To flip a property simply means to buy it, hold on to it for
a while either to speculate or add value to it, then sell it on for a profit.
If you are thinking that this sounds very familiar, you are absolutely right.
Thousands of land owners and real estate investors in Lagos do exactly this every
year because the sheer population-driven demand of Lagos means that property
prices are always going up. The fact is that property flipping in Lagos is
hardly a genius accomplishment because it is generally so easy. However, with
the application of the following tips, you can potentially make even bigger
margins more consistently.

Keep your ears peeled
for transport infrastructure projects.

As a rule, any location close to a
new road, railway line or ferry jetty generally doubles in price within 6
months of the project construction’s commencement. A plot of land around Agbara
that cost less than N500,000 in 2004 now costs more than N4m today simply
because the Lagos Light Rail Blue Line extends up to nearby Okokomaiko, and the
new 10-lane expressway is under construction. Even without the land being
serviced, or having value added to it in any way, simply by virtue of its
proximity to new developments and transport links, its value has multiplied by
a factor of 8. When the line is finally completed and operational, that plot of
land will not go for less than N6m.
Even if there is no infrastructure project incoming, just a
close proximity to a recognised location may be enough to have a similar
effect. There was a time not too long ago (2004 to be exact), that Sangotedo
was a sandy, remote community where a decent sized miniflat went for only
N120,000 a year. When Pan Atlantic University opened its Lagos Business School
campus at Sangotedo in 2005, that neighbourhood immediately became “a
one-minute drive from Lagos Business School.” This attracted well-heeled
corporate students who wanted to have accommodation close to the campus, and
with that increased demand came an increase in rental prices and property
valuations. The same scenario plays out every year in hundreds of locations
around the city.

Be Creative.

you are priced out of the ‘prime’ estate close to transport links, look out for
properties not too far away that are currently isolated due to transport or
waterlogging issues. These locations may have been flooded due to incorrect
drainage channeling, or turned into unofficial refuse tips which makes them
undesirable. With some investment in drainage, clearing, sandfilling and proper
servicing of such land, it suddenly becomes a much more saleable asset. The
downside with this strategy is that you might need to hang on to the land a bit
longer than normal, so that you get a price that enables you to recoup your
investment and make a good profit.

Look out for family
style properties built between the early 70s and late 80s.

Around many parts
of Somolu and Surulere, you can see several such buildings constructed during
Nigeria’s oil boom years as comfortable family accommodation. These properties
have a high resale value because of how well built and spacious they are. They
generally tend to have a sturdily built, spacious, airy, minimalist
architecture that can be rapidly retouched and remodeled at minimum cost, and
then placed on the sale or rental market at a premium. Their size enables
landlords to partition them and rent out as separate units, and in some cases
the size and location of the land makes them a desirable location for business
and leisure establishments. Many of the businesses currently on
Adeniran Ogunsanya Way in Surulere, were built on such sites, eventually
converging into the high street that area has now become.

Head West. 

when new transport infrastructure, public services and business developments do
not yet appear to be in the works, Lagos never stops expanding. You should always
look out for the next frontier neighbourhood where relatively cheap property is
still available. Once upon a time, that was Lekki Phase 1. Later on, it was the
entire Lekki corridor down to Epe. At one point it was Ikorodu. At another
point it was the Lagos – Abeokuta Expressway corridor from Alimosho to
Sango-Ota. Nowadays it is the Badagry Expressway corridor from Satellite Town
to Badagry Town via Okokomaiko, Ojo and Agbara. If you correctly identify such
an area with potential for future growth and expansion, you should get hold of
as much land as you can manage and hold on to it until everyone starts
building. When that happens, as is the case on the Badagry corridor now, you
will be able to sell it on to a residential or commercial developer at a
substantial markup.
Remember, no matter what your investment strategy is, and no
matter where in Lagos you are investing in property, always make sure to go
through a recognised lawyer and do everything by the books. It might be
tempting to cut corners and obtain paperwork through shady channels, but
chances are that it will end up in tears. The Lagos real estate market, like
every other hot market on earth, has a large number of con artists and
scoundrels. Go through the prescribed channels and be patient.

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