Online real estate portals like Tolet.com.ng help users find homes in their desired location within their budgets, help connect real estate agents and property sellers to millions of buyers through their platforms. Some of the real estate portals vow to “protect the traditional estate agent model”, but current statistics shows that more Nigerian landlords and tenants are beginning to prefer to deal directly with one another and bypass the middlemen.
Real estate agents have mixed views about the rapid growth of real estate portals with a few of them admitting that these portals pose serious threats to them while others say ay technology has greatly enhanced the practice of estate agency making it possible to market and advertise one’s properties through all kinds of channels and giving access to sometimes millions of possible viewers and potential customers.
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The International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) Africa president, Chudi Ubosi, has been quoted saying that technology is a “big threat” and a “real cause for concern”, especially with property agents in Nigeria but he agrees that technology has greatly enhanced the practice of estate agency making it possible to market and advertise one’s properties through all kinds of channels and giving access to sometimes millions of possible viewers and potential customers.
He said: “It must be understood that real estate marketing like so many other activities depends so much on the visibility of the product and the agent. Technology has made that a lot easier.
“Technology has also made it easier for frauds to operate, it is still advisable that when the services of a real estate agent are needed, members of the public are advised to seek professionals and ask them for some kind of identification that confirms that they are indeed professionals.”
The secretary, NIESV’s Faculty of Housing, Mr Casmir Anyanwu believes otherwise. He feels that the platforms do not pose danger to the real estate sector rather, it is a boost to the industry.
“ It brings buyers and sellers together with little effort, eliminating time wasting, facilitating inspections, guaranteeing wider reach to both buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants.
Anyanwu stressed that traditional estate agents will still be relevant in years to come, as a lot of Nigerians are not literate to operate online transactions. “The market is so large that activities of some property owners cannot diminish the role of agents.
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“Buyers and tenants want to deal with established agencies with track records because anybody can pose as a landlord or tenant or buyer and defraud the other party, which is the case with some online transactions,” he added.