Pastor Olumide Emmanuel is widely known as the common sense guru. A highly sought-after motivational speaker and wealth creation expert, he is also the front man of Calvary Bible Church. Endowed with multiple grace, the author of the best selling books, Path Way To Wealth and School Of Money as well as Chairman/CEO of the Common Sense Group (with interest in real estate, oil and gas, travel and tours, publishing, consulting, training, etc) played host to YES INTERNATIONAL! Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, AZUH ARINZE, on Friday, November 1, 2013, at their corporate headquarters on Ajanaku Street, Awuse Estate, in Opebi, Ikeja, Lagos. Unlike our first encounter, the thrust of this second interview is basically real estate and how one can profit from it. Enjoy…
Real estate or property, as some people will like to call it, is owning a piece of land or a piece of property on a piece of land. The land itself is the real estate, but whatever is on the land belongs to the land. So, invariably, everything on the land belongs to the land. You can’t put something on the land and say this house is my own, but the land is your own. No! There must be an arrangement to know that the land is the owner of everything on the land. So, whosoever owns the land owns whatever is on the land. And then on the land, you can have private or residential property and for different purposes. Real estate for me is the only real investment, because when you look at all the vehicles of wealth creation, real estate is the only vehicle that does not only create wealth, but retains wealth. So, it’s a wealth creation and wealth retention vehicle and that is one of the things that makes it unique.
Why must people be interested in real estate?
I believe very strongly that people should be interested in real estate because of the numerous advantages that it has. Real estate is one of the very few investments on earth today that continues to appreciate of its own accord; without any extra input from the owner. If you buy a piece of land right now and you don’t do anything on the land, it does not reduce in value; it continues to increase in value, even though you’ve not done anything on the land. If you build a property today and put tenants there, the property, plus the land, will continue to appreciate in value. You can’t say the same thing with the stock market, you can’t say the same thing with businesses, because stock market can crash, businesses can go bankrupt, but real estate does not crash. And when I say real estate does not crash, I say that with all seriousness because when people hear me say that, they say ah-ah! What do you mean? But properties crashed in America. No, no, no. It was debt that crashed, not the property. Because if you really understand the real estate of the western world, you will discover that it is a debt-financed economy. So, the land did not change in price, the house did not change in price; it was the price they were manipulating on paper to make money that crashed. So, when they said property crashed in the western world, it’s because water has found its level, because of the manipulation of people; because if you go into a cash society, then you will realize that properties don’t really crash.
Well, that’s true. But the huge investment is a once-in-a-lifetime investment. If you are able to labour and labour and buy a land; you labour and labour and build a house, you can live in that house for the next 200 years, 300 years. It’s your house; it’s a life time thing. You will live there, your children will live there, your grand children will live there. The same house, the same investment. So, that’s why. Even though it’s a very, very capital-intensive project, it’ll be worth it over a period of time. There are properties that were bought in the 70s, in the 50s, in the 60s and people are still paying rent on then today. So, it’s worth it. But what people should look at also is the opportunity that gives them an ability to plug into real estate on an instalmental or convenient basis. So, if you have a co-operative society that gives you an opportunity to do that; you are part of a club or staff members that gives you an opportunity to do that or you have reputable companies that come up with products that do that, which is one of the things that we do, then you can plug into that because really, it’s supposed to be the government’s responsibility to create the infrastructure and an enabling environment for the citizens to be able to have houses at affordable rates. For instance, I’ve got offices all over the world. In my offices abroad, I don’t pay rent per annum. My UK office pays rent per month; in Italy, it’s the same thing. So, all my offices all over the world, we pay rent per month. But in Nigeria, you pay rent 2 years, 3 years. But you don’t collect your salary 2 years, 3 years. That’s part of the reason we have corruption in the society, because when people earn money on a monthly basis, they need to pay rent on an annual basis. Where do they get the money from? So, they must look for other ways and those are part of the things fuelling corruption. If somebody is working in an organization and the person realizes that okay, I’m working, but 30 percent of my salary can give me a house over a 5-10-15 year period, it will be okay for them. In every developed society, the government works with private organizations to create an opportunity for low-cost housing and people don’t pay more than 30 percent of their income to own the houses.
What is the easiest way for one to build a house?
Well, for one to build a house, I tell people that there are two ways. No. 1 – you can decide to start by realizing that all you need is a piece of land. Not a plot; a piece. So, forget about size. Just have enough size to give you what you desire to start with. And when I say to start with; if you have a young family, 2-3 bedroom bungalow is enough for anybody to start with. Even 1-bedroom bungalow is enough for anybody to start with. You can grow from there. There is nothing that says you must stay in a particular house forever. So, you can start with land ownership and then you do that over a period of time. Once you have the land, the next thing is to begin to build the house over a period of time. Most of our parents and most of the people that have houses built their houses over a period of 2-10 years. It may look too much, but at the end of the day, after 5 years, 6 years, you own the house, you pack in and you are free forever. So, people should start by looking for land that can fit into their schedule of finance, and then once they own the land that can fit into their schedule of finance, they can now look at owning a house by building. As at today, a bag of cement is less than N2000. It’s about N1650, N1700. A block is between N90 to N100. So, that means that with as little as N10,000, you can start something on your building, because with N10,000, you can have about six or seven bags of cement; with N10,000 you can have almost 80 or 90 blocks.
So, you will be amazed at what that can do. And if you begin to put something together almost every month, once you get your salary in a month, you separate something, and before you know it, every three, three months, you can gather N50, N60,000 to go and do something meaningful on your land. Before you know it, if you gather money on a quarterly basis, you can start and within one year, you would have taken it to an appreciable level. And before you know it, it is completed. Once you have a project that you are focusing on, you will be more disciplined and more focused about your finances and a lot of unnecessary expenses and areas of excesses will be curtailed, because you have a vision.
So, why do most people still find it difficult to build houses of their own?
It’s a function of a lot of things. No. 1 is their mind set. A lot of people just believe that home ownership, house ownership, land ownership is for rich people. A lot of people have this mind set of ‘no be for people like us’. We are too poor. That’s the first thing. No. 2 is their association. You will discover that a lot of tenants have tenant-friends. A lot of landlords have landlord-friends. When you move with people that are not going anywhere, you won’t go anywhere too. So, the first one is the mind set of people – oh, no be people like us dey build; oh, land is expensive; oh, Omo Onile (land owners) problem. Mind set can be broken into ten areas. Mind set of I’m not qualified, mind set of it’s too expensive to own, mind set of there is no genuine land, Omo Onile can come tomorrow, mind set of when I have the money I will just buy a house. There are ten different mind sets that time will not permit us to go into. No. 2 is the association. They move with people that validate that negative paradigm and mind set; that tell you ah, don’t worry, once I just hit it big, I will just buy a house; ah, building houses is too stressful; I will just buy a house and that’s what their grandfather said, that’s what their father said, that’s what they are saying. So, one way or the other, most of the time, what we call generational curses is generational foolishness and generational ignorance that is passed down from one generation to the other. But if you see people that grew up in a family where their parents had houses and their grandparents had houses and they saw their parents build houses with ease, they will be able to flow with that because they have a track record. No. 1 is the mind set, No. 2 is their association. If you are moving with people that are building houses; peer pressure is positive and negative. If for instance you have four friends; the first one built, you went for house warming; second one built, before you know it you will be telling yourself ah, omo, wetin dey do me? Make una help me find half plot o! That’s how it works. But when everybody you are moving with is talking about: I have seen a new house, self contain, it’s beautiful, ah, let’s pack to that area; oh, this one, they have water; they are forever moving from one house to another, thinking that they are moving forward. But it doesn’t work like that. So, that’s No. 2. No. 3 is the fact that the opportunities are not there for them to see. If the same way we see adverts of telecom companies, the same way we see those of drinks, the same way we see those of musicians; if in that same way there’s publicity on a weekly basis on all the radio stations, all the TV stations, all the media houses; houses for sale in this place; N2 million per house and they are hearing, before you know it, everybody will be interested. When we started the GSM 11 years ago, many people never thought they could own a phone. But with a barrage of adverts, people started saying me sef I fit buy handset. Handsets N2000, N5000. So, if they begin to see houses the same way they are seeing all these things, they will just say N2 million, ah, I can work towards that. Because what you see determines what you desire. But since the government is not there to do a lot of that, the people are not able to do that. And then N0. 4 – a lot of people don’t even have a vision for their lives. Lack of vision makes a lot of people to just leave their lives to chance. Whatever will be will be. But one thing people need to understand is that nobody will plan your life for you if you don’t plan it. So, if you don’t have a vision to transform your life, to own a home, to live a better life, it won’t work for you. That’s the difference with what they call the American dream. When people talk about the American dream, there’s really nowhere they wrote it down that this is the American dream. The American dream simply means anybody that comes into America, you have a chance to be able to live a better life. That’s just the dream. It’s just that when you come in there, there’s liberty; you can be the best you can be, to own a home, have a car and live well.
There are different ways you can make money from real estate. It depends on what you do for a living and how far you wanna go. But what I advise people to do is No. 1 – before you ever want to make money from anything, get educated first. Do everything you can to be informed, because if you are not informed, you will be deformed; if you are not inspired, you will expire; if you are not updated you will be outdated. So, if you have accurate information, it will help you, because it’s only information that leads to transformation. What you know determines how far you will go. If you just jump into something because everyone is doing it, you may end up losing, even though there is profit there. So, get information first. Then, decide what kind of investment you want to go into. Do I want to be buying land and selling land? Do I want to be building houses and renting them out? Do I want to be building shopping complexes or hotels or schools? You have to decide because you can make money in different ways – either by buying land to sell or by buying a dilapidated house, you renovate it and rent it out or you sell or by buying a land when they are just building an estate, when they complete it, you sell or by buying a property to rent out. So, there are different dimensions. We have a real estate master class CD that can take people through the entire process. For people that are interested in real estate, we have training for them, from one day to one week. It depends on what they want to go into…
When and how did you get involved with real estate?
I bought my first plot of land in 2001. My own journey really began with my frustration about 16/17 years ago. I became frustrated about the way my life was going and I decided to find out what it takes to become rich and wealthy. That experience, that encounter, that desire led me into 8 months of research. For 8 months, I was just doing all the studies I could; studying the biographies of the rich on all the continents of the earth. I wanted to find out the rich individuals, the rich families, the rich companies; how did they start, how did they become wealthy? What did they do? And I realized that it’s the same thing that everybody has done. There’s nothing different. People just get financial intelligence, they have a plan, they stick to their plan and they are disciplined to make sure that they keep to their plan. Most of the things I learnt during those 8 months are the things I have in my books, The Pathway To Wealth and The School Of Money. What I realized is that over 80 percent of rich and wealthy people have their money or their investments in at least four different things – No. 1 is the capital market; No. 2 is the real estate; No. 3 is business; No. 4 is intellectual property. So, if over 80 percent of the rich people have their money in real estate, that tells you that real estate is good. So, I decided to follow suit. Because what you need to do to become a champion is to do what champions do. If you have a baby elephant, all the baby elephant needs to do to become a big elephant is to continue to eat what the big elephant eats. So, I said okay, if this is what these guys have done to get there, let me do the same thing, and that’s how I started in 2001 with my first plot of land.
I did not buy because that was when I got to know; I had known but I kept having the same mind set of no, no, no; there’s no genuine land anywhere. I had the same problem and that’s why I know what people are going through. So, between 1995 and 2001, that’s almost 6 years. Then, the people I was moving with; we were all struggling. So, is it land you want to be talking about when you have not even eaten? But something major happened, I think around March 2001. In year 2000, there was an estate that was started in the Lekki axis. Because one thing about me is that whatever I know, I teach people. So, I’ve been teaching people. Even though I didn’t buy, I was telling people: Buy land, buy land. I didn’t buy o! But I was telling people. So, in year 2000, early 2000, there’s a land they were selling and a friend called me and said look, you are a man of God, I’m a man of God. Somebody in my church has introduced a business to me. He just acquired some acres of land and now we are selling. We want to sell to Christians. It’s N150,000 per plot in Lekki. I said no problem, that I will look into it and also get other people involved. I had over N500,000 in my account. I could have bought three plots with ease. I trusted them. I knew it was genuine. But one way or the other I just felt I would do it later. Procrastination! But I was telling people. Ah, they are selling land o; give them the phone number. In March 2001, I was in a filling station trying to buy fuel, I think around Gbagada. And a young man parked and saw me and said God bless you sir; just ran, opened his booth, brought out a cheque and said what name should I write? I said hello!!! I later said my name is Olumide Emmanuel, so he wrote a cheque and gave me a very fat cheque. I was like what’s this for? He said you have helped my life. He said I was in the printing press about 9 months ago when you were telling us about the land they were selling in Lekki for N150,000. I was there; you gave us the phone number and he said I bought 3 plots of land from those people. He said now, one plot is N900,000. Within 9 months! From N150,000, it went to N900,000. And he said I’ve sold 2 plots and I’ve almost completed my house on one. I’m packing in this December. I will be doing Christmas in my house. You made me a landlord. He now said: oga, I know you must have like three or four acres in that estate. I couldn’t say yes or no. I just collected the cheque from him and sincerely I wept. When I got into the car I was like is this how foolish people can be? That you will be leading people to a place and you are not going there. By the time I later called my friend, he said ah, the land is now N900,000, but it’s not even available. Although some people are selling their own N1.1m or N1.2m. I now told myself, from today, any opportunity I have to buy land, I will not reject it. Then, in October 2001, I went to Abuja to speak in a major conference and that’s how I bought my first plot of land in Abuja. I came back, that same year, I bought in Lagos, in the same Lekki area. The land I bought then, I bought it for N200,000. But I ended up selling it for some good money. So, that’s the way I started. One plot here, one plot there until 2005 when I now had the opportunity to go into estate development. I thought if I had been buying, other people also need to buy from me. That’s how we started the estates.
Right now, we have about five different estates all over the country. We started with what we call the Dream City Estate in Ikorodu. It’s a 70-acre estate, with C of O, government approved layout, fully fenced. We have houses there now that we are selling. That was bought in 2005. Followed by the Dove Estate. Dove Estate is a 43-acre estate in Ofada; also fully fenced with government approved layout. That was the second one. Followed by the Genesis Estate in Abuja, New Karo. That’s also another 70-acre estate. We are fencing that right now. That was followed by the Eagle Estate in Agbara Atan Ota. We have Eagle Estate Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3. Phase 1 is 40 acres; phase 2 and 3 is a combination of 198 acres. We also have in Port-Harcourt, it’s called Selah Estate. It’s in its infancy. So, that’s the different estates we have. Our mission is to make genuine and affordable lands and houses available to interested subscribers, to bridge that gap of fake land, that gap of Omo Onile problem. We carry all that load, so that people can be able to have a peace of mind to buy land or buy houses.
One of the estates (Dream City) is going to be officially opened on November 16 in Ikorodu, Lagos, can you tell us about it?
It’s called the Dream City Estate; it’s a 70-acre estate and we have about 574 plots available in that estate. We have sold over 300 plots. They are both residential and commercial. But as a company, we have about 120 plots that belong to the company that we reserved for building a 100-housing unit estate. So, what we have done right now is, even though people have not developed their own plots as we expected, we have now taken our own land and we have started developing the 100-housing unit estate. The 100-housing units will be made up of 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom bungalows in detached, semi-detached and terrace styles. So, what we are opening is the first phase of that 100-housing units. We did ten. Once we open it now, people can start buying. We have laid the foundation of 50 of the bungalows; we have completed ten prototype houses so that people can see what the houses will look like and then as people begin to come on board, with different payment plans, we can develop more. But the people that are ready to pay cash and out rightly can pay and pack into the ten. Then, those that want to pay instalmentally, we can continue the other ones for them and that’s what we are opening. So, on the 16th of November, we are doing the official launch of the first phase of the 100 housing units.
The 1-bedroom begins from N3 million, because they come in detached, semi-detached and terrace. So, the N3 million is for the terrace. But if somebody now says they want the semi-detached or they want a detached, the prices will now begin to go up in the multitude of N500,000; it can be N3.5 or N4 million. But for now, the 1-bedroom that we’ve completed, each of them is going for N3 million. That’s the introductory price. Room, parlour, kitchen, toilet and bathroom and a little space where they can park two cars. So, they have their parking space, paving stone; water is available, light is available, there’s also a free shuttle bus. It’s just an amazing place.
How about the 2-bedroom bungalows?
For 2-bedroom, the introductory price is N4.5 million. Because right now, what we have is the semi-detached 2-bedroom. But if somebody now says I want a detached 2-bedroom, then that will be from N5 million upward. But what we have now is for N4.5 million that people can pay for and pack in immediately…
We have 3-bedroom for N5.5 million. It’s also semi-detached. But if you want a detached, then we are talking of N6 million upwards. For the 3-bedroom, the master’s bedroom is ensuite. Then, the two other bedrooms share one toilet and one bathroom. But if people want all the rooms to be ensuite, we can do that, but the price will move to N6.5 million and N7 million. So, it’s all a function of what one wants. We can even have a customized house for you; POP. We can do all that.
Why should people partake in the Dream City Estate project?
The reason is because, No. 1-it is genuine; No. 2-it is of high quality; No. 3-it is affordable; No. 4-it is a good investment; No. 5- it has unique facilities and features that will help people and it is something that has a good payment plan also for people that cannot pay outrightly to own their houses. I think it is just an opportunity that people should take advantage of. Because one thing about life is that opportunity doesn’t wait for people. It’s either you take advantage of it or it moves on and goes to somebody that is ready. So, I believe it’s a good opportunity for people to plug into and they will be glad they did.
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