If you are part of the 47% of Nigerians who reside in urban areas and do not own your own home, you will have to deal with estate agents to rent a place of your own.
Here, we take a look at some of the things to look out for- and do while house hunting.
Depending on what you do, either as a student or worker, make sure that the house you end up renting is quite close to where you spend most of the day – either studying or working a nine to five. This ensures that you spend as little money as possible commuting.
The location of the house in relation to the major road also matters. Houses well away from the road might cost less, but might increase how much you spend on your daily commute (both time and money spent) significantly.
As with almost everything, it all comes down to money and how much you can afford to spend on an apartment. No matter how close to your school/work an apartment is, if it is located in an area where the prices are significantly higher than your budget, it’s advisable to look for a cheaper apartment elsewhere.
There is a workaround for this, which I’ll still go into.
This is very important as it’s the difference between strolling around your new neighborhood with complete peace of mind and the jitteriness that ensues when you live in a dangerous area. Renting a house in an estate with security guards posted, working street lights and a gate that’s closed at late hours can make all the difference. If you’re lucky enough to rent in an area not far from a police station or a barracks, all the better.
Water (especially pipe-borne) and electricity are huge factors when house-hunting.
The way to know for sure if these amenities are available is to ask other tenants already living in the house, asking the landlord or caretaker if these exist might not get you an honest answer especially in my case, when I only learned after I paid my rent and moved in that there was no pipe-borne water and the water “available” was unavailable more times than not.
You can also visit the apartment at different times of the day to see if these facilities are available at all times.
As mentioned earlier, in a situation where the house you want to rent is too pricey for your budget, an option is to split the rent with someone else (even with two people, in the case of a three-bedroom apartment).
This is a very convenient and common way tenants can use to get past the cost issue. However, you need to make sure the people you plan to live with complement you and vice versa.
When checking for posting for apartments for rent, look out for people willing to split the rent.
When looking for a house and you find one that seemingly ticks almost all the boxes you want, make enquiries and express an interest (but do not commit) and search for a bit longer. If after that you do not find something better, return and make your payment after taking the usual precautions of course.
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