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Real estate for me is about putting smile on people’s faces—Umana

Real estate means many things to many people beyond providing shelter for people to lay their heads in. To many, it means a store of wealth, especially in inflationary periods such as Nigeria is in at the moment.

To Edith Umana, real estate simply means putting smile on young, middle-aged and old people’s faces. It is about bringing satisfaction to such people through various ways including successful investment or being a proud owner of a decent and affordable home.

Umana, a young Akwa Ibom State-born realtor, is Head, Client Services/Sales at Arkland Group—a full service real estate company operating in major cities with core-competencies in property.

With a diploma in Business Administration and BSc in Accounting, she had a burning desire to work in a bank or be an investment adviser. But that ended at the level of dreams after several applications and aptitude tests yielded no positive result.

“At a point I gave up and just relaxed. But my sister asked if I was sure I wanted to continue in this wild goose chase or join her in real estate business. I was confused because I didn’t know how to sell and also I had this notion that female marketers are seen in a certain way. Reluctantly, I agreed,” Umana said.

But her fears were not quick to go as, according to her, it was such a struggle at first. “I made at least 500 cold calls weekly with negative responses coming from most of the people I called. I wondered how long I would be in this place. Maybe this job is not for me,” she recalled.

However, after seven months, fate smiled at her and one of the clients she had been prospecting called and said he was ready to buy. “I did not believe it. The next week, he paid and I was in shock, even more so when I received my first commission,” she enthused.

Read also: ‘Public, private sectors must work with mindset that housing is an emergency’

For her, the rest is now history as, in the last 5years, she has learnt that sales is a lifestyle and one just has to embrace it. She has also learnt that client relationship is personal and pre- and post-sales services are exceptional.

Her experience over the last five years has changed her perception about women in real estate. She now sees it as being truly interesting to be a woman in real estate as the job naturally works on one’s appearance, public speaking, charisma, confidence and patience.

“I am so excited I made this decision of meeting needs through providing shelter across board. Also working with Arkland Group as Head, Client Services/Sales has helped me achieve a lot,” she noted.

She believes that there are few industries remaining today that have not seen a drastic change in the role that women play and real estate and relocation are not immune to these changes.

“In the early days of real estate, women filled more of clerical roles but as time went by, we began to move into roles of agents and brokers being more on the field. I would say today I am a real estate professional with a background in Accounting which gives it a balance because we deal with numbers and mathematical projections,” she observed.

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