Undaunted, she has added another arm to the Megapraises Group, which is the property arm. We took her up on this and other issues relating to the state of the Nigerian economy and why she had to go into properties right now. She spoke with Bamidele Ogundana. Excerpts.
When did you decide to venture into properties, we have always known you for interior decoration?
I went into properties business about five years ago. That was when we decided that we have to look at another sector of the economy that is very close to what we do and then invest in it. We built our first estate and we have since finished selling same. We have indeed completed our second estate now and that is what we have in the market. The first estate we built, Beracah Court contained thirty six units of 2- bedroom flats which we have sold. We don’t sell in units. We sell in blocks.
The second estate, which we have right now is the Beracah Palms Estate. It is also located in Kuje where the earlier one is located. And I believe the only reason we still have it in our hands is because we are not selling in units also.
We sell in blocks of sixteen flats. The estate is better seen than described. Space is our greatest asset in the buildings so we ensured that each of the units have more than enough of it. Indeed, our living rooms are so embarrassingly large that you would wonder what you would put in to occupy the space.
We learnt from the others. One of the problems with many estates is the finishing. I build to my own taste. I can state categorically that I have high taste and this is reflected in what we have in our estates. The finishings are exquisite. We have extractors in kitchens toilets an everywhere, we have aluminium based net the windows, we heaters that are already functional in the kitchen as well as the toilets. Indeed, the toilet fittings and showers are all backed with long term warranties, don’t forget I deal in all these things ever before venturing into properties. So I know what is good and durable. I know what is flashy but not durable. I know what is cheap but not worth the money at all. From the building to the painting and fittings, we have ensured that our taste for the best is not compromised.
All through the flats have led lights and in the living rooms we have lights that change into three colours. We also have chandeliers in the living rooms. The rooms are all en-suite with guest toilets in all the flats. P.O.P. has also been applied, with the kitchen cabinets and wardrobes tastefully designed.
So how many units do you have in the Beracah Palms Estate?
We have 96 units of 2-bedroom flats and 10/units of 3- bedroom terrace.
Finance has always been an issue with estate owners. Your bankers must have been very lenient with you.
No. We didn’t take anything from the banks. Whatever we got from the interior decoration sector we ploughed into the estates. an it has been so far so good. Don’t forget that we do a lot of importation and what we do is bring in what we need for the houses or estates when we bring other stuff. And so far, God has been good to us.
Many people will wonder why build estates right now when the economy is like this and people’s purchasing power are being reduced.
Well, people need roofs over their heads all the time. At a time when you cannot invest in anything else, you can invest in properties. At a time when you don’t have money, if all you have is a house, you may not be able to afford the other things we sell, like bed. You can move into your house and throw your mattress on the floor and sleep with your family
For us here, investing in properties is perhaps better if you know where we are coming from and with what is happening in the economy right now.