Finding the perfect rental property can be stressful, time-consuming and confusing especially for first-time renters. Before renting an apartment in Lagos, you should know what neighbourhood suits your personality and lifestyle especially if it’s a long term plan to ensure you have a peaceful and enjoyable new home and not one where you constantly frown every time you see your neighbours. We know how that goes.
It is equally important to know exactly how much space you need – and more importantly, how much space you can afford. One of the most important aspects of any home is safety. As you explore potential neighborhoods, check around for crime stats, as well as the types of incidents.
Agreed, it’s tough to get real stats in Nigeria, but talk to people who have lived in the neighbourhoods you’re considering, or people who currently live there, especially the security guards; they typically know the most about the area.
This quick guide will help you make better decisions as you apartment-hunt…
#1. Create a budget and a plan
A solid game plan can help you narrow your search to find the best home for you. Before you even look at an apartment, work out what you can afford by doing a thorough check on your overall finances. After you conclude the analysis you might realize that to stay within your budget, you might need to compromise on your wishlist by prioritizing.
Separate “deal breakers from “it would be nice if I had.” Apartments, condos, or single-family homes that have a dishwasher, parking space, washer/dryer, and tiled floors will most likely be more expensive than a place with one or two of these features. Just don’t compromise when it comes to a safe building or good location.
#2. The internet is your friend
Online tools and services can help you stay on top of new listings. Renting an apartment in Lagos has been made easy with the power of technology. Just set up your search by plugging in your city, price range, the desired number of bedrooms and bathrooms, location, and the type of rental you want. Many sites also let you contact real estate agents via phone or email. You can also use the internet to search for any reported incidents in the areas you’re looking at.
#3. Choose a location
While a rental apartment or house may have everything you want, is it in the right place for your lifestyle? It’s smart to figure out the time you’ll spend commuting from home to the places that are important to you. Considering Lagos traffic, this is non-negotiable unless you want to spend the most part of your life in transit.
#4. Find a good real estate agent
Though there are fees associated with using a real estate agent, which is usually 10% of the rent (anything higher should be negotiated). You can be assured that the agent will present you with a wider range of options within your budget and preferred location. Correct contracts will be in place, securing you more as a tenant and giving you more rights should you have any problems.
#5. Inspect the place properly
Do not go out and rent the first thing you see, you should view three to five locations before making a choice — enough to compare, but not so many that you lose track and get confused.
It may sound ridiculous in this technology age, but no amount of research can substitute for boots on the ground. Once you’re there in person, look at the state of the apartments. Are the apartments well maintained or is junk piling up? Is there a lot of new construction underway or is your backyard a generator house for the entire tenants? These might annoy you with noise and give you sleepless nights.
During the rainy season in Lagos especially on the island, places tend to get flooded, and even in the dry seasons so look out for mildew under the paint and on the ceiling. Are you ready to live in a compound where the landlord also resides with countless rules and regulations and poke-nosing? Ask yourself what you’re willing to tolerate on a daily basis and look around for signs of the same when you visit your potential new residence.
#6. Be conscious before you make payment
Ensure you make contact with the landlord, speak with him over the phone, and set up a meeting. If the landlord is unavailable, request to meet the caretaker. Renting an apartment in Lagos requires street wisdom and you can’t be too careful. Don’t be tempted to hand over any money before you’ve seen the property, especially if asked to do so in order to view a property.
If you’re moving to a new city and need to secure a place before you move, do your best to get there to see it first or send a friend or family member on your behalf. The agent might demand an inspection fee to sieve out time-wasters from serious-minded clients but this is not a deposit for any property.
If you or a person acting on your behalf can’t view the property and you are asked to give a deposit or fee to secure it, move on to the next apartment. It may also be worth asking tenants who already live in the compound/estate questions before you finally close the deal, there’s nothing wrong with being a little cautious, especially when it comes to handing over money! My dear, this is Lagos, shine your eyes.
After tirelessly house hunting, moving in becomes very personal and fulfilling – it’s like a balanced diet after a long stressful day. Soon you’ll realize that renting an apartment in Lagos is not for the weak-hearted. You’re finally here, so move in and start the fun part. Enjoy your new home!
Featured Image: f27arts | Instagram
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