Member Spotlight

Demola Oreagba’s Brilliant Transition from Real Estate to International Exports

Interview by Demola Quadri

Timing the real estate cycle is critical to achieving big returns on investment. Demola Oreagba, former realtor, multi-million-dollar producer, did just that in 2006 when he made a bold and calculating career change from real estate to international exports. Real estate market moves through three phases of Recovery, expansion and recession, before going back and repeating again.

Abuja Country Club magazine spoke with Mr. Demola Oreagba in his corporate office in Laurel, Maryland, where as chief executive, he oversees the daily operations of MIDAS SHIPPING and FREIGHT, a global corporation with extensive shipping operations in the United States, United Kingdom and Nigeria. Excerpts from the interview are as follows:

In 1997, Fred Foldvary, a research fellow at the Independent Institute, the public policy research and educational organization, predicted that the next major bust in real estate market, 18 years after the 1990 downturn, would be around 2008, if there were no major interruption such as global war. Could we say this prediction influenced your exit strategy in real estate, looking at your career time line?

When I was transitioning from rehabilitative healthcare profession to real estate in 1996, I did a thorough analysis of the market trend to strategically position myself. My understanding of real estate as comprising a 15-year cycle – a five-year boom, five years of stability and a five-year downturn - greatly influenced my exit after a successful 10-year stint. I got out in 2006, two years before the real estate bubble in 2008.

Your impressive portfolio as a realtor includes multi-million dollar homes sold to affluent clients such as the famous cardiologist Dr. Ayim Djamson, Dr. Raymond Nwadiuko, and many more. What real estate company did you work for and what was your strategy for success?

I started my career in real estate with WEICHERT REALTORS in 1996 and then move on to AMERICAN REALTY, where I spent the greater part of my time as realtor. My strategy for success was being sensitive to clients’ needs and going above and beyond to provide them service. For example, part of my home buyer incentive parkage included moving clients to their new home at no extra cost. I created Midas Movers in 2002 for that purpose.

What motivated your career change from real estate to Import and Export Shipping?

Real estate became boring and repetitive – for me there was nothing more to prove. I was looking for the next challenging career. Midas Shipping and Freight  gave me that challenge and fullfillment. Midas Movers started in 2000 as the home buyer moving unit of my real estate operation. Midas movers was tranformed into Midas Shipping and Freight in 2002. At that time, the company was handling only air freight shipments. Import and Export Shipping Consolidation by Air and Sea started in 2008.

How challenging is Import and Export Shipping Business?

The goal of Midas Shipping is to meet customers’ requirements. This demand effective logistics in transporting and storing goods from the point of origin to the point of delivery. The cost of acquiring and maintaining storage and office space is enormous. Our current office / warehouse location cost $75, 000 to modify. Staffing and warehouse equipment costs are staggering. Port delays in emergency situations is a big challenge. During the Congestion at the Nigerian Ports in 2008, I relocated to Nigeria for  12 months to handle the congestion situation. This business has its highs and lows and it takes persistency and determination to succeed.

What popular goods are shipped to countries such as Nigeria and Cameroon?

Consumer and household goods are popular shipments from the United States to West African destinations. Clients are advised not to ship goods to West African countries on goodwill. It is important to personally monitor the sales of goods on arrival.

How financially rewarding is Midas Shipping and Freight Incorporated?

I don’t have a figure to give you, but I think Midas Shipping and Freight is rewarding enough for me to comfortably live in a million-dolar home and be able to send kids to college.

Growing up in Falolu, Surulere, in the 1980s, Demola oreagba was at the center of Lagos social life with other privileged youths. His parents ensured he obtained the best in early childhood education. His journalism background and contemporary Nigerian-American English accent greatly enhanced this interview.

Oreagba was former president of Eko Club Washington D.C Metro and current Chairman of the Abuja Country Club, USA. Favorite pastime is golf ( he practices daily on a 3-hole portable golf putting green in his office).