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How ‘Unattractive’ Mortgage In Nigeria Works For A Creative Mind

Mortgage In Nigeria

When Mr Ike (not real names) walked into our office that sunny afternoon sometimes in April, I never knew he would have such a great impact on how I looked at mortgages in Nigeria, in particular and real estate investing in general.

Average height, dark and with a calm, cool voice, Ike was certainly not rich. You know, for real estate brokers, appearances tell a lot of stories, and his suit and shoes clearly showed which class he belonged to.

Unknown to me, inside his uncombed and not-too-fine head was a smart brain shaped like Einstein’s.

After exchanging pleasantries, he dropped the bomb shell: he wanted to buy a two flat apartment we had advertised in a daily newspaper, the price of which will never drop below N35 million.

I resisted the strong urge to show him the door and go handle more important businesses by pure professional courtesy and the faint hope that he was probably representing a wealthier boss.

But at the end of our 20 minutes talk, his plans became obvious: he would be taking a mortgage from a bank he had links with, to finance the home.

No wonder!

A couple of days after the transaction was completed, Mr Ike was back in our office. This time, he wanted us to find a tenant for the second flat in his apartment.

It was at that moment that I finally saw the beauty of his plans. What a smart fox pretending to be a slow tortoise! I stole him away briefly on a one-on-one, and there I barged him with a few probing questions.


Ever the gentleman, he admitted to his sweet strategy: he got interested in and bought the house on mortgage because he planned to live in one flat with his lovely wife and little kids and then rent out the other flat at premium rates.

He purposed to continue paying the bank the agreed sum from his monthly salary (this alone would have taken him 15 years to finish paying the home loan) and to further offset the huge deficit with the yearly rent collected from his ‘loyal’ tenant.

Paying the bank the combined lump sum mathematically ensured he would be able to pay back the loan in full in only 9 years!

That is six solid years short on what an average mind like mine would have spent! It was brilliant.

I just stood there for minutes staring at this smart, real estate investor.

For once, I wish I was in his worn shoes.

I would never again look down on another human.

Moral of the Story: Mortgages may not seem great but there are clever, creative ways to make it work for you.

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