Mike Adeyemi is the CEO of Realtormax Properties, one of the wave making real estate firms in Lagos. He is also an Investment Coach. He’s one of the youngest real estate developers who is making a huge impact in the real estate sector.

His company, Realtormax is a luxury real estate investment and construction company, committed to redefining real estate industry with innovative ideas in architectural designs. From smart homes to edifice that match your dream and expectations. Their services cater for those who dream to have the best out of life.

Last week, City People’s head of Real Estate, ISAAC ABIMBADE (08155107955) spoke with him about the shape of real estate business post-election.

How do you see the real estate sector, post elections?

Ethnicity issue is a big factor when it comes to the real estate business because real estate business doesn’t only involve the land owners only. It involves different ethnic groups from different locations, seeking to invest or live in the location where they are migrating to. And it happens that the Yoruba are saying they are the owners of the land, therefore Igbo can’t participate. That will definitely affect real estate in Lagos and Nigeria. And it’s already affecting it already. Because there is fear that comes to every mind that, so because I’m not a Lagosian or Yoruba, if I buy property in Lagos, then my property is not safe. If I have an investment in Lagos it’s not safe. If war breaks out my property will be destroyed. And likewise, a Yoruba man will be so afraid to go to Onitsha or Enugu and say he wants to build a house. Because he doesn’t know for certain what may happen if we continue with the current tribal war. This I believe is one of the major factors that cause the slow in the sector.

60 to 70 percent of those who invest massively in real estate are the Igbo. They are the people who come from other states. They are the ones with major investments in Lagos real estate. Take a look at Ajah, Lekki. The majority of the houses you find there are owned by the Igbo. Go to Ibeju-lekki today; a place that’s termed the new Lagos because of its rapid development. Ask people about the owners of the estates, they will tell you they are owned by the Igbo. Many of those estates have been bought by Igbo people. So when a tribal issue occurs, it’s going to slow down business because the majority of people will be afraid to buy any land.

And for those who are in the diaspora, what is happening In our political affairs now is what I called uncertainty. People are afraid of the state of insecurity. If I’m going to send money from abroad to Nigeria I want someone to buy property for me. I want to be sure that, if I’m coming back home to Nigeria I can find that property there. So what if I’m sending money from abroad and ethnic crisis breaks out and properties are been vandalized, what will happen? So people will not want to invest there money in uncertain areas. They will not want to invest in a country where there is no security. They will not want to commit themselves to an environment where can be asked to leave at any time. And that’s why the government have to step in into this issue. To me, there is no Yoruba, Hausa or Igbo. We are all one.

Again, if you take a look at the situation very well, both Yoruba and Igbo have practiced intermarriage. Our children are now half Igbo, half Yoruba, and Hausa. For example, my wife is Igbo, but I’m a Yoruba from Osun State. My wife is from Enugu State. She speaks the Yoruba language fluently more than the Yoruba people. Imagine that kind of scenario. So for that kind of person, how do you say that they can’t do their normal business in Lagos because they aren’t Yoruba? Ethnic issues will do more damage to our economy than good. Our politicians can thrive on it today but if that degenerates to where it’s causing division among ourselves, it will crumble Nigeria’s economy. As far as I’m concerned, we can’t take the Igbo out of Nigeria’s economy. We also can’t take Yoruba out. We both come together as one Nigeria.

How has the current situation impacted your company?

Generally, the real estate business is slow. I will say the factor for this is not only ethnic or tribal war. The entire political and economic issue in Nigeria has contributed to this problem.

The Naira scarcity has caused a whole lot of damage. There are things you want to buy. There are materials you want to move to a site. You can’t really do them easily without cash. An average man who is delivering sand to you, some of them don’t even have a bank account. How do you pay such a person? Once you tell them I’m going to do a money transfer to them, they begin to grumble. And such a person will still have to call a family member or friend if they can use their bank account to get the money. It slows down the business. The naira issue is one of the major factors for this mess which has dragged the economy backward.

They said they have released the old notes but we are still in queue to get the money at the banks. It’s the same way for the people who are going to buy the property from us. Getting a transfer done is also a problem. The network is bad and everything is down. That’s why we are all waiting for the new dispensation to find a quick solution to the problem of more distribution of cash into the Nigerian economy so that everybody can have access to Naira and things can get back to how they used to be.

How do you think the government can come in to stop the ethnic war between the Yoruba and Igbo?

The solution is for the government to unify Nigerians. We need to let our people know that, our success as a nation is not determined by our cultural background or ethnic background rather it’s by we come together as citizens of Nigeria to work together economically, politically, culturally, etc. There should be no discrepancies between the Yoruba and Igbo, especially. We are all Nigerians. With this, we can move our economy forward and we can move progressively as a nation. When we think of ethnicity, we are thinking backward, we are destroying the nation and we are killing the nation.

How is your company REALTORMAX different from other real estate firms?

What we believe here at Realtormax is that, in every business, there are problems and challenges and there should be a group of people coming in to provide solutions. They are several existing real estate companies ahead of us. We have learned from them. We have really improved on them.

One of the major problems people encounter from real estate firms is that, people say we buy land we don’t get allocations. I will say this for a fact, land business in Lagos is very tricky. Sometimes it’s not the fault of the real estate firm. Within the little time have been in the industry, I have seen where family sold land for you and because the land runs into hundreds of millions, we know you can not pay us at once, we can give you time to pay small small, go and erect your signpost on the land, so that you can be able to pay us the balance. Then, you see someone else; another company who also comes with some money, they also tell the company to put their signpost at this other side and start selling. These two real estate companies will keep on selling land, not knowing that half of those they are selling have been sold to other real estate company. And when it’s time for them to allocate, there will be problems. This one will say you are encroaching on our land. And that is how problems start. The problem of people buying property and getting allocation is a very big one.

What we have done differently is this, we don’t bite more than what we can chew. If it’s 20 hectares we can afford and develop it to our clients, we do just that. Currently, we are working on a project now called Aje Residence (The Wealthy Residence). It’s located at Ilamija, along Epe Road. It’s about 5 minutes drive from Epe. There are lot of developed projects in that area.. It’s just 20 acres of land. We are developing it into a luxurious and iconic smart city. It’s for those who want to live in a serened, comfortable, secure environment. There is a mini stadium pitch where children can play football. There is 24/7 Pharmacy centre, supermarket, fitness centre etc. Anyone who is already keyed into this project gets their allocated every month. This project has CofO as title.

One of the things we have done differently is that, every land we have acquired at Realtormax has genuine documentation. We settle anyone that needed to be settled. We get the right documentation from the government and our goal and objective are to build our business on excellence. When we promise people that we are going to deliver a project into an iconic luxury city, that is what we do at Realtormax.

The official launch of the Aje Residence will be on June 1st. Right now we are selling at a ridiculous price. A 300 hundred square metres is going for 3.850 million naira, while 500 square metre is going for 7 million naira. By June, our development on the estate would have gotten to 50 per cent completion. Once we do the official launch, the price for 300 Square metres will jump massively because of what we are putting into that estate.

Another estate we also have is Brookview Estate, Ikorodu. One of the special advantages of the estate is that, it’s located in the heart of Ikorodu. It’s a developed area. The estate is sitting on 10 hectares of land and it’s one of the cheapest we have. 300 Square metres is selling for 3.2 milliom, while 500 Square meters is selling for 4.5 million. While Pacific Luxury Court is selling for 2.5 million for 300 Square metre. While 500 Square metre sells for 4.5 million. We also have Eko Akete on Epe road. It has CofO as title. 300 square metre is selling for 13 million while 25 million naira is for 500 Squmeterstres.