NatanelFlorens Limited prides itself as the firm that pioneered rent-to-own initiative and the only company that does not require equity contribution or charge interest on payments made by investors I the scheme. It is a plug and play mode; you pay your rent and at the end of the specified period, the apartment is yours.
In addition to this, the firm has come up with an advisory tool called ‘Talk-to-Andre’, which is a free channel for everybody to get useful tips before making comment s on property purchase, sale or lease.
Talk-to-Andre was presented by a team of NatanelFlorens’ official: Executive Director, Mr. Yinka Daramola; Technical Director, Mr. Wasserman; Executive Director, Mr. Oguche Agudah; and Head Finance, Ms. Bolaji Makanjuola, at a Press conference in Lagos recently.
Daramola said that despite the fact that there are 13.6 million units of home in the country; about 11.5 of the number are rented homes. “So, it goes to show that most Nigerians working in the streets today don’t have properties of their own; they are renting. The truth is that most Nigerians have lost hope because the means to acquire assets is not there. Nigerians don’t have access to mortgage neither is it affordable, and we have seen instances where people have waited 15 years, trying to save to build a home; it is a major challenge in Nigeria and we thought that there must be a way out and that was what actually gave birth to NatanelFlorens”.
The mandate, he said was to ensure that they assisted in reducing the high rate of inability to own houses by at least a per cent in the next 10 years. “The figures are huge, but we have started because, as we speak, we have 500-600 units that we have acquired through developers scheme and close to 90 per cent of these have tenants. What gives us joy is to see the smiles on the faces of Nigerians who never thought they could own homes of their own being given keys and moving into their apartments through our rent-to-own scheme by paying rent through a 15 to 20 year period”.
He said they started rent-to-own in the real sense of the word and that their mission was to blaze the rail for others to follow, adding “today, we have people who have also followed that trail. However, they still have not been able to deliver as good as ours because their scheme still comes with some elements of interests. Ours is zero per cent interest, no equity contribution and the rate remains flat for the tenure of that transaction”.
Another trail-blazing initiative of NatanelFlorens, Daramola introduced is Talk-to-Andre, which he said was the first of its kind and that they believed it would go a long way in reinforcing their beliefs, vision and their essence as a premier real estate development and advisory firm in Nigeria.
About Talk-to-Andre, he said “Before you make any property decision; whether you want to buy or rent, Talk-to-Andre and Andre is NatanelFlorens. What we are offering the public is free property advice. You can say I have X amount of money to invest in property but I don’t know how to go about it. We offer hassle-free investments and above make returns. Property is the only asset that is recession-proof. It is a hedge against recession”.
There are financial gains in rent-to-own. Daramola said, “First of all, we believe that all gainfully employed Nigerian have a right to own their own property with ease. In a country where 85% of Nigerians are tenants, there is indeed a cause for worry. The truth is that this high rental figure is a testimony to the large pool of people below the “rich” line. Without your own house, the propensity to create wealth is zero. Owning your own home is an important factor to wealth creation. Rent-Own-EarnTM is NatanelFlorens wealth creation version of Rent-to-own. It is being able to live in the property you want to acquire, pay a yearly rent and after a period, certain the property becomes yours.
“So, with NF’s Rent-Own-EarnTM, you can Rent and own your property after a period certain and thereafter start earning an income while still living in the apartment (This only happens after you have fully discharged your obligations and now own the property). This is likened to convertible long tenancy where the house fully reverts back to the tenant after the leasehold tenure on the land. This also allows property owners to earn free income for the tenor of the Title leasehold”.
He said the reception from the public has been overwhelming. And I mean that with all sense of responsibility. That however is not farfetched, in an environment where the average middle class Nigerian takes like 5-8 years to develop his property, in those 5-8 years; he is still paying rent somewhere else and struggling to complete his own. Isn’t that like double wahala? (Apologies to Fela). Its therefore pretty easy for Nigerians to deduce that it makes more sense to pay your rent in a property that you can own, live there and after a certain period of between 10-20 years, it becomes yours.
Let me tell you something that happened last year when we introduced a 30 unit estate to the public through our rent-to-own proposition. In 36hrs, all the 30 units had been paid for. This has been the reaction every time we put properties on sale through the scheme. Today, we have assets taken up by our off-takers across 10 or more estates in Lagos. We are building another 250 units in Lagos and also a sizable number in Abuja. Our intention is to go into other states as soon as possible. Our fulfillment comes from seeing the joy on the faces of our prospective homeowners and their prayers for us keeps us at NatanelFlorens motivated to help in reducing the housing deficit by half over the next 20 years.
Impact on real estate sector…
According to Daramola, the impact is already being felt in the real estate sector across ‘clusters’. “The developers are excited about our offer, that hitherto lying down unoccupied. We have had to deal with developers because no matter how much NatanelFlorens develops we can’t bridge that huge housing gap. Developers also have discovered that to get themselves out of sitting on assets that are ‘idle’and without off-takers, it will make more sense to collaborate with an institution that has the capability of providing off-takers as well as funding to eventually pay them off.
“In the case of government, we strongly believe that this is about the only answer to the housing challenge we find ourselves in. Renting to own is a convenient, hassle-free option of owning your own property. Government’s intention as always is to provide shelter for its citizenry and every government wants to do this without imposing burdens on its citizens. We therefore believe there is a DNA match in NatanelFlorens intention and that of government. We are currently in discussions with some state governments who believe this is the way forward”.
He said being a composite real estate advisory and development firm means we are able to offer end to end solutions to our clients as regards properties. “We develop at a cost that is clearly the lowest in this part of the world due to our procurement capabilities. We rent out these developed properties through our Rent-to-own proposition and also offer advisory services to property owners in a bid to get them to optimize the yield/return they get from their properties.
By Bennett Oghifo