Why housing for the poor remains elusive’
Bayo Akintoye an entrepreneur is Chief Executive, BULLNET Properties, a real estate development company. In this interview with Yetunde Oladeinde, he speaks on the challenges and opportunities inherent in the built and construction sub-sector. Excerpts:
Interest in the real estate sector
My expertise as a realtor has been very interesting because it’s one sector that offers you opportunity to learn every day. I have been in the sector for about 20 years. I worked with a couple of firms and was a pioneer staff of Broll Nigeria, which is one of the multinational estate services companies that we have in Nigeria today. I came in at Broll in 2004 as a pioneer staff. I had a wonderful experience and left in 2012 to start my own firm called BULLNET. It is an acronym for Bulletins and Enquiries Networking Services Limited. The ethos or the philosophy of our company is to provide information. In addition to providing consultancy, doing research, advisory services , real estate marketing services which includes sales, leasing and management of properties , project management and facility management. We have a full range services but our underpinning principle is providing real estate information. This is because information is key. A lot of people get into trouble, buy houses that are overly high priced because they do not have the right information across to the people.
That is why we opened the boutique, our real estate boutique located at the Ikeja City Mall. It is easy for people to walk in and get any information required about real estate. We advise you, consult for you and provide whatever you need. For instance, if you are looking for a house to rest, buy a house or land. Our services are very transparent and we hinge our uniqueness and integrity.
Real estate agent has been attributed to be fraudulent and always asking for prices that are cut-throat. But we are not; we want to change that perception that real estate agents can be transparent and work with integrity. They should always have at the back of their mind that they want to serve the client, not just make money. We work with our clients to pay what is convenient for them, not just for ourselves. We want you to know that you are paying and happy with what you are pay for. Most times, you find clients grumbling because they agent has not lived up to expectation.
Challenges in the real estate subsectors
There are so many challenges and this are some of the things our journal, Bulletin Homeowners quarterly is trying to address. Of course, the most important challenges are perception, that we practitioners, agents and middlemen are not trustworthy. We are doing everything to change this and I believe that integrity is the key thing here. Another challenge is that it is usually difficult to find a match. Sometimes, you have a property and you are looking for the buyer or tenant. Then you also have scenarios where you have a tenant and you are looking for the right property. That matching ability is the only grill of our business. If you have that secret, you would be closing deals on a daily basis.
In Nigeria, we also lack back up data, unlike what you have overseas, where there is enough data available, for you to use the public domain. But here, everybody is hoarding data. If for instance, I ask an agent how much he sold that property, he is not going to tell me. Probably, he will give me a wrong figure and you discover that there is always secrecy and no data in the industry. When this happens, what you are operating is a black market and that is what we have been facing and we are trying to change it. It is important to allow people to access and filter the data for what they want.
Providing houses for the poor
For us at BULLNET, another area that we pride ourselves is being innovative. We have innovative ideas, innovative proposals and innovative concepts. So we are constantly always thinking outside the box and forward thinking. We actually think that there are new ways; the common man can get access to home. Homelessness is very high in Nigeria. People live under the bridges because they just don’t have a shelter over their heads. Sadly, this is one of the key basic necessities of life. The government is trying but it is not enough for them.