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Are Women Leading in Real Estate in Lagos?

Although it is safe to say that the majority of property investors which include developers and purchasers of property are still men, the balance is beginning to even out. In my property dealings over the last three years I can honestly say that at least a quarter of developers and home owners have been women. Although this is more visible in Lagos State, there are more women property developers than we realize, in towns and villages where women build but keep it quiet due to cultural beliefs that women must not be seen to be doing better than men. There are few industries remaining today that have not seen a drastic change in the role that women play, and real estate is certainly not immune to these changes. Historically, women worldwide have been involved in real estate almost since its inception in and its establishment as a legitimate business. In real estate’s early days, women filled office and clerical roles or even stayed at home, but by the 1900s, women were already moving into the roles of agents and brokers, though at a relatively slow rate. In America and the UK women brokers dominate the residential real estate market, but have yet to make a major entrance into the more lucrative commercial market. Some of the most successful realtors in the Asian Commercial property arena have been women

Around the world there has been a noticeable increase in women buying land and developing or even the outright purchase of built homes. This added to the growing statistic of broken marriages and single women becoming more sophisticated in their need for good quality rented accommodation. It appears women are a growing force to be reckoned with both buying and renting. The higher wage earnings commanded by women in the work place has also led to increased purchasing power and spending. One of the largest property developers on the Lagos Island with at least one hundred properties under their belt is a woman. She has perfected the art of building luxury properties that are in high demand for the professional and expatriate community, but she has chosen to keep this quiet.

Some of the most successful heads of Property Company’s in Lagos, are women. Women seem to have an eye for detail and are sensitive to the needs of homeowners and buildings, in a way that men are not. I attended a conference last year for Women in Real Estate and was pleasantly surprised by the amazing turn out of successful women involved in the property industry either directly or indirectly. They spoke about their experiences, failures and successes, encouraging other women who were looking to go into the industry full time or were just back bench investors.

Whilst you will find the majority of women realtors and developers catering more for the residential aspect of the market, there are a few who are testing the commercial market and doing well at it.

Facilities management is an integral aspect of real estate which has been severely overlooked in its impact in property maintenance. All properties need maintenance and usually needs an experienced facilities manager to manage the plumbing, electrics, water treatment, repairs, generators, cleaning, security etc.  These are specialised jobs, but unfortunately some developers and landlords in their supposed quest to cut down on costs, gets a relative or friend to manage their property, not realising that this is a specialist job that without the required skills and training, the person involved will be overwhelmed by the management and repairs and therefore perform poorly with the property eventually falling into disrepair. Most new developments sadly start showing signs of disrepair and neglect within two years of construction. This is mainly due to poor facilities management or even poor construction to begin with. With a lot of construction going on in sand filled areas, proper filling procedures are not followed, leading to the property suffering from cracks and permanent damp walls. More professional training and education is needed in these areas.

Source: BusinessDay – Caroline A. Akinlotan

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