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Averting the lure of real estate quackery

The housing market in many Nigerian cities has become a minefield where unsuspecting renters and buyers fall victim to the deceitful tactics of housing agents…

The housing market in many Nigerian cities has become a minefield where unsuspecting renters and buyers fall victim to the deceitful tactics of housing agents who exploit their desperation.

Many Nigerians have had personal ordeals with fraudulent developers and estate agents, and these are pointers towards what could constitute a red flag for prospective buyers and tenants.

This is therefore to implore house seekers and home buyers to beware of quacks and fake professionals in the rental market who claim to be landlords and genuine estate agents and to employ the services of genuine professional estate surveyors and valuers for all their real estate services.

The estate surveyor and valuer can be differentiated from other professionals in the built environment. But what makes the estate surveyor distinct is that he is the only professional who is an economist in the building industry, and by virtue of his training, is on the revenue side of any project.

He is there at the beginning and also at the end of every construction process, meaning the decision to develop a property by an investor starts with the surveyor.

For you to procure an appropriate site, the estate surveyor does that before handing over the site to the architect etc; these professionals partake in the process.

At the end of the day, issues of management set in and that’s the responsibility of the estate surveyor, other professionals fill in the gap.

The estate surveyor is a professional in two broad areas – estate management and valuation. Estate management has to do with the coordination and control of real estate assets i.e. land and buildings.

Valuation on the other hand is the act of determining the value or price and worth of property assets, both tangible and intangible.

By law, it is only the estate surveyor, even the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria made it such that only the estate surveyor, is the custodian of valuation standards.

The estate surveyor in Nigeria is registered by the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board (ESVARBON) and his conduct is also regulated. He has to be ethical in carrying out his or her responsibilities.

At the association side, there is the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), this body also has a committee that receives complaints and deals with erring members.

So, any member of the public dealing with an estate surveyor and valuer who commits any act of misconduct can seek immediate redress from NIESV or ESVARBON. Several members have lost their licenses, and others have been prosecuted.

This is a sure way of putting a stop to such fraudulent activities by quack estate agents.


Adamu Kasimu, an Abuja-based estate surveyor and valuer, writes from Abuja


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