All over the world the real estate business is one sector of the economy that offers a good financial opportunity. Though at different times the sector crashes, but by and large, it has always bounced back. Landed property does not depreciate but appreciates. This is not an exception in Nigeria.
There are different levels of participation in this sector. There are small players and big players. Determine what category of the populace you are going to serve, high-end, middle-end or low-end earners? You definitely cannot serve all categories of the populace. Your investment capacity may also determine which sector of the populace you can service.
Whichever way you choose to come in and operate, there is an assurance that you will find your own landing pad and earn some reasonable profit from your investment.
However, it requires that you take cognizance of certain guidelines in order to start and operate a successful real estate business in Nigeria.
So what tips do you need in order to do so? Here are ten of such tips.
1. Do some research on the terrain of real estate in Nigeria
Just as you have to carry out a thorough research on any business you are starting, you need to do so in this sector. How does the sector work? Who are the big players? What exactly do they do? How do they serve their clients? What laws guide operations in the city/state where you want to operate in Nigeria? And so on. Your research may include learning from those whose real estate business are thriving. You can get books on real estate business or follow a mentor in real estate. Getting adequate information will feed you with the preliminary information you need to succeed.
2. Save up Some Money
If you did your research well you must have known the minimum amount of money it will require to get you started depending on the scale at which you choose to start. It is advised that you don’t take a loan to start a business because of the uncertainties that may arise when starting a business
3. Write your business plan
You are not yet in business if you don’t have a written plan. It shows you where you are going and how to get there and if it is viable to go there in the first place. Let your business plan include your business goals, units of the business, stages of growth, source of funds and every other relevant thing that will get you focused on your goal. If your business plan is well written, you may attract investors.
4. Make your real estate business legal and recognized
Business registration is important, especially in this sector. You must register with CAC – Corporate Affairs Commission and get a certificate to operate as a business. There are also associations and agencies that regulate real estate operations in Nigeria. For example, REDAN – Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria.
5. Get a well-equipped office facility
This is critical to your business success. The image you project will tell whether your would-be clients can trust their investments in your hands. You cannot be a player in the real estate sector and have your office in a shanty. You must get a good office facility and ensure that it is well furnished. Although this is necessary, you also must be careful where the office is located as paying too much on rent can eat too deep into what profits should have been ploughed back into the business for expansion.
6. Hire professionals
This is a business and it is definitely not one you can run alone, even if you are the one with the idea for the business. You will need the service of professionals to carry out daily operations so that things can move seamlessly. Office and field staff, marketers, engineers, architects, electricians, surveyors, and the rest of them. Apart from the office and field staff, others can be hired on a contract basis.
7. Seek investment
Real estate business is capital intensive and requires huge investment. If you do not have enough it is imperative that you seek investors who can partner with you. You can look for equity investors or talk to mortgage or commercial banks for long term loans that can give you enough leverage at the start and accelerate growth.
8. Get landed properties
There are different ways of playing in this sector. You can be an agent or developer. If you are into development, you need to get landed properties and start actual construction. Some real estate operators re-sell some portions of the land to clients and help them build and build other portions and sell houses out rightly. How do you intend to do yours? You must decide.
9. Open a real estate website
It is no longer news that not having a website for your business is digging the grave of that business from the onset. Quite a number of the people you might want to serve are likely to be checking out the internet for credible real estate companies they can do business with. Hire the service of a website designer and SEO consultant to get a good website running. The work of the SEO consultant is to ensure that your site ranks high in search engine searches. Have a functional and interactive website where prospective clients can make enquiries and see photos of available options of property when you begin to have them or likely ones that would come up later. Also ensure that the site has contact information and someone is available to monitor and respond promptly to enquiries.
10. Create Some branded stuffs
There should be days of the week where you (and your staff) will be dressed in branded shirts. Your marketers should often wear the branded shirts for marketing purposes. If you have cars, brand them in the name of your company. You should also have other branded materials as souvenir to give to prospective clients who come in to make enquiries.
One additional thing you will also have to do is to advertise. You must blow your trumpet and announce to the real estate buying market that you are here and here to stay. Announce your arrival in the real estate market. Use handbills, local/national newspapers, real estate journals, radio, television and as much as your budget can permit to advertise. Bottom line is, don’t wink in darkness. If you do, no one else will notice except you.