Oba Adetola Emmanuel King – The ‘King’ of Nigeria’s Real Estate at Adron Homes redefining affordable housing concept

He is the face behind the rave of the moment in Nigeria’s housing sector, Adron Homes and Properties Ltd. Nigerians are familiar with the name, Adron Homes and Properties Limited, the company that has become synonymous with delivery of high quality and affordable houses in the country. But not many know the man behind the brand that has become a regular feature in the country’s real estate sector. In other words, many Nigerians know the company by virtue of its superior service delivery that is complimented by professionally crafted marketing skills that ensure the company remains in the consciousness of Nigerians, but not its owner. That is the way it should be. The brand should go before the brand owner.

Oba Adetola Emmanuel King is the founder of Adron Homes and is also its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He says he was driven into establishing the company by the need to bring affordable houses to the reach of as many Nigerians as possible. This was in full realization of the fact that there is no housing shortage in the high end of the market, but in the low and middle-class bracket where the deficit is more pronounced.

The strategies adopted by Adron Homes to win the hearts of Nigerians are not marketing stunts. They tell the story of a company that is making significant contributions towards reducing the country’s housing deficit that was said by the World Bank to stand at roughly 17 million as at 2013 (current estimates put it at more than 22 million against the background of a burgeoning population that is now estimated to be up to 200 million).

Challenges of house ownership in Nigeria

Provision of housing has become a more challenging issue in Nigeria today than it has ever been. The reasons are not difficult to fathom. The population is rapidly growing. The cost of acquiring houses is increasingly getting out of the reach of the majority of Nigerians in the face of dwindling income. The situation is not made any better by the high cost of acquiring land and the bottlenecks associated with securing titles and certificate of occupancy. There is also the high cost of building materials, which ultimately make acquisition of houses remain a pipe dream to most Nigerians.

it is against this background that Adron Homes appeared on the scene to contribute to the effort to at least reduce the deficit, even it would not be totally eliminated. And in the seven years it has been in existence, the company has made its presence felt in the sector through provision of homes that have not only provided shelter to many people, but have also enabled them to live in houses that meet their tastes.

Concept of affordable homes

King says the concept of affordable homes does not in any way suggest that housing can be cheap, because housing is not cheap in any part of the world. In fact, he admits that housing is expensive, which may be in agreement with the Nigerian proverb that says a good soup is the product of money.

He says the affordability concept in housing delivery is not all about the cost of a house, but the totality of the whole environment that includes roads, schools, hospitals, shopping centres and, in some cases, bridges, as well as a flexible payment system that enables the home owner to pay over a period.

The cheapest house in the stable of Adron Homes is the two-terrain house that goes for N12.5 million. The company considers this affordable when it is taken into the account the fact that a mortgage loan for a three-bedroom bungalow may be up to N15 million.

What has constituted a major hindrance to easy access to house ownership in Nigeria are the stringent conditions mortgage or other finance institutions attach to loan requirements. This has to do chiefly with collateral requirements that many prospective house owners cannot afford to provide in order to access mortgage loans. `

Simplifying housing ownership process

Adron Homes came into the industry with a strategy of not only saving house seekers from the hassles of obtaining mortgage financing. But rather, simplifying the house ownership process with provision of a flexible payment plan that extends between five and 10 years, payable on daily, weekly and monthly basis. The company has found that the daily payment plan works for most Nigerians, many of whom are in the informal sector where they earn daily income. Payment could be as low as from N500 to N1, 000 daily.

There is an assurance of allocations immediately after payment on land and developmental fees are made, which would be an indication of the beneficiary’s readiness to move into site to commence construction work. The company also assures on the genuineness of its documents. There is guarantee of the safety of investments in all Adron Homes estates. Notable also is the fact that its lands are free from the menace of land grabbers and touts popularly called omooniles, in addition to family issues that regularly crop up after what was believed to be genuine transactions have taken place.

King says what sets Adron Homes apart from its competitors is its vision as a focus-driven company with a target to achieve. The company came into the industry with a vision to reduce the country’s housing deficit by 10 per cent in its first 10 years. This would translate into provision of 1.8 million new homes within the period for an estimated 18 million people without homes and based on the calculation of a population of about 170 million people.

The company had 100, 000 subscribers to its products in the first five years. Though the figure was still a far cry from its target, it considered the success a landmark for a company that had been in existence only for that period.

By any standard, the success recorded by Adron Homes within the period of its existence could be described as impressive. This is evident in the rapid increase in its land bank and clientele base.

Such is the rate of the company’s success that when the country was reeling under the effects of recession in 2016 that adversely affected many businesses, it was smiling to the bank as a result of tremendous patronage of its services. The secret behind that success lay in the fact that its services are tailored to meet local demands.

The company has had to grapple with several challenges that include the cost building materials like cement, iron rod, sand and others that are imported. This is in addition to imported labour from neighbouring countries like Benin Republic and other African countries who are often more expensive than their Nigerian counterparts. This naturally adds to the final cost of its products.

King believes with diligent implementation of government’s current economic plans, some of the challenges faced by developers and practitioners in the real estate sector will be greatly reduced. For instance, some Chinese companies have set up shop in Nigeria to produce tiles, which will positively impact on the cost of the material in the country.

The success of Adron Homes is reflected on the rate at which it is expanding. With a strong footing in the South West where its presence is greatly felt, notably in Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states, the company has spread its tentacles to Abuja and is looking in the direction of the South Eastern and northern parts of the country. The aim is to be the reference point in housing delivery in the country.

The company’s estates are scattered in different parts of Lagos and environs. They include Imota Park and Gardens; Rehoboth Park and Gardens Phases 1 and 2; Grandview Park and Grandview series; the Hajj and Strong Tower Estate at Lekki Peninsula. Others are Treasure Park and Gardens; Glass House; City of David Phases 1 and 2, as well as Downtown Estate.

A pan-African company

The country has also set its eyes on other African countries, to reflect its pan-African nature, as well as other parts of the world. It has offices in the United Kingdom, Dubai and the United States where it plans to build a Naija Community Estate on five hectares of land to cater for the housing needs of Nigerians in that country. The estate will be a virtual relocation of Nigeria as a country to the United States because everything that is found in the country will be made available there. Nigerian languages will be spoken, and Nigerian foods and delicacies and attires sold there.

In terms of numbers, Adron Homes has had an impressive run in the real estate business. As at January, 2018, the company had hit an asset base of more than N100 billion – in just under six years. The numbers are rising.

King says the company’s estates are designed to make them have a semblance of such estates In Dubai, with modern amenities that make life comfortable. Those living in it also have the feeling of living in estates outside the country. Its estates are designed to have infrastructures such as good road network compete with good drainage system, adequate security, constant supply of electricity, sports and recreational facilities, restaurants as well as shopping malls for residents.

Marketing strategies

Adron Homes’ success has been due partly to its creative marketing strategies that drive home its unique offerings. The company has a marketing team that takes the search for clients to the streets in branded vehicles that cannot escape the attention of the public. Its marketing staff periodically undergoes trainings in psychology to be able to deal with issues that may arise in their daily interactions with people with diverse characters and mannerisms.

The company also has an annual event called Lemon Da Val party as part of Valentine celebrations for prospective clients. The event features celebrities in the entertainment industry who are its ambassadors.

In 2018, the company gave out free tickets for clients who made an initial deposit of N140, 000 and spread the balance over a period of 14 months to attend the event. For those who made an outright payment for a plot of land, the reward was qualification for a raffle draw to win a set of sofas, king size bed and 100 bags of cement. Purchase of a house won for the owner a 10 per cent discount and a free ticket to attend the Lemon De Val party.

The company also rewards clients with food items during festive periods. In 2015, it gave out over 1, 000 bags of rice to customers and increased the number to over 100, 000 bags in 2016, to reflect the increasing number of its customers.

As a socially responsible organization, Adron Homes gives back to the communities where it does business through provision of amenities such as good roads, potable water and electricity.

Who is Oba Adetola Emmanuel King?

King is a graduate of the Yaba College of Technology with a diploma in estate management. He also holds a master’s degree in housing development and management from the University of Ibadan.

He started the professional journey that would take him to where he is today in 1996 when he joined WEMABOD Estates Limited, Cocoa House, in Ibadan. He later moved to Boameges Estates Limited in 2000 as its property manager. He decided to widen his professionalism by exploring other areas of relevance, especially marketing.

He joined the then Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in 2001 as Senior Manager in Ibadan zone of the company and was there for seven years before moving to SIM Properties and Homes Limited as Assistant General Manager, Estate Marketing and Operations. He was later appointed Executive Director, Evenmore Properties Investment Limited, a position that afforded him opportunity to turn the fortunes of the company around, which manifested in increased sales, growth and expansion. He left Evenmore Properties to set up Adron Homes and Properties Limited. The journey has been from one success to another.

King has a string of traditional titles to show for his contributions to provision of housing in Nigeria, especially from traditional institutions in the South West. He is married to OloriAderonkeOmotola Emmanuel King, his childhood friend who was a banker before resigning to join him in running Adron Homes.

They are blessed with lovely children.