Stories by Maduka Nweke
The desire to acquire decent and affordable housing has lured a lot of Nigerians into temptations that at times cost them their life’s fortunes. Nigerians are therefore prone to the activities of these fake estate developers who do not stop at anything to swindle their victims.
However, most people are swindled because they fail to look before they leap. Those who look are bound to find some facts that could confirm the authenticity of the estate developers who would give you accommodation. Some of the ways of identifying genuine estate developers as enumerated by some analysts include:
Document verification and authentication
The moment you resolve to buy a property, the first thing is to hire a reliable lawyer to oversee the property documentation and verification. The lawyer would do the verification to ascertain the legitimacy and authenticity of the real estate agency. There are a lot of required documents to be ascertained and verified prior to payment. Hiring a lawyer could be an added cost but at the end it serves the purpose.
You can as well handle the property verification by visiting the Abuja Geographical Information Systems (AGIS) or Alausa Land Registry Lagos or the various state land registry department to verify the property location. You can discuss with the agent on a special service for property verification. Of course, a genuine real estate agent would never associate himself with properties and transactions tainted with fraud or dispute, therefore he must have verified the property/transaction himself. To be more satisfied and secured, you must not rely on the agent’s property verification; you must do the verification yourself, your lawyer or chartered secretary.
A real estate agent that is authentic must be able to provide the buyer with buyer/seller agreement before the transaction. This is an official agreement between the agent and the buyer/seller. He must tell the commission and other necessary information about the transaction must be outlined and agreed together by the parties involved prior to payment and concluding any transaction. The agreement must include the agent’s official brand name, logo and other vital information as well as the buyer/seller.
The payment (net sales) could be made into the agent’s or property owner’s bank account as agreed on the buyer/seller deed. Of course, the agent’s account holder’s name must be his company/brand name. Please, insist that at least the commission be paid into the agent’s official company account. Fake agents hardly operate with company account. You can never lose your money while dealing with genuine real estate agents and refund is guaranteed should anything go wrong in the transaction.
Company registration and official website
Aside having a company name, every genuine and qualified estate agent must be registered with the Nigeria CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) with a brand name. There must be a registered company/brand name with a verified company registration Number. Do not deal with individuals by preference.
All genuine real estate firms are happy to publish and provide you with their registration numbers at any given time. The registration number is always found at the company’s profile (About Us) on their official websites. Of course, you can request for the company’s registration number. Every genuine and qualified company must provide you with its official registration number upon request. You can verify the company’s Reg. Number by visiting the CAC office in Abuja. You can also hire a trusted lawyer or chartered secretary to do the verification. All these must be done prior to payment.
A genuine real estate agent must be registered and recognised by at least one of the Nigeria estate boards – Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON), among others. Most genuine real estate agents are often interested in advertising and publishing their brand names and websites.
All related communications must be conveyed through the company’s registered communication points. Ensure that your email communication is being conveyed through the company/brand name. For instance, [email protected] Do not communicate/send and receive emails from any agent using a free email account such as yahoo, gmail, hotmail, etc. Insist on using his/her company’s email account. It could be, [email protected] when his name is Okeke Okafor and not [email protected], when his name is Okeke Okafor.
The email address must quote exactly the company/brand name and website. Every genuine and qualified real estate firm must operate with an active official phone number (land line/table phone). You can verify this from their official website. Please be wary of real estate agents operating with only mobile phones. There must be an office contact phone (land line/table phone) and not a mobile phone. You must try to differentiate between the two. Most fake agents operate with only mobile phones, which easily enhances their illicit act. Although there could be personal/private contact numbers between the workers but ensure you initiate first phone communication through the company’s office phone (land line/table phone set).
Most fake agents do not have a standard and conducive office. Ensure that you engage most of your related communications in the company’s office. Avoid meeting with an agent in a restaurant and fun places. Request for showing of the property afterwards. All related communications and transactions must be done in the supposed agent’s office. Ensure that you are at the right office and not in a connived environment. Ensure that the office address you visited is the same as the address listed on their official website.
A genuine and qualified real estate agent does not incorporate or attach his career to a different profession. For example, some offices placed on the website or advertised in a magazine might finally turn out to be another thing altogether. A genuine and qualified real estate agent stands out firmly and cannot operate under any other office. Although some lawyers do engage themselves in estate management, the genuine real estate agent can deliver a satisfactory service and information about estate management.
The lawyer has some specific services to render in estate transactions.
N5bn Maryland Mall’ll stimulate businesses in Ikeja
•Ambode assures investors of safe environment
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, has reiterated his earlier commitment to ensuring conducive business environment. The governor maintained that as long as investors abide by the rules and regulations guiding investments in the state, they would continue to enjoy friendly business environment.
Speaking at the opening of the Maryland Mall in Lagos recently, the Governor who was represented by Mr. Adeyemi Benjamin Olabinjo, Special Adviser on Commerce, said the shopping mall is strategically located to serve those from Anthony area of Oshodi, Ojota axis, Maryland and environs.
The mall, which opening was witnessed by several stakeholders and the Lagos business community, according to Sola David-Borha, who represented Mr. Atedo Peterside, Chairman, Stanbic IBTC Holdings Company, was financed with a specialised mode of instrument.
She said the mall, which cost N5 billion was completed with 50 per cent debt instrument and 50 per cent equity, stating that out of the N5 billion, Stanbic IBTC provided N1.23 billion, courtesy of Purple Capital Partners Limited (PCPL), which began financing and developing the retail, lifestyle and entertainment complex barely three years ago.
Declaring the Maryland Mall open for business, Chief Onikepo Akande, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said: “It is my sincere belief that this new mall would help to expose and grow the manufacturing and commercial potential of Lagos State and by extension, the national economy.
“Indeed, retail is one of the cornerstones of trading and investment, and Purple Capital, the developers of Maryland Mall, have done extremely well to give Maryland a new lease of life through this retail investment.”
The official commissioning of Maryland Mall is coming barely two months after Purple Capital attracted additional funding for the development in the form of a N800 million investment fund from asset management firm, AXA Mansard Investments Ltd.
As Nigeria’s industrial and commercial capital, Lagos is expected to lead the national count for modern shopping malls over the next decade, in tandem with the city’s fast growing population currently put at between 17 and 20 million people.
Mr. Omotola Mobolurin, Chairman of Purple Capital Partners Limited, said: “I am delighted about the safe arrival of this new retail, lifestyle and entertainment infrastructure, with the capacity to provide merchants and shoppers with amenities and services that befit the state’s mega city status. It is particularly gratifying that the construction and financing for this retail development is being concluded on time and within projected funding estimates.”
Sited where the defunct Maryland Shopping Centre was once located, Maryland Mall sits on one of the most important arterial routes in Lagos today, with an estimated 5,000 cars passing through every hour. The mall sits on a total land size of 7,700sqm and will have the first dedicated underground car park within any mall in Nigeria. It will play host to a mix of local and international brands anchored by Shoprite, The Place Restaurant, Stanbic IBTC Bank, among other retail, hospitality and entertainment brands.
The exterior of the mall will be a 550sqm LED screen, the largest in sub-Saharan Africa. This unique feature will set it apart from any other retail complex in Africa’s most populous nation.
Currently, only 2 per cent of Nigerians shop in formal retail supermarkets compared to 60 per cent of South Africans, 30 per cent of Kenyans, 4 per cent of Ghanaians and 2 per cent of Cameroonians.
The Maryland area aptly illustrates the various realities of city life. Located right in the middle of mainland Lagos, Maryland has been a residential district and a hectic hub of social activities for decades. It is also an economic and commercial nerve centre; a major intersection connecting citizens and visitors alike to the major thoroughfares across the city, and a perfect exhibit of the city’s quest for affordable, urban development.
Retail trade presently accounts for about 30 per cent of the world’s GDP (gross domestic product). This is about $22 trillion of retail sales each year. Official government data shows that Nigeria has attracted over $1.5 billion investments into its formal retail sector over the last three years. Available statistics also show that over 80 million Nigerians now live in metropolitan areas, creating huge opportunities for formal retail business to thrive.
Lagos is currently home to several malls. Most of these malls are, however, located on the coastal, more affluent sections of the state – in the Ikoyi-Victoria Island-Lekki Peninsula axis – commonly referred to as the Island.
On the mainland side of Lagos are population heavy zones like Ojota, Oyingbo, Ojuelegba, Mile 2, Ikorodu and Ikeja, the state’s administrative capital, which also has many residential cum commercial districts like Agege, Ogba, Ojodu, and Maryland just to name a few.
… As Onitsha Mall opens for business
For the citizens of Anambra State, especially residents of Onitsha, the state’s commercial nerve centre, and Awka the state capital, a new shopping experience has come as the Onitsha Mall has been completed with the South African retail chain, Shoprite, opening for business.
The shopping mall is a joint venture project between the state government and African Capital Alliance (ACA).
This content is for basic monthly subscription, premium monthly subscription, premium plus monthly subscription, basic yearly subscription, premium yearly subscription and premium plus yearly subscription members only.
Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, who was accompanied by his wife and other government dignitaries to the opening of the mall, remarked that the occasion was a milestone in his administration’s efforts to make the state the centrepiece of commercial activities.
Through the store’s opening, Shoprite, in partnership with the management of Onitsha Mall, is doing its part by creating over 1,000 job opportunities for locals. The Onitsha store marks Shoprite’s 18th store opening in the country since it first began operations in 2005. Shoprite employs over 2,500 people in Nigeria and is committed to supporting local enterprises. The group has built relationships with over 400 leading Nigerian suppliers, small businesses and farmers, securing a wide assortment of local brands.
As part of the brand’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme, the Shoprite Community Network hosted a two-day free breast cancer screening for women in Onitsha, in conjunction with Run For A Cure Africa (RFCA), a national NGO specialising in breast cancer awareness work.
Speaking during the event where over 250 women were screened, founder of RFCA, Ebele Mbanugo, said, “it has been a rewarding experience partnering with Shoprite to offer free breast cancer screening to the women of Onitsha because a lot of people go about their daily routine without taking the time out to examine their body. This contributes to the increasing rate of breast cancer deaths. I wish more organisations would take a leaf from Shoprite and its continuous push to create awareness about the dangers of breast cancer.”
Speaking on behalf of Shoprite Nigeria, Executive Director, Adeola Kagho, said she was excited about the warm reception the store was receiving from the people of the state, stating that, “we look forward to opening more stores and playing our part to impact more communities. The free breast cancer screening is just one of the many CSR projects we intend to embark upon in the state and I am happy to witness the high turnout of women taking part in the screening exercise.”