Maduka Nweke, [email protected]
Nigerians abroad still have challenges building houses at will living overseas. contend with when it comes. While labouring to improve their wellbeing in foreign countries building houses that they can retire to each time they visit home or return permanently often poses an Herculean task.
Many have burnt their fingers entrusting such projects to close relatives and neighbours including brothers, sisters and close inlaws. Oftentimes such gestures are abused by relatives and friends who capitalise on the relationship to cheat the man and corner his wealth. Usually such relations would continue to feed a man with false information that everything was fine and good while in actual fact they are eating him off. They can even send picture of a completed building purporting it is the worth of his money.
Today, many Nigerians living abroad have started asking many questions on how they can own homes in their fatherland without falling victim to dubious relatives an friends while abroad.
They are now leaving their relations and going the extra mile to contract independent developers to build and hand over their choice properties to them.
Although many living abroad still indulge in this system, majority have had their hands burnt in the process.
The second approach would be to use mortgage institutions to get such projects actualised even though this has it’s peculiar problems.
This is because the principal often will not get his choice property or the desired quality materials at a preferred location.
Recently, a particular Primary Mortgage Bank came up with an initiative that Nigerians in the Diaspora could lay hand on. It could be a spring board upon which one can inject innovation in the system. Brent Mortgage Bank, a primary mortgage institution recently introduced ‘Brent Home Ownership Diaspora Account’ designed to facilitate home ownership for Nigerians in Diaspora.
It Managing Director, Mr Kola Abdul, while announcing unveilin of its three new products disclosed that the products included the BRENTO (Brent Rent to Own) and BREHOP (Brent Retirement Home Plan).
When Abdul tried to explain the features of this kind of mortgage, he said that Brent Home Ownership Diaspora Account is in realisation that Nigerians working hard and living in decent accommodations outside the country also deserve a decent place of abode here in Nigeria. It is also in realisation that many of them have not been able to achieve this dream of owning a home of their choice because of the tripod of ‘funds diversion’, ‘funds suppression’ and ‘funds conversion’ by friends and relations.
This product also seeks to eliminate the above challenges aside the fact that it identified some marketing agents in USA, U.K. and Republic of Ireland who would assist in conducting due diligence on the prospects. What is required is the completion of the forms on-line with requisite documents attached. The prospect at the onset will state the area where he or she wants the property, type of property, price range and other necessary details. For that reason, Brent opened domiciliary accounts with two commercial banks in Nigeria. Remittances would be made into any of these accounts in three different currencies namely, US Dollar, Pounds Sterling and Euro.
When the local value of the remittances are close to 30 percent of the value of property of interest, customer would choose from identified properties and partake in price negotiation with the support of the firm.
Brent would conduct legal, physical and general investigations on the approved property before full payment is made and customer takes possession. Mortgage would thereafter be created on agreed rate and tenor while customer repays quarterly. Legal title would be transferred to customer immediately mortgage obligations are fully settled by customer.
A lot of other similar real estate firms have other methods through which diaspora Nigerians are aided in having their homes in the country. There are rent to own methods where one can rent an apartment for his parents. While they lived in the apartment, the full payment for the property will be completed. There is also an outright purchase method whereby a real estate agent who sells buy and pack, contacts the buyer of a completely fitted apartment. He buys it and the parents packs in immediately; taking that as family house. This is also in vogue although in majority of cases, the buyer may not know whether the building was made with quality building materials or the inferior ones. That is one of the disadvantages, however.
But, with respect to the ‘Brent Rent to Own’ Customers and prospects are expected to meet the company’s affordability and eligibility requirements, and with payment of little equity contribution, a customer moves into any of the properties financed by the company. In this regards, the company thereafter, collects yearly payment of a lump sum which covers mortgage repayment and interest elements for an agreed period of time ranging from (5years to 10years). When the property amount and interests are fully settled, the customer/occupant becomes the legal owner for life. Interest payable is 10 percent p.a. which is very competitive.
On the ‘Brent Retirement Home Plan’ Customers and prospects with regular stream of income, especially salary earners can take advantage of this product to become home owners before retirement. An account needs to be opened with us giving details of employment. There would be 30 percent equity build up at the earliest convenience of the customer/prospect. The two parties would identify the property the customer has the capacity to repay without pressure on his take-home pay. Interest rate is negotiable and competitive.