Finding a house to rent in Lagos can be a strenuous and a prolonged exercise, especially with a lot of people leaving their homes as early as 4am and not returning until 11pm or midnight sometimes. Then weekends are then used for laundry, religious programmes, parties and social visits thereby leaving you practically with no time to do any other thing apart from the routine. So, whether you need a house to rent for the very first time or you are changing apartments due to an upgrade in your pocket or status, these tips will help point you in the right direction and help save some of your time.
DETERMINE THE LOCATION
If you are just saving up for a new apartment or you are trying to draw a budget, knowing the location or the area where you want a house would go a long way in helping you out. When considering location, you might want to think about your place of work – how far or close it is to where you are hoping to get an apartment, how much money you would be spending to and from work, and how accessible your preferred location is to the major road especially since you might be getting home late.
TALK TO LOCAL AGENTS OR GO AROUND AND LOOK FOR ‘TO LET’ SIGNS
Okay, looking around for ‘To Let’ signs might be old-fashioned, but so are some landlords. Certain homeowners do not want to give their house to some unscrupulous agents, but are hoping someone in the neighbourhood will know someone who needs to rent a house. Again, some homeowners do not want to rent their house to just anyone; they would rather wait for that friend of a friend — which could be you.
You can also talk to house agents; only make sure you talk to reliable ones. It is better for you to ask someone you know and trust to refer you to a house agent who is reliable and trustworthy; you don’t want to be scammed of your hard earned money. Then just give the agent your budget and price range, it would be helpful. You can also search online as we now have many websites dealing with property purchase and rentals.
WATCH OUT FOR FLOOD RISK
The rains in Lagos actually are not the major problem but the floods resulting from them, which normally lead to loss of lives and property. So, one day you might just wake up and you no longer have an apartment or your property is gone. Worse still there could be loss of lives if the flood is heavy. So you might need to ask the experts about the area you want to be moving to. Don’t let the beauty of a particular area convince you into moving there, all that glitters is not gold.
VIEW AT DIFFERENT TIMES OF THE DAY AND TAKE PICTURES
So, let’s say you have now gotten an agent and he is taking you round to check houses in your preferred neighbourhood. When you see one or two that you like; before you make your final decision, go back and view the house at different times; there are flaws you will be able to discover only in the daytime, and there are flaws that can be discovered only at night.
Also remember to take photos, as they’ll be a useful reference point when all the apartments and houses you have found blur into one. Later in the day when you are settled and calmer, you can go through those pictures and make up your mind about which one suits your purpose
CHECK FOR OBVIOUS DEFECTS
Don’t pay rent, commission and agreement in full only to discover obvious defects in the house that could have been fixed by the landlord.
Check for wet spots on the wall, look for cracks up the ceilings, open doors and windows and shut them behind you to make sure they all work. Flick switches, turn lights on and off, especially those with older switches. Inspect the plumbing, flush toilets and turn taps on, check the drain’s flow. Check your phone and confirm the apartment is not a mobile phone dead zone.
There might be some little issues you can fix by yourself since it’s the apartment you are going to be living in for a while, but for major issues, make a list so you can ask the landlord to fix them before you get the keys.
KNOCK ON THE NEIGHBOURS’ DOORS
Neighbours – and not necessarily the one inside the same house where you are getting your apartment- may offer tip-offs on the area or house. Some landlords have a weird way of treating their tenants; some give quit notice just after one year, while some give you unbelievable rules and regulations after you have moved in. Talking with neighbours around might just give you an idea of the kind of apartment you are planning to move into.