Story by Moses Adeniyi
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Realty Point Limited, Debo Adejana, has urged general public to inculcate the culture of engaging seasoned professionals when constructing a new building or transacting business in the real estate sector, rather than patronizing quacks.
Speaking exclusively in an extensive discussion with our correspondent, on the efforts stakeholders are deploying to correct the pervasive negative perception of majority on the conduct and mode of services of Estate Agents in Nigeria, Adejana urged the public to make concrete effort to ensure that they engage professional Agents that operate within the confines of the ethics of the profession.
Commenting on the quality of service of Estate Agents, he mentioned that Estate Agents frankly owe their principal a solemn duty of care, diligence and providing professional guidance, while ensuring that clients get the value for their money.
In his remark he said, “The onus is on the public that when they are dealing, they try to ensure that they are dealing with people that uphold the professional ethics, that are guarded, and that operate their business professionally, not just quacks as they are called; People that don’t have any training, don’t subscribe to any ethics, and don’t belong to any recognized body. They need to find out and be sure who they are doing business with”.
According to him, in ensuring the provision of qualitative service, it is expected of Agents to carry out market survey, and market feasibility study, among other required engagements in order to stand in the position to give professional guidance to their clients.
In his position, he said, “Your Agents owe you a duty of care. He must ensure due diligence is done. You got to get the value of money when you engage an Agent… Your Agent helps you to save money, save time; your Agents helps you to ensure that you are not buying something bogus in the sense that you are buying something authentic. He helps you to go through that; (he/she) does market survey, market feasibility, do due diligence within his limits of his profession and knowledge. He ensures that you are buying right.”
Recall that Nigerian NewsDirect reported the growing negative perception nurtured by majority of the Nigerian public on the nature of the services of Estate Agents, with many lamenting unprofessional conducts and excesses on the part of agents particularly regarding exorbitant charges, insincerity, fraudulent practices among other claims.
However in his on view, Adejana confirming the reality of the absurd perceptions and accusations, attributed the source of the unwelcoming posture to lacunas in the regulation of the real estate sector in Nigeria, adding further that the trials and attempts of some states and professional bodies such as the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) have not really yielded positive results.
He said “I think it’s true that Estate Agents are accused of a lot of all of these things that you said and to some extent are true. But they are true to the extent that agency is not regulated in this country, and so every Tom, Dick and Harry calls himself an Agent.
“You know when somebody is involved or hears about a transaction, or is the son of a landlord or even the landlord himself, he just think he can do agency and he thinks he has the right to, and (this is) because there is no firm regulation regarding the profession in the country.
“In spite of trials and attempt by some states, Lagos for example, and some professional bodies like Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), and even some association of Estate Agents that tried to do one or two things in their own case also, as appropriate, it has not really succeeded that much.
“And so that is why you have this proliferation of agencies and anybody can just raise up his hand, or print a card, or go to town and say I’m now an Agent once they are looking for extra money or they lose their job and all of that.
“So because of that there is no regulation, no ethics, some of them don’t even know jack about property beyond the fact that you know that once you’ve being able to get somebody to buy you get commission. What is it they are selling they don’t know, what duties they owe their principal, they don’t know.”
Commenting on the outcry against exorbitant charges by Agents, He remarked that it is unprofessional for Agents to extort their clients by charging exorbitantly, adding that relationship plays a vital role in service delivery.”