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How to Buy a Trouble-free Home

Not many joyous moments compare to when most people purchase their first home.  The reason is simple; it’s one of the biggest financial investments and that moment is truly emotional.

How would it feel if that asset turned into a nightmare? A real nightmare. Unfortunately, a lot of people spend more time and energy researching their next automobile than they do on a property they would like to buy.

Several construction defects such as faulty wiring, foundation damage, leaking roof and even legal issues, may arise after purchase. Buying a home could be a long and intricate process. It is important to follow the steps below in order to reduce or totally eliminate the possibility of these nightmares.

Know what you want

Having a clear picture of what your want automatically reduces your search period. Reasonably, your agent should not take you to a 5-bedroom apartment when you gave him a brief for a 3-bedroom. It ensures a good use of your time.

Thorough inspection will protect you

Every single detail matters, so you need to look beyond the color! To make sure your potential home is in a good condition, engage an independent professional to inspect the property. In the case of used houses, you should note the required repairs and request for a discount accordingly.

Conduct a title search

Clear title to a property is one of the most important factors to be considered before purchase. There are various means to investigate the title and it is a must to engage in the process of retrieving documents evidencing events in the history of the property, to determine relevant interests and regulations concerning that property.

Get a Lawyer to review your contract

A lawyer can help you avoid some common problems with a home purchase. Realtors often use standard forms, expecting they will cover all circumstances or will be easily customizable for unusual circumstances.

Your lawyer will review the contract on your behalf and interpret unclear clauses. Never agree to or sign what you don’t understand.

Happy home hunting!

Let the Walls Speak

Let the Walls Speak

Gone are those days when walls were left unembellished. We all must have had our reservations about the use of wallpapers at one time or the other, but these days, it is safe to say “wallpaper is the new paint”.

Wallpapers add an instant personal style and also make a design statement. It just gives that wide variety of assortment from the very first glance.

Another advantage of these wall coverings is that depending on what you choose it can give your home a big and bold or soft and subtle look.

Fixing your wallpaper

While hanging wallpapers, it is important to note the following:

  • Choose the right kind of wallpaper texture and design that fits the room. .They come in many different materials: Vinyl, embossed, textile-based, etc.
  • Prepare the surface by removing old paint and irregularities in order to have a smooth finishing.
  • Apply glue and remember to leave the wallpaper for 5 to10 minutes.
  • After gluing carefully, smooth out with a dry cloth, wiping the remnants of glue.

However, if you’re thinking of the right locations to hang wallpapers in your home, below are a few ideas.

Behind shelves

Although bookshelves can be boring and untidy sometimes, you can still make it a conversation piece. One of the best ways to beautify your bookshelf space is to highlight the background with wallpaper.

It gets better when you use different patterned wallpapers in the same hue.

On the ceiling

This application of wallpaper is very brilliant. Coordinating with the wall color, a carefully chosen wallpaper design on your ceiling will create a unique environment to live in.


In the Kitchen

Wallpapers are easy to maintain and clean. So a great use of wallpaper in the kitchen still allows for easy cleaning.

You can install paper in the back of kitchen cabinets. This works particularly well with painted cabinets.

In the bathroom

You should consider wallpapers at strategic corners of your bathroom, especially if you have some parts covered with tiles.

A splash of bright wallpaper looks great with bathtubs, Jacuzzi, faucets and other bathroom materials.


How To Nail a Presentation

Did you know that your presentation should be as powerful as your ideas?  As a matter of fact, it should be more believable and engaging. A bad presentation can kill a good idea.

This is because you have that one opportunity to share the thoughts you’ve carefully penned down. Imagine you have one minute to communicate your best idea; the one you have always believed will change the world. Imagine you have one minute to convince the richest Man in the world.

What should you say and how should you say it?

  1. A brief introduction is very essential
  2. Identify and mention existing problems and gaps
  3. Never talk out of point; proffer the solution: Even when you deviate, find your way back to the matter at hand in a very smart way.
  4. Highlight the benefits, advantages etc.
  5. Conclude your presentation
  6. Thank your audience for the opportunity and let everyone have your contact details if possible.

A good speaker must be sensitive to how the audience listens or responds and should be able to adjust based on that.

RAINY SEASON: “Dos and Don’ts”

Rainy season is here again and it is very important to be aware of our environment in order to reduce or totally avoid mishap and casualties. Below are a few Dos and Don’ts.

Get your roof ready for the rains.

Inspect your roof twice per year to avoid costly problems that can escalate into tremendous cost.

  • Look for cracks along the ridge of your roof and where your shingles fold over to form the cap.

Take a look at your gutters to make sure that they drain well and don’t cause water to back up.

Also make sure that there are not a lot of little granules collecting in there. Granules in your gutter are a sign that your roof’s coating needs to be resealed.

Make sure that you don’t have any down pipe clogs.

Work from the inside out.

Inside your home, check out your ceilings to make sure that you are not experiencing signs of roof or other leakage. Be on the lookout for water rings, mold or wall or ceiling discoloration. Make any necessary repairs to fix the issue and prevent it from happening again during the upcoming rainy season.

Tackle your doors and your windows.

Make sure that both close and seal properly, and make any repairs or improvements as necessary.

Make sure that dead branches have been cleared from around your house.

This will reduce the risk that they will fall during the storm and damage your home.

Consider the use of sandbags to put into the low areas around your house to help keep flood water at bay.

Top 3 Kitchen Design Trends

Here are the top 3 kitchen design trends you might want to consider:

gray kitchen

Gray is the New White

While white cabinets continue to be tops, gray is the shade to break white’s top spot. The right coat of gray might be all you need to refresh the look of your kitchen. It creates an atmosphere of style and luxury, relaxing yet exciting.


black and white kitchen

Classic Black and White Palette

The appeal of a black-and-white kitchen never dies. Combined, these two colors are an unstoppable force of interior design perfection for homeowners everywhere.

integrated kitchen living spaces

Integrated kitchen-living spaces

As home layouts continue to change in response to the times, the home design focus has swung significantly towards the open plan concept for sure.

Want Innovation? Stay Curious!

Curiosity they say kills the cat; maybe the Stone Age cat but certainly not the 21st century one. Curiosity actually nourishes the 21st century cat.

In the 1600s, the punishment for being an “innovator” was getting your ears chopped off. You were seen as a troublemaker simply because you challenged the status quo.

The secret to innovation and creativity is curiosity. We must realize that without the question why, there would be no “how”. This serves as a catalyst to great discoveries.

All great inventions first dropped as ideas, and all ideas were generated through inquisitiveness, curiously and urge to know more about things in the world around us.

Since curiosity is a stepping stone to innovation, here are a few ways to help your curiosity skills:

  1. Read widely and follow your interests
  2. Listen without the aim to judge
  3. Polish your mind with the minds of others
  4. Be willing to ask dumb questions
  5. Put a lot of ideas and facts in your head: Don’t rely on Google
  6. Be an expert who is interested in everything
  7. Listen

innovative entrepreneur 2

These Real Estate Challenges Require Government’s Urgent Intervention

In 2015, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) identified Real Estate as one of the fastest growing sectors in the Nigerian economy, having an undeniable potential to drive economic growth.

With a projection of 10% annual growth and   a contribution of  N2.11 trillion($9.6 billion) to the economy’s rebased GDP which stood at USD 510 billion for 2013, the Real Estate sector was seen as viable. Nigeria possesses all the key factors for real estate investment and growth; a burgeoning middle-class population, growth in consumption and rapid urbanization.

However, with the current economic situation, Real Estate like every other sector has been negatively impacted, dampening the property market transactions to 70 per cent, hereby hindering growth.

According to Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, Real Estate Services in the 3rd quarter of 2016 grew by 2.56 %, lower by 6.62 % points than the growth rate reported for the same period in 2015 and higher by 0.44 % points compared to the preceding Quarter.

Apart from the decline in oil prices, weak performance of commodities and geo-political conflicts which led to recession, there are other vast challenges facing the sector that require urgent intervention:

Non-availability of Cheap Funds (Limited Source of Funding)

Real Estate is one of the most capital intensive forms of investment and its biggest challenge in Nigeria is scarcity of cheap development funds. Access to finance remains a great problem to developers, prospective clients and homeowners. Nigeria’s rate of home ownership is one of the lowest in Africa at 25% and this is due to lack of a robust mortgage financing system.

Financial institutions such as the commercial banks commit relatively small parts of their funds to property development at a very high interest rate up to 20%. This consequently drives property prices in a variety of ways.

The high interest rate is one of the major factors affecting the realization of affordable housing in Nigeria. The higher the interest, the high the lease or cost of acquiring the property.

Due to the recession, the situation got worse with little or no funding for real estate development in the country for developers.


  1. Long term debt financing and reduced interest rates.
  2. Pension funds are a very important factor in the overall investment market and more of this should be allocated and invested into real estate market. Real estate investments provide long-term opportunities for pension funds.
  3. More public/private partnerships and joint ventures.
  4. The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria needs to intervene directly in housing construction by providing finance to designated building construction companies.

Land Registration and building approval Process

Second on this list is Land registration and building approval process. This is a major turn-off for potential Real Estate investors.

The cumbersome and costly process could take up to 6 to 24 months depending on the title and type of construction, with an average of 12 procedures thereby causing unnecessary delays.

Land and property acquisition must be less difficult for the sector to grow rapidly.


  1. The traditional manual process of registration should be automated online to reduce paper work and timelines. When this process is more accessible, it becomes easier and more attractive.
  2. Amendment of Land Use Act.
  3. Registration and approval process should be simplified.

Irrepressible fall of Naira

The economic impact of the fall in exchange rate has increased the cost of importations. Uninspiringly, the Real Estate industry is dependent on foreign importation for the raw materials and equipment used for construction, therefore the value of Naira remains a great factor. The dollar has tripled against the Naira in less than 3 years and the devaluation has contributed largely to the fall in Real Estate figures.

The unstable and incessant fall of our currency results in a loss for most developers thereby reducing trust in the sector and scaring investors away.

Presently, there is already a drastic drop in demand in the Real Estate sector which has resulted in a glut in supply.


  1. Review of recent forex policies
  2. A standardized exchange rate.
  3. Real Estate transactions should be in Naira and not foreign currencies.
  4. Promotion of locally produced construction materials

7 C’s of Effective Communication in Business

I remember when I was about 7 years old and my Mum sent me on an errand to buy a bottle of groundnut oil. I came back with a bottle of groundnut and as you can imagine, it wasn’t funny at all.

This single event made me realize how important effective communication is. How it enables us to better understand and connect with the people around us, allows us to build respect, trust, resolve differences and foster environment where problem solving, caring, affection and creative ideas can thrive.

There are four main types of communication: written, verbal, nonverbal and visual.

In business, effective communication is quite crucial.  It is so important that it plays a critical role in product development, customer relations, and employee management . To establish good business communication, it helps to have a blueprint of the 7 C’s of effective communication.

Below are the 7 C’s of effective business communication


In business it pays to get to the point quickly. Effective business communication uses concise and straightforward language that gets the point across completely and in a manner that encourages efficient action.


Plan your business communication carefully so you get all of the information to your recipient the first time. If you leave out important information in your initial correspondence that will cause a series of problems that will take time to repair.


According to communication coach Ric Phillips, writing on the Evan Carmichael website, it is important to present your information in a conversational tone that invites interaction, rather than a confrontational tone that can cause an argument. Effective communication presents the information in a manner that is not emotional but instead professional.


With a business communication, you sometimes get only one chance to make your point. If your information is misunderstood, you may not have the opportunity to correct it before it escalates into a problem. When you present your information, be sure to do so in a clear voice that allows every word to be understood.


When speaking to business associates or customers, always open the conversation to questions and clarifications. When you finish a statement, allow a moment for the other person to ask a question before you go on to your next part. When you answer a question, be sure the answer is understood before moving on in the conversation.


An air of confidence in your conversation helps add credibility to your information. Present your data with a clear and commanding tone that indicates that you know the subject you are speaking about and that the information being presented is valuable.


Always check your data and facts before giving a business presentation of any kind. You may have useful ideas, but if they are accompanied by incorrect information, the power of your ideas is lost.

Reference: Notedesk

7 ‘Suit Rules’ All Men Need to Know

Rule #1

As a general rule, a Black Formal shoe will go with nearly all suit colors. However, you can make more of an impact if you go for a brown or tan shoe when wearing either a Navy/Blue or Light Color suit. You should match your shoes to the color of your suit using this rule:

Black Suit = Black Shoe
Charcoal Grey Suit = Black Shoe
Light Grey Suit = Black Shoe or Brown Shoe
Any Shade of Blue Suit (Navy, Powder Blue etc.) = Brown Shoe or Black Shoe
Brown Suit = Brown Shoe

black shoe

Rule #2

Your belt should be fairly thin and should be the exact same color as your shoes. Black and Brown (including different shades of brown such as tan) are preferred for a corporate look.


Rule #3

If you’re going for more formal business attire, opt for a double-button, notched lapel jacket.

double breast

Rule #4

Always unfasten the buttons on your suit when you sit down. NO exceptions

open button

Rule #5

Your tie should JUST reach the waistband of your trousers or the center of your belt buckle.

tie level

Rule #6

Your sleeve cuffs should be exposed to half an inch. For a harmonious look, try to match the visible cuff length to the amount of collar that is visible at the back of the neck.


Rule #7

Never wear a Backpack with Suit, opt for a nice briefcase or a messenger bag.




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