By Akanimo Sampson
Chief Executive Officer of Octo5 Holdings Ltd, a real estate development company in Nigeria, Babajide Odusolu , says the real estate sector of the country has been extremely opaque.
Odusolu was also upbeat on the need to deploy technology in an exclusive interview with this news portal.
Lashing out on the opaque real estate sector, he said, ‘’you have got unregulated sector, you have got high level of demand, very low supply, and you have got every state having its own rules of engagements which differs from the next one.
‘’So, technology is a tool for basically opening up markets because what the opaque nature of the sector has created is a situation where there is a lot of loss, and what do I mean by a lot of loss? We know of every Nigerian who knows another Nigerian that has lost money to fake land sellers, that has lost money to a developer that took money and did not deliver the houses.
‘’Every Nigerian abroad has one horror story or the other to tell of sending money home to build property and not getting the property. So what we have been agonising over, is how do we resolve that challenge, and what technology does for you as it creates a platform that addresses the issue of transparency, addressing the issue of secured payment platforms, and reduces the easy fraud that use to happen.
‘’That’s what technology does and that’s why we are leading promoters for the use of Prop –Tech, which is what we call the property technology in Nigerian real estate sector. It would help us to consolidate demand, address the issues around transparency, and proper transaction management.’’
Hammering on technology as the future, he said, ‘’the best way to explain this is 20 years ago people used to ask us as legacy people, ‘how can you tell me to pay 10% of the price of a property, and you would deliver? How are you going to make it happen?’ and it took them a while to understand the power of aggregating demand. Now, we are moving to the situation where people are now beginning to lose their money, of course as they lose money they are losing confidence, but they need housing.
‘’Housing is major driver of economic growth you can’t do without it, so people are confused. Now anyone who is able to create a platform to address those issues would succeed,
‘’So any real developer/developers now, and people who are doing large scale communities, who are able to guarantee their demand and also be able to satisfy their clients must go digital, because it’s the future.’’
In a bid to overcome the credibility crisis in the sector, during the COVID-19 lockdown, the company put its technologists to work, and they created a digital solution called STOW.
‘’STOW is a demand aggregator. What STOW is basically doing is creating a platform that makes it easy for anyone who wants to buy off plan homes to go on Google Playstore and Appstore and download the app.
‘’It is like being in a supermarket, you see all the properties you want to buy, you see what the state of documentation is, you see what the state of development is and then you start paying your money and you are paying instalmentally, the beauty is this, at STOW we have again integrated the mortgage market place.
‘’What that also does is that as you begin to pay for those properties, the mortgage banks are also seeing your credibility, seeing your continuous payment plan. So, by the time you pay 10% what is part of the house, you are actually getting a letter in your email saying you have been qualified for a mortgage then by the time we are finishing the house, you are collecting keys, the mortgage banks are collecting papers and everybody is happy. You that bought the property can literally sell that property to somebody else or rent to somebody else without any stress or assault.’’