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Femi Atoyebi

“NIESV is not just an institute but an institution” – Femi Atoyebi

An Estate Surveyor and Valuer, a member and an associate in view of the National Institution of Estate surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), an associate member in the institute of strategic management of Nigeria (ISMN) whose background experience is spanning 8years in real estate and the Owner of Magnagate integrated Services, Mr. Femi Atoyebi, in an interview with Nigeria Real Estate Hub correspondent noted that the National Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) is not just an institute but an institution. He spoke extensively on the practice of Estate surveyor and Valuer, the housing deficit in the country and the difficulties of partnership in the industry. Read below:

 

NREH: There are Influx of big foreign brands into the market and with the posh outlook they put out, do you think this is helping the industry?

It’s a mix. It’s helping and it’s not helping. It’s helping in motivating the indigenous estate surveyors to kick it up a notch. Go from the traditional style to being international as well. It’s a healthy competition.

NREH: Is partnership working in the field? Does partnership work in being an estate surveyor and valuer?

Partnership works but trust is very important. Because the way the system is, it seems everybody is trying to play everybody for a fool and that’s a sad system. Estate surveyors and valuers have an educational background in estate management, especially the ones who eventually practice. They know what they’ve been through in school, training and all there is to it and on the field the reality due to the laws in Nigeria is that anybody can be an agent and then they have themselves contending with people that have little or no knowledge of the profession and even criminals.

 

NREH: What do you say about lawyers and estate surveyors coming together? Do you think that can help the local practitioners compete globally?

I think that would be a very good idea because property law is real estate law. The lawyers are very relevant, instead of lawyers trying to carry out evaluations, why not they work together? If they can eliminate greed and imbibe trust, Nigeria will be a force to reckon with because our real estate industry is super massive.

 

NREH: There are two separate things now; being registered with the association and being an associate, what’s the difference and what does each coffers you?

When you are registered in the association, there are different grades, in NIESV there are three grades; you have the graduate grade – that is for someone that studied estate management in the university, you are an automatic graduate member but you have to go and register to get a number, from there you can prepare for corporate membership which is being an associate; as a graduate you would write a professional practice exam and then you will be inclined to write a thesis, you have to pick a very relevant topic that is in line with the profession, which has to be supervised by practicing estate surveyors whom have practised for minimum of 5years. NIESV is not just an institute but an institution. When you do all that, you do an interview then become a corporate member – An associate, after being an associate for 20years then you will be in line to be a fellow. You must have contributed to the growth of the institution in so many ways both financially, physical and every way possible and also have imbibed the ethics in all your dealing.

 

NREH: With the number of registered estate surveyors we are having, don’t you think we are already having more than enough for the market?

We don’t have more than enough, Nigeria has a population of about 170million people. The number of surveyors per citizen is too small, if we have enough surveyors then we will automatically drive out agents, if we had more then there will be fewer agents because they will create a bond, a very strong bond that can knock out street agents. And a lot is being done to knock them out. Lagos state has started registering estate agents under LASRETRAD although some estate agents are not happy with the development because they feel the move doesn’t recognise ESVARBON

 

NREH: But from recent findings, it’s been said that for one to be registered under LASRETRAD, s/he must be a member of one of the recognised body

Yes, most of us didn’t like it because we had ESVARBON already. ESVARBON had a decree that established it and it registers licenced estate surveyor and valuers. It is a technical licence. There is already something in place like a legal instrument that is holding up the profession. It’s not about setting up departments, it’s about setting up laws that makes it illegal for someone that didn’t study estate management or do any training in real estate to just wake up one morning, get a table and chair under a tree and say you are an agent. Until a law comes in place that stops that, we will continue having the same rubbish. This is discouraging for most estate surveyors, they work in a firm which is probably not generating as much money as it should because they are competing with street rats, the surveyors don’t get well paid and he is thinking of going into other things.

READ ALSO – “Banks are indirectly killing real estate industry in Nigeria” – Showunmi

NREH: On housing deficit in Nigeria?

A professor of mine told me that Mosquitoes and stagnant water go together same way slums and crime go together, so that analogy is a pointer to the fact that there is a serious housing deficit in this part of the world. The population explosion that happened was not envisaged. It reflects in the social mindset of the people in Lagos before. The landlords then didn’t envisage this and most of them built single family dwelling units to cater for ‘me and my family’ it was more of a subsistence constructions but now the explosion, we need more high-rise buildings because Lagos is becoming more urbanised by the day. Multi storey apartment to use up more of the airspace in Lagos. Then a mortgage system that will allow people pay systematically. We had about 300+ mortgage banks but now we have less than 30. There need to be more funding,

What we have now is private developers and I think laws should be put in place to check them because you can’t just wake because you have funds and say you are a developer.

NREH: But we have REDAN?

Apart from REDAN. If you pay your dues in REDAN they will allow you build anything. There should be background checks on developers. So many companies coming up to tell you they have CofO on a parcel of land and after a while those company fold up and lose sustainability. There are no regulations, there is a hole, a big gulf and it’s from the legal side which has to be resolved. There should be penalty on somethings or there will be a state of anarchy because that’s what I am seeing in Nigeria real estate right now. In a situation where every Tom, Dick and Harry comes into a very volatile, profitable system, there is going to be problems.

 

NREH: On getting these houses available and affordable, we have rent control but unfortunately seems not to be working, what can be done?

We have a strong argument for regulating the profession. If a law can be put to place, the same way some landlords have bent to the law of 1year rent duration collection in Lagos, the agents will bend, real estate practitioners will bend.

NREH: Are you saying the increase in rent is real estate practitioners fault and not the landlords?

It’s the agents’ fault. Agents are speculators. An estate surveyor and valuer will tell a house owner when asked to do the valuation of property that him or her will do it free. Street agents are speculators, although the force of demand and supply is a factor. But the first step will be laws that will sanitise the profession.

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