A Guide to real estate investing

by Counseal Team

Updated November 26, 2023

Real estate has always been a lucrative investment opportunity for individuals and businesses looking to diversify their assets.

With its growing population, expanding economy, and increasing urbanization, Nigeria has emerged as an attractive destination for real estate investments.

However, navigating the Nigerian market can be daunting without proper knowledge and guidance.

In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with key insights into the Nigerian real estate landscape.

Regardless of whether you are in this for the first time or an experienced property owner seeking to expand your portfolio, this guide equips you with actionable information that will position you ahead of the curve when buying into Nigeria’s dynamic real estate sector.


What is real estate investment?

Real estate investments refer to purchasing, owning, managing, renting, or selling land and buildings.

The goal of real estate investing is typically to generate income through rent or appreciation in the value of the property over time.

Real estate investment can take different forms, such as direct ownership of property, buying shares in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), or financing mortgage-backed securities.

Real estate investments have long-term potential for growth. You would, however, require significant capital upfront and be ready to bear some risk.

To be successful, you must be knowledgeable about trends and the legal framework governing ownership and transactions. 

Nigeria’s growing economy and expanding urbanization landscape present a prime opportunity for you, but you must be willing to do proper due diligence before making a decision.

What are the types of Real Estate Investments?

Real estate investments are a popular way to diversify assets and generate income.

They come in different types, including:

Rental Properties

We can diversify rental investment properties into:

  • Residential; and
  • Commercial

Residential properties are single-family homes, multi-unit apartments, and condominiums.

Commercial properties, such as office buildings, retail spaces, and warehouses, also fall into this category of rental properties. 

One of the advantages of investing in rental properties is the appreciation of the property over a period of time, depending on the location and improvements made by the landlord. To Invest in rental properties, you will have to consider its need for active management either by yourself or through a property management company.

Property Development

Property development is simply adding value by maximizing its potential to enhance its market value. It is very similar to land or house flipping.

It can comprise:

  1. Conversion of a property from one use to another  
  2. Upgrading, enlarging, or renovating a building  
  3. Buying land and building on it

This potentially gives room for appreciation of the property and increases your profit margin. 

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

REITs are a popular way to finance real estate without the hassle of direct ownership.

REITs allow individuals to buy into portfolios of underlying real estate assets without actually owning the physical property themselves.

They are usually in large revenue-generating commercial properties, such as shopping centres, office buildings, and apartment complexes.

These trusts act like mutual funds for real estate investments. When you purchase shares, it represents partial ownership of these properties. 

One benefit of REITs is their tax structure. They typically offer attractive dividends on 90%–95% of their taxable revenue to shareholders.

They provide increased liquidity compared to traditional property investment since you can easily buy or sell shares on an exchange.

Overall, REITs offer the best parts of both owning a physical asset and having flexibility with cash flow from distributions and ease in buying and selling shares representing beneficial ownership in set assets, allowing them to be very enticing financial vehicles, especially within Africa’s growing economy and specifically Nigeria’s emerging trends within urbanization and commercial development opportunities.

How to invest in REITs in Nigeria?

REITs in Nigeria are a convenient option for individuals looking to invest in the Nigerian real estate market.

REITs are companies that own revenue-generating real estate and offer investors the opportunity to finance these properties through the purchase of their shares. 

To get started with REITs, one needs to identify reputable companies operating within this sector and monitor their financial performance.

You need to consider various factors before investing, such as location, property types, rent yields, and management fees. 

Diversifying across sectors helps mitigate risk while granting exposure to different functional areas of the Nigerian real estate landscape.

To gain shares, you can register with stockbrokers or trading platforms operating within the Nigerian stock exchange, or directly approach reputable REIT providers that allow direct investment schemes.

Ultimately, conducting thorough research on options and making an informed decision guided by experienced professionals from reputable institutions like brokers and investors reduces their chances of losing money while enjoying potential dividends from their capital.

Top REITs in Nigeria

  • UPDC REITs
  • Skye Shelter Fund
  • Union Homes REITs

Are REITs an excellent investment?

REITs have become a popular option in recent years, offering investors the opportunity to own a diverse portfolio of real estate assets without the hassle of managing them.

REITs are excellent because they offer competitive returns and provide steady income streams through dividend payments.

With their proven track record for long-term growth potential and low volatility, REITs have historically performed well compared to other traditional asset classes. 

However, like any investment option, there are risks associated with investing in REITs. One is that changes in interest rates or the overall economic climate can affect REIT prices.

In addition, poor management decisions or unexpected legal issues can negatively affect the performance of certain REITs.

Therefore, it is important for you to conduct thorough research on individual REIT offerings before making any commitments.

In conclusion, while there may be some level of risk involved when buying into REITs, they remain one of the most attractive options available for those seeking mainly passive exposure to real estate interests as part of their portfolio diversification efforts. 

It’s important to do your due diligence on different opportunities before committing funds so that you choose wisely based upon your goals and desired liabilities involved, given current trading conditions and trends within Nigeria’s booming economy, which presents excellent property growth prospects.

What Are the Different REITs?

REITs are a popular way for investors to access the real estate bubble without direct ownership of properties.

There are various types of REITs, each with its own unique characteristics and investment objectives: 

Equity REITs focus on owning and operating revenue-generating properties, such as apartments, retail centers, and office buildings.

They generate revenue by leasing out these properties to tenants. 

Mortgage REITs are real estate financing products, such as mortgages or mortgage-backed securities.

They make money through the interest earned on these loans rather than from rental income from physical properties. 

Hybrid REITs combine both equity and mortgage elements in their portfolios, financing both property holdings and stockholdings.

Overall, REITs offer you the opportunity to benefit from the potential capital appreciation of real estate assets while also receiving dividend revenue from regular payouts caused by their profitability or selling an asset at a profit that will probably increase shareholders’ returns.

Real Estate Investment Groups (REIGs)

REIGs offer a hassle-free way for you to take part in real estate projects without actively managing the properties.

Typically comprising a group of investors, REIGs pool their money to purchase and manage rental properties or flip houses. 

The benefits of joining an REIG include access to deals that may not be available to individual investors, shared expertise and resources among members, and reduced risk through diversification.

Members can also benefit from economies of scale when buying supplies or services, such as property management.

However, joining an REIG requires due diligence on potential partners as well as understanding the management structure and fees involved.

It’s also essential to have realistic expectations about returns and investment timelines, since real estate projects take time to yield profits. 

With proper research and professional guidance, an REIG could be a viable option for passive involvement in Nigeria’s booming real estate.

Online Real Estate Platforms

Online real estate platforms have revolutionized the way people buy and sell properties.

These platforms provide users with easy access to a vast range of property listings, allowing them to browse and compare different options from the comfort of their homes. 

Online platforms often offer helpful tools, such as mortgage calculators and virtual tours, that aid in decision-making. One of the major advantages of using an online platform is that it saves time and effort for both buyers and sellers. Instead of going through a lengthy process involving multiple visits to properties, negotiations, paperwork, etc., transactions can now be started and completed entirely digitally. This has made real estate investments more accessible than ever before.

Overall, online real estate platforms have transformed how people approach property buying and selling while providing greater transparency to consumers.

In today’s digital age, where convenience is at a premium, this mode could very well shape effective real estate investing processes by making them affordable even for small-scale businesses or investors looking into diversifying their asset portfolio beyond traditional avenues.

This will come with a higher probability of dividend turnout, irrespective of cultural differences plaguing business markets worldwide, especially during these challenging periods caused by global pandemic woes.

What are the advantages of real estate investing?

Investing in real estate offers several advantages that make it a preferred mode of investment for many. 

First, the potential returns are higher when compared to other investment choices, like stocks and bonds.

Investors can earn a regular income from rent, appreciate the value of their properties over time, and profit from their resale.

Second, by buying into it, you gain diversification benefits, as it does not relate directly to the stock market or other volatile markets.

This means that if one performs poorly, others may do well to offset those losses.

Third, it allows investors more control over their investment properties. This is unlike publicly traded securities, where shareholders have little control over corporate decisions made by management teams.

Landlords can make changes and improvements to their assets with full autonomy, which could drive increased earnings or generate fresh streams of revenue from unused spaces.

Another advantage of investing in Nigerian real estate is its favorable tax treatment.

The government taxes rent at lower rates than traditional employment incomes. This translates into bigger net profits for savvy investors who leverage these cost savings effectively.

Individuals seeking wealth creation avenues would be wise to consider inspecting the expanding Nigerian market, credited largely to population booms experienced mostly by the youth demographic seeking access to affordable housing solutions!

Financing

With financing a real estate investment, there are several approaches that investors can take.

One option is to secure bank loans or mortgages. This involves presenting a solid business plan and financial projections to lenders in order to persuade them to provide the funds.

It’s important for investors to have an excellent credit history and a healthy debt-to-income ratio in order to increase their chances of approval. 

Another avenue for financing is through private capital sources such as angel investors, venture capitalists, and crowdfunding platforms.

These sources offer less stringent requirements than traditional banks, but may come with higher interest rates or equity stakes in the property.

Finally, using one’s own savings or partnering with other individuals or firms can also be a major source of funding.

As an investor, you should carefully consider whichever approach you choose based on your personal financial situation and investment goals.

Strategies for successful real estate investing

To be a successful real estate investor in Nigeria, it is essential to have a well-defined plan.

This includes understanding your financial goals, budgeting, and identifying the type of real estate that you want to invest in, whether commercial or residential.

Conduct thorough research on trends and prices across different locations within Nigeria’s market. 

As a potential investor in the sector, understanding the Nigerian market is very essential.

The country’s real estate landscape is diverse, as prices and rates of rent vary across regions.

Therefore, it is crucial to conduct thorough research before committing your money. 

Beyond understanding price trends, it is also important to know about the legal frameworks governing real estate ownership in Nigeria.

This knowledge will help you avoid falling foul of local legislation when conducting business operations within the industry. Appreciating cultural norms and values can facilitate successful communication with potential associates or clients.

One crucial strategy for success is networking with professionals in the industry, such as brokers, lawyers, and real estate agents.

They can provide valuable insights about specific trends and help you identify potential properties to invest in. Building solid relationships with tenants can guarantee you a steady cash flow.

You should leverage technology platforms like social media and online listing websites to stay up-to-date on new listings while also marketing your own properties. 

By following these strategies coupled with extensive research, investors stand a better chance of making smarter decisions when buying into Nigerian property assets

Non-Traditional Real Estate Investments

Non-traditional real estate investments can offer investors a diversified portfolio beyond the typical residential or commercial properties.

These opportunities include investing in student housing, rental facilities, storage facilities, or even parking lots.

Each of these choices has unique advantages and disadvantages that require specific knowledge to navigate properly. For example, buying and managing rentals requires expertise in tenant management and the maintenance of utility systems, such as water and sewage infrastructure. 

Financing non-traditional real estate assets also allows for exposure to new streams of revenue compared to traditional models.

Storage facilities provide steady cash flow with limited overhead costs, while parking lots are less management intensive than other property types but have shorter lease terms that may affect profitability when interest rates fluctuate or economic conditions change. 

Investors must assess the level of risk they can tolerate before selecting non-traditional properties for their portfolio, since each asset class has its own unique set of pressures that affect return on investment.

These investments are not yet well known in Nigeria, so a lot of advertising and public awareness campaigns would be necessary. It would also work best in urban areas, where there would be more need for it.

In summary, a critical step towards success when investing in real estate involves gaining an accurate understanding of the market through diligent research on pricing trends and legal frameworks.

Ultimately, this will enable individuals and businesses alike to make informed decisions that yield profitable outcomes while avoiding any pitfalls common to the industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to start a real estate business with no cash?

  • Crowdfunding: You can pull cash together amongst your friends or family to invest in a property and you share the proceeds according to your contribution.
  • Let out a room in your apartment: If you have an extra room, you can let it out to make extra income and teach/prepare you for tenants’ relations. 
  • You can scout for and buy under value properties, which you can flip to make money soon.

How do I find an investment group?

  • You can use an online real investing platform
  • Join a real estate investment club around you
  • You can try out crowdfunding groups
  • Put a group of people together through your own personal network to invest in real estate

Commercial real estate has proven to be the most popular and financially rewarding type of investment. Your return largely depends on the location of the real estate.

Is real estate an excellent investment in Nigeria?

Yes. Nigeria presently has a growing economy and population, which creates a constant demand for both commercial and residential real estate.

What is the average return on a REIT?

The Securities and Exchange Commission stipulates that REITs must pay out 90% of their taxable income to shareholders as dividends.

How do you make money on a REIT?

Because of the high return on a REIT (90% of their taxable income), it is more profitable than the average stock in the stock market. The size of your dividend will depend on the amount of your investment. The more you invest in real estate, the more you earn.

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