Mr. Jide Odelola, the Deputy Chairman of Association of Property Investment and Commissioned Agents in Nigeria (APICAN), who has journeyed through being an educationist into being a realtor in this brief chat with Nigeria real estate hub correspondent states clearly that the major problem facing estate agents in Nigeria is non-unity.
According to Jide, “APICAN is an association of real estate agents – We invest in properties and stand as agents as well on commission basis.”
Read more below:
NREH: Is APICAN associated with AEAN (Association of Estate Agents in Nigeria)?
We have a lot of association in real estate which is the problem we are having. We have state, national, local government, street association, every type of association and it is a problem to the industry. Had it been we had only one association then we have one voice, everything we do would have been uniform without anybody trying to contradict themselves.
NREH: How do people join APICAN?
When we say estate agent, agent is a general phenomenon. Anybody can be an agent or representative of anybody. So the problem people have is that so far the property owner says do this for me and was able to do it successfully then he becomes his agent automatically. We have a lot of people coming into real estate. If you are our member we make sure that you are registered with the branch of our association in your locality. You register with the branch because they know you better; we don’t know you from the top here. And at least you must have experience. Being a member cannot be on an educational level because there might be some conflicts. But what we do is that we do seminars and training for our people. We create seminars and break down how real estate is being run in Nigeria and the necessary things to put in place.
NREH: does APICAN have an official website?
There was one previously but we are trying to create another one.
NREH: You mentioned experience as one of the criteria to join APICAN, can you please expatiate on that?
You have to be under somebody who is experienced in the job. It’s like learning a trade. It doesn’t necessary have to be you working under the experienced one; it could rather be working side by side. Someone who trains under an experienced person is way different from someone who is just trying to spy. When you spy on a venture, you will eventually pay for the training.
NREH: Amidst there being many other associations of agents, what steps is APICAN taking to sanitize the profession?
Like I said earlier, the major problem is non unity amongst the estate agents. But in APICAN, we give lectures and seminars to our people. Our motto is Honesty and Goodwill and we pitch on that. We have a common form we give to our members which they hand to clients when they come in for business. In that form there is a phone number on it which clients can call to confirm the validity of such agent. When an agent dupes you and we found out this person is our member, we do our possible best to get your money back. We don’t need to know you personally before stepping into such case.
NREH: The form you just mentioned, are you referring to the same form people are made to pay for before agents starts searching for the clients need? Is it right?
Yes, that’s consultation form
NREH: how much is that supposed to go for?
The fee depends on the agent.
NREH: Don’t you think there should be a fixed price?
The amount that can be paid for a form in Abule egba is not the same amount that can be paid in Victoria Island. If I say it’s 5000 for a form, someone looking for a room will see the amount as outrageous
NREH: how about having specified prices for different areas and also depending on what kind of building the client is looking at?
Generally, its #2000.
NREH: So it is right for a client to pay an agent for a form?
Yes it is right. So we can know your data and know who we are dealing with.
NREH: Advice to clients out there
Look for the agent’s business registration name, ask him what association he belongs to, ask him the name of his chairman in that area. And then further ask for the chairman’s number. You could go in disguise and confirm from the local chairman if the agent is truly a member. Check for the agent’s Certificate and ID card. And be sure to confirm the agents detail from the chairman before making payments.
Read Also: Commission sharing among estate agents