For most Nigerians abroad, knowledge about the Nigerian real estate market is scarce and most people often make the wrong decisions when it comes to investing in Nigerian real estate market.
Most Nigerians want to get into the Nigerian real estate market for two reasons: one, to have a place they can stay when they visit Nigeria. The cost of staying in a hotel can easily add up especially with a family. They also want to have a place of their own and not have to rely on family members. They want to have privacy and as many Nigerians know too well, when staying with relatives in Nigeria, you tend to bear most of the cost of your stay. You will end up feeding everybody and everyone will look to you for all the expenses.
A second reason, Nigerians want to invest in the Nigerian real-estate market is because it is one of the most lucrative real estate markets in the world. The demands easily outweigh the supply; houses are just not being built fast enough. The Nigerian real estate market is also different because landlords can demand 2 years of rent upfront. Now imagine you build a six apartment building, when done you can ask for 300,000 Naira for a 2 year lease (this is a conservative estimate). 300,000 Naira is roughly $2,000; now multiply that by 6 apartments. You can easily make your initial investment back.
The hardest part about building a house in Nigeria for many Nigerians abroad, is finding someone trustworthy. The person will manage the process of buying the materials needed to build the house and also keep a watchful eye on the builders and contractors. Furthermore, after the house is built who can they trust to manage the house while they are abroad, so that the house is not vandalized. That is the dilemma that most Nigerians Abroad faces.
COST OF BUILDING MATERIALS IN NIGERIA
Please note that the cost of building a house in rural areas is far cheaper than the urban areas. For instance, popular metropolitans like Abuja and Lagos will cost triple in terms of acquiring the land and the cost of materials compared to a less popular place like Ibadan, Nigeria.
BELOW ARE ESTIMATES ON THE PRICES OF MATERIALS YOU WILL NEED TO BUILD A HOUSE IN NIGERIA
The number of blocks you need for the house depends on the size of the house. For instance, a one-bedroom flat without a dining room/hall, might need about 1500 of 9-inch blocks. Comparatively, a three-bedroom flat uses about 3000 blocks (boys’ quarter inclusive). The current cost of a 9-inch block is about 130 Naira while a 6-inch block would cost about 120 Naira. If you are building a one-bedroom flat this would mean 130 x 1500 naira, or 195,000 Naira. Hopefully you are getting the idea of how much it would cost to build a house in Nigeria.
A bag of cement is about 1,500 Naira and you would need about 40 bags for a one-bedroom flat.
Sand and Gravels
Sand and gravels are usually carried and sold by Tipper trucks and a Tipper load of sand goes for about 8,000 naira, while a tipper load of gravel sells for 10,000 naira.
The length of the Iron rods you would need depends on the height of the house you are building. Below are some price estimates on Iron Rods.
22mm of iron sell for 5,500 Naira
20mm sell for 3,800 Naira
16mm for 2,550 Naira
12mm for 8,500 naira
8mm for 700 naira
COMMON MISTAKES NIGERIANS ABROAD MAKE WHEN BUILDING A HOUSE IN NIGERIA
Some Nigerians abroad are too trusting - they trust their friends and relatives back home too easily. Little do they realize that people do change when MONEY is involved. The naïve and dependable uncle you left 15 years ago might have been worthy of your trust, BUT this does not mean that he will always be trustworthy since people and circumstances change a lot. He might now be jobless and poor, and instead of using the money you are sending for your dream house, he might be diverting it for his own use.
Solution: There is no harm if you want to trust your relative BUT make sure you have someone to monitor or check on him to ascertain that he is spending the money you are sending for exactly what you asked.
DELEGATING DUTIES WITHOUT FOLLOW-UP
This is the worst thing anybody can do, much less a Nigerian Abroad building a house back home. When you do not follow up on tasks you have delegated, people do not take you seriously and tasks you have assigned ends up not being accomplished. Saying you are too busy is not a valid excuse, if you do not have time to follow up with your relative, friend, estate manager helping you build your house in Nigeria then forget about it. You are just throwing money down the drain. You should follow up every week with them by phone and they should send you a detailed project update by email every week. The project update should include pictures of the house, budget and any crises that might have happened. In addition, have someone else drop by every week to validate what they are telling you.
Solution: If you know that you cannot follow-up on your building project back home, it is better to keep your money in your own bank account for the time being. But if you embark on a project, you must be certain that you have the time to monitor by consistently calling or sending external parties (i.e. people you did not send money to, but can be relied upon to tell you the truth) to monitor the project and report back to you.
NOT USING PROFESSIONALS
Do not use your relative instead of a trained engineer even though your relative will tell you they can perform the tasks of an engineer, that they can drill a borehole. Tell your relatives to hire a professional and follow up to make sure that the professional knows what they are doing.
Solution: The best thing to do when you are trying to build a house in Nigeria is to come home first and hire all the professionals needed for the house. You can even have your friends and relative search for such contractors before you arrive in Nigeria, so that when you get there you are just whittling them down. While you are in Nigeria check the authenticity of the contractors and lay down all the necessary foundation before you hand over the managment of the project to your relatives and head back abroad.
SENDING TOO MUCH MONEY ALL AT ONCE
Because of wanting to make the plan become a reality, Nigerians abroad make another mistake of sending all the money needed for the construction of the house upfront. NEVER do that because most people in Nigeria will be very tempted when they are in charge of $50,000, even less than that amount. If you send a bulk amount at once you are just placing temptation front of them, I do not care how trustworthy the person is.
Solution: Do not send huge sums of money at once. Instead, send the money gradually. For instance, send for the foundation of the building one month, after you have verified that the foundation has been completed, then send the next amount. You can verify this by sending a third party that has nothing to gain by checking if the foundation is in place before sending another amount.
USING PEOPLE YOU RESPECT TOO MUCH
Since most Nigerians are brought up not to talk back or disrespect their elders, it is better to avoid predetermined obstacles by not engaging with your uncles and aunts that you will not be able to question when things do not add up.
Solution: it is money-wise to engage with the right people who would listen and accept whatever suggestions you have.
OTHER HELP TIPS
Do not rely on Photographs alone - photos can be deceiving so let them send you a video as well of the actual construction going on. A digital camera is relatively too easy to come by, so that should not be a problem.
Do not be too secretive - Most Nigerians abroad are often very secretive about their building projects. When they get their brother to handle the projects, they might not inform their father that the brother is handling the project. This has actually caused lots of problems for families. You should ensure that all your family members are aware of the person in charge of your project so each of them could serve as an eye for the other.
Lastly, there is considerable risk in everything that involves money and investments. This is especially true in Nigeria. You should research and ask a million questions before you decide to build a house in Nigeria. You should be ready to have the patience of a saint because things are done slowly in Nigeria, and everyday is a holiday. Be prepared to go to Nigeria and see the construction yourself if you feel that something sounds fishy and you cannot get a straight answer from people. As we all know money is too hard to come by, so why send it down the drain by not doing the diligent follow ups.
Please leave a comment; we would love to hear from you below. Have you had experience or do you know someone building a house in Nigeria?