Saturday, 20 July 2019

COVELAND LIMITED BOSS, TOLULOPE IGE, SPEAKS ON HOW SHE VENTURED INTO REAL ESTATE BUSINESS

Tolulope Ige, MD, Coveland Limited
Coveland Limited is a world class real estate company located on 18, Carter Street, Off Herbert Macaulay Way, Ebute Metta, Lagos. The company is headed by an energetic, dynamic and versatile lady, Tolulope Bukola Ige as the managing director.

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The company is exceedingly professional and competent Estate Projects, Property Acquisition, Project Development, Real Estate Marketing and Consultancy, Documentation, Land Banking and many others.

Newsmen recently paid the managing director a courtesy visit in her office. The eloquent lady reeled out the many advantages Coveland Limited have over other property firms. She also spoke on the credibility and integrity of the firm. She spoke on how she left public relations to start a business in real estate and why women should embrace the business of real estate. Sit back and consume it.

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What is the mission of your real estate company Coveland Limited?
Coveland is a real estate development and marketing organisation. We acquire properties in choice locations for residential, commercial, and for industrial purposes.

The company was actually set up to ensure that we lay the foundation of home ownership for people who are interested in buying properties, and also to make it as affordable as possible for them to be able to key into. Another thing is that, the company also supports government plan towards alleviating housing deficit in the country.

There are over 200 real estate companies all around Lagos that are doing the same thing. What sets out your company apart from the rest?
We are separate from the pack because we are not just here to sell real estate products to people but we are here to impact the knowledge of real estate into as many people who are interested. Another thing that has separated us from the pack is that, we have a training academy which is called Coveland Academy; where we train all consultants or interested individuals who want to play one or two roles in the real estate sector, and who are looking towards earning the six figures within the real estate industry.

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In this academy, we train them about core real estate knowledge, about our products and the services that we offer. We also train them on how to empower themselves financially; to gain financial freedom through real estate, what they can do, how they can be players within the industry.

For the benefit of those who are reading this interview, could you please briefly tell us more about yourself?
My name is Tolulope B. Ige. I’m a native of Ondo State but born and bred here in Lagos. I studied Business Studies and I also have a professional diploma in Public Relations (NIPR). I am also a certified Director, Producer, Production Manager, Script Writer and a Presenter under Independent Television Practitioners Association of Nigeria – ITPAN.

Over the years, I have garnered some accreditations from Stern and Kay Consulting on “Excellent Customer Relations”, Certificate of participation in “Ghana-Nigeria Business Summit”, to mention but a few.

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Before now, I have worked in various capacities as a Corporate Communications Expert and as a Marketing Consultant. I have also been in the real estate industry for over 7years before setting up Coveland Limited. So in all, I will say I have a total of 15 years’ experience in Event Management, Audiovisual Production Management, Real Estate, Marketing and Public Relations.

Why real estate?
Even though I’m a professional in Public Relations, real estate seems to have opened a lot of avenues for people to grow; and for many people who are willing to grow they can explore within the real estate sector. I have also looked at the sector as the one that needs a lot of public relations infusion into the system, and this is why I have decided to take up this challenge.

How did you get into the sector? How did you go about it and what prompted your ‘quick’ decision?
About 8 years ago, that was when it happened. As a marketing person and also as a public relations person, I would say I’m able to interact freely with people and I kind of have an edge over others. And sometimes when I work with people, in the course of interacting with him or doing business with them they see that zeal in me and they see the attributes and they say that this is something that can be put into use. Most times when I consult for some organisations, their MDs always want me on their team as a full staff.

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I will also say that, I had a message actually that I should go into real estate. I got the message from a Prophet in a Redeemed Church. That was in fact the first time I came in contact with the man of God. It so happens, that there was an alter call for everyone present in the church to come forward one after the other, upon my contact with the Prophet he asked me if I have ever worked in a real estate firm, I said no. He then gave me a message saying, “I would be offered a job in a real estate company and that God is saying I should accept the offer because He wants to surprise me precisely in the real estate sector”.

About 2 days later, a friend of mine who I worked with a few years back,  just came out of the blue, came to my house around 12 midnight and he was talking to me about this laudable project, that I should come around. Eventually I accepted and I went there to go for an interview. I was supposed to be interviewed but it appeared as if I was the one interviewing them and they fell in love with the personality and they said they wanted me on board. Of course, it was a real estate firm, hence the beginning of my journey.

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Having joined the industry, you have a lot to gain other than the salary; you will gain a lot if you put in your best into it because it offers you other means of income.

What advise can you give to your fellow women who also are planning to go into real estate business?
I would like them to take the bull by the horn, even though Nigeria real estate is male dominated. Men are the ones holding the position as the developers, estate owners, while we have the ladies doing the marketing aspect. I will advise the women to rise up to the occasion and get themselves acquitted with relevant courses or management training that could equip them because I see women going far in this business. When you talk about the real estate industry, most of the developers who have made it big today are being made through women, because we are the ones who do the marketing. I would want to advice and encourage more women to come into the development aspect of the industry because we are the “Home Makers”. Besides, I believe women will infuse more managerial skills into the industry.

Tell us how reliable is Coveland Limited and what assurance are you giving to your customers?
In Coveland Limited, we have our core values that we are very particular about. Part of our core values involves integrity, reliability and trust. We also pride ourselves to have what we call a sense of responsibility, as well as excellent customer relations. Those are expected attributes from a woman. And we have tried as much as possible to infuse this to Coveland so that anybody who has anything to do with us, will always find that niche which they may be missing in some other real estate firms.

In terms of customers service, we offer high-end customer service relationships. As soon as they buy land from us receipt and other necessary document is issued to them within 2 weeks, as long as they have paid all statutory fees. Since we started we haven’t had any complaint so far. Even though we’re still budding in the industry, we pride ourselves with the quality we give our customers as well as our consultants. We try as much as possible to ensure that, every consultant says it as it is; there shouldn’t be any hidden charges.

How reliable are your products?
Our products are reliable. We have currently, about 4 estates projects along Ibeju-Epe axis. We have one at Orimedu town, which is named Rockcreek Park. We acquired most of our properties from the Obas of the community we trade in. So the properties are secured. However, we have some properties that already have excision while others are in the process of being excised. We have Garfield Terrace Estate at Ibeju-Agbe town which has Oju Agbe excision. It’s 600 square metre per plot across board. So, all these products are good for anybody.

What you are saying is that, Nigerians should not be scared buying land from your company?
Yes, exactly. They shouldn’t be scared about buying property from us. All the properties we are proposing to them are secured properties.

What is your plan of payment like because some real estate companies allow its subscribers to pay little by little? Do you have such plan?
We also have such platform. Like I said to you, our slogan is “laying the foundation of home ownership”. Now, to lay that foundation, you first have to buy the land, before you build the house. That is the first thing you have to do, and as such, we have some payment plans we have developed that will accommodate people. And we also strive to make all our products to be affordable and convenient. So, the best way we can do this is by making sure that whatever you are selling to them they can get it at a premium rate and they can spread the payment over time. So we have 3 months payment plans, and we have 12 months payment plans.

We have learnt that properties in Ibeju Lekki axis will appreciate faster than any other location in Nigeria because of  the new Dangote Refinery, the new Seaport and other companies that are springing up in that axis. What advice can you give to your potential customers?
I will still say that, in as much as people want to acquire property for different purposes, I will advise them to invest wisely now because there are a lot of things that are going to happen in that axis. For example, Lagos state’s most prestigious commercials hub will be within that location, precisely along the Coaster road and you are going to have Lekki Free Trade Zone and many people don’t know the benefit of Free Trade Zone. It’s a duty export free zone; where you can manufacture and export your goods duty free. And when you have a place like that in Ibeju-Lekki you can imagine the kind of ripple effect it would have on businesses and families around that vicinity.

So, like we said earlier, that we try as much as possible to empower people, individuals, who are willing to be progressive in the real estate industry. We organize timely training for them. So right now, I’m reaching out to so many people out there, who are visionary, who are interested in growing their networks to come out and join us, so that we can train them and empower them on how to make the seven figure in the real estate industry. (City People)

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