Umoh Blessing Bassey, a real estate consultant with Lagos-based Now Haven Properties, has shed light on a concerning issue faced by many prospective buyers in Nigeria’s real estate market.
It’s a situation where hopeful property buyers, sometimes based overseas, delegate the viewing and negotiation of their potential dream home to family members or legal representatives.
While in theory, this should smooth the process, it often leads to complications due to miscommunication, uninformed decisions, and sometimes outright fraud.
“My goal is to deliver unmatched service experience to our clients whilst helping them find the ideal home at their choicest location,” Blessing said.
But achieving this objective is becoming increasingly complicated due to the interplay of underinformed representatives and unscrupulous property agents.
“In a perfect world, having a family member or a lawyer on the ground to handle things can be a blessing,” she explains. But unfortunately, reality can often be far from ideal.
“We’ve seen cases where the relative takes advantage of the buyer’s trust and their lack of local knowledge. Some of them see it as an opportunity to make some money for themselves. They might negotiate a higher price with the seller, then report a lower one to the buyer and pocket the difference.”
It’s not just the relatives that can be the problem. There’s also the issue of dubious real estate agents who, either through ignorance or malice, fail to follow the proper protocols for property transactions. “Some agents are just not well informed. They don’t know or don’t care about the proper procedures, and they’re only too happy to go along with these dubious transactions,” she said
“The results can be disastrous. The buyer ends up paying more than they should, they might not get the property they thought they were buying, or they could even end up with no property at all and a lot of lost money.”
The Nigerian real estate industry has been grappling with these issues for some time now, and while reforms are underway, Blessing believes that more needs to be done. “We need better education for agents, stricter regulation, and more transparent processes. We also need to raise awareness among buyers so they understand the risks and know how to protect themselves.”
Meanwhile, she’s doing her part to combat these issues at Now Haven Properties. “We are contactable around the clock, we are client-focused, and we are extremely bold when negotiating the best deals for you. We work for our clients, not the market,” she asserts.
Her advice to aspiring professionals in her field is simple but profound: “Don’t let anyone pressure you.” It’s a motto that would serve well not just for those working in real estate, but also for the buyers navigating the pitfalls of the Nigerian property market.
As we wait for industry-wide reforms, the onus falls on individuals like Umoh Blessing Bassey and companies like Now Haven Properties to uphold ethical practices and ensure that property buyers can safely achieve their dream of home ownership. After all, as Blessing herself puts it, “our clients’ success is our success.”
Umoh Blessing Bassey may not be able to change the entire industry overnight, but with her determination to uphold best practices and her unyielding focus on her clients’ needs, she’s certainly making a difference in her corner of the market. It’s a difference that her clients, and indeed the wider Nigerian real estate industry, could certainly do with more of.