• Thursday, February 22, 2024
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Fresh insights emerge on how investors can avoid property market scam

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The boom which the real estate sector in Nigeria has seen over the years means interest and confidence in the sector is high. This interest which drives demand for real estate assets is part of the reasons for the sector’s growth in the last six quarters.

But growing along with this interest and demand is a negative trend called property scam which is eating deep into the sector with many unsuspecting buyers falling prey to fraudulent agents and developers who sell fake or non-existent properties.

The unfortunate consequence of this development is that it has diminished and, in some cases, eroded trust and confidence in the market, thus deterring many potential investors.

Worried by this development in an otherwise burgeoning market that solves social and economic problems, including providing shelter for individuals and families, storing value and creating wealth as well as jobs, some operators have decided to take action to save the market and people’s investments.

One of such operators is Awele Emmanuel Onwuegbuzie, CEO, Bestate Investment, a Lagos-based real estate brokerage firm who has, over the years, helped many property investors to avoid scams with his testament on due diligence on the part of buyers.

A Geology graduate from the University of Lagos, Onwuegbuzie has garnered over five years of experience working in the real estate industry with stints at Gtext Homes and Dradrock Limited where, he discovered a disconcerting trend in which investors fall victim to fraudulent schemes.

Recognizing the need for a more transparent and trustworthy approach to real estate investment, he established Bestate, a firm dedicated to safeguarding investors’ interests and preventing fraud.

With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to integrity, Onwuegbuzie has positioned Bestate Investment as a leader in the industry, providing expert advice and guidance to clients seeking reliable and profitable real estate investment opportunities.

“At Bestate Investment, we are working to change this narrative. We opened for business in 2021 with a mission to protect clients from fraudulent property deals and make informed business investment; Bestate has assembled a strong team of real estate professionals with wealth of experience in the industry,” he told BusinessDay.

He said that the company’s focus on due diligence and client protection has also attracted a diverse range of clients, including individuals, families, and businesses looking to invest in real estate. It has been able to bring on board big players in the market including Victoria Crest Homes, Landwey, Landmark Corporate Realty, Palton Morgan Holdings, Veritasi Homes, and Prestigious Homes Limited.

Onwuegbuzie disclosed that collaborating with these firms has ensured that clients were provided with a wide range of verified properties to choose from, with Bestate currently boasting over 50 satisfied customers within and outside Nigeria.

“Our company’s motto is ‘Properties You Can Trust’, we are committed to gaining the trust of our clients, distinguishing ourselves from the multitude of real estate agencies that prioritize sales over ensuring that their customers make sound investment decisions,” he said.

The assurance clients get, according to the realtor, is that Bestate does all the hard work of verifying properties and conducting investigations to make sure they are safe to buy, adding that the company works with external consultants, including lawyers and surveyors, to ensure an unbiased and trustworthy verification process.

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To streamline the purchasing process for clients with limited availability to conduct due diligence, Bestate performs thorough documentation to authenticate properties. It then delivers reports to prospective buyers, ensuring that they have access to all relevant information for making an informed decision, even if they are not physically present.

“Remarkably, 75 percent of our clients are living outside Nigeria, and many have successfully completed property purchase without ever meeting the Bestate team or physically viewing the properties. This is a testament to the level of trust that customers place on the company and the value of its services.

“From experience, we have realized that acquiring the ideal property does not require a buyer’s physical presence,” Onwuegbuzie said, adding, “we strive to simplify the investment process for individuals, regardless of their location, whether they are situated within or outside of Nigeria.”

“Our company provides clients with a range of affordable housing choices and customizable payment plans tailored to their unique requirements and budget. Additionally, for those who prefer to finance their property purchases through a mortgage, Bestate has established partnerships with reputable lending institutions,” he said.

The realtor is optimistic about the future of the Nigerian real estate sector, citing a significant housing deficit, capital safety and high return on investment (ROI) due to continuous demand. He believe that real estate is the most promising sector for investors as it guarantees capital safety due to property being an immovable asset.

“As long as due diligence is carried out, real estate investment is considered one of the safest investment options available and there is a growing number of individuals in need of housing, which, in turn, demands investment. This means there is a tremendous opportunity for real estate investors to generate substantial income, and our company is dedicated to assisting them in mitigating risks by ensuring that they make informed investment decisions based on the right property and location to buy,” he said.