Home » Real Estate Interviews » Exclusive Interview With Real Estate Giant Mr Akin Olawore (NIESV) pt. 2

Exclusive Interview With Real Estate Giant Mr Akin Olawore (NIESV) pt. 2

NREH:

Lagos state has been trying to register agents, and I learnt that you are a part of the decision making. What is their target, or the objective they are trying to meet?

MR. OLAWORE:

Well, I’m not part of the decision makers. My only involvement occurred as a result of me being the chairman of the institution In 2003, when the first idea of registering all agents, real estate developers and architects was muted then. In resolving the mini-crisis of confidence that occurred then, we agreed to have a multi-stake holder meeting to fashion out the best way that it can work. That led from one step to the other to the enactment of a law which, I believe was signed in 2007, and then the Real Estate Transaction Department (RETD) is a fall out of that law. So, the RETD is the one now implementing that law.

Now, our own objective as surveyors is to find a way to sanitize the industry. You cannot discipline people that do not belong to you, and you cannot force people to join you. To join us effectively, you will have to go through some structured training. So, the institution created another arm, which will just be for the agency, in which case you will now absorb those who are also in that business to be able to regulate them.

We haven’t had much success after discussing with other people, then when this happens, this will be a good opportunity to work with the government and get this thing sanitized. I believe that RETD will also be able to do that. I see that positive side of it. Of course, money will be made, because they need money to run, anyway, they will generate revenue to do that. And if you want to regulate, you need money to do that.

NREH:

What about the ordinary agents on the street that deals in small shops? Are they also involved?

Akin Olawore 3 Akin Olawore 4 Astute business man and motivator

MR. OLAWORE:

Yes they are. An agent is a third party that represents a person to the other. That is why the regulation will come in. Everybody will be expected to register. The criteria for the eligibility to register are what will weed out some people. I don’t know the criteria for eligibility yet, but the most important part of the registration is that there will be no anonymity. Everybody will be known because they would have had to register, you would have been ascribed a number.

It will be easier for the government to identify people, making it difficult for them to abscond in the case of a default or fraud. There should be guidelines and policies to take care of that. I believe they have started that. We are just waiting for their guidelines to be published so that people can comply. I expect that to happen this year.

With the law publicized, the public will also know when they should seek for redress and what is expected of people, and people’s obligation towards them and to the landlords, the levies that people should collect, the people you can report to in case of any problem etc., we need such regulations, and this is part of the maturity we are talking about. And with maturity, we are also talking about standardization; improvement in service; reasonable expectation, and the ability to predict things. You can predict how much your rent should increase; you can predict where to make investments reasonably.

You can predict the rental trends in a neighborhood you want to invest in, so it is easier to plan your life then. And maturity comes with policies, access to finance, improved supply and improved infrastructure. I was very glad when UPDC completed its REITS offer, because it is also an avenue to raise money from the capital market to help solve some of these problems.

Nigerite also just launched their dry-wall technology. I am not advertising these companies, but improvements like these make me happy. It (dry-wall) uses steel frames as the columns, so they don’t need much of concrete. Even if cement prices hits the roof, it doesn’t really matter.

NREH:

Thank you sir. Please, I would like to know how you have been able to hold your own after all these years because as much as the market is maturing, it is still a very competitive market.

MR. OLAWORE:

Well, you are right; it is a very competitive market. I think people also appreciate value, especially when they are getting more value for the price they are used to paying. They appreciate value, and that will help you to increase your own turn-over. It helps your business. You see, business grows when you have a lot of your customers making return-orders, not returning jobs, but making repeat-orders. And you know, when one party makes repeat-orders, he tells other people.

So, the idea is to first satisfy the clients, make an impact in the market, and let people know what you can do. Set your mind on adding value. When your mind is set on adding value, people will be happy with you. Add value to what they are doing; it is that value they are paying for. When they can’t see value, then they won’t want to pay. If they are forced to pay, then they won’t come back.

With the dry-wall technology, a whole building can be completed and then imported to you. So, if you are doing mass-housing, all of the buildings can be completed, and then they will be set-up on the site.

NREH:

When you built you first house, what was the experience like? How did you feel?

MR. OLAWORE:

The thing that was interesting for me was that during that time, when I see a construction going on somewhere, I can do that, I would quickly go and add one or two things to it. But that was in the year 2000. I actually started to build the house 4 years before then, but there was litigation on the house which now lasted for another 4 years before I could continue.

The first ecstasy was in the early 4 years. I had to do it but I didn’t have enough money, but we bought a block making machine and started making the blocks. We made so many blocks that there wasn’t enough room for it. So we started with the fence. After building the fence, we still had more blocks, so we decided to start the main house. So, the block making was like an impetus for us. When we started to put the blocks together, we began to see form. When we began to see form, we had to finish.

NREH:

How many bedrooms?

MR. OLAWORE:

I think that is 2 or 3 bedrooms, but you can do anything.

NREH:

Including staircase?

MR. OLAWORE:

The thing can go four floors. It can even go more. The twenty-plus storey building that a Chinese company is doing somewhere, they are making use of this model. It is steel, and it is strong.

Numerous accolades, awards, and appreciation

Numerous accolades, awards, and appreciation

NREH:

What legacy would you like to leave for posterity? What are your plans?

MR. OLAWORE:

I really don’t know. For me, I don’t think of whether you remember or whether you do not remember. I like to affect people’s lives. If towards the end, God now says that he wants ne to set up a particular thing for a purpose, then that will happen; but for now, nothing really. I just take it day by day.

I know that what we do at the School of Estate, which was a 1990 idea, but the actual implementation started in 1992. I hear a lot of testimonies. I come across a lot of people that I can’t even remember, and they tell me how that has impacted upon them. So, for me, it is good to see how better we can do it, what more we can add, which other set of people we can reach and help through that and it is working.

NREH:

I’m sure that you’ve been in the industry for long, and you have gathered a lot of experience, coming along. I would like to know what mistakes you have made, and what mistakes that people who are coming into the industry, as well as entrepreneurs are likely to make in this industry.

MR. OLAWORE:

One of the mistakes that everybody usually has is that you tend to have too much faith in people. You tend to trust them like you trust yourself until they disappoint you. By the time they are disappointing you, it may be too late. In school, you are taught a lesson before you are given a test. In real life, however, you get a test to teach you a lesson. So, it is all part of the process of living, of maturing, of getting wise. That has been the mistake, putting your trust in people.

NREH:

So, how do you now not trust too much?

MR. OLAWORE:

You do that by putting your trust in God. You know, because we are afraid we trust those we can see more than Him that we cannot see, until they disappoint us, and then we now run back to Him. But if we are not afraid, you know faith is hope in what we cannot see, we will not think that it is Mr. A that can help us get to where we want. God may send Mr. A to get you to where you want, but he will do that on his own terms, not ours, which may change the equation.

You can trust people, but you shouldn’t put your trust in them. Those are two different things. Trusting them and putting your trust in them. If you can’t trust people, then you yourself are not trustworthy. So, you must trust people, but you don’t put your trust in them. You don’t expect that they must get you where you want. Don’t even expect anything from them. Let everything be a surprise to you.

Receive surprises, and let them be pleasant, because you were not expecting it. But for you, do unto others what you will have them do unto you. When you don’t put your trust in people, it frees your mind, and it saves you from hurt, because human beings are bound to disappoint. Always put yourself in other people’s shoes before you judge them. It is possible that you would have acted the same way they did in that particular situation.

For me, I hardly get upset with people. Well, I get upset, but I would probably get annoyed and keep it inside because I can understand them. That is why it is easier for me to mentor young people now. I have gone through so much of anger, emotional upheavals, and the idea that people should do things for you, you take them for granted, and you cannot understand why they can’t do things for you.

So, I have grown through all those changes, and I have come to understand that you cannot be expecting people to do things for you all the time. So, it is easier for me to understand people, and when you understand them, you will open up in understanding and they will open up to you as well.

NREH:

Thank you very much sir for your time. I am sure that if I am asked to talk about relationship and Real Estate, I can produce a whole lecture on it.

MR. OLAWORE:

You are welcome.

I always tell people two things. The first is that there is no accident in life. That they are not where they are by mistake; and that everything happens for a reason. So, they need to achieve that reason or purpose. The second is that, what will make you happy is that you achieve a particular goal that you set for yourself, and is in line with God’s will for you. In doing that, don’t let anybody hold you back. Don’t allow any situation or excuses hold you down as well.

Make no room for excuses. When faced with a challenge, you look at it say, “what do I do to get out of this?” when you are faced with a brick wall, you don’t go ahead and hit your head on it. You have to find a way around it. You step back and take a look and decide where you have to make a turn. When you do that, you get around it.

When you don’t look at money, money will run after you. On the other hand, when you look at money and run after it, you’ll just be chasing after it and you won’t get it. It is the dust you’ll get. That is why people cut corners to get money. You shouldn’t do that; you should look at the goal. You’ll be amazed; you’ll say “Father Lord, how did I get here?” that will happen if you don’t go after what you will get from that goal but when you go after the goal itself, because you know that with the goal comes the prize. Value is what people all over the world will pay for.

Where you are working the same thing applies, you have to generate enough value before a rise in your pay can be justified. For you to deserve a particular salary, you have to be able to generate value that is worth ten times as much as that salary amount for your company. Your employers pay you for the amount of value you generate for the company.

I hope it has been worth it?

NREH:

Yes! Of course sir.

Mr Akin Olawore and Ifeoma

Mr Akin Olawore and Ifeoma

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