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How Sade Balogun Built a Real Estate Empire in Nigeria

By Dimeji Akinloye

Women leading the pack in male-dominated industries, like real estate, is not commonplace in Nigerian society. Sade Balogun, CEO of Redbrick Homes/Amen City Ltd., is one of the women making a kill in the property market. 

She returned to Nigeria to establish her business after garnering the requisite experience in the UK’s real estate sector. Her overarching goal was to provide quality homes, which was largely lacking at the time. Fast forward to 2022, Sade and her team have built an enviable portfolio of high-flying real estate projects in Lagos, and she continues to outperform her best works. 

Business Elites Africa managed to corner the ever-busy entrepreneur for a brief but insightful interview. She walks us through her journey into real estate, the challenges, and what made her successful in the business.

BEA: Tell us about your journey into real estate in the UK and why you relocated to Nigeria to establish the business.

Sade Balogun: I am British by birth. Having had a good experience with the buy-to-let and new-build property markets in the UK, I decided to engage heavily in the Nigerian real estate market, which appeared to be crying out for quality. 

BEA: How did you start your real estate business in Nigeria? 

Sade Balogun: I had bought a few parcels of land, all in the Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos, and embarked on my first project at the current site of Amen Estate phas1, Ibeju Lekki.

BEA: What strategies did you first use for marketing the business? 

Sade Balogun: I created fabulous irresistible show homes. People would visit and fall in love with the homes, and I allowed instalment payments for them, making it easy for people to buy their dream homes.

BEA: One of your successful projects is the prestigious Amen Estate in Lagos; how did you get the buy-in of celebrities and elites in that project?

Sade Balogun: The show homes attracted celebrities and elites. They were luxurious and grand and looked good in movies.

BEA: What were the factors that contributed to your success in the business?

Sade Balogun: Consistency and Focus. I made sure I did not spread myself too thin.

BEA: What are the challenges you’ve had to surmount in your entrepreneurial journey? 

Sade Balogun: Availability of funding and the cost of funding.

BEA: What’s the most challenging thing about running a business in Nigeria?

Sade Balogun: Lack of electricity and the ensuing cost of Diesel to generate the electricity.

BEA: With many property scams in the real estate industry, how does one identify genuine properties to buy? 

Sade Balogun: Ask for the title and crosscheck this title using a surveyor and a lawyer.

BEA: How do you deal with failure?

Sade Balogun: None so far by the grace of the almighty. Instead, we keep moving forward, leaping from grace to grace, from an estate to estate, all by His grace and enablement.

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BEA: What’s unique about your company, Redbrick Homes International Limited/Amen City Ltd?

Sade Balogun: Our homes are built with longevity in mind, hence the use of bricks in phase 1. In phase 2, however, due to the need to make a more decent environment available to a broader market, we changed our strategy to allow more people to get on the ladder by providing properly serviced plots and high-standard homes at affordable rates. Amen Estate is more than just a house provider; it is an experience! 

BEA: Apart from houses, do you also sell land, where people can buy serviced plots to build their dream homes?

Sade Balogun: Yes, we design and build serviced plots.

BEA: Please list out all the Amen Estate Series:

Sade Balogun: Amen Estate Phase 1

Amen Estate Phase 2

Amen Estate Phase 3

Amen City FTZ

Amen Annexe

Tiara by Amen City Ltd

BEA: What are the qualities a good entrepreneur must possess?

Sade Balogun: Knowledge: You must know and understand your industry. You must know and understand your product and your target Market.

Creativity: Creativity allows an entrepreneur to devise new products for similar markets asides from the ones he’s currently playing in.

Professionalism: An Entrepreneur must be a Professional. With Professionalism comes reliability and discipline. 

Passion: Your work should be your passion. Passion acts as a driving force that motivates one to strive for better. It makes you dedicated and put in the required extra hours.

Risks: You must be a risk taker. A risk-taking ability is essential. Without the will to explore the unknown, one cannot discover something unique. 

Planning: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

NEXT: Sanmi Adegoke: From a Menial Job to Closing Million-dollar Real Estate Deals

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