Building a house is such a big deal for some people, but for many others it is NOT impossible. Here is the story of how Bola Aliu became a landlord in Abuja – A megacity in view. Please read and get inspired to start your own house.
NREH: Please introduce yourself Sir?
Bola Aliu: My name is Bola Aliu, an alumni of School of Estate and I reside in Abuja.
NREH: How and when did your journey to becoming a landlord begin?
BA: The thought has always been with me as a kid, seeing my parents struggling to pay monthly rents of a single room apartment in a boy’s quarter of a multi-tenanted compound we were staying in Surulere, Lagos. (I’m sure you can imagine what the situation would have looked like back then).
Since then, I already knew I was going to own my own house and even house other people. But the conscious effort started after my NYSC, all my effort was to get out of the rat race, to break the cycle of poverty and I realized to do that, one must own his own house and have other income generating assets.
So I resorted to reading every material I could find on investing and real estate, learning, attending courses, listening to Mr Debo’s CDs and applying those strategies and ideas. Another thing I did which was the most difficult was disciplining myself to stick to my plan that I will never buy a car until I build my own house.
I remember being in the midst of my friends who were trainees like me then in the bank, discussing the type of cars they’ll buy and all I could tell them was that I’ll have a house first before buying a car.
So, as a trainee, I bought my first land in mowe/ofada for a seemingly paltry N280k which I paid instalmentally and before the year ended, it jumped to over 500k. The second that same year in another mowe/ofada estate, the third from omo-onile in Ikorodu which I actually wanted to build and live in until i was transferred to Abuja where I bought the house I’m staying presently through NHF. All thanks to people like Mr Debo Adejana and others, who have packaged their knowledge and experiences in real estate into books, magazines, courses, CDs etc
NREH: Did you experience any setback at any point?
BA: Yes. There will always be a setback. It’s part of life. it’s what makes life interesting. It’s called risk and as an entrepreneur it’s your best friend. The major setback I experienced will be my being transferred to Abuja and it’s now turned to a blessing.
NREH: Is there any particular sacrifice you and your family had to make to get to this point?
BA: Yes. It’s called delayed gratification. Like I said earlier, I had to invest my money in books, magazines, courses, CDs etc on real estate. Spent my time reading, studying and attending real estate classes, as well as mentoring programs. But the ultimate sacrifice is postponing my buying a car which I could afford in my first year as a trainee. It’s crazy, no one could understand then why you are working and nothing to show for it in terms of the adult toys the society expects you to have.
NREH: Is this your first house?
BA: Yes. It’s my first house and definitely won’t be the last; I want to develop estates and luxury apartments like Debo Adejana, Donald Trump etc and also to develop social housing to help solve the housing problem in Nigeria.
NREH: Did you have encounters with Omonile?
BA: No. I didn’t have an encounter with omo-onile on the house because it’s an estate built by a developer. But, I did have an encounter with omo-oniles on one of my lands at Ikorodu.
NREH: Did you have to borrow or take a loan to build your house?
BA: I bought the house through NHF arrangement.
NREH: Can you share some of the lessons/insights you have learnt from us (School of Estate, Realty Point Ltd, and Nigeria Real Estate Hub) that proved invaluable or guided you in the building process?
BA: It’s a whole body of knowledge and this knowledge gave rise to the confidence developed in investing in this market. I learnt about perfecting of title which is critical in this industry; when and how to buy, financing etc.
Above all, the maxim, “don’t wait to buy land, buy land and wait” is a huge insight and strategy for getting value in real estate that I learnt from associating with Realty Point Ltd. I think I read that in one E-book by Debo Adejana on Land Banking.
NREH: What can you say to other aspiring landlords who may have purchased land(s) but have not begun to build?
BA: Leaving in your own house is one sure way of ending the cycle of poverty. If you are still leaving in a rented apartment, all you are doing is enriching the landlord and keeping yourself in the rat race. You may not realize this isn’t smart until the source of income dries up due to economic meltdown, health issues, old age, natural disaster, unfavourable government policy, new technology etc.
We have read the story of a driver in an organisation been able to build a house in a less developed part of town from his meagre salary while the oga who was given accommodation and big salary by the organisation couldn’t build his own house. After some couple of years, they had to leave the organisation and move to other things in life. The driver was still leaving in his own house and the oga who couldn’t build a house from his salary was in need of accommodation and was taken to a landlord who had a 2 bedroom to let and that landlord turned out to be the former driver.
So, what am I saying? There’s no better time to start developing that land of yours than now. Start putting those little money in it and see your house grow. You can organise your friends and do “esusu” a.k.a contribution to build your house at least that’s the most traditional way of raising capital in African societies before the advent of banking.
You can sell your adult toys and put the money in your building. The game is called ‘delayed gratification’. You have to be focused, be disciplined enough to follow through just like any other worthwhile endeavour. You just have to start and see how God will help you build it.
NREH: When are you moving in with your family?
BA: I have already moved in with my family.
NREH: Thank you for your time!
BA: You are welcome.
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