The Managing Director and Co-founder of Frontier Homes, Nigeria, Dr. Oseni Olalekan in this interview with Omolola Dede Adeyanju, reveals how the Real Estate industry has been able to increase the country’s GDP
Sir, you’re a graduate of Petrochemical Science. This, obviously doesn’t correspond to real estate management. So what inspired you into the real estate industry?
I joined the real estate industry in the year 2016, after my NYSC and I realized the business was one with a very good future. I noted that whatever an individual wants to achieve in life, such person must have faith and passion for it. I realized I developed passion for real estate. Therefore, I don’t see it as a difficult career even when challenges arise.
There’s actually no correlation between Petrochemical Science and Real Estate. The fact that I am flexible to learning made me learn and developed myself.
What exactly was the bone of interest for your drive into Real Estate?
I got a lot of offers, but real estate was the most appealing one to me, I had intense thought towards it and saw that Real Estate will be more beneficial to me.
Today, everyone wants a job to solve their personal problems but the core motive should be the problems you solve for the people. The bigger the problem you solve for the people, the greater your income and vice versa. I wanted a big business with big volume, so that I could earn something huge.
How capacitated is Frontier Homes? How large is its coast in the industry?
Frontier Homes will be three years old by December. Already, we have nothing less than seventeen (17) locations. We have sold out nothing less than six (6) estates, we have over two hundred to two hundred and fifty clients, we have registered executives and lots of investors. We have been able to deliver and we are still delivering.
What is your push to expanding this firm?
Presently, we have three branches in Lagos State. We partner with realtors and we are open to work or partner with the government.
Every business has its own slice of challenge. What is the major challenge you have encountered in this industry so far?
The first challenge I can sight has to do with the way Real Estate is practised in this country. Let me use the word ‘traditional.’ There are a lot of things we have seen as norms which are really affecting the industry, like ‘omo onile.’
Secondly, the policies of the government are mostly not favourable. They do not consider the masses and do not care if the policies favour us or not.
The third challenge is the people. The fall and rise of every business is predicated on the people. Managing people has been very challenging but we thank God for the wisdom He has bestowed on us, hence, we manage people with the wisdom given to us by God.
You highlighted government policy as one of the major challenges. Since the birth of this firm, has there been any government policy that has directly or indirectly affected the firm and what was it?
Though, this policy has been before the inception of Frontier Homes, there are some documents that if we want to get, we have to go through rigorous processes. Let me cite an example which also affects Frontier Homes. When the government increased the prices of documentation, it was increased outrageously and the industry has had to endure it.
How has real estate industry been able to boost the country’s economy?
Let me cite the CARE reports of the National Association of Realtors, Washington as a case study with its records of increasing contributions to the economy and community services, its donations of thousands of dollars to communities.
I would like to know if Real Estate associations in Nigeria do likewise.
It’s not all about import and export. We also need foreign investors to boost the economy. Our citizens in diaspora also invest in Real Estate in Nigeria and this is a means of exchanging values and its an addition to the growth of our economy.
In terms of community service, there are lots of community services real estate firms have rendered such as helping land owners sell their lands fast, giving gifts and donations as well as embarking on communal projects such as providing boreholes, and many others.
The industry has also played a huge role in job creation, value creation and increased the nation’s GDP.
Has the government contributed positively to the industry? Will you commend them or do otherwise?
The government is trying but they can do better. That’s all I can say concerning the government.
Do you think we can ever be short of lands in Nigeria in the nearest future?
Some countries already have started practicing a joint ownership of lands. Different people own flats, storey buildings on the same lands, so the flats are individually owned but the lands are collectively owned.
As far as I understand, we still have a lot of land in this country. The major problem we are facing is the issue of transportation. If the government can provide better and faster means of transportation, one can work in Lagos for instance and live in Ibadan, Abeokuta or anywhere.
What is your advice to low income earners who desire to purchase plot of land but are incapacitated?
My advice is that you buy a land you can afford wherever you are given. No place is too far so long as it is within thirty minutes drive from the bus stop. Don’t wait till you get the money to purchase a land in a civilized community.