Finding a house to rent in Lagos is probably more treacherous than going on a mission to appease the gods and evil forest.
We have heard the most heartbreaking stories from would-be renters. Some have had their money’s absconded with by unscrupulous housing agents through dubious schemes. Some have rented houses with no functional utilities, which they only found out about after renting. Yet, many more have been in the market for months searching with no success in finding a house.
If you have heard or read these horror stories from house hunters about their terrible experiences in house hunting in Lagos, and have always wondered how to uccessfully house hun in the Center of Excellence, read the following unbreakable steps, which will serve as a guide on your house hunting journey.
1. Know What You Want:
A duplex? A bungalow? How many rooms?
These and so many questions are vital in keeping your search focused. In my experience as an agent, a lot of house hunters have no specific type of house they want, and this eventually leads to wild goose chases and frustration on both the part of the renter and the agent. You can increase your chances of success, and save yourself some time, energy and resources, and those of your agent as well, by knowing exactly what you want and sticking to it.
2. Know Where You Want It:
In addition to point 1 above, having a particular location in mind is another unbreakable step. Having an area in mind streamlines your search and guides you on which agents to work with. You may go to any area of your choosing and ask residents in that location about a trusted housing agent, and many people will be willing and happy to help you out. Alternatively, you can simply google estate agents in that location and take a pick from the results Google presents.
3. Ascertain The Average Cost:
You may be wondering how to do this, but all you have to do is visit property listing websites like Jiji, or Nigeria Property Centre. On thee sites, a lot of the kind of house you are looking for will be listed. By looking around these websites, you should be able to confidently determine if you can afford the house in that locality if you have to look in another neighborhood.
4. Size Up Offerings:
Closely related to Point 3. As you’re looking at prices you should also look at the quality of the houses listed, and how much they cost. Two houses side by side, on the same street could have a gulf in cost of rent based on nothing other than quality.
Such things to consider are:
i. UTILITIES: Is there any provision for running water, or will you have to see to that yourself? Are the bedrooms ensuite, or does the whole house share only one bathroom and toilet? Is there a general generator or are you supposed to come with yours? Are the rooms tiled? Are there already cabinets in the kitchen or do you have to have a have to contract a carpenter to make them? Does your compound have cleaners? Etc
ii. SECURITY: In addition to neighborhood security arrangements, does the house you look into rent have a security/gateman or not?
5. Make Contact:
If you have gone online to search for a house and found any to your liking, you should then contact the listing agent (their contact details are usually posted along with the houses).
You can then ask any further questions, and confirm that the house you are interested in is still available. If that particular one is longer on the market, you can ask if the agent has others, and be sure to request pictures of any unlisted but available houses. If you are satisfied with the pictures shown, fix an appointment for an inspection.
6. Go On Tour/Inspection:
This may be one of the most difficult aspects of house hunting because a lot of agents take advantage of house hunters by repeatedly charging them inspection fees (which are usually between ₦3, 000 and ₦10, 000).
If, however, if you have gone through steps 1-5, this should be a formality and more of a confirmation exercise that your desired house is indeed available in the condition the pictures depict.
With regard to the inspection fee, you can avoid paying it if you rent the house immediately after inspection. This way, your only expenses are the cost of the rent, and any transport costs you may have incurred going on the inspection. If you decide not to pay for the apartment, then you may have to pay the inspection fee.
7. Meet The Landlord/Caretaker
If you decide you like the house and wish to pay, then meeting the landlord or caretaker should be your next step.
I strongly advise against paying any money to the agent as it may end in tears. The caretaker, could be a Facility Manager or lawyer or an informal representative of the landlord, and is authorized by the landlord to receive payments and issue receipts bearing your name, the amount paid, and the duration of your rent.
8. Pay And Take Possession Immediately:
Well, no time to waste. If you like the house and wish to move in, it will be wise to make the payment as soon as possible. Chances are, you aren’t the only house on town the market, our landlords only loyal to money. There are instances of landlords returning money to would be renters who refused to take possession immediately they paid because someone was willing to pay a higher rent and even higher legal and agency fees.
You should demand the keys for the house as soon as you have made payments. If possible, change the locks immediately or install a new padlock. If the landlord returns your money there’s nothing you can do, but start the house-hunting process afresh.
9. Move In:
Well, after going through steps one to eight above the next logical thing is for you to move in and begin to enjoy your new house. You should even launch a bottle of wine to celebrate your success.
You might want to go through this list again to make sure you haven’t missed anything or you can just bookmark this thread and refer to it when next you’re looking for a house or share with a friends and family.
I guarantee that by following these steps religiously, you cannot go wrong when it comes to house hunting in Lagos.