Balogun… Using technology to change real estate in Nigeria
With the use of technology, the firm aims to solve house rent challenges being face by Nigerians, especially in a commercial city like Lagos, by making the process easy and affordable.
In a chat with The Guardian, Balogun informed that the company aims to confront challenges of getting an apartment in Nigeria.
“We started Rent Small Small few months ago after launching our website in June this year.
We started working on the business model and now we’ve kickoff properly and already solving accommodation problems. We believe that accommodation in Nigeria can be made affordable, flexible and convenient.”
Using his experience as an example, he said, “Living outside the country for many years, and experiencing seamless process in getting apartment and finding everything conveniently, only to come back to Nigeria to see that our rental processes is in shambles.
It was shocking to me and I thought we could do better and that was what motivated us to start this. Now we have the platform, the technology and the expertise to make sure people get the best,” he said.
On getting properties for lease, he said, “we can’t go with all the traditional agents because we know a lot of them are all about what they want to earn today.
That’s why we are working with selected agents, who are big time player like Estate Link, and we are partnering with Mansard Insurance to provide insurance for our customers, Furniture Sure, Nedcomoaks, and Rydal News LTD.
But in the long time, we believe that with our referrer programme, anybody that know about us can talk to owner of vacant apartments on their streets and get their share.
We only charge 8% of rent because we want to grow with Nigerians and because we believe in long time gain,” he said.
On why he’s coming with a new strategy in letting apartment where apartment seekers could chose to rent an apartment and pay as they stay, he said, “Our service is for the benefit of both the landlord and the tenant.
On the part of the landlord, he will be guaranteed a steady income throughout the year.”
Rent Small Small model gives high visibility to property in the market, thereby reducing vacancy period. Besides, a tenant could choose to stay for months and could rent with furniture instead of pay for two years.
“We started our operation on the Island but we are extending our service to the Mainland before the end of this month (October). We are about to take over Lagos and six month from now, we will start operation in Abuja.
I’m passionate about real estate especially rental service because it is the first ladder to getting into housing market. Most people start from renting before they own a property.
I started my first company in real estate Unique Edge Management in Thailand and it became a successful company; we expanded from Thailand to the US. But I felt there was more and for me; that more was coming back to Nigeria.
I left the comfort to come to Nigeria in 2015 because I want to solve problems in the real estate sector,” he said.
The graduate of Business Administration from Stanford University, said, “We are trying to use technology to change the rental market in Nigeria.
I found it difficult getting a suitable and affordable apartment when I returned to Nigeria, so, I felt things could be done better.
Few years down the line, I met with my partners and we wanted to solve the problem and change the market; that’s how we came up with RSS,” he said.
The mission of the organisation, he noted, is to make it possible for apartment seekers to conveniently find property at a go, stay within budget and pay rent effectively.
“We want people to be able to pay their rent effectively and decide how they chose to stay; monthly, quarterly or yearly. Whatever is convenient for you; that’s what we are trying to make happen. People should be able to get property and move there within 48 hours.”
Though affordability is relative, Balogun said, “
We realise that tenants in Nigeria are unable to access affordable houses with flexible payment, but there are ways you can go about it.
If you are earning your day to day living on a go, why not pay your rent on a go instead of paying for two years, in addition to agent fee and other fees. We want to stop all that; that’s our mission,” he declared.
Recently launched in Lagos, the introduction of RSS to the real estate business in Nigeria could also be an antidote to solving problems of fake agents, landlord/tenant faceoff, as well eliminate long time arrangement of paying two years advance payment for accommodation.
Just few months after its establishment, the firm has provided apartment to many of its clients especially those on the Island.
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