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'Quackery in Real Estate Agency can be tackled by being professional' - Aboderin
Mr. Lekan Aboderin

‘Quackery in Real Estate Agency can be tackled by being professional’ – Aboderin

In this interview with Nigeria Real Estate Hub(NREH) correspondent, Elsie Godwin, Mr. Aboderin opines that to reduce quacks in the practice of Real Estate Agency, the professionals must begin to act professionally. He also gave pointers to recognizing a professional Estate Agent from the quacks and highlights the potentials in being a registered member of NIESV.

Mr. olalekan Aboderin is a professional Estate surveyor as a member of the institution of Estate surveyor and valuers and is licensed to practice estate surveying and valuation in Nigeria. He is equally a chartered arbitrator and a senior member of the Chartered institute of loan risk management of Nigeria. Mr. Aboderin is also a member of the board of Real Academy Limited – a centre for real estate professional development, a farmer and has his professional firm in the name of Olalekan Aboderin Consulting.  

NREH: There are ongoing talks as regards quacks in real estate agency, what is your opinion on this and what do you think can be done to curb it? Also recently, an NIESV official pointed out that there is a renewed plan to bring in people into the association from SSCE, how do you see that initiative?

The menace of quackery is a very serious issue in Nigeria. Real estate happen to be items/goods that is required by everybody. Giving that, the public, acting blindly will not really know who a quack and a professional is particularly because most professionals do not ensure professionalism in what we do. Real estate business is buoyant because the market is large, so you have all commerce into it. One strategy that can be adopted towards reducing the quacks is to act professionally. I always say that as a professional, if a client comes to me and enjoys my service and sees the difference between the way my service has been delivered and that of a quack, definitely, he or she won’t go back to the quacks on the streets. So strategically, we can use professionalism – being professional in what we do to ensure that we can fence out quackery in Real Estate Agency. Now having said that, NIESV already has the window through which anybody who is interested in estate surveyor and valuers profession pass through professional progressions to become an Estate surveyor and valuer.

READ ALSO – NIESV Professional Examination Reloaded

NREH: You said something about recognising the professionals from the quack, how do we know them?

As a professional body, we have ethics, we have code of conducts. For instance, in setting up a professional firm, you have ethic that guides what type of name an estate firm should use. You have ethic about what your description of your service should be. The surname of one of the partners must be there (minimum) asides that you will have estate surveyor or estate surveyor and valuers firm as part of the name and you will have NIESV logo. A non-member can never put NIESV logo on a corporate collateral. For the corporate collateral of an estate firm, NIESV logo will be there. Beyond that, if for whatever reason you want to patronize an estate agency company, it is not wrong to request to know if the firm is professional or not. It’s just a question of acting prudently. You must be sure that if something goes out of hand, you have a professional body to fall back to. Many practitioners in Estate surveyor and valuers are custodians of people’s wealth. We are talking of business that generates millions and billions, so it’s not too wrong for such client to request to know whether the firm is a professional firm or not.

READ ALSO – Estate Surveyor attributes quacks to the rate of unemployment in Nigeria

NREH : A statement was attributed to a Real Estate Agents association recently, stating that there are only 500 registered agents in Lagos, is this true?

Only 500? In the first instance, we need to identify who he refers to as agents. I think that is very important. Is he saying registered real estate agents? You can see that is a fallacy. For instance, talking about agents, the moment a client appoints you under fiduciary relationship, you become the agent of that client. As an estate surveyor and valuer, I can be a managing agent for a client, I can be a selling agent. In Lagos alone, I know that the number of registered estate surveyors and valuers is in thousands, so who is he referring to? Or probably he is referring to their own members, maybe he is rather talking about the scope of their membership. And those are the quacks that we are talking about.

NREH: What’s the benefit if being a member of NIESV?

Point of correction, NIESV is an institution, not an association. For the members, the first thing is nobody can practice Estate surveyor and valuers in Nigeria without being a member of NIESV. So for a practitioner to be open to the business of being a real estate surveyor and valuer then you have to be registered. Also, looking at the business of estate surveying and valuation, you will realise that it is so broad and full of potentials even yet untapped. Will it not be better for someone to become a member and then have the privilege to tap into those untapped potentials?

NREH: What potentials are we talking about?

In Nigeria for instance, on daily basis we do property valuation. In this property valuation, common aspect is to value for mortgage, to value for insurance, for sales and purposes. I also ask the questions, this PP that we do, how many surveyors are involved? It is a job for estate surveyors and valuers to access the terms and conditions under public and private partnership.

Investment in infrastructural assets, how many Estate surveyors and valuers are involved? That is a job for estate surveyors and valuers. All these mass housing that you see, if there is any real estate investment without proper appraisal, analysis of risk, it is a blind investment. The person might be lucky to make profit but that is sheer luck that is not a rational decision. For it to be a rational investment decision, it must be based on critical analysis of the investment reality. And that is the job of estate surveyors and valuer. Now today, everybody is canvassing for alternative dispute resolution, arbitration, who is better to stand as an arbitrator in cases related to land, tenancy and the likes? An estate surveyor. Property development is there, project management is there…and project management is different from the actual construction in the real sense of it. So many project fail. The owner might not even know that it failed because there is no standard to compare the deliverable. When there is proper project management, you are sure and ensure every money spent will generate value. So all these are areas of potential for estate surveyors and valuers going beyond hanging ‘To let” board or even property management.

NREH: Talking about potentials, let’s talk about assets declaration. NIESV members have raised their voices against not being involved in the code of conduct Bureau activities, do you think this outcry is valid?

Very very valid. It is valid because real estate is different from all other personal goods. A car is a homogeneous goods, likewise TVs and the others but real estate assets are not identical. Even prototype built side by side are not identical and that is the problem of heterogeneity. The only person that can interpret and relate it to the market is estate surveyors and valuers. How do you place value on the assets they declared, who verified the value? This should be the job of estate surveyors and valuers and that is only when we are serious about it. Anybody can declare anything, whether forcefully or otherwise but where there have been a critical analysis of the value then you can be rest assured that it has been professionally handled. So even if they have placed any value on those submissions, it beholds government to now call NIESV for verification of those claims. It is very important otherwise we are deceiving ourselves.

NREH: on Housing deficit and affordability?

The problem of housing deficit in Nigeria is really pronounced in term of the quantity. The housing deficit in Nigeria is measured form two perspectives. We have the quantitative and qualitative. In the rural settings they have qualitative housing problem. The quality of housing there are so poor. In urban area be have quantitative housing problem in term of quantities.

We cannot completely eliminate the deficit but for us to reduce it there are so many measures that can be taken. For example, if you go to Malaysia or Dubai today, you don’t have a situation of where you talk about land affordability any more, they talk about housing affordability. Land affordability is a situation where you have access to land, ease of access and all.

READ ALSO – Debo Adejana urges Fashola to get Pension Funds into Housing Scheme

The land that have been used for bungalows can be converted to multiple floors, multiple units such that you have strata title. Apart from that, you have areas that are today slum, scattered area development. For example, at onigbongbo in Maryland, that place is crying for development. Government should consolidate all the fragmented land, have resettlement scheme and redevelop those places as high rise – Multiple floors. We need more high-rise buildings and that can reduce the effect of housing deficit in our urban centres. Without high-rise there is no way we can ensure environment sustainability in our housing delivery process.

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