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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Real Real Estate!


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Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah…

Part One: The REAL Real estate.

Real Estate, everyone will agree, is one of the most profitable business ventures to be doing worldwide. Properties, (land and buildings) are always in demand (since as long as people exist, they would need places to live, to use as schools, offices, shops etc); and, unlike other commodities, they rarely ever decrease in value thereby making the real estate business be of low risk with long-term profit.  In Nigeria, the past few years have seen a change in the market with more people becoming more involved in buying and selling properties, a.k.a "assets". In the fast growing cities like Abuja and Lagos (Kano seems to be fast overcrowding rather than "growing"), housing estates, "courts", "garden cities" are cropping up everywhere together with the numerous mansions. All around, high quality luxury homes. Everyone would want to live in such houses and ultimately own them. Regardless of occupation or background, owning one's personal house is seen as life's greatest success. One has arrived.

Because real estate is very versatile, most everyone can find something that works for them. Some people buy plots of land, keep for some time and then sell, or build then lease out, sell, or use as their own personal homes. Then there are the property development companies which buy the land, develop into estates, and have other individuals invest in the developing, rent, sell or live in themselves when they've been completed. The luckiest lot might be the real estate agents (including unofficial ones) who do the "middle man" job of hooking up buyers and sellers, making pretty decent gains off commissions. People from other professions are also involved and interconnected in real estate: architects, surveyors, engineers, interior designers, landscapers, mortgage bankers, the manual laborers, etc. Whichever line one adapts, there's usually very lucrative profit.

There are so many factors to consider when buying or investing in real estate, as any good agent will tell you, thus requiring careful research, planning and saving. Obviously, it all depends on what one can afford and what return on investment one is looking for (i.e. how much profit will be made or how much of a great deal/bargain you get). All the same, everyone would want the best value no matter the budget… So, what gives a property more value than another? What makes it, in real estate terms,  "Prime Property”? This is usually based on features like location, availability, size, the kind of building design, the overall finishing, etc. These determine the pricing/standards of property and back to square one, whether you can afford it or not. (Luckily, there are sometimes convenient payment plans, for example by installments, through mortgages or if the price is right, outright purchase). This is where brochures come in quite handy. In the real estate world, brochures are very very essential. They give all the necessary information about these features, which the prospective buyers/investors/tenants need in order to make their decisions. Effective brochures entice and convince the clients by making the properties stand out, strongly engraved in their memories.

One such brochure next to me says: "Obtaining an ideal home can be one of the most challenging experiences in life. But it can also be one of life’s most rewarding investments”… Further down it says: “Some choices are for a lifetime”… Interesting…Another one says: "One of the factors that give man joy in investment is return on investment, where exactly do you think you can get this accelerated turnover on your investment?" It then says "Palm Gardens, Abuja"…Okay.

Here's an exceptional offer…It's not Palm Gardens or Victoria Gardens or whichever other "garden city" you have in mind. This folks, is the Real thing!  Al- Jannah. "The Garden".

Some choices might be for a lifetime, this choice is eternal! Read slowly and ponder over the words…Eternal…Eternity…Perpetuity…Everlasting,…Forever, ever and ever…Billions of years....NO END!!!!!!  Now, isn't that where our investments should go?? This, Allah tells us repeatedly, is the Supreme Success!

 "….Jannatun tajri min tahtihal anharu khalidina fiha. Dhalika huwal fauzul adheem" -  "….Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever! Truly, this is the great success!" (Q57v12)

The Hereafter is our final destination and of course there, Jannah is where we all wanna be. That ultimate goal. It follows that everyone should be trying to achieve that, right? Well let's assume so even though most of our actions say otherwise…One of the first rules in practical goal-setting is that you should have a clear vision of the goal, see it clearly and keep it in sight till it has been reached. For our lofty target, this means we need to have a vivid image of Jannah, keep it in mind, and not stop till we attain it, despite all the distractions this present life has to offer. Alhamdulillah, we've been given ample details and elaborate descriptions in so many surahs of the Qur'an…Everything we need to get a crystal clear impression of Jannah is covered comprehensively..and repeated over and over so it sticks. The Qur'an is more than a brochure, it is a Complete Guide on the REAL real estate, and how to invest while we're here in the ephemeral world..

"Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children..…..And the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment" (Q57v20)

In contrast, Jannah is often mentioned with the words "khalidina fiha" (dwelling therein eternally) and sometimes abada (adding emphasis on the eternity, like "and ever" in forever and ever). Every few ayahs you find a physical description perhaps, or its exclusivity, or the character of its inhabitants, and often a comparison with the only other option, Jahannam (Hell)! Very effective in making us strive harder. Truth be told though, a lot of us miss out on all this because we do not know what we're reading, that's if we read the Qur'an in the first place. We do the barest minimum, those short surahs for our daily salah, and that's it…Well, a topic for another day inshaAllah.

There are also several hadiths from the Prophet, sallalahu alaihi wa sallam, which add even more details to the verses. He told us though that, no matter what we imagine from these verses and hadith, Jannah is beyond that. We can only relate to things we know and see, while Jannah is made up of things we cannot comprehend right now.

Narrated Abu Huraira رضى الله عنه : The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Allah said: 'I have prepared for My pious slaves things which have never been seen by an eye, nor heard by an ear, or  (even) imagined by a human being.' " (4/3244 Bukhari)

"No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do."   Q32v17

"Never mind what God has told you; what He has not told you is even greater." (Muslim)


"Part Two: Now Selling!" will follow shortly inshaAllah.

Bissalam,

Jaleela.