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Real estate professionals are building capacity to attract more foreign direct investments into the industry in a bid to complement efforts towards diversifying the economy.

The efforts are geared towards improving transparency, providing data and doing business in line with global best practices.

The Nigerian Chapter of International Real Estate Federation, a group of real estate professionals with global membership, otherwise known as FIABCI, said one of the ways to achieve the goals of attracting the was though training.

Principal, World Citizen Consulting, Mr Bill Endsley, said there was huge money running into billions of dollars currently flowing into property but that lack of transparency about how the Nigerian property market worked had prevented such funds from getting to the country.

At a training session organised by FIABCI Nigeria for members and other professionals, Endsley said there was already a big property market in Nigeria but it had not received the type of funds it deserved from outside.

He said, “The idea is to train real estate professionals in Nigeria in the property market so that they can attract more funds from direct investments to Nigeria in the property sector.

“This is the second time we have done the programme. The expectation is to bring the professionals here to a level of world-class consultants so that they can move away from oil and commodities economy and into the world of investment in property.

“There is already a big property market here but it is not receiving the type of funds from outside Nigeria that really should be coming in because there are billions of dollar flowing into property right now because there is not a lot of transparency about how the Nigerian property market works.”

According to him, the level of transparency can be increased so that people will be comfortable coming in.

“There will always be risks but people should know the risks; right now, it is very difficult for them to know the risks. What we are trying to do right now is to clean the windows so that investors in the property sector can see and be willing to put their money into the system,” he said.

Endsley said areas that needed improvement included transaction data, property laws and good knowledge of the banking sector.

He stated that the understanding of the laws, the banking sector, how long it could take to conclude a transaction could help investors take major decisions.

“There are opportunities because the economy is trying to move away from oil and commodity industry and property is the foundation of everything,” Endsley said.

He said the training was focused on negotiation and dialogue, adding that professionals needed to be able to negotiate and dialogue particularly outside the country.

“They also need to be able to do a detailed financial analysis for cash flows,” he added.

FIABCI Nigeria President, Mr Adeniji Adele, said the world had become global, adding that the real estate market had been internationalised.

He explained that this had resulted in the need for professionals to carry out business with investors from diverse cultures and backgrounds, making it imperative for professionals to figure out how to deal with these cultural differences in their negotiations.

“As a forward-thinking organisation, we have included ‘Negotiation and multi-cultural dialogue’ as one of the training modules for this International Real Estate Certification programme so as to teach step-by-step techniques for avoiding common business negotiation pitfalls,” he said.

The President, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Mr Roland Abonta, said capacity building was the only way for professionals to remain up to date.

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