RevolutionPlus Property Development Company is about to paint the town Purple! The celebration of the 8th year anniversary of the company began a few days ago and it’s about to get bigger in the coming days. It’s a celebration that will spread through the month of May.
The Group Managing Director of the company, Dr Bamidele Onalaja and his wife, Mrs Tolulope have been planning to make this year’s anniversary worthwhile, both in Nigeria and abroad. 10th of May, 2022 is the media parley where a lot of achievements would be revealed to the media in their Fola Osibo, Lekki office.
As a matter of fact, RevolutionPlus Property has added a lot to its operation. They have transformed and are better in their real estate dealings and transactions.
One of the things the company has done is the Instant Allocation which still baffles a lot of people. How? Once a client makes full payment on any of the landed property of their choice, that client will be allocated within 48 hours of the payment. They call it RevolutionPlus Instant Allocation. Another thing the company has done is an instant response to their customer’s complaints. They have created a 21st-Century Customer complaints centre. Last week, City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE and ISAAC ABIMBADE, visited their Ikeja office and they both (GMD and GED) told us what they have done in just 8 years of the company. They also revealed the challenges they have faced and how they overcame them.
Below are the excerpts of the interviews.
Congratulations as RevolutionPlus property celebrates its 8th anniversary! How does that make you feel when you look back and see how far you have gone?
RevolutionPlus Property is 8, we thank God! I feel so great. I could remember vividly when I was still working at a mortgage bank, I said to myself that at a point in my life I want to be on my own, and have a business of my own, so that I can impart on people’s lives. And because I had worked with many real estate firms as a banker, which has exposed me to the real estate business. And the best thing for me then was to start my real estate firm.
Eight years down the line, RevolutionPlus has made 9, 500 landlords and still counting. We currently have 8 mega housing projects. We have housing projects in Lekki, Ikoyi, Sangotedo, Bogije, Mowe, Ibadan, and Abeokuta. We are also building in Abuja.
Apart from that, we have indirect people whom we have impacted their lives, our realtors. We have over 5, 000 realtors that sell for us. We also have contractors that make sure these housing projects are delivered on time. RevolutionPlus has been so impactful in the last eight years because we have put food on people’s tables. We have helped the government to reduce unemployment because we have over five hundred staff that we pay their salaries every month. We also have about five thousand realtors that sell for us and take their commissions. In our 9th year, we are going to be expanding to Akwa Ibom, Owerri, Osun, Kaduna and other places where RevolutionPlus should be. We are also looking at how we can develop new 10 projects because, by the time RevolutionPlus is celebrating 10 years, we should have at least done two thousand houses. These are purely developed estates where people live. And at least we should have made fifteen thousand people landlords.
Would you say you have been able to meet all the projections you set for yourself when you started this company?
I would not say I have been able to meet up 100 per cent because, at the beginning of every year, we always have our plan. But we never knew we would be this big. Though we have faith and we pray to God, my wife and I. We were surprised by how God transformed the brand; it was beyond our imagination. Our brand is now global. RevolutionPlus is everywhere.
Despite all that we have done and other real estate firms, the housing deficit is still much higher because of urban migration. The current statistics is not helping housing development at all. And as Chairman of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter, (REDAN), I and my colleagues seek government support to further improve the real estate sector, and also partner government to deliver more houses.
How do you think government can help the players in the sector?
Government must work with the private sector. In every successful economy, Government formulates policies but the government can’t singlehandedly drive the economy. And if any government tries it, it will fail, because the formulation of policies is to support the private sector in a sane environment.
Government has to do more especially in the real estate sector. Take Lagos as an example. The government has promised to give REDAN, an association that I lead, 50 hectares of land to develop in Lagos. He’s promised and we are on it already. It’s going to be like a Joint Venture. We are bringing fund while the government will provide land. And this project will significantly boost real estate and also be a big plus to his tenure in the office, as Governor.
Aside from this, the government should also work on documentation. We have some Deed of Assignments, Governor’s Consents with government, that hasn’t been signed which is running to 3 years. I am talking about my company now. If a consent that shouldn’t take more than 6 months is taking 3 years despite my influence and people I know in the government, what about other developers who are just coming up? I think the government needs to do more on this. But we are still hopeful because the Lagos government has planned to fully go digital this year. The plan is that, within 30 days of applying, you will get it done without going to Alausa. I pray that works. If I’m processing Governor’s Consent that shouldn’t take more than 6 months and it takes 3 years, I’m losing money.
How have you been able to overcome some of the challenges in the last 8 years of the company?
The challenges are enormous. I will put it in phases. When we started, one of the challenges we had was Omo-onile. Omo-onile is a major problem in real estate, especially in this business. Finance is secondary. We have seen cases where we had to buy one land 3 times. But the way we deal with them now is different because I understand them more now. Another thing is finance because at RevolutionPlus our finance is now big, so we require more money running into billions to do projects. In the first/second year, we approached some banks to give us loans but they didn’t give us, but they have been coming now that we are doing well. So I will say banks should work more with real estate firms.
Another challenge is the staff. You invest in many staff and before you know it he or she says he wants to go elsewhere after you have invested. Another thing is the government policy. Government policy can ruin any business. There should be ease of doing business. The bottlenecks are too many.
Multiple taxations is another big issue. There are various types of taxes they bring every day. I ask them how much is my profit? The government can’t provide affordable housing and I’m trying to do that, and you are still “killing me” with multiple taxes.
What has been the response to your new initiative Instant Allocation?
It’s a fantastic idea. We thank God we chose that path because there was a brouhaha a few months ago that some people haven’t been allocated. And I keep telling people that there are processes to allocation. When you buy land you will also pay some statutory fees. If a plot of land costs #1 million for instance, there are some statutory fees like Survey, Deed Of Assignment and Developmental Fees, that you must pay before you get your land. And this is how other real estate companies operate.
Let me tell you this, one of our estates 2 years when RevolutionPlus started, we allocated them without developmental fees. As I speak with you now, they are owing us #3.6 billion. Some of them have been developing their houses but when we approach them to pay, they would say they would pay when they have finished building, so it has become a lesson for us. Some people have made their deposit and they won’t come back after 3 years and when you ask them they would say the marketer that sold for them said they can pay up at any time. That’s why we introduced instant allocation. Our instant allocation is within 48 hours of full payment. So we are committed to making sure the brand stays afloat to be the best among its contemporaries. Don’t forget RevolutionPlus Property won the award as Most Trusted Real Estate company.
What is your assessment of how real estate has performed this year knowing that it’s a pre-election year?
Last year, the real estate industry was the fourth contributor to the GDP of Nigeria. What we are working on in the next 2-3 years, is to make real estate No1 or second, at least. Real estate has performed well this year but it can be better. From my assessment and as Chairman of Lagos REDAN, I discovered that more houses are being built and there is more money in circulation. One of the best years in the real estate sector was the year 2020 during Covid-19. Almost everybody wanted a house and as such, many investors put their money into real estate. The same thing happening now. There was a bit of slowness in 2021, but now we are back.
How true is it that your company RevolutionPlus started fencing the estate, especially in the Ibeju-Lekki axis?
When we started selling land in Ibeju-Lekki six years ago, other developers there weren’t fencing their estates. We started fencing our estates; we brought the idea of fencing the estate. Lekki Royal Garden, Lekki Crystal Garden and Lekki Rose. Those are our 3 estates in Oshoroko, Ibeju-Lekki. Immediately we started fencing, other real estate firms started fencing as well. And they were there before us. When we brought the idea, everybody keyed into it.
In the last few months, RevolutionPlus has added a lot to its operation, can you share with us some of these things?
We now have 24 hours call centre, where we have people that will speak English, Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa. They will answer you professionally. One of the complaints we usually get is that we don’t communicate enough, now we bombard them with emails. Now our clients are happier.
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