Ibukun Adedayo is a 38-year-old serial Nigeria Entrepreneur; who started earned her first degree in Medicine & Surgery; practiced for a few years as a medical doctorand subsequently forayed into the world of Investment Banking & Investment Management. She currently has over 12 years’ experience spanning investment banking, development finance and transactional advisory services. In her final employment before she launched her Company, she worked at The Infrastructure Bank, a private sector led but public sponsored Development Finance Institution – where she participated extensively in several Project finance transactions that spearheaded major infrastructure developments within the country. Her stint at The Infrastructure Bank culminated in her leading the Real Estate department for many years; from where she developed the passion for spearheading major game-changing initiatives within the real estate industry; especially with regards to middle income real estate investing. She left The Infrastructure Bank to launch a Real Estate Advisory & Development Company called Rock Realty Limited (“Rock Realty”) in 2016. She runs other companies which include Today’s Bukka; an African-themed Nigerian foods restaurant that provides excellent Nigerian cuisine with excellent service that portrays the pampering texture of the African Culture. She also runs Diva Orders; an online shopping platform that provides a stage for vendors to sell female products; and acts as a one-stop shopping location for trendy women. She is happily married to a medical practitioner and they are blessed with three lovely children.
In this interview with The Top10 Magazine, the young entrepreneur, Mrs. Ibukun Adedayo shares the story of her journey from medical practice to her foray into the world of Investment Banking & Investment Management.
Q: Can you give us insight and background into the formation of your company, Rock Realty Ltd, how it all started?
A: Rock Realty was formed out of a passion to see real estate industry participants provide products that would enable middle income earners in Nigeria own their own homes. The passion to see developers build affordably for middle income earners; the drive to push for improvements in mortgage offerings so that this group of people can access it, the desire to educate middle income earners on ways to structure their cashflows to take advantage of home ownership & real estate investing opportunities.
Rock Realty Limited started as a one-man company, and today employs about 12 people directly, and works with an army of over 350 partner real estate agents.
Q: What area of real estate business does your company specialize in?
A: Middle income real estate – we focus building and providing purchase structures that are tailored to the cashflows of middle income real estate. That is real estate solutions for people earning between N3 million and above per annum. We have also started looking at providing monthly rent payment options to clients at and above that income benchmark
Q: Is your entry into the property and real estate business by design, or what were the attractions for your choice?
A: It was painful to see middle income earners in other climes getting homes while the due to constraints within the Nigerian real estate industry, middle income earners are not able to own homes and have to remain in the rental cycle almost perpetually! Also, while some of them are still in the rental cycle, they do not have the requisite savings culture that ensures that they are able to pay their rents at the right time. So we set out to provide solutions that would address some of these and other similar bottlenecks in middle income real estate in Nigeria.
Q: What were the initial challenges and how did you overcome them?
A: The mindset that many middle income earners have that they cannot afford their own homes now; which generally blocks their minds to the option of exploring several initiatives being put together by Rock Realty for home ownership for them. Also, the breakdown of trust within the industry has been a major challenge such that most buyers are skeptical about off-plan purchases; which most of our offerings are hinged.
In light of these, we have done a lot of advocacy and mind-reorientation and there has been significant improvements. We have seen many young upcoming professionals now suddenly realizing “oh, I really can own my home now, if I look for the right payment plans and initiatives that are tailored towards my cashflow pattern; even though I realize that it may require some cashflow sacrifice from me”
Q: The property and real estate is a saturated market, how are you finding your bearing in the face of competition?
A: We have a unique proposition. So for example, we don’t just put up homes and prices, then ask buyers to go figure out how they will raise money. We provide purchase advisory. Sit with out clients; assess their cashflows and work with them to structure bespoke payment plans that would be feasible for them. That distinguishes us in the markets and endears us to our clients; especially those who just never thought home ownership was possible for them anytime soon.
Furthermore, the new “Pay Rent Monthly” platform that we are launching is a big definer for us and we see it becoming a major stand-out factor for Rock Realty Limited out within the industry.
Q: There seems to be a lot of ignorance among the general public about the benefits in real estate investment, how is Rock Realty dealing with this, and what is your message to that potential investor or customer who is not informed about real estate business?
A: You see, real estate investment not only has the benefit of investment returns, but it carries with it the anti-inflationary characteristics, has very strong transgenerational potential (have you heard kids talk about houses their father left for them with so much pride?), has tangibility (the most tangible investment that you can see, hold and feel – I call real estate the “realest investment class”). Finally, it carries with it a very heavy emotional satisfaction factor. When you own real estate, it provides a sense of settlement, sense of accomplishment and an emotional satisfaction that is unquantifiable. One of the ways to bring a heavy investment culture into the Nigerian youthful environment so that the young population doesn’t just maintain a heavy month in – month out spending culture is to encourage real estate investments and home ownership. A gradual shift from the spending culture to an asset acquisition culture.
Q: What do you consider to be the major achievements of Rock Realty since its formation?
A: Helping many middle income earners own homes and blazing the frontier with respect to middle income home ownership initiatives in Nigeria.
Q: A lot of companies engage in different types of initiatives to create incentives for their customers, is there any such things in Rock Realty for your stakeholders, either customers or your workers?
A: Easier payment plans, real estate purchase advisory and our Pay Rent Monthly scheme
Q: What do you have to say about government policies and how it affects your business?
A: The land use act, lending rates, foreclosure laws & rental laws are a few of the bottlenecks that need to be optimized for better real estate performance. However, while we work towards better efficiency as a nation, we at Rock Realty always find it imperative to devise ways to work around the current constraints to achieve phenomenal results.
Q: Finally, what are your plans for the future, anything specific?
A: Our plan for the future is to become the foremost brand for middle income real estate in Nigeria and to change the rental landscape in Nigeria to simulate what happens on more developed climes.
We also plan to provide small ticket investment opportunities for real estate investors who want to start with very minimal capital.
Rock Realty limited is a leading real estate firm in Nigeria. Our services include mortgage brokerage and advisory, real estate development, consultancy and property sale. Our major aim is to work with middle income earners to purchase their first homes and also create real estate income portfolio that is tailored to their income profile in Nigeria and across West-Africa.
Rock Realty is a unique real estate advisory Company which provides both buy side and sell side advisory to players along the real estate value chain. Our services are significantly tailored to the middle class, and we focus on ensuring there are products available for the market; which make home ownership & real estate investments seamlessly achievable for the middle class.
Rock Realty demystifies the phobia that exists in the minds of the young African career-starter which makes them believe that home ownership and real estate investing is only for the very rich.
We work with young career building youths to own their homes, and to invest wisely and strategically in real estate investments. We also provide advisory services to developers to ensure rightly priced products are being provided for the right target market; therefor shortening investment exit timing. In addition, we offer sales advisory and mortgage brokerage services to interested home buyers
Our services are delivered with an impeccable sense of value-addition, business integrity, extreme professionalism & pragmatic solutions.
Our main goal is to satisfy our customers and their businesses. Rock Realty Limited offers numerous services strategically driven to fulfill the needs of our customers. The wide range of services that we offer caters for the individuals as well as for corporate businesses.
Housing for Millennials
Rock Realty provides advisory services to young individuals and families towards home purchase and intentional real estate investments. We further work with these clients by matching them with middle income products within the real estate market which include middle income properties available, mortgage products that align with their needs, structured housing finance products and payment plans that make the ownership of real estate achievable for middle income earners.
Real Estate Development
Rock Realty creates housing developments for millennials; with contemporary designs, manageable spaces, functional utilities and right pricing. Our properties are located within town and are conveniently located with ease of access to major central business districts – where most of our clients work.
Millennial Real Estate Advocacy & Training
Rock Realty provides advisory sessions for staff of corporate organisations and other youth groups on how to begin investments in real estate and home ownership. We seek to gradually begin to re-orientate African youths towards commencing real estate investments early in life and building their real estate portfolio as they build their career.