I was having a look at some useful and constantly upgraded Nigeria Real Estate search engine websites that some innovating companies are coming up with, bringing the Real Estate market closer to the customer, as almost everything now is on the net. After a while, browsing through beautiful duplexes, detached, and apartments in different locations of Lagos to buy or let, I started wondering, why is it that all of the advertised properties are showing pictures of the building outside, while few, very few are showing the interior? I mean, this defeats the purpose of having properties online.
But digging deep on this simple question helped me get to what is, in my opinion, the main issue.
The truth, though we may not say it, is that most properties don’t have an interior finishing attractive enough as to be snapped and shared out to the world wide web. Technologies in Nigeria’s real estate market are developing faster than the market itself. So at the end of the day, the work of looking for a renting, letting or purchasing property in Nigeria ends up in the same boring and deceiving process that can make you waste a lot of time visiting properties and properties, looking for the unusual one that can catch your eye.
This is how the figure of a property agent has become that of a property inspector instead. Whilst they aren’t the owners, they are the ones to show the property to potential customers. Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s very hard ,and sometimes is an easy task.
I believe that in a market where the demand is quite higher than the offer, the need for specialization, customer care and added services are not taken in consideration as they should, but my question is… why??
“This is not the house I am going to live in, so why should I use standard quality materials on it” or “Let’s allow the tenant to finish it at his own taste” are common opinions among those in the real estate sector.
In my opinion, this is totally wrong, and an easy way to increase the investment or the expenses for the final customer, which may affect the purchasing or renting price, mostly when your property isn’t located in a hot spot area.
If you are a landlord, using low quality materials in your properties can make you spend more than what you should normally spend every time you change your tenant, because, no matter how bad your tenant was, no matter how tough Nigerian environment can be… a product that can’t last in your building for a couple of years of renting is not good enough to be called a product. Is it that the government is also aware of this reality and that is why standard regulations on imported products are getting stronger now?
There is a saying that goes: “Treat others as you will like to be treated by others”, This is a philosophy urgently needed to be applied in the Nigerian Real Estate market generally, because the few applying it are really charging hell for it, creating huge gap between sides.
Yes, Nigerian customers deserve to be treated as we would like to be treated, also in the housing sector. To be a world leading country has everything to do with having the willingness to improve on added service and quality standards in the construction sector. A contemporary or modern interior design, good quality finishing or durable and affordable finishing products, does not mean you must pay hell for it or live in Banana Island to get it. It is a responsibility of all of us as professionals to make quality standards be accessible for all social layers.
As I always say, let’s raise the standards, not the price.
Nancy Martinez Fasoro
Consultant for Nigeria Market
Article Originally published @ News of Nigeria 24th September 2015