Do you want to own a property or invest in Real Estate? Look no further.
Exquisite Magazine got the opportunity to interview CEO Lerato & Adams RE, Lerato Lekena-Okoro and we asked a few questions and she gave us a detailed answer. So read up!
Tell us about Yourself
My name is Lerato Lekena-Okoro, I am a real estate entrepreneur and investment broker.
I am the Founder of the Lerato & Adams RE Agency through which we have created the RE Dominoes Society (a technology-backed initiative) to further help middle-income earners to invest in real estate without breaking the bank by co-investing.
I am an Author with 1 published book and another to be released by the end of February, a YouTuber focused on educating about real estate.
I am also an upcoming PropTech Founder at the Dominoes Society it’s tech-enabled to help offer transparency of investments and drive the ability to scale.
Whilst the personal front that is most visible to people is the workaholic that I am, I also enjoy watching movies, going to the beach, socializing, salsa dancing, and good food.
If I could travel without the hassle of packing and unpacking then I would add travel to that list.
What does your business do?
In the simplest of terms, we sell real estate.
To expatiate on this, we are in the business of real estate where we help people to acquire and sell properties of choice, including lands, and buildings, and in some cases even acquire operating premises for their businesses.
Through the RE Dominoes Society initiative (i.e. the Co-investment community), we are building a Property Tech ecosystem that is designed to be the game changer for real estate investments by enabling co-investment opportunities, and home of the most enlightened and active network of investors for real estate in Africa.
What problems does your company solve?
First off, we work to reduce the number of illegal real estate transactions by ensuring that all our offers are legal and duly vetted to ensure that clients are not on the losing side of their transactions.
Secondly and maybe the most exciting problem we are now solving is enabling the inclusion of middle-income earners to be able to afford investing in real estate.
How do you solve your customer’s challenge?
For general real estate transactions, we have a process that requires that we vet from a legal and operational perspective all options that we list, such that when the clients are investing, they are doing so with at least 60% of their fears & risks subsided.
For the co-investing part, this is where it gets interesting and unique because we are creating what a number of us might know as fractional investment units that are real estate as the product.
By doing this, we are also creating the ecosystem to ensure the real estate investment thrives, all of which include enabling, educating about it, and empowering people to be able to make investments in real estate easier and smarter.
And it works like this: we take whole units of flats and/or properties and break them into smaller fractions such that instead of needing to buy a whole flat for example forty million and do the work of making it ready and able to make money for you, we give you the option to invest in a fraction of it and make money for you for an example, 500,000 naira or in multiples of this.
Next, we offer you the opportunity and ability to get reports and status updates on all your investments via a technology-driven platform that gives all co-investors a dashboard view of their invested options 24/7.
To explain it in literal terms, if we take rental apartments as an example after you buy a property you then have to list it, manage it, and monitor your tenants before you can get paid.
With a co-investment in a rental apartment, you don’t need to do any of that work after you subscribe by investing but you will get paid from the rent earned for as long as you remain invested.
The easiest way to think of it is like investing in stocks of real estate businesses.
Who are your ideal customers?
Anyone who earns an income, be it an employee, employer, business owner, or even a housewife who gets a stipend/allowance and has saved up.
Any group of like-minded people who want to invest in real estate as a passive income option could include formal and informal groups.
Can you describe/outline your typical day?
Phewww!! This changes on a day to day but a general day would start with me waking up at 5 am, and brushing my teeth, recently I have restarted a focus of trying to get at least an hour of exercise in aerobics or brisk walking.
I listen to podcasts or music at this time
From 7 am, I am most probably on my phone responding to emails, social/digital media, etc.
My morning coffee, breakfast, and multivitamins go alongside.
By 9/10 am, I am dressed for work and/or for sure on my laptop.
First meetings or consultations fit in here. If not any of those, then I am en route or at a client for some inspection or a project site update.
On some days I get to break for lunch and on some lunch, I’m on the go or worked into a client meeting.
Asides from inspections, my days are sometimes also spent meeting and working on-site with engineers.
Since COVID, I have taken a special interest in learning the more technical component of real estate so that I can understand and be a better judge of character for building quality.
There are some things that we can’t be taught officially but if we know them they help to make our output better.
I try to work from home on some days to reduce the amount of moving around I need to do as I function best when I don’t have to think and juggle through the routine of traffic and getting to places on the schedule.
Bedtime is 11 pm on a regular day so I can have at least 5-6 hours of sleep and keep stress headaches at bay.
Now, this might sound scripted or ‘too perfect’ but I will be the first to admit that there are days this schedule goes out of the window and it feels like the day is spent putting out fires and I get to fall into bed at any time I seem to have gotten through most of the things needing to be done.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
It’s not been easy to balance I must say because many a time, I prioritize work over personal life and it just seems to never really stop.
Being a single woman sometimes makes it easier because it’s just me. in some ways, even more of a problem. After all, I don’t have someone else I must care for, unlike my counterparts who are married and moms.
I like and don’t like it at the same time.
What motivates you?
Seeing the beneficial outcomes of the work I am doing.
How do you generate new ideas?
Studying the markets/things around me, watching movies/series, and talking with people, especially about things that are a pain to them.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
I don’t manage my fears, sometimes they overwhelm me, but then I remind myself that I have to get ahead of them because if not I won’t achieve the long ended goal I have set.
In those instances, I need to rationalize them and plan around them to ensure I implement as needed. My greatest fear is being found wanting or incapable.
How do you define success?
Being at least 1% better than I was or used to be.
Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Outside of working towards that status, no I don’t. Because being a successful entrepreneur cannot be given or handed over, you have to become one to be one.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Having the choice to create something that also benefits others and knowing that at some point in all of this, I will look back and be able to tell this story from the ground up and end it with ‘I DID THAT” because it won’t just be a business but a legacy impact.
How did the idea for your business come about?
The desire to change the status quo and help people to invest safer and more consistently.
What advice would you give to people who want to become entrepreneurs?
Be ready for anything, start with a strong why build a support system that understands you, and have a side hustle that is a source of funds for you. Entrepreneurship can be draining.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Start by building my brand & presence rather than the business brand.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Mental resilience (being able to think smart and fast on your feet), being thick-skinned (like a bulletproof vest), and knowing how to influence people.
What entrepreneurial tricks have you discovered to keep you focused and productive in your day-to-day busy schedule?
Knowing myself and serenity prayer
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My parents – my dad was committed and passionate about helping people and my mom is such an independent woman who seems unafraid of anything.
If you were to write a book about yourself, how would you name it?
I’m not just a girl: becoming the change we want to see.
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