I Cleaned Out My Savings To Buy My House at Egbeda, Lagos State

Today, we’re hanging out with Edun Olajide, an engineer who got his house at age 40 in Egbeda, Lagos State. 

“If I have to borrow and take a loan from a friend or a family member, I can talk to them and explain the situation if I can’t pay back on time. But with a bank, it’s impersonal. Once your loan period has expired, you have to pay back, and they’d get their money however method they choose, even if it means taking your house. So, it’s not even about the interest rate alone; it’s just the wahala that comes with it.”

Engineer Olajide, please tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Olajide Afolabi. I’m an Engineer, and I work as a consultant for some construction firms. 

What made you decide to study engineering?

It has always been my dream, right from a tender age. I have been looking forward to being an Engineer since I was 12. Growing up, I knew some Engineers, and I thought they were doing an important job, building houses and roads. I loved seeing engineers constructing roads, and I admired the beauty in designs. I particularly loved seeing them at work in their uniforms, and hearing them speak engineering jargon appealed to me. This gave me a special love for construction, and I decided to be an Engineer.  

So, did you eventually study Civil Engineering, or did you study in a different field?

Yes, I did. I studied Civil Engineering at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and graduated in 2012. Civil engineering deals mostly with construction and building. This is a profession I love. 

Given your love for building at such a tender age, did you also dream you would build your home by yourself?

At that age, I had vague dreams about being rich and owning a home, but I did not have the specifics. As I grew older, I realized that things follow a process. So I believed I would own my house at the right time. I still didn’t know the ‘how’, whether I would build for myself or buy a home, but I knew I would have a house.

So which did you later end up doing?

I bought a house.

What made you decide to buy a house rather than build one?

I would say it happened by chance. I was fine living in a rented apartment, but the opportunity arose to buy the property, and my wife and I decided to take it. My wife also played a big role in the decision-making and financial aspects.

What is your wife’s profession?

My wife is a Businesswoman.

What type of house did you buy, and how much did it cost?

It is a duplex located at Egbeda, Lagos State. The total package cost about N25 million. 

How did you finance the purchase? Did you dip into your savings, get a loan, or both?

I cleaned out my savings to make the first instalment. I also obtained soft loans from my siblings. The government and some of the personal contracts I execute are major sources of my income. The personal contracts, courtesy of my friends, are large job orders which bring in good profit. This made it reasonably easy for me to make further instalments.

Also Read: “I Built My House with Profit from My Medical Laboratory Business”

How long did you save up to buy the house?

About four years in total. 

Tell us how you came to buy your property. How did you get to hear about the property?

Sometime in 2018, a close friend told me about a firm of developers who put up nearly finished houses for sale. I was assured of the quality and neatness of the work. This sounded interesting to my wife and me, as we were leery of this arrangement. However, it seemed like a win-win situation, so we decided to make inquiries and were introduced to the developer.

We later got an offer for a property located at Egbeda, Lagos. We wanted a duplex and an easy commute to work, and the property ticked all the boxes, especially as our jobs were close to Egbeda. It was a good deal, so we opted for the offer. Thereafter, the developers tried their best to deliver exactly as they promised, but that didn’t work out as some things were not under their control. However, it was satisfactory for us.

How long did it take to complete, and would you recommend the developer?

It took just under a month from the start of the transaction because the house was already at an advanced stage of construction. I had no fears about the transaction because they came highly recommended by a close friend with some interest in the company. So, I knew that in case of anything, I had someone I could ‘hold responsible.’ Based on my experience, yes, I would recommend them.

How long did the entire process take?

The entire process took about two months.

How much do you think the property is worth now?

I estimate its current market value at about N80 million.

What did you have to give up when saving?

Travel expenses, mostly. I had to cut down on travel expenses. We usually go on vacation every 3 months, but I had to reduce that to once a year to meet up with my budget. That was the main thing that had to go. We also cut back on some extravagances like our weekly family outings, which could cost as much as N65,000. We would also calculate anything that wasn’t a necessity out of our budget. Every penny saved was important.

Did you have to borrow to make up your purchase cost?

I borrowed from my siblings. I didn’t borrow from any fintech company or bank. 

Why did you not borrow from the banks?

Buying a house is one of the most important decisions you will make. It requires careful consideration and planning. I attempted to borrow to get the house because the money I had saved was insufficient. So, I took a loan from my siblings to complete the transaction for the house. It took me some time to pay back the debt, but I had peace of mind because I wasn’t in haste to repay the loan.  

How much did you borrow?

I borrowed N500,000.00.

For how long did you rent, and how much did it cost annually?

I rented for six years, and my last rent was N1 million.

So how would you compare living on your property to a rented property?

Life in a rented apartment can be a difficult and frustrating experience. It involves dealing with landlords with rules that you must adhere to. It can be challenging to adjust to these conditions.

What did you hate the most about renting?

The many restrictions!

It seems you had to deal with this a lot. 

Oh yes! There were many strict rules, and some of them were unreasonable and selfish. I remember our landlady would force us to do things her way without considering our ease/feelings/comfort. While I appreciate that she’s the house owner and has the right to want things done a certain way,  sometimes, most of her rules were uncomfortable and to our disadvantage.  

Can you share a particular experience?

There was a period when we argued about parking cars- awful moments I detest recalling. The compound was not spacious, so we had to park one car behind the other. The mornings I had to leave early to work, and her car was parked behind mine were war. I would be unnecessarily delayed while she would be upset about being woken up. This, of course, generated some resentment on both sides. Eventually, I decided to stop parking the car in the compound just to save myself from unnecessary issues.

Where were you living before you moved to Egbeda?

We were at Ayobo in a three-bedroom rented flat. If not for my wife, we might still be there, but she was convinced that we needed to move to our own house because the rent was exorbitant. I didn’t have a problem with the amount, but you know how it is when you’re married – she’s the boss! She was the driving force behind our moving out of there. 

How much was your first payment for the house?

I paid N5.5 million to start with. 

How would you rate your house on a scale of 1-10?

I would give it an 8.

How would you rate your first accommodation in Lagos on a scale of 1-10?

Ah, that place! I will have to give it a 5 (five), and that’s me being generous.

Where was this house, and what did it look like?

It was a three-bedroom flat, and it is located at Ayobo.

Also Read: Inside Nicon Town Estate

How would you rate the infrastructure of your current accommodation on a scale of 1-10?

I would put that at a seven because of the bad roads. The roads aren’t great, and it sometimes feels like I haven’t got value for my money. 

What kind of house would you buy if you had more money, and where?

I would get a duplex in Ikoyi. 

What’s your take on properties or real estate investment?

I don’t believe that Nigeria’s real estate is a wise investment. However, I think buying a house to live in is one of the best investments you can make. When you invest in a house, you don’t know what will come out of it at the end of the day. Instead of raising your eyebrows on real estate, why not manage what you have and be fine? 

Would you take a loan from a bank for any investment reason?

No. It’s never been my style to take loans from the bank, and I don’t think I will start now.

Why not? What if they offer reasonable rates?

I don’t like the stress of being indebted to a bank. If I have to borrow and take a loan from a friend or a family member, I can talk to them and explain the situation if I can’t pay back on time. But with a bank, it’s impersonal. Once your loan period has expired, you have to pay back, and they’d get their money however method they choose, even if it means taking your house. So, it’s not even about the interest rate alone; it’s just the wahala that comes with it. 

What’s your advice for people thinking of getting a house?

Living in your own apartment is the best comfort one could ever have, so do all you can to get the best house that will bring your comfort. First, review your finances, then investigate potential sources for additional funds if necessary.  Cheap funding, like interest-free loans from your family, is always a good idea, especially because repayment is very flexible. That is what I did.

Thank you, Engineer Olajide. Can we reach out for further questions or future interviews?

Of course, I am always available as far as that will aid and benefit society.

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