rather, what you should do when you want to sell a property is to brand items like torches, pens, T-shirts, hoodies, water flasks, flash drives and mugs. When you are done branding them, give them out as freebies at events or popular malls to spread the word about your brand by giving them something they are bound to use daily while at work or at home. The better the freebie, the better for your brand. Branding also involves brand credibility, integrity and the market perception of your service. Brand integrity includes clear values, goals, messaging, marketing and brand properties that make it easier for you to sell your property.

Write a column for a publication or website

If you plan to be effective in selling a property, then it is important that you focus on the local community where you are based. One way to do this is by becoming a columnist for a local newspaper, magazine or website. If you are based in Lagos for instance, you should consider writing for ‘Castle,’ which is a real estate magazine. However, it does not have to be a real estate publication. You should also consider writing for Punch, Guardian, The Nation, Sun or ThisDay newspaper, which also have an online presence.

Writing for a local newspaper is an effective way to reach your audience as most local publications have pages that are dedicated to property. For instance, you can write about how the rise in the cost of property in Lagos is a sign that the city is doing really well. There are quite a number of insights you can share with them and the moment, they consider you an authority, they will reach out to you when they have property-related concerns including if they want to buy a house.

Organise a seminar for property buyers

You can tap into the home crowgd by organising a seminar for your host community. For instance, you could educate them on the basics of what they need to know about buying their first house or how to secure a property loan.

Remember that a seminar about how to buy your first house is the local equivalent of a proper webinar. it takes time and energy to put a seminar together but you are bound to reap where you have sown when those in attendance turn to you when they want to buy a property.

Launch an email newsletter

The email newsletter is a powerful instrument to establish and maintain a long-term relationship with your audience. To achieve this, you have to collect emails from your website, your local outreach as well as WhatsApp and BBM channels. Ensure that what you are sending your email subscribers emails about are things that they need. Also, take into consideration what stage of the buyer journey they are in order to communicate effectively. Send them information on a new property on the market and tips that help them make better decisions. If you realise that you are in a different geographical space from your audience, you should consider segmenting your subscribers based on their needs and their location.

Get a super business card

The idea here is a ensure you get a business card that looks really amazing. However, it doesn’t end there. When you have the cards, don’t forget to hand them out at every opportunity you interact with potential clients. Good thing is housing is a basic need, everyone needs a roof over their heads. So, it might surprise you how many leads you could get from a single card.

Samod Biobaku

Going Green at Home: Easy Ways to Start

Going Green has earned its place as the buzz phrase that captures the principle for a sustainable, energy-efficient and safe lifestyle. However, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as rocket science. Instead of looking at the idea of going green as a project that would cost you millions of Naira, you can go the easy way.

Consider breaking things down into simple bits that take you closer to going green one step at a time. Your end goal should be to gradually cut down your carbon footprint (the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community) until you have made a significant change in this direction.

To make a really big difference, start today by making a lot of minor changes, which we will share in the lines that follow.

Electric Lawn Mowers Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
The idea of going green is rested on the fundamental principle of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere and this is precisely what you achieve when you settle for an electric lawn mower as opposed to one that is powered by gas.

If you carve out some time to reflect on all the things that you have that leave a carbon footprint, two of the biggest items on your list will probably be your car and your generator. If you own a lawn and you use a gas powered lawn mower, you should add it to your list. The reason is simple. Lawnmowers consume well over 800 million gallons of gas annually.

This explains the rise in the preference for electric lawn mowers over those powered by gas. Electric lawn mowers are more energy efficient and despite also leaving a carbon footprint, they are a mere fraction of the carbon dioxide you release when you use gas-powered lawn mowers.

Gas-powered lawn mowers also use oil and changing the oil means the used oil has to be taken out, which ends up contaminating the environment when spilt. The only way to avoid spilling the used oil is to destroy the oil; a process that requires a lot of heat, which still leaves you with a high carbon footprint.

Cancel Your Newspaper and Magazine Subscription
Do you have a running newspaper or magazine subscription especially for hard copies of these publications? If your answer is yes, consider cancelling these subscriptions.

Newspaper subscriptions mean you probably have a collection of both read and unread newspapers and magazine on your shelves at home. Your goal here should be to reduce your paper waste.

The manufacturing of paper requires fuel inputs and paper waste disposal can contribute to emissions of the potent greenhouse gas (GHG) and methane (CH4).

Going green – shut down PC

Drop the Habit of Putting Your Laptop on Sleep Mode
When you put your laptop or computer to sleep, it means it’s not shut down and still consumes power but at a slower pace. This means you’ll probably still have to charge it after some time; thus consuming more electricity than it would have needed if you had shut it down.

Going green can only be achieved when you make the little changes count. Don’t leave your laptop sucking energy when you can actually shut it down and reboot it when you’re ready to use the device. Cultivate the habit of shutting down your laptop at the end of each day.

Going Green – Cover the swimming pool

Cover Your Swimming Pool
Do you have a swimming pool at home? If you do, consider covering it when it is not in use. When you cover your pool, you achieve two things – First, you keep your pool cleaner. Secondly, you protect the water from evaporating at a faster rate, which in turn means you won’t have to refill as frequently as you do when it is left open.

Always remember that the idea of going green is to conserve resources and energy.

Plan Your Errands
Planning your errands means that you would you will cut out all trips to the mall or store for a quick fix. let us put this into perspective – If you drive to the mall 6 times a month to buy bits and pieces of things you need at home, you would leave a larger carbon footprint when compared to planning ahead and buying everything you need in one or two trips to the mall.

By planning your errands, you save time and fuel and leave a lower carbon footprint on your trail. Consider buying in bulk when you go shopping.

Going green – Take a break from the TV

Take a Break From the Screen
Are you a TV or movie addict? Consider spending some time outside to help you burn calories and save the energy you would have spent with your TV on.

The idea here is to get you away from electronics and gadgets that are powered by electric energy. In Nigeria, such an indulgence comes at a cost; you will leave your generator on, which means you will burn more fuel and leave a larger carbon footprint.

Going green – Use solar panels

Consider Using Solar Panels as a Way of Going Green
Electricity in Nigeria remains as epileptic as it has been in previous years. The result of this is that you probably have a generator or even two with one serving as a backup. Running a generator means you will use up quite a large amount of fuel or diesel.

Did you know that using a Using a generator indoors can kill you in minutes? In 2014, generator fumes killed a family of 7 while they slept. In 2017, a businessman and his son died from inhaling fumes from their generator.

Experts have advised keeping generators far at a reasonable distance from your home to avoid inhaling lethal fumes. Generator exhaust contains high levels of carbon monoxide (CO), a poisonous gas you cannot see or smell.

The moment you can perceive the smell from a generator’s exhaust, you are inhaling CO. One way out of this is to get solar panels, which will help you burn less fuel and reduce your carbon footprint.

Plant Tree Around Your Home
When you plant trees around your home, you create shade for your home. They also help you clean the air. Did you know that trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and save 20-50 percent in energy used for heating?

Trees planted around your home provide a natural home to birds, insects and other animals, which brings you closer to going green. Trees also increase the value of your property positively especially in a neighbourhood that is largely residential.

Going Green at Home (4)

Use Bulbs That Save Energy
Some bulbs use up less energy than others. For instance, compact fluorescent light bulbs help you save money as well as energy. Did you know that compact fluorescent light bulbs use around 75% less energy and last 10 times as long as incandescent bulbs?

Compact fluorescent light bulbs are not the perfect solution but on the measure of energy consumed, they beat incandescent bulbs.

Final Thoughts
Going green requires elements of discipline and an understanding of how your little actions add up to make your home more energy efficient. It helps you reduce waste and save money.

It also helps you ease into the culture of recycling. For instance, you can reuse old paint tins at home when decorating your house.

You should also be looking at the concept of green building if you prefer a more expansive foray into going green.

Samod Biobaku

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