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MD/CEO, Afriland Properties Plc, Uzo Oshogwe, Advocates Collaboration at the Economic and Real Estate Outlook Series 2018

The 5th edition of the Economic and Real Estate Outlook series organized by Fine & Country in collaboration with Business Day and Lagos Business School, recently took place at the Lagos Business School. The programme themed Navigating Change, served as a platform to set the tone for the year in the real estate Industry, while deliberating on the impact of the current economic and political climate on the Industry.

During one of the panels, MD/CEO, Afriland properties plc, Uzo Oshogwe, harped on the need for an urgent collaboration and intervention of real estate professionals to examine and propose a review of some government policies in order to create a conducive environment for the industry to thrive. ‘Government policies impact businesses directly or indirectly and the more unfavorable they are, the more businesses struggle to survive. We as professionals must make a conscious effort to take the lead in the appeal for a business-friendly environment’.

She also referred to the newly passed bill on land Use Charge by the Lagos State House of Assembly, awaiting the governor’s assent, as a development that could further deepen the challenges that exist in the sector.

Also present at the event were Mr Hakeem Ogunniran, MD/CEO, UACN Property Development Company, Mr. Ben Akaneme, MD, Imperial Homes, Mr. Adeleye Adeniyi, Head, Real Estate Finance (West Africa), Standard Bank Group, Dr. Henrietta Onwuegbuzie, Senior Lecturer, Lagos Business School, Mr. Andrea Geday, MD, Elelan Construction and other leading experts in the real estate industry.

 

 

3 Ways to Maximize Profit on Your Rental Properties

Making high returns on your investments is not just a function of the size of your portfolio but also its efficiency and effective management. If your real estate investments don’t generate enough profit as expected, you need to restrategize.  Rental property can be a great source of income but it can also be a huge headache if not properly managed.

The biggest areas for improvement that will positively impact your profits are occupancy, on time payments and maintenance.

See below 3 ways to maximize profit on your rental properties.

Tenant Screening

The quality of tenants that occupy your property is like the foundation for everything and a key determinant of how your investment will perform.

As a rental property owner, it’s absolutely vital for the collection of your rental payments to be timely. Payment delays are not good for your business. Bad tenants may also damage your property and leave a whole lot to be repaired. To avoid this, you need to do a thorough background check to ensure you won’t lease to tenants who would give you problems. You need to follow the basic tenant screening practices to identify the loop holes and act accordingly.

The goal is to find quality tenants that take care of your property and also pay consistently while you increase the cash flow from your rental properties. Late payments, stubborn tenants and property mismanagement is not only a nightmare but also ensures you don’t get the best out of your investments.

Long lease

Tenant vacancy is always a huge issue for property owners. The longer the downtime, the more money you lose. One of the ways to manage this risk is to consider long lease.

You could reduce rental rates by giving discounts, depending on the number of years. This may lead to higher revenue especially if you give discounts and do a 3 to 5 year lease or more.

Some of the advantages of long lease also include the following:

  • It attracts serious renters who are willing to commit to your property.
  • Peace of mind knowing that there will be no vacancy for that period.
  • Not doing repairs yearly will increase your savings.

Choose a good location!

This is still as relevant now as it was in the past, if not more. Oh yes, we know you’ve heard it time and time again, but we’d say it again; location matters and it still tops the list of factors that determine profitability in real estate investments. Before you invest in a property, do your research to determine and have an idea of the value potential tenants are willing to place on the property.

Some of the factors to look out for are proximity to amenities, neighborhood status, scenic views, etc.

Contact us for unparalleled Property Management services and  property investment solutions that will improve your ROI.

The Power of Focus

The brain is always seeking out what’s new and what’s next, but we get better results when we focus. Focus improves efficiency and growth. Identifying what’s important and what’s not will also help determine what to focus on. Focus gives you the clear and sharply defined condition of an image, situation, task etc.

In the 16th century, there was a legal Chinese punishment called ‘The Chinese Water Torture’, where a continuous stream of dripping water strikes the same spot on the offender’s forehead for a prolonged period of time, cracking them up emotionally and leading to death in some cases. An investigation on the effectiveness of this torture found that it was effective, capable of causing so much damage even in a controlled environment.

That is what focus does. A drop of water would not have made an impact, but the consistency ensures each drop leaves the spot worse than it was.

As at the time of writing this article, 420 hours have passed from a total of 8760 hours of the New Year. If Les Brown’s quote expressed thus ‘What you focus on the longest becomes the strongest’ is anything to go by, then what you have focused on the most in the first 420 hours might turn out to be where you get the best results so far.

Staying focused can be tough sometimes due to several distractions and dwindling attention span. When you need to focus without distractions, here’s what to do:

Focus on what really matters

Identify what is worthy of your energy and what is not. Ask yourself, for optimum results, what really requires your focus today, tomorrow, this week, this month, this year? Make a plan and prioritize. Identify when you function better and take advantage.

Don’t let the tough tasks build up

Typically, we tend to take care of the less tedious tasks before we move on to the tough ones.  As you continue your tasks, your energy level drops, and sometimes, so does your productivity.

If the task requires creativity and more concentration, carry it out before you move to the less difficult ones.

Manage distractions

The same way you ask what needs your attention, you need to ask and understand what is worthy of your distraction. While at work, you can schedule a time to attend to some of these necessary distractions. Eg. Checking your phone etc.

Pause to replay

Sometimes you need to take a few minutes break from everything to re-energize your brain. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task.

Signs your building is on the verge of collapse

A building may collapse for many reasons. In Nigeria, structural failure is the most common cause and we have had incessant news and reports of collapsed buildings recently. Ofcourse, the general conclusion is that the construction team was made up of quacks. It’s more shocking when you realize some of these buildings were constructed by reputable companies.

Buildings collapse when overstressed construction reaches a critical stress level and it is often atrocious, leading to lose of lives and properties. However, the truth is the signs are always there, but sometimes we choose to ignore. Noticing these signs early would not only save lives but also offer a chance to correct and maybe save the property.

This also comes in handy if you would like to purchase a home.

Simply look out for these early signs:

‘Crack Crack Crack’ in the Wall

When there is a major crack, it means the walls are under pressure and are no longer able to support the weight of the roof. That is a major sign right there. Do not ignore it, it may lead to a building collapse.

There are 2 types of cracks: structural and non-structural.

Unusual sounds

Creaking and popping sounds in a building should never be ignored. Those sounds could be a warning of an imminent collapse and should be immediately investigated.

Moving house

This is a red flag!!! When your building is moving, it’s a no brainer, it’s a warning of an impending collapse. This movement does not mean you would find your house distressingly seated miles or plots away from where it is located. It just means, some particular parts of the building shift from their original positions.

Sagging floors and roofs

Sagging floors which is often caused by inadequate support beneath load-bearing walls or heavy room partition walls, is a special sign of building collapse because it often goes unnoticed. You should also pay attention and not ignore once noticed.

How to Move to a New Home

The decision to change apartments, especially rented ones, is often unavoidable due to changes in household size, needs, desires and even taste. For instance, just a few years back, your apartment might have been all you wished for but now that you are married, you need more space.

Your neighborhood is also another reason you might want to move. It may have been a quiet one when you moved in but ever since lifestyle and event centers came in, you just can bear the privacy breach and the noise that comes with it. You just keep saying to yourself, I need to move!

We understand that moving is one of the biggest household tasks so here are some heads up for you if you’d really like to do that:

Set a Budget

After you’ve decided you want to move and have gotten a new home, the next step is to set up a moving budget. It’s an important step to keep you on track financially and to know how much your move will end up costing you. It’s almost unbelievable how small items you need to replace would add up and cost you quite a lot, so you need to be aware and prepared.

Organize early 

When planning to move, it is very easy or convenient to push things to the last minute. Try as much as possible to avoid that. Ideally, you should have a countdown list and at least a 30-day plan.

Chances are you will remember tasks randomly and it’s advisable to include them in your already prepared list.

Plan your move strategy

Mobility is one of the most important tasks when moving. How do you intend to get to point B from point A? Are you hiring a truck for the day or asking friends who have cars to help move your stuff?

So basically this must have been thought through way before the day you intend to move and cost also factored in.

Purge during this process

It is easier to purge and get rid of items you don’t need when moving.  You can organize a garage sale to sell off some of these items to neighbors or display for passersby who may be interested. That way, you won’t be taking household items you really do not need to your new home. You could also donate clothes to orphanage or charity.

Take inventory

Things go missing when moving from one home to another. You might have to take inventory, especially if you are hiring a company or truck to move your things.

Have a record of every single item loaded into the truck and remember to tick them off when offloading. For example, you may note the number of boxes and the specific items or content of each box.

 

Unlock your creativity in 3 steps

We live in the age of creativity!!!It goes without saying that Man was born to create. It would be great to note at this point that creativity is a skill and not a talent. One of the keys to creativity is imagination. Though they are related, there is a huge difference between the two. If these ideas come to you but never come to reality, you are imaginative not creative. To be labelled creative you actually have to create.

You may be one of those who question the need for creativity. Creativity provides fresh insight and a new viewpoint on even the most monotonous elements of your job. It enables you to view challenges and problem-solving as a creative opportunity. In summary, creativity is required for a success in the ecosystem of today’s business world. Talent has very little to do with creativity. Just like every form skill, creativity is learned, practiced and developed! In other words, it requires time, training and effort.

How can you live up to your creativity potential? Unlock with these 3 steps below:

Perceive the world in new ways

Thinking out of the box and trying to make connections between seemingly unrelated singularities will generate fresh ideas.

This is more than just a motivational cliché. It simply encourages you to approach problems and challenges in new, innovative ways; conceptualizing problems differently; and understanding your position in relation to any particular situation in a way you’d never thought of before. Instead of running from challenges, you run towards them and look for opportunities to shine.

There is no Creativity without Knowledge

You just have to be knowledgeable to be creative. You have to seek information; History, science, politics, entertainment, art, business, entrepreneurship, health, economy, education, food and so much more. Know things, be ready to try different ways and take risks. You have to develop the ability to challenge your assumptions and simply ask questions. Be curious about everything. Random and seemingly unrelated ideas could come together to form a new idea, connect the dots and provide a solution when you least expect.

Connect with creative people

Basically, the crowd that you hang out with influences your actions and ultimately the way you think. Connecting with creative people would give you the opportunity to have insights into their creative thinking process and this is very important.

You’d be surprised how simply spending time with them in a variety of creative endeavors will spark your creative juice. You’d be more curious, more open, more optimistic and more interested.

Top 5 Homebuyer’s Don’ts

Buying a home is a colossal purchase. Excitements may turn to disappointments at the end of the transaction or even when you finally move in.

Here’s a list of the top 5 don’ts for homebuyers.

DON’T

Miss the chance to negotiate.

Before the deal closes, you would have so many opportunities to negotiate, take it. After your first set of negotiations based on the value, you may also negotiate for repairs, new paint job, and broken windows. Also, when there are more homes for sale than there are buyers to write offers, you are in a favorable position when it comes to negotiations. Take advantage!

Get attached to the first house you see.

Searching for a home to purchase is like looking out for a car to buy. You might be making preparations for payments when your agent notifies you it has been bought. You’re allowed to be heartbroken but not attached. Move on and make other appointments, hopefully you’d even get better ones compared to the one you missed.

Get cold feet

Buying a house is like a wedding proposal. After going through the whole process and eventually presenting your offer, it’s true you might get a no but it’s also true you might get a yes. Most times, when you get a yes and reality hits, you might get cold feet.  In other words, after making your offer, be ready for a yes and act accordingly.

Skip home inspection.

You may be tempted to skip home inspection due to your busy schedule or other reasons. Don’t do it!  A good home inspection will reveal critical information about the condition of the home you want to purchase and its systems. This makes you the buyer aware of what costs, repairs and maintenance the home may require immediately, and over time.

The probability of regrets and disappointments reduce drastically if you don’t skip inspections and do it professionally. Besides, home inspection is a good negotiation tool.

Give up your home search

The probability of not finding what you want is inevitable. You have to keep in mind the fact that buying a home is a long but rewarding process at the end of the day. Don’t give up.

Another good season to not give up on your search is during the holidays. There is less competition in the real estate market, sellers are more motivated and need the cash, therefore transactions close faster.

3 Basic Fashion Commandments for Women

Earlier in the year we released the 7 fashion commandments for Men in one of the editions of APP-Digest and so this time we have decided to bring you the female version.

One of the first things we decide in the morning or even a night before is what and what not to wear. Now, unlike men who often seem not to be bothered about what they wear or how they look, women are full of glamour and style and so the case is different. The hairdo, current fashion trends, make up, matching accessories and much more. They’d naturally worry about these things before they worry about what to eat.  Wink wink

If you have ever wondered or thought about some fashion rules for women, then this is the right article for you. Just scroll while we unravel the 3 basic fashion commandment for women

Be Comfortable

There’s no bigger fashion faux pas than wearing what won’t make you feel smart, active or makes you feel uncomfortable. Your outfits should help bring out the best version of you. That version should be one that isn’t bothered about zips ready to rip open from overly tight pants or some neck pain from a halter top just because it eats into the top of your spine.

Don’t wear a 7 inches high heel when you can barely walk and would probably break a leg before you even step out of your door. Be comfortable.

Do not mismatch accessories

Though a lot of women focus on the clothing itself, accessories are equally important and significant than you think. Having said that, there are specific accessory types for specific occasions. This means you can wear the same outfit but different accessories for different occasions and the looks would be totally apart.

When choosing accessories to match your outfit, always consider the color, size and style of the pieces, and keep the occasion in mind!

If it does not fit perfectly, don’t wear it

Even if it’s the trendiest and most expensive outfit in the world right now, if it does not fit perfectly or it’s not your size, there’s no point. Always make sure it’s your size and wear it with confidence.

A little tip: If there’s puckering or wrinkling in the front panel, the pants are too tight. And if there’s billowing and fabric that doesn’t lie flat, often when you sit down, the pants are too big.

 

 

 

7 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Pests in Your Home

Household pests are uninvited and unwanted guests but they still find their way in anyway. Cockroaches, termites, ants, rodents, flies, mosquitoes, bugs, fleas! Sounds familiar? Apart from the uncomfortable feeling experienced just because they creep or fly from wall to wall, some bite, sting and even transmit diseases. Cockroaches are synonymous with dirt, poor hygiene and are suspected carriers of organisms that cause typhoid fever, cholera etc.

A research by the National Pest Management Association also shows that termites cause over $5 billion of damage to properties in the U.S. each year.

Chemicals and insecticides are often used but are not without health risks and they do not permanently solve the problem. Thus, families are becoming more aware of the harmful effects associated with these chemicals and are applying natural ways to deal with the situation.

Here are 7 ways to pest proof your home naturally:

Get rid of standing water

This is one of the most effective ways to limit reproduction and survival potential of mosquitoes in your home. Basically, water aids reproduction because they like to lay eggs in and around standing water. Female mosquitoes particularly like to lay eggs in water stored in manmade containers. If you have to store up water, make use of containers that can be covered.

This is also applicable to your surrounding and not just indoors.

Keep your bathroom and kitchen clean always

Pests are attracted to oil, filth, moisture, sugar, etc., so they seek access to kitchens and bathrooms through sewage and drain pipe or cracks in the slab.

These two seem to be the most common hiding and breeding sites for pests because they are probably the most used rooms in your home. The bathroom is humid and creates a conducive atmosphere for pests to survive while the kitchen usually contains food debris, unwashed plates and oil.

Kitchen tips

  • Pick up anything that falls on the floor right away
  • Cover trash can and empty regularly
  • Cook more slowly
  • Clean tiles with baking soda

Bathroom tips

  • Remove all the items that don’t belong in your bathroom
  • Disinfect and wash the toilet bowl regularly
  • Scrub tiles and corners always
  • Clean wall, windows, shower, etc.

Use Sticky Traps

Although this only traps crawling pests, it’s a very effective method of keeping pests away from your home.  Traps can also be used to gauge how bad your invasion is if there’s any.

This method works for cockroaches, spiders, scorpions, mites, rats and other crawling insects.

Lemon and Lemon Peel

Using fresh lemon or lemon peel will keep mosquitoes, ants and flies away. This also works for outdoor gatherings and parties.

Use Vinegar

Apart from being a good cleaning agent, vinegar is a great herbicide and provides a strong barrier for insects and spiders without toxins.  Through its natural acidity, vinegar gets rid of ants, spiders and other insects.

Vinegar can also be used as a bait. Fruit flies will flock to the jar and drown in the mixture.

Essential Oils

Essential oils, such as peppermint and eucalyptus can help keep certain pests under control. Just mix of a few drops with water and spritz on bedding, carpets and rugs.

Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuum cleaner is a very effective pest control tool. Some pests such as bugs hide in the hardest places where they can’t be reached, vacuum cleaner would do the work of evicting them.

Top 3 Reasons Your Home is Still on the Market

One of the major challenges most homeowners or property investors face is the time it takes to sell off a property. The longer it stays on the market, the more difficult it may be to sell. Buyers often ask how long it has been on the market for two reasons:

If the property was so good and the offer is right, how come it stayed so long? There must be something wrong with the home! Have you noticed the moment a potential buyer is aware there is another buyer with an offer, they tend to sit up? The reason is simple, no one wants to be interested in what nobody is interested in.

Secondly, buyers believe there may be a lot of repairs since it’s been vacant and on the market for too long.

With the vast majority of sellers still assigning the sale of their property to estate agents, you might still be stuck with them for weeks or years if you choose the wrong ones. So, it ‘s an advantage if you are aware of these three tips.

Your house is overpriced

The moment you introduce your home to the market for sale, it will naturally attract a lot of traffic. Seeing that it is newly introduced, prospective buyers would call your agent to make enquiries, book for inspection, consult with the buyer and make offers.

However, if the price is too high, they would move on to look for better deals. You should be able to compromise at some point. Always do your research to understand the reasonable rates in that neighborhood before you place a value or better still carry out a pre-sale property valuation.

An unrealistic asking price would make a house linger on the market for too long.

Cumbersome inspection procedures

The more prospective buyers inspect your property, the higher your chances of selling. Don’t get tired. It should not be hard for your potential buyers to inspect the home they want to buy.

You also need to be prepared for the inspection and be ready to provide answers to any questions. Gather necessary paperwork, draw a map of the property or locate your survey, fix what needs fixing and be prepared to negotiate. You can also turn on utilities and ensure the process is easy.

It’s not attractive enough

You need to do better especially if you’re selling a used house. If you can’t get potential buyers past the front yard, then there’s problem. Clean the gutters, remove posters from the wall, paint the front door, and clean the windows.

Buyers want to see the potentials. A cluttered and dirty environment would defeat that. If you could stand at your front door, act like a prospective buyer and take a close look around, you will notice a couple of things that need to be attended to.

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