Everyone aspires to own a house and the rate at which the middle class and wealthy in Nigeria are building houses is on the high. The number of real estate firms are also on the increase, this is an indication of infrastructural development.
Traditionally, individuals buy a land and build their houses to their own taste or purchase a house (usually through a government scheme) and expand it to taste. But there is a new trend and that’s the ready-to-live-in homes revolution. This new idea in the country may be as a result of brain gain from the west as regards real estate firms or the ever fast-moving Nigerian society where no one wants to be left behind.
Ready-To-Live-In homes are quite common in countries like the USA, Australia and many parts of Europe. The stress of having to build a house from scratch for about 9 months or more and an expected headhunt for contractor performance may be a major excuse for the penchant for ready-to-live-in homes. Wealthy Nigerians who are always on the move from country to country most likely would not be able to monitor their housing projects and would rather buy a ready-to-live-in house. The country’s rising expatriate population is also responsible for this new trend. Top international businesses and multinationals who intend to have their representatives work in the country for the long term purchase a permanent accommodation.
Another major reason is the homecoming revolution wave across Africa; many Africans who have studied, worked and lived abroad are now coming back home to start a new life, a relatively large population of them have slim or no links to family or friends and even if, they do not want to risk the move of having a relative or friend help handle their home projects only to come home to find out nothing was being built. These and other reasons are responsible for the increase in RTLIs. Despite the novel idea, note that it comes with its disadvantages.
First of all, let us evaluate the pros and cons of self-built houses:
- Build to taste: The first advantage is that land owner can build to taste. He can get the best architects to carry out his ideas for his dream house. He can determine how many floors he wants, how big the house should be or what and what it should provide for.
- Cost-Effective: Self-built houses are cost effective because the proprietor can negotiate prices and be lucky to get materials, good contractors or man-power at a very affordable rate.
- Monitoring: The proprietor can monitor the building process by himself. He would be able to block avenues contractors may want to make extra money from him, he would also be able to mount pressure to get work done quickly and also ensure that sub-standard products are not being used in the building process.
- Furnish to pocket: The proprietor, can furnish his house based on his budget and taste.
- Time-consuming: It takes a lot of time to build a house and it largely depends on the work rate of contractors and the enormity of the housing project.
- Stressful: A proprietor would most likely have to go through the stress of getting building approval from the government, working with architects, locating skillful workers and contractors, monitoring and mounting pressure on contractors to get work done etc.
On the other hand, Ready-To-Live-In homes are:
- Stress-free: All an individual has to do is pay for the ready-built and furnished apartment, he does not have to go through the stress of excessive documentations and approval, dealing with contractors etc.
- Convenient: It is very convenient in the sense that one can begin to live in the house the day it is purchased.
- Costly: Ready-to-live-in houses come at huge prices. The home buyer pays for everything involved in the housing process all at once. Nevertheless, it saves the buyer time and stress.
- No monitoring: Because the buyer was not involved in the process of building the house, the quality of the house cannot really be ascertained. The purchaser does not know if sub-standard materials were used in the building and furnishing or if the house was built in a hurry.
In conclusion, RTLIs are a welcome trend in Nigeria, it is a sign on brain gain and healthy competition in the country’s property sector. It allows for individuals to have options to choose from and it raises the value of the country’s infrastructural standard. Nigerians can choose to depart from the norm or stick with a familiar system.