For how long will you be a tenant? By Lawrence Ladokun

Lawrence Ladokun

 The author gives useful tips to own a house.

There is nothing wrong with being a tenant. BUT THERE IS EVERYTHING WRONG WITH BEING A TENANT FOR TOO LONG! How long is “too long”? Honestly, that is left for you to decide. I asked myself the same question years ago? It baffles me that ants have houses and even store food! Have you ever held a bird in your hand? It feels so fragile you may mistakenly squeeze it to death! Do you know that these birds don’t rent houses! Neither do the ants! Oh wait… did I hear you protest? Okay, the birds really don’t care if it lives in Maitama or Mararaba!!!

Dear friend, whether you build your house in New York or New Nyanya, for a start it really does not matter, but at least build something! One of the mistakes most people make is that they wait for too long and money they should have used for more worthwhile things is used to pay Mr. Landlord.

In some of the seminars I held years back, I spoke about a particular story in which the gateman over years of savings and hard work built a two storey building in a “local neighborhood” and the boss, who was a “big man tenant” living in the choice neighborhood in town did not even own an ”inch” of land! The gateman’s boss received the shock of his life when he was invited to the house warming! I personally know a driver who happens to own his own house in Abuja! The house may not have the super finishing that may suit your taste, but he probably has no idea of the pain you go through to pay your rent. Please understand, I really believe you can build your own house and that is exactly what will happen. Do we have an agreement…? Good!

Have you ever had an “illiterate” as a landlord? Oh, it can be sickening. But do you know that some of these illiterates have “more education” in terms of investment than some of our “big boyz” Oh sorry, I meant to say “big men”? Have you ever noticed the spending pattern of a tenant? He buys the latest cars, wears the most expensive suits, and has the largest “pot bellies” in the society….some of them have “eaten up two storey buildings in Maitama all in the name of wasteful spending”! If you are in this category, I beg you to please change your ways. Are we still friends? Sure… we have no choice; at least until you build your house our friendship is mandatory! Smile.

You see friend, it is not how much money you have that determines your ability to invest in real Estate! Your focus is the singular most important factor in your attempt to own your property. You probably might want to ask how someone like you can invest in real estate or own your own home/property considering your present financial conditions and the economic situation in the country. Let me confess that I do not in any way claim to have all the knowledge, but I will share a few ideas with you which may be of great benefit if it is put into practice.

A. The first step is for you to have a clear idea or vision that you want to build your own home.

You see my dear prospective landlord, everything in life starts as a thought. In fact there is a saying by Napoleon Hill that “thoughts are things”. Another great man said it this way, “I do not reckon with men who dream with their eyes closed, but I fear men who dream with their eyes wide open!” If you have a burning desire to build or buy your own house, and you concentrate on this goal within a reasonable period of time, you will have it! It is not a motivational saying, it is a FACT!

This means you are going to make this your No 1 priority project, not neglecting your other daily responsibilities. Because I am writing to a wide range of audience, I will go on the lower income so that an average individual may be able to use the principles and steps set out in this article. In having a clear vision it is important that you continually place this objective or task of owning your own home/ property constantly in your mind on a daily basis. The following are a list of few things you will have to do:

a) Find out how much your net income is!

If you talk to an average individual about building his/her house, the first response you will get is, “where is the money”! The first thing you really need to do is to find out how much your monthly income is. You can find out what your net income is after you make a deduction of all other regular expenses. The bottom line is for you to know how much your net income is and then begin to make plans on that. If you really do not know how to arrive at that, a simple approach would be to document your daily expenditure and then deduct it from your gross income in the month. A much simpler and more efficient method is for you to deduct 30% from your gross earnings for the purpose of real estate investment. What I suggest is for you to trim your expenditure and open a new bank account and label it as “My Dream Home Account”. This account may be opened with a mortgage bank if you feel comfortable with it.

b) Save from other sources apart from your regular earnings.

Usually, we have other sources of income that comes in diverse forms such as gifts, other petty businesses, major deals, unexpected financial surprises, etc. The idea is that you save 30% of all of these incomes. Do you know you can automate this process? You may decide to pay all your personal income into a particular account and then leave a standing order with your bank that 30% of all the money that comes into the account should be automatically deducted and sent to “X” account in “Y” bank. If you think this money is too much, I will like to leave you with this fact “an average Nigerian spends about 60% of his income on rent”! This means you work over six months just to pay your landlord! This means you work 8am-5pm daily and go through all the stress of daily life just to pay the landlord. Would it not be said that I’m on the extreme if I said so many people have actually become slaves laboring to pay the landlord in the name of rent! The bottom line is this, SAVE TOWARDS OWNING YOUR OWN HOME!

c) Begin Small

One of the major mistakes tenants make is that they want their first house to be a mansion! No, no, no, begin small. Do you know, years ago in the early 1990’s Wuse area were not so desirable and Maitama was bushy….? This is one of the reasons why you may need a professional Estate Surveyor to help you forecast areas that are prone to favorable development in the nearest future. Are you asking me if I am suggesting you should build in a bush? No! I am suggesting that you buy land and build in a place you can afford for now. It has been said that Abuja is yet to reach 25% of the development planned for it in accordance to the master plan. Imagine you owning a house in the future “Maitama or Wuse or Asokoro” which might be bushes today!

A research recently showed that an average building in Nigeria takes 18 years, and then what time would you have to enjoy the building? This is one of the reasons why the Government came out with different policies in the Federal Capital Territory to ensure that parcels of land that are not developed within the stipulated period are revoked!

…To be continued next week. In the next edition, I will show you more practical approach you can take to building or owning your own home in Abuja. Till then ….keep the dream of owning your own home alive.

If this article has inspired you in any way or your have strong opinions you would like me to consider, I would be glad to hear from you. If you send me an email, I will reply and if you call, I will be too glad to hear from you. Please feel free to send your questions to my email; you are sure to get answers. You can follow me on twitter @lawrenceladokun. Cheers.


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