Umar Abdullahi is the MD/CEO of Brains & Hammers Ltd, a company run by a management team of under 40s with the passion and determination to succeed. In this interview, he speaks on receiving a recent Abuja Housing Show award and plans to float a new Brains & Hammers Town in Abuja. Excerpts:
How do you feel receiving an award at the recently concluded 7th Abuja Housing Show?
We felt humbled by the award having emerged from a very stiff competition through the voting via e-mail, SMS and all that, and credit must be given both the management and staff of Brains & Hammers. But we are dedicating the award to our numerous customers who made us what we are, we started from scratch and we remain grateful. We hope to keep the flag flying and promise not to let our teeming customers including prospective ones down.
What inspired the company to venture into real estate business?
Brains & Hammers started operation in 2011and is a fast growing full-scale real estate development and management company whose primary business is to acquire suitable land and design unique, beautiful yet highly functional buildings. If you look at the market, people were not getting value for their money. Our house prices are very competitive and that is what gives us an edge over others. Secondly we are known for quality and delivery on time, these are the things that make us stand out.
How were you able to achieve the quality and standard over a short period?
We have talented and dedicated people that came together to form the products, this was after a lot of research had been done and everyone including management and staff worked hard to make sure we deliver.
Visitors to the estate will wonder how you have been coping with the provision of infrastructure especially roads in the Apo Estate, is it in conjunction with government or are you doing it alone?
No, we are doing the road construction alone as part of our corporate social responsibility even though the onus is on government to provide those infrastructure facilities, if you had visited our Apo estate recently you would have seen that the road is nearing completion and street lights have already been installed thus enabling residents to drive safely and comfortably into their houses.
How many houses do you have in the Apo Estate?
We have 104 4-bedroom terrace duplex and 5-bedroom detached houses in Apo which we started in 2011, Phase 1 is like 40% of the estate and people are already living there then Phase 2 is at 80% completion and in the next 60 days according to our time-table we will be able to deliver these houses.
And how many are still available in the market?
In Apo Estate we have a few left, about 6 to 7 units but we still have more units of houses in the Life Camp and are still in the market. The 5 Bedroom detached house price started in 2011 at N37 million but now it is selling at N75 million in the secondary market, and the terrace we have two type, the 4 bedroom started as low as N25-27 million in 2011 but is now going for N55 million in the secondary market reflecting an unprecedented rate of return on investment for our clients. The demand rate is high but the problem buyers are facing is accessing the mortgage to buy the houses. Not everyone can afford outright purchase, so some opt for mortgage but the bureaucratic process is making it difficult for clients.
What about housing for the low income group?
Yes, we are trying to venture into that sector as well, in our Life Camp Estate where we have about 300 housing units, we have few 2 and 3 bedrooms and people are rushing for them. But in future we plan to build more of such, now what we are planning is a Brains & Hammers Town, the idea is a whole new concept. We are in the process of acquiring a huge tract of land here in Abuja where we will have a unique town that is the first of its kind with different estates inside the town with all the necessary facilities like hospitals, schools etc.