Here we share true life stories of first time landlords to inspire others that it is possible and you can start now. Enjoy it but most importantly take action after reading this.
Anybody that lives in Lagos and experiences the accommodation challenges vis-à-vis rent increase and landlords’ palaver will ultimately develop the urge to have his or her own house.
In my own case, even though I was living in my mother’s house at Okota up until the time I got married, I always eyed personal house ownership as one achievement that would give me a sense of fulfillment as a man.
Consequently, as soon as I got a better job as a sales/service engineer in a German company, I reminded myself that I must not allow the fantasy of having a free accommodation becloud my vision of personal house ownership and in order to remain focused, I decided to come out of my comfort zone, by quitting my mother’s house to rent an accommodation somewhere else.
Like a fish out of water, I was exposed to the heat and discomfort of a rented apartment in a jiffy as my landlady kept increasing the house rent at her whim.
However, I was unperturbed because, I knew I needed to be challenged and the more the challenges came, the stronger my passion for a personal house became.
The opportunity came in 1999 when a certain friend of mine told me that there was an available plot somewhere at Ikorodu that was free from the dreaded Omo-Onile wahala.
I went with him to the site and after the inspection I bought the plot at the cost of forty thousand Naira (N40,000). However, after concluding the documentation and securing the land, instead of going ahead to start developing, I relaxed.
At that juncture, in 2002, I committed one blunder that lays credence to the popular Yoruba adage which says that “the first money a child makes is usually spent on akara (beans cake)”.
Or how else could I explain a situation where I abandoned a plot of land I bought at a paltry N40,000 to buy a car at an exorbitant rate of N300,000, instead of using the money to start developing the plot?
So the truth of that adage still caught up with me somehow.
It was not until the value of the car started depreciating that I realized that I could have been better off investing the money in a more solid asset.
So in the year 2002, I started developing the plot only to abandon it later until 2004.
I would say that one distraction I had then was the boom in the stock market. Going by the kind of dividends the stock market was churning out, I felt that investing there was by far, more worthwhile than embarking on a building project – and join the landlords.
Led by this conviction, I threw in virtually everything, believing that when my dividends came tumbling in I would simply buy a house.
But alas, the stock market crisis came suddenly, like a holocaust and I got my fingers burnt!
Thereafter, I decided it was high time I invested in this one solid asset – property, so I moved to site once again.
Fortunately, I have a good job that involves traveling both within and outside the country and from such trips, I make extra money which helped me to expedite work on the project because given Nigerian situation today, one can hardly achieve much through savings from salary.
Another point I would like to make is that it is good to have a good spouse and to that angle I want to say that my wife was quite supportive; financially, spiritually and otherwise.
She was even the main motivator, such that each time I strayed she always drew my attention back to the project. However, the whole credit goes to God who provided the sources of income for me and my wife because without God, one can do absolutely nothing.
So we kept working at the project through the years despite the challenges because challenges will always come and sometimes they could be so serious that you may end up abandoning the project on your hands.
Another challenge we had was the disappointment of workers on site. The idea of not being able to deliver on target time was indeed a problem.
As if that was not enough, the Omo-Oniles whom my friend said were out of the way still came and we had to part with some money to appease them.
By the time the building got to the roofing stage, the roofing sheet I wanted to use was not available because there was crisis at the wharf.
By the time we wanted to complete the roofing the Omo-Oniles resurfaced and we had to give them more money.
However, despite all the challenges, we kept on working on the project until we completed it and moved in this year.
As I am talking to you now, a plot of land that sold for forty thousand Naira and there about as at the time I bought mine in 1999 now goes for between N700,000 and N800,000.
So on that note, I would like to advise anybody who wishes to have his or her own house should not look at a place as undeveloped because development spreads like a wild fire in Lagos.
So as soon as they start work, they should start saving for their own house and when the opportunity comes, they should not be unnecessarily finicky.”