published and interviewed by spring news international magazine online and hard copy
Question:Let us meet you
Ans- My name is Stephen Omobamidele from Arigidi, Ondo State. I’ve been into real estate in my 20’s, then, I will give Omo onile between #2000 and #3000, by the time I will calculate it for few months, it will be #50000 to buy a quarter or half plot of land and resold thereafter, l have done car business before too but finally moved into real estate business in 2018 when Nigerian govt closed the border between Coutonou and Nigeria and the car business crumbled because I normally bought cars and rice from Coutonou for sale in Nigeria.
It wasn’t easy after 2years that i delved into the real estate business because it’s different from buying half plot of land and resell as I have done. When I realized my senior colleagues in the business were sharing flyers,I have to print flyers too to promote the properties within my availability.l later joined marketing class online, where I learnt how to market through Instagram,and other online handles. Afterwards, I didn’t market my own properties alone online, I was getting commission from marketing other people’s properties.
As God will have it, we kick-started our own Estate at Awoyaya, Epe with 6 plots of land, we launched it and called it Wonder Plots Estate.
To the glory of God, our first building project can accommodate 100units of houses.
Que- What are the challenges of running Wonder Plots Estate when started?
Ans- l started with #35m, the money is not even my own, it belonged to my investor who has bought property from me and when the business wasn’t going well, he told me to resell.
I resold the property for #40m and lm not happy that he bought property through me and I’m also selling the property, I wanted to give him #5m courtesy from his property sold and plan to add the remaining #35m to the #50m that I have to get my estate launched. I promised to get him same property sold in my new estate but as at then in terms of delivery it will be about #60m, he agreed to the idea and contacted his lawyer. His lawyer said, I can’t just make use of the #35m, his client deserved
15percent, which is about #5.2 million, but the plan is to give him #500,000 monthly and in a year’s time, I will deliver his house worth #55m
I have understood the business and I know I can’t regret investing the #35m, though I didn’t have #50m anywhere but if i tell them I don’t have any money, they buy the idea. What I did thereafter was to go and buy the land worth 6 plots and make a big banner to market it.
While I was making this decision, even after the launching of the estate,there is no capital to start building, and it took me another 6months to finish one bungalow. I was able to raise money to build the first bungalow through the commission I was getting through sales of the land. Thereafter I have to borrow money from the Bank and also selling my land at lower price, some land worth #1m was sold for #550,000.
When people started seeing the bungalow and compared to others in terms of quality, the marketer that didn’t believe in us started coming to push us forward. As we speak,we have about 70units within 6months. It’s well challenging but to the glory of God, we have people living in our estate now.
Que- What are the mission and vision setting up This Wonderful company
Ans- We are giving a property that’s easy and affordable for individual to key into, though the system may not be encouraging but our company is still One of companies that’s giving two years premium payment on houses. Our property is affordable with no less quality delivery. We are making property affordable for every Nigerians.
Que- What are your challenges with your colleagues in the industry and how did you overcome it?
Ans- That’s even a less challenge for me because when people come to my estate, I tell my marketers to take them to other estates first and probably bring them back to me. The kind of quality we are providing is second to none and it’s a sell out compare to other properties.
Que- Where do you have your properties located?
Ans- Currently, we are focusing on Lagos, infact our properties are over-sold and over- subscribed too. We are working on another estate in Epe now. We already have over 50 subscribers who have paid up-front.
Que- The association of Real Estate Practitioners is meant to regulate the sector but are they doing enough?
Ans- They are trying their best but the fact remains that they are limited to certain things. A company should first protect it’s integrity first. Real Estate is a wide business, here at Okota, I can tell you for free that a lot of fraud is happening in the real estate business here. I can tell you some real estates owners that started and close after six months. Some just came to grab money and relocate. The association is trying and the EFCC is trying too to regulate the industry. Look at what happened in Banana Island recently, who should we blame?
How do you want to sell a property with less quality you can’t live in, that’s pure wickedness.
I can’t launch phase 1, phase 2, phase 3, at the same time because of my availability on those site will give me a tough time. A developer should not be too busy when building a site, and as an MD, you should be able to monitor things yourself and don’t put your trust on Engineers building contractors. They are also human too and could compromised the quality.
Que- The last time I spoke to REDAN President, he told me they are regulating the association in a very good way and the government is giving them enough backing, do you think the government is putting enough policy in terms of guiding estate practitioners in terms of projects management and development?
Ans- To me, government has done more, and government is trying. For me, individual first. If we continue to open all secrets, we will see that everybody has his own stains one way or the other and I’m not perfect too. We all know if we fail to do the right thing but and everybody want to cover up. We blame government for so many things, do we want to blame government for what happened in Banana Island. You’ve done your own test in terms of mixing, government can’t be there 2-4-7 with you. We all know the right thing, let’s do it.
Que- In terms of structure, you started in a very good space, a white man once said most of the Nigerian company collapsed after the owner died, as the CEO, what are you putting in place to sustain your brand after your retirement?
Ans-I’m not retiring anytime soon and I’ve not created my brand yet. I’m still creating my brand, time will come that I will know those who has the same vision with me. For now, I’m still drawing the map.
Que- Are you currently training some staff that are working with you?
Ans- Yes, I have some team members on the field and some in the office and they are trying sincerely.
Que-Building a plan and management of people are difficult thing to do, how have you been able to team together?
Ans- Managing people around me is not easy but I don’t find it difficult to manage people as well. I can manage a mad man to make sure de does what he supposed do
Que-Is there a demographic trend on your building?
Ans-This is my first project and if I want to launch the phase 2, it will just be the same package with a little difference.
Que-How have you been able to cope with technology because you said you are not a social media person?
Ans- I’m not strange to technology, I’ve worked with an IT firm before as a computer instructor. Technology is not my problem but I was not a social media person before
Que-How was growing up for you?
Ans- Growing up for me wasn’t sweet, but I don’t pray my kids experience such.
I was busy hawking between Pry 1 and 3, I wasn’t in school at all. If anyone says I was going to have Bsc. degree, I will say no, meanwhile, I still huzzle to have Master degree. Though it was not, but to the glory of God, we are here.
Que-What were the things you feel you didn’t do right, that you may want to correct now?
Ans-I don’t regret everything I have done in the past.
Que-Was it your background that pushed you into what you become today?
Ans- Yes, my background didn’t give me space to sleep. My past exposed me to hardship and I thank God that today things has changed.
Que-What’s your favorite food
Ans- Any form of swallow
Que- How do you cope with ladies as an handsome man?
Ans- I convert them to sister
Que- What’s your advise to Youths who have interest in real estate business?
Ans- They should work hard and don’t give up. I used to tell people that real estate business is like Yahoo-Yahoo business. You could sleep at night with no money and wake up the following morning as a millionaire.