Ibukun Adebayo-Adedayo, CEO of Rock Realty Limited and Today’s Bukka, is a successful businesswoman whose passion is to train the next generation of tremendously successful women in the real estate industry in Africa to show this success as a woman in the real estate space is possible. In this interview with MARY NNAH, she talks about her vision to redefine the industry and how women and youth can transform the industry
You are very passionate about middle income people who own their homes quite early in life. What fueled this passion?
My passion for middle income property started when I was an employee. I was earning considerably well, I had a good official car, I could go on summer vacation with my children, I lived well, I ate well, etc. that I have deposited a significant amount of funds in advance; that I didn’t have. Payment requirements weren’t in sync with my income model. As much as I wanted to own a home, home ownership has become a mirage. I only got my first home when I started working for myself and was able to withdraw funds in bulk through business transactions. Fast forward to starting my real estate company, we decided to focus on middle income real estate and our passion is constantly helping middle income people access homeownership, using strategies that range from pair with the income and revenue model.
You are a doctor turned real estate agent, what do you think of this change?
Rule n ° 1; pursue your constructive passions once you recognize them. However, I always look forward to doing a lot of things that affect my primary education as a doctor. Some of them include niche projects related to the medical sector, such as massive constructions of hospitals, medical villages where doctors could buy their houses at a reduced price, etc. So, yes, I changed careers but I still intend to change hats over the years with this type of medical project.
You have not only become a successful real estate agent but also a vision breeder, especially for women in this industry. How do you plan to help women become more successful in the Nigerian real estate industry?
I am currently working with my team for the official launch of WIRE Africa (Women in Real Estate, Africa) in Q4 2021. The official launch was originally scheduled for November 2020, but the realities of COVID-19 have caused a delay in the start. However, plans are currently underway to ensure this initiative kicks off effectively in the coming weeks. I urge women in real estate to pay attention to the details in the next quarter.
The main motivation for WIRE Africa is summed up in TD Jakes’ statement to the next generation calling on players from different industries to stand up and take the bull by the horns and produce a model of success for the successive generations still behind them.
WIRE Africa is an association that seeks to train the next generation of tremendously successful women in the real estate industry in Africa who would walk on the foundation laid by women who have shown that success as a woman in the real estate space is possible. The focus would be on current young women who operate businesses in the real estate value chain – real estate development, real estate transaction advice, real estate legal advice, real estate marketing advice, architecture, real estate marketing, mortgage brokerage, real estate valuation and real estate brand.
The goal is to create a platform that empowers, educates and enables women to collaborate in the industry to foster a culture of success for women in real estate in Africa, starting with Nigeria.
In addition to your success in real estate and properties, you are also a restaurateur and motivational speaker. How did you manage to combine all of this smoothly?
It’s all about structure! I have set up business structures that allow my businesses to operate efficiently without my having to be there 24/7. This is the time for me to salute the members of my teams who work tirelessly to ensure the success of organizations. It’s amazing how hard working and smart they are; whether I’m there or not. On this one, the honors go to my teams! They were phenomenal. When I count my blessings, I count them twice.
The real estate industry has become lucrative, it seems more saturated, so how did you stand out with your brand?
First, the real estate sector in Nigeria is not saturated. The singular reason is this; if you compare the number of houses built to the number of houses that should be built per year, to cover the deficit of over 20 million homes in the country, you will find that we are not even scratching the surface of the clawback numbers. However, there has to be a redistribution of customer focus. We need more developers moving into housing for lower middle income households and affordable housing; this is where the big numbers for the “housing deficit” lie.
Today, we have been able to differentiate ourselves by offering suitable home buying solutions at an affordable price for the middle income earner. This business strategy sets us apart in a blue ocean and we have our target market; which requires this tailor-made service. This is the average for upward mobile professionals, for most Gen Y and Z.
The country’s economy has not been favorable, especially for players in this sector. What is the fate of real estate agents as the prices of building materials skyrocket?
Inflation in Nigeria at 17.93% (March 2021) coupled with the devaluation of the Naira presents a challenge for most industries and not just the real estate sector. However, a major problem for real estate developers is the fact that many projects that had been sold at certain prices to buyers have now been negatively impacted by rising prices for building materials. This reduces expected profit margins and, in some cases, throws projects into loss-making transactions. Some promoters therefore had to resort to sending notices of upward price revision to their buyers; because it is the only way for them to cover the costs and carry out the projects. Ultimately, every time the prices of building materials go up, the prices of homes and commercial real estate go up in tandem. Therefore, we expect real estate prices to rise over the next 12-36 months and the market will eventually self-regulate.
You seem to be a workaholic. How do you relax?
I need to do a little more work on personal hobbies! I have to remember that I need a rest every now and then. However, for now, my best “relaxation strategy” is to go to the spa for a good massage. I’m literally used to it. It calms my nerves. Other than that, my hobbies are singing to myself (very loudly) and reading.
You have just marked 40 years, would you say that you have achieved your dreams and what are your aspirations for the future?
I would say God has been faithful to me. As for aspirations, the next decade is all about consolidating and maximizing opportunity as I move into my 50s. Additionally, I would strengthen my focus on giving back to my world, especially focusing on the young women who follow; by consciously demonstrating a pattern that they can also replicate as they climb the ladder of success. Above all, as I always have, I presented my written goals to God, who has always been the author of his direction and help as I continue to execute the strategies that he has placed in my heart. .