We’re not looking out for building in Banana Island but we’re looking at the middle and low income earners so that they can have access to affordable accomodations….
written by the publisher spring news international magazine online and hard copy
Lets meet you sir?
Ans- My name is …..Dr Ismail Hassan the CEO and Co-founder of Eystone Development and investment Ltd.,a real estate development properties company in Lagos Nigeria and what we do basically is to make houseing ownership easy and accessible to people. We’re not looking out for building in Banana Island but we’re looking at the middle and low income earners so that they can have access to affordable accomodations.
Que- How long has Eystone Development and investment Ltd.been running?
Ans- Officially, we will be 3-year in October but we have been in the industry for 15- year now. We started from legendary consultant, market and all that before we now come into development because when we tell some of this developers do it this way, they will say you this bloody marketers, what did you know about development, they made it look like one big deal to go into development, so we decided to go into the industry to fill the gap and let people know that they can get properties without headache. Last Saturday, we did allocation in one of our properties at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos and come and see smiles on the faces of our clients because they were surprised that they could get their properties after 3-months. These are the people who are used to waiting for between one and three years to get their allocation. We came into the industry to start changing the narrative. Buying properties should not give clients high BP, it should be stress- free, so you as a developer, your job is to take care of the stress of the Omo onile wahala, the documents and rest, complete everything before you bring the properties to the market and be sure that if you bring people on board, they will not have challenges; that’s why we are here.
Que-Do you think the real estate business is properly regulated properly in Nigeria?
Ans-In Africa as a whole, for now, regulation in real estate is in paper; it’s not really being enforced but about two years ago the Lagos state government real estate department planned to initiate the association. They start the regulation of the lndustry,they are working in partnership with Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria (REDAN), with other stakeholders for policy formation and regulation of the industry.
Their are bills already in Lagos state that have been passed towards ensuring regulation. These regulations are very important because they will help to curb the excesses from all these developers and even the clients.
There are some clients, they have #5m and they need 5- bedroom duplex in Banana Island and when you’re telling them it’s not impossible, they will say why not and they will end up losing their money to fraudulent people. Most of these clients that get to lose their money cry over social media, it’s because of their greeds and this doesn’t happen in real estate business alone, it also happen in other businesses. When something looks too good to be true, it’s actually not true.
So this regulation will really really help to bring sanity in the industry; the developers that are not serious will be sanctioned. Lagos state is trying and they have always be the pacesetter when it comes into innovative ideas to move the state forward.
Que-You said, Lagos state is a pacesetter but they have not been able to stop building collapse?
Ans- The issue of building collapse in Lagos is cause by insincerity and greed. For instance, you have a soil integrity test that you know that do 6floors, on a particular location, when you go for approval for 4, when you get to site, you try to do six because they have given a safety factor of 1.5 that you can even do 50percent more, and you try to utilize that, the end result is always bad. It’s mostly greed and people being insincere.
Que- in terms of your service,are you strictly limited to Lagos?
Ans-Our scope is within Lagos state though we have interest in other states like Abuja, Oyo, Ibadan that we are going to launch but now we’re in Lagos.
Que- How affordable are your properties?
Ans- Real Estate in the real sense of it is not really affordable. Affordability in real estate is a mirage but I feel one of the ways that we could achieve realistic availability is collaboration with the government. If government can make the major factor on the land accessible to serious developers at a reasonable price, it will bring down the cost of the finished product which are the buildings, if we could achieve that, we could get affordable real estate.
As I said earlier, we are looking at the middle and low income earners, that’s why we’re not looking for land in Lekki, Ikota. We’re looking at underdeveloped locations where the cost of land is relatively low, the amount you will like to build a 3- bedroom duplex in Epe, will be the same amount in Ikoyi but the only difference is the cost of land.There are lot of people at this other side, they don’t even have land, that’s why we are focusing on underdeveloped locations as to reduce the overall cost and people can have access and if our mortgage system is working actively, people can have access to mortgage at single digits interest rate, so they can fund it, but by the time the mortgage come to them, it’s already entering double digits which in the long run makes the appreciation expensive but what we are doing is that we will try to give payment plans that produce 6.5 that you can spread within period of doing long sum which is most difficult for the people.
Que- According to the Min. For Housing, he said when real estate owners partner with the government, they are not sincere in terms of integrity on the job and number of facility, as a practitioner, did you buy into that?
Ans- You know, human beings are naturally needed to be monitored. If you’re giving a task to do, you will just do it in your own way and time, I think monitoring has to be a continuous thing, it’s a partnership and that’s why they call it joint venture.
Now you will see civil engineer in their office, relaxing under Air conditioner, passing documents and be waiting pictures. Suppose the person suppose to use mm25 and he used mm16 rod, you won’t know, because he has buried it with cement and mm 16 can’t carry the strength of that weight material, before you know it, it would have effect on the mansion and It will collapse, so monitoring is a key. That’s
Que-In terms of integrity of business, will you say you’re keeping to your watchword?
Ans- That question will be best answered by our clients. Integrity is our watchword, we have sacked one of our out staff because instead of writing five, he wrote six, we asked why he did that, he said it’s an oversight, we can’t afford to toy with our integrity, we sacked him
Que-Do you have out service estate?
Ans- Currently, we have six estates: sites and service, meaning we provide the perimeter fencing, partition the plots and sell, let’s start building structures, we are looking at the 4th quarter of the year to start building our latest appreciation in Epe. It’s a massive property, about 500 acres of land, so we want to start building of bungalow to let people see what we can do
Que- How viable is Epe?
Ans- If not for real Estate, I wouldn’t have known that Epe is a viable very location. The major road in Epe as at today doesn’t has a single porthole till you will enter the next street but when you say Epe, some people will ask, is it in Lagos or Ogun state? Epe has good road structures, the government is concentrating On that axis. Government has just completed the first face of the of the concrete roads from Epe town to Eleko and they have gotten close to Awoyaya, they are bringing it down to Abraham Adesanya, the concrete roads will last for the next 100 years without portholes, meaning, a lot of development has come to that axis.
Our property in Epe is #200m per plot in Epe, why is it so? It’s because of the infrastructure the company is proposing to put that estate, we are selling latest acquisition for between #3m and #5m for giveaway. We’re not focusing on the billionaires of this World, we want people to get affordable housing, we are focusing on people of lower pyramid not luxury
Que- Are you doing this project with the Federal Government?
Ans- We are open to collaboration but we need to take a step and let people see what we are doing before they can come to collaborate and partner. So, if investors partner with us, instead of building 100 units, we can do 1000 units.
Que- Can you share the challenges with us?
Ans- Challenges are peculiar, and most real estate practitioners have this main challenge of getting viable properties