Championing affordable luxury properties in Nigeria: Haven Homes CEO Tayo Sonuga covers Pleasures Magazine’s March/April Issue

Often described as a Voyage of the Senses and the Nigerian Beverly Hills, Haven Homes provides a jaw-dropping luxury estate considered as one of the most innovative contemporary estates in West Africa.

The estate features a host of amenities that promote a luxury lifestyle, however, with the popular maxim that ”money can’t buy you happiness or taste.” With Haven Homes, money can buy you a whole heap of life’s essence as there is a lot of space to fill with a taste of luxury.

Haven Homes’ flagship estate named Richmond Gate Estate provides homes for some of the A-list celebrities in the Nigerian entertainment industry. It is also home to some of the city’s ‘Very Important Personalities’ (VIPs). Globally renowned artists including 2Face (Innocent Idibia), AY Comedian (Ayodeji Richard Makun), Tiwa Savage, Kizz Daniel, Banky W, Falz (The Bahd Guy), Ex- beauty queen Dabota Lawson and many other celebrities are also resident in the company’s Lagos estate.

The luxury lifestyle was conceptualised by real estate developer, Mr. Tayo Sonuga, who is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Haven Homes, to suit the needs of the growing aristocratic middle class in the country. Haven Homes in simple tense is a contemporary-luxury-residential and innovative real estate developer known for building beautifully crafted, unique, and luxurious homes at affordable prices. For Haven Homes the details and customization that the luxury home offers remain nothing short of amazing.
Also, the modern spacious kitchens in the homes integrate luxury and style. They, in addition, transform basic granite into the most dazzling gourmet kitchens highlighting them among the most luxurious corners of the luxury homes to make whipping up culinary creations fun and easy, even if there is more than one cook.

Mr. Tayo Sonuga, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Haven Homes, told PLEASURES Magazine that Haven Homes also introduced a totally different design with the mindset of building homes similar to those seen in Hollywood movies with contemporary architecture. This is the concept that has attracted a lot of Nigeria’s celebrities. He noted that Richmond Gate Estate has gained immense popularity in Nigeria and is popularly referred to as ‘Beverly Hills of Africa’ just by the number of A-list celebrities who have found the estate a comfortable and safe place to live with their families.

He said: “Equally, VIPS, expatriates, executives in multi-nationals and other influential members of the society now live peacefully with their neighbours in Richmond Gate Estate’s serene atmosphere where electricity supply is available 24/7, and with the completion of Richmond Gate Estate Phase 2, this peaceful lifestyle has been extended further to many more celebrities. Haven Homes’ head-turning and alluring home designs are some of my company’s strongest points. With amazing and beautifully crafted homes, Haven Homes is the ready developer for creative designs, quality and durable housing that stand the test of time.

“We keyed into the lapse of the absence of modern, contemporary homes in the developers’ market before we came into the scene but now it is a regular feature with every other developer out there. What attracted me to the real estate sector in Nigeria was some time ago when I came for my brother’s wedding and I saw a bad quality construction work in a renowned hotel, especially the tiling. When I returned to the UK, I partnered with an architect friend who at the time had also built a house for his uncle in Magodo. The house became an inspiration for me to return to Nigeria and start building contemporary, luxury homes fit for stars and make them affordable to.’’

Mr Sonuga with the company’s General Manager

Believing homes hold a crucial role in building a quality lifestyle, Haven Homes prioritizes every step of the development process through a personalised approach from the concept to the final details. “Before Haven Homes came to Nigeria, there were just traditional buildings, and we led the way in a different direction introducing contemporary, modern home designs. Because we know that our responsibility towards our customers is a long-lasting commitment, our bespoke residences are an ideal fit for a refined lifestyle – built to inspire in all forms and sizes,” says Mrs Ufuoma Ilesanmi, General Manager/Chief Operating Officer, Haven Homes.

Sonuga adds: “To our esteemed clients, we have always delivered to the agreed specifications and on schedule. We have therefore created a huge trust reputation and a lot of our clients over the years have reposed their trust in our brand and in our ability to deliver as promised.
”Even before I move to a new site to commence a new project, prospective home clients purchase the units off-plan with moderate deposits. As the value of the projects and the houses still under construction appreciate, their stakes in the project also appreciate wildly in value. For instance, investors who subscribed to our 2- bedroom at the initial price of N30m ($78,000) were able to sell each unit at N45m ($117,000), even without paying the price in full.’’

“This is wealth creation through prudent investment. Some buyers are even able to double their gains after making an initial deposit. This speaks much for the immense appeal of our brand which is made possible by the reputation Haven Homes has built up over the years. Our clients have come to repose immense trust and confidence in us, and they could now accept to wait in queue for their home delivery after paying the bulk of the price upfront.’’

Sonuga further says: “Haven Homes and celebrities have a lot in common because we are both passionate about what we do. To start with, we are both in the creative industry! Our homes are crafts or art in a unique way, which also blends with their creative ingenuity.

‘’For a celebrity to become famous in what he or she does there has to be a lot of passion involved and that is what we do in our trade too. ‘’When we build these homes, we make them appealing, not just to celebrities but to others who treasure the great ambience, the beauty of the estates and the serenity they provide. We have managed to sustain it as a cherished niche market, our association with top celebrities over the years since 2012 has been of tremendous mutual benefits.’’

On efforts to make the estate eco-friendly, he says: “Saving the environment matters to us; we create greening zones in our estates even amid limitations of space. We also ensure they are surrounded by very visible greens, that the energy load is low, and we use energy-saving lighting systems thereby utilizing low wattage bulbs instead of the popular halogen. At the moment we are trying to see if we can have an air conditioner that can be run with an inverter to bring down energy load and we are creating space for solar panels in our roof designs. Furthermore, our new estate, Richmond Pearl Estate, will have waste sorting and recycling zones.’’

Mr Sonuga further says: “We are still encountering challenges and the major one is the instability of the market prices of building materials. Most prices for building materials keep rising due to lack of government regulations and restrictions on price hikes. In the past four months, there has been an average increase of about 30 per cent on all building materials. This has been a major challenge for us and the housing sector generally. Another challenge has been the downward fall in the value of the Nigerian currency, the Naira. Needless to include the effects of the global pandemic of COVID-19 crisis which has escalated the shipping and freight prices of all imported materials.

“However, my greatest challenge so far has been with getting the right skilled workers to build our projects with the right quality outcomes that we desire but despite these challenges, we still remained focused. We had to create several layers of supervision, each layer checking the previous layer. We have supervisors checking the contractors, quality assurance managers checking the supervisors and then consultants checking the final outcomes. After delivery to our clients, we still follow up on the projects for the next six months to ensure our clients settle in seamlessly into their new homes. All these come at a cost for us as a company, but it is the price we need to pay in order to fulfil our commitment to quality service delivery.”

Chief Executive Officer of Haven Homes, Mr Sonuga in brief
Mr. Tayo Sonuga is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Haven Homes. He was born in 1966 and grew up in Lagos. He is the first of five children. Sonuga completed his Higher National Diploma (HND) in Accountancy with an Upper Credit at Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State and worked as an External Auditor with Messrs Z. O. Ososanya & Co., a firm of Chartered Accountants in Ibadan as a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). He was offered permanent employment by the firm but proceeded to the United Kingdom shortly after his youth service in 1990. He has spent the last three decades in Nigeria and the United Kingdom focusing on housing developments in various parts of both countries and has recently started new projects in the United States of America. He is married to Sola Sonuga, an architect and both have three children.

Tel: +234 7051190205, +234 7034018989

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