In a brief interview with Nigeria Real Estate Hub, Zara shares her experience with NREH correspondent on building her first house as a woman and the challenges she went through. Giving her own doze of advice to aspiring first house owners and also talking on the housing sector challenges as it affects the masses.
NREH: Kindly introduce yourself ma.
Zara: My name is Zara
NREH: What’s your take on Real Estate in Abuja and Nigeria?
Zara: I will say it’s a bit on the challenging side. Like in Abuja if you don’t have a good job there will be no way you will be able to afford a good house in Abuja except you want to go out sketch of the city to go and get a house. But in town, it is really expensive to live in Abuja. That is why there is much housing scheme for people to come and apply for a loan and afford a house, even at that, when you hear the bank charges, it’s not encouraging. If you have a good job then you can get a land, or a house where you can pay installmentally, also using your housing allowance to set the bills, to me it’s still challenging. Because you have a lot of houses here and there but it’s still challenging. A brother of mine who got a place at Gwaripa where he has a common sitting room with 2 other people pays 1.2million naira.
NREH : At what age do you think an average Nigerian should own a house?
Zara: At any age, depends on your resources and what you are earning. I got my house before I was 40, now I am 43. The house should be around 8 years now. Depends on your source of income.
NREH: Did you acquire an already built house or you got a land and built?
Zara: I got a land
NREH: How was the experience?
Zara: Building my house was really challenging, I cried everyday because the workers were like ‘ this small girl building a house’ as a woman. I was always simple, on my jean and t-shirt. You ask someone to come work for you even at the fact that you will pay them, they say no. They ate my money, they dealt with me. I never had knowledge of all the hassles. I was troubled. I had to go look for a man to come and pose as my husband to instill fear or maybe gain respect from them. Even when the guy came, he wasn’t helpful.
NREH: So you are saying there is Gender issue in being able to acquire your Land and build.
Zara: Yes, Gender issue. Our people here – the laborers and others, are not trust worthy, I went through that challenge a lot but I give God the glory towards the end of the project, I was able to meet a guy who was an Architect and he became a friend that really assisted me through the project. that was how I scaled through.
NREH: So from this experience, what advice would you give to any young woman/man out there who wants to buy a land and build from scratch?
Zara: Getting the services of an architect or a professional is very important, if you are building your house afresh you have to do thorough market survey, then you have to get competitive bill of quantity from different engineers so as to be able to compare their prices and be sure they are experienced in that field to be sure of quality job, also be sure to be available at every critical level. I was not chanced because of my work and it was really challenging. but now if I want to build I know how to go about it.
NREH: Did an Architect design your house?
Zara: you know estate will give you their design then you give the design to an engineer to cost for you, give you the bill of quanitity to enable you know what it will cost you – an estimate to finish such house. so you now take it to stage by stage and be sure you are available at each stage. it will really go a long way to reduce the cost.
NREH: How did it feel to leave the ‘being a tenant thingy’ to ‘having your own house’? I guess it must be refreshing.
Zara: All through before getting my own house, I was living in a free house for 5 years and thank God I thought of how to use my money well, the housing allowance, instead of being an “Abuja big girl’, buying the latest jeep, the wisdom came through friends. so I thought I can own a house
NREH: You have a tenant or just you?
Zara: I have a tenant
NREH: so that’s another source of income.
Zara: yes, it is
NREH: You must definitely say ‘Real estate’ is a good investment
Zara: Real estate investment is good, it’s a life time investment. If I use my money to buy range rover, it would depreciate. Sacrifice is involved, you have to cut your cost if you want to get there. you have to spend wisely.
NREH: Moving away from your experience, what do you think the government should do in other to Salvage the rentage issue in the country? To checkmate the amount house owners charge.
Zara: There should be a measure in place. ‘for a particular size of house, this should be the range”. Right now there is no check. There should be a kind of mechanism in place. A mechanism that would determine the range a particular kind of house in a certain area should go for.
NREH: Thank you very much for granting us this interview.
Zara: My pleasure
NREH: where exactly is your house located in Abuja?
Zara: My house is located at Solid view Estate on your way to the airport not far from Games village. The next estate after sun city.
NREH: Thank you