Our approach to real estate development amidst inflation – Ilori

The housing deficit facing Nigeria has been further hits by severe economic challenges, resulting in increase in building materials. In this interview with HAKEEM ADEGBENRO, a real estate developer, Diamond Ilori dissects what individuals and the government must do to bridge the increasing gap in the housing industry.

How long have you been in the real estate industry?

Despite my relatively young look, I have been in real estate for nearly a decade.  The journey has been a blend of continuous learning, strategic thinking and leveraging my background in sales psychology to close deals and foster lasting client relationships.

Recently, you sold an entire estate of 48 plots in just 13 hours. How were you able to do that?

It was the result of meticulous planning and a well-established client trust. Over 70% of those sales were to existing clients who had experienced success with our previous projects. As an investment banker passionate about wealth-building, I had set up a system where clients are continuously saving and preparing for lucrative opportunities. When this deal arose, they trusted our expertise and seized the chance without hesitation. This approach underscores the importance of building a sustainable business model and nurturing client relationships.

Is that why you are called Wolf of Real Estate?

Indeed, ‘Wolf of Real Estate’ reflects my reputation for being exceptionally skilled in real estate investment and training others in the industry’s secrets. The term ‘wolf’ signifies traits like assertiveness, shrewdness, and strategic thinking, qualities that I embody in navigating complex transactions and securing successful deals. It also speaks of my ethical approach. I am loyal, transparent and committed to my clients’ success, much like a wolf’s loyalty and integrity. I pride myself on not deceiving clients or exploiting their weaknesses but instead guiding them towards wealth and prosperity.

There is naira devaluation, removal of subsidy and floating of the naira. All these are confronting businesses in the country with no exception to real estate. What are you doing differently?

In response to these economic challenges, we are setting a new standards with what I call ‘The Real Estate Business Model’. Our approach ensures clients see returns more rapidly to combat inflation while building assets. Our formula includes store money, invest and evaluate. This is coupled with a continuous cycle of investing, redressing, selling some properties and keeping others, ensuring consistent growth and cash flow. This strategy enables our clients to navigate economic uncertainties effectively, positioning them for long-term financial stability and growth.

What do you think is the future of real estate in the country?

The future of real estate in Nigeria will be shaped by a combination of economic, demographic, technological, and social factors. The future of real estate in the country will be dynamic and influenced by a complex interplay of factors. Stakeholders, including developers, investors, policymakers and consumers would need to stay agile and informed to navigate these changes effectively. Embracing innovation, sustainability, and adaptability would be key to thriving in the evolving real estate landscape.

Amidst the economic hardship, what is your advice to property buyers and Nigerians at large?

Focus more on real estate business rather than just real estate investment. For property buyers, assess financial stability. Ensure you have a clear understanding of your financial situation. Create a budget that accounts for all potential costs, including maintenance, and unexpected expenses. Maintain a robust emergency fund to cover unforeseen financial setbacks without jeopardizing your ability to maintain property payments.

Prioritise affordability by buying within your means. Choose a property that you can comfortably afford without straining your finances. Consider smaller properties that can reduce financial burden and allow you more flexibility in case of economic downturns. Also, focus on value location and growth potential by investing in properties located in areas with strong growth potential, good infrastructure and amenities and are more likely to appreciate in value over time. Ensure the property is well-built and requires minimal immediate repairs or renovations, which can be costly. If purchasing a property seems risky, consider renting in the short term. This can provide flexibility and financial stability while you monitor the economic situation.

Diversify your income sources to reduce reliance on a single job or industry. This can include freelance work, part-time jobs or starting a small business. Consider low-risk investment opportunities to grow your savings.

Diversifying investments can help protect against economic volatility. Educate yourself about personal finance, budgeting, saving and investing. Seek advice from financial advisors to better understand how to manage your finances and investments during economic hardships. For property buyers, focusing on affordability, financial stability and strategic investments is essential. For Nigerians at large, enhancing financial literacy, diversifying income streams and managing costs can help build resilience against economic challenges. By making informed decisions and leveraging available resources, individuals can better withstand economic difficulties and work towards a more secure financial future.