Asides financial advantages, if you have been lucky enough to have kind-hearted Landlords and have never had to owe your Landlord then you probably will not understand the relief that comes with finally having to become your own landlord.
Nigeria Real Estate hub gets Mr. Sunny Elem, a business man and a family man to share his quite inspiring journey to being a Landlord with us.
NREH: Where did the motivation come from?
It started from year 2001. I had the determination to own my own house because I suffered terrible experiences in the hands of landlords. Once my things were thrown out by a Landlord so it was horrible and I said I must own my own house. That was where the motivation came. When I called one of my friends to tell him my Landlord just threw my things outside, the guy said ‘wow, congratulations‘ I was mad at him, I asked if he heard what I said, then he said, ‘yes I heard you well, God is telling you to start building your own house don’t be comfortable in another man’s house. Within that period I started planning it. I put it in my heart because I believe that what you put in your heart, believe strongly and continue to work towards it, you will achieve. Then I made up my mind that the next house I was going to move in, I will not move from there to another house owned by somebody else, I am going to move from there to my own house.
The wonderful thing about it was that when I was making that resolution, I didn’t have up to twenty thousand Naira in my account. But I believed in my heart and all things started working out for my good.
So one day I was reading a paper, and I saw an advert for a seminar, and the seminar was on ‘how to own your own house. Due to the fact that I have put that in my heart, I called the number and asked a few questions. I told my wife that I was going to attend the seminar then I paid a fee of about twelve thousand Naira or thereabout and the man that anchored the seminar was Debo Adejana at excellence hotel Ogba. I got some information and encouragement from him, coupled with the fact that I had made up my mind to own my own house.
NREH: In acquiring the land, how easy was it?
Along the line, after 2years in the 2bedroom flat I got, I started experiencing landlord issues again and that also motivated me the more. I said I was not going to leave there to another rented house but to my own house. That was when I started looking for a land.
When the agents called me to come and inspect a land, I didn’t have up to #50,000 cash and my wife was really amused. I continued inspecting and had in mind what type of land I wanted. This continued for a while, I also made up my mind that I wasn’t going to leave outside the metropolis.
Eventually I got a land at Ajao estate and that’s where I reside now.
NREH: How long did it take to complete your house from the time of land acquisition?
It took about 2years. When we got the land, the Baale really liked me and encouraged me to put a fence round the land to secure it. Then I succeeded in putting a fence after 6months of buying the land and I locked it up.
But eventually my landlord increased our rent the following year by over 100% and my wife said, ‘look, we are not going to pay this man this money, we have a land at ajao estate here, why can’t you do something, even if its plank, do something and lets move to our own house’
So with that money we could have paid the landlord with, we constructed a 2bedroom BQ and moved in there. Then from the BQ we started building our main house and we are done.
NREH: What was your experience with the omo-oniles?
It depends on your relationship with any human. In my hometown, there is an adage that says even a mad man has a friend”. So on the case of the omo-oniles, I related so well with them. They won’t even go to my site without calling me on phone. Even when the main house decking was being constructed, I was outside the country and the omo-oniles called me and I told them I will see them once I get back. They never disturbed me, we related very well.
NREH: How about Artisans and Engineers, how reliable and trustworthy were they?
I changed engineers twice. Before I take a quotation, I must have gone round myself to find out the prices of things. Also one thing certain people don’t know is that you can find the local prices of these things on the internet. What I did was separating materials from the engineering work.
NREH: Do you have tenants?
NREH: Considering the ordeal you went through when you were a tenant, how do you treat your tenants?
My tenant told the agent that got the place that she is living in her own house because she doesn’t have issue with us. She enters my house, plays with my little kid, she buys things for her…we are one family. I try to make them comfortable unlike what my previous landlord did to me.
NREH: Would you say it was your experience that shaped you to being the type of Landlord you are now or has this always been who you are?
That’s just who I am. I had home training – ‘never use what you have to suppress others because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring”. There is this adage my mother usually tell us then, she say ‘you have two legs but you don’t know the one you have sores on so you have to be careful’
Your situation can change, your circumstance can change, either for better or for worse.
NREH: So would you say the harsh attitude melted down on tenants by Landlords have a lot to do with their upbringing and orientation?
I won’t say that but most times it does. In politics they say ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’. When people get to a particular position, they tend to forget the past and want to use whatever power they have to suppress others and that’s human nature. People forget the past easily but the past is there for us to shape our present and also the future. For certain people, even the person that is coming from a very humble family suddenly see a situation he has gone through before, instead having empathy, the reverse will be the case. I have been in a situation where I sleep in a Danfo bus, when the driver park to close the work for the day, I will sneak in and sleep, and then sneak out before the driver arrives.
NREH: How did you feel moving from being a tenant to a landlord?
It feels so good. You don’t wake up and you are bothering about rent. Because there is one thing about rent, you pay 1/2years now and before you breathe out, the year is gone and the landlord is waiting for his money. It’s a huge relief. You are not thinking about that anymore, you are thinking about luxury, now you have the basic necessity of life which is Clothing, food and shelter.
NREH: What advise will you give to those that should own a house and those that are working towards getting a house of their own?
There is a cycle of achievements, people usually put money first but it’s a wrong idea. The first is goal and by goal I mean you being determined, putting your heart to it. Forget about your bank account and how much you are earning. The universe has a way of bringing to you what you have been thinking about passionately. It’s not a mystery, it’s just like every other natural law in the universe like the law of gravity. You not believing in the law of gravity doesn’t matter, same goes to the law of attraction. Once you put your mind to it and believe in your heart that you are going to have your own house, the universe will attract the resources, the people and everything you need to have your own house.
My first house series is a motivational section of Nigeria Real Estate Hub aimed at encouraging and giving you the necessary support and plans in order to take the necessary steps at the right time to become your own Landlord. And the right time is always now.
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