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BellaNaijarians, Please Share Your Lagos House Hunting Stories with Us

Atoke

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I never realised that house hunting in Lagos was a HUGE deal until my friend, Nengz started searching. From the absurd room sizes,  to the ridiculously planned overview, agents showed her places that we would never have guessed existed.  One agent took her to one flat that had one really small bathroom. Actually, small is an understatement. It was a cubicle, with the washbowl right behind the door; that way, to get into the bathroom you had to squeeze through (and Nengz is a UK size 6!) When she complained to the agent about the size of the bathroom, he replied “Ahn ahn, Aunty. Eez not too small na! Shebi eez jus for showereen”

The flats were very bad, and even more absurd were the prices. In some places, the things you still had to fix up in the house would cost an extra arm and a leg! House hunting in Lagos is hell! It’s even worse when you’re a woman. Remember when BellaNaija shared the article titled: The Lady Goes House Hunting? {Click here if you missed it}  It can even be postulated that this difficulty in finding a place to stay in Lagos is the reason why a lot of women go into marriages they’re not ready for. Don’t quote me on this one oh!

Anyway, so why is it so hard to find a nice, decent and affordable houses in Lagos?

The guys at Battabox went out to the streets to get a feel of people’s experiences on this subject matter!

Watch the video to find out what they said… and don’t forget to share your experiences with us.

For some tips to renting space in Lagos, click here and here

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website atoke.com for more information.

21 Comments

  1. Nicey

    June 14, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    It’s always a terrible experience finding an accommodation in Lagos. When you eventually find the one u can manage, tribalism and religion or marital status comes into play… U hear things like “Yoruba tenants only”, ” must be a member of RCCG”, (I mean I’m a Christian who dosnt attending ur church), or “married couples only”….it’s always a terrible experience matching location & finance to what u actually want, alongside other factors…Lagos na wa!

    • Nicey

      June 14, 2015 at 6:10 pm

      *attend

  2. Just another girl

    June 14, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    “It can even be postulated that this difficulty in finding a place to stay in Lagos is the reason why a lot of women go into marriages they’re not ready for. Don’t quote me on this one oh!”

    Actually your theory is not far fetched Atoke; I have a family friend who got married at 21 to “escape” from home. This is a girl from a relatively well to do home but did not get along with her mum, she was still at Uni, not financially independent enough to move out and get her own place then she met a guy who did everything for her financially and otherwise, they started dating next thing we know they are getting married huge wedding 4 years later they are in the final stages of processing their divorce papers and have been separated for two of those years. Another one got back together with her two timing cheating ex because he now lived in a “good” part of town and she wanted the good life her eyes cleared the day he brought his side chic home when she was away and she quickly moved back to her one room apartment in a “not so good” part of town.

  3. Lois

    June 14, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Come to Abuja, and you will want to go back to Lagos. The hustle for the search ain’t much but the amount to pay is where the problem lies. To live outside town in Mararaba, colleagues pay as much as N300,000 per annum for a room self contained; Lugbe 450,000-500,000 per annum and to come to town…you much be ready to Pay MONEY

    • Abeee

      June 14, 2015 at 7:38 pm

      At least in Abuja you get value for money. In Lagos the houses are crap! Lagos agents are the devil’s cousins. landlords don’t take Igbo tenants or lawyers (Loooool). Some yoruba landlords are creepy especially if they live in the same building or close by. To be somewhat safe you have to get a house in a ‘gated estate’ then you have to deal with estate security charges and annoying managers. It is well with you Lagos tenants….

    • frances

      June 14, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      That is so true. Some houses in gwarimpa are between 1m and 1.5 and you must pay for at least 2yrs.

  4. keeks

    June 14, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Its just for shaweereenn hahahah. Good article.

  5. mr. wizzy

    June 14, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Lagos is difficult!

  6. Mae

    June 14, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    Back in the day, i lived with my mum,dad and siblings in a 2 bedroom flat in orile Agege area of Lagos. It was a semi detached house and i must say that 2 bedroom flat was big! The compound had more than enough space for cars to park…children could run and run round the compound and parties cound be held to accomodate more than 600 guests! Back then, People built houses for comfortabity but these days people build houses for discomfort.lolz. Some houses don’t even have space for tenants to park their cars. I have gone house hunting in Festac and I almost cried! The compounds were beautiful and all that but the apartments were just too small and some of the kitchen cannot accomodate 2 people. I have been to Ondo and Owerri to visit my friends in school both of them live in a room self contain and their houses are a lil bit bigger than what i see here in lag

  7. Lady

    June 14, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Please don’t even get me started on house hunting in Lagos. I just finished going through this ordeal a few weeks ago and I FINALLY found a place I could “kinda sorta” manage, keeping the ridiculously low Naija standards in mind. As a woman who went solo house hunting in Lagos, here is my experience below:

    1. RENTAL AD LISTINGS: What, for goodness sake, do people have against posting pictures of a house they’re trying to rent out online? I ran into countless home listings on several of our Naija real estate portals ( I practically lived on the internet 24/7 looking for something to grab my attention enough to be worth going to see) and only a very few listings had any pictures to communicate what exactly it is that’s being sold. I mean why should I just carry my legs and go see something you listed for 900k and I have no idea what to brace myself for? Mere descriptions are not enough. You need pictures. Agents need to do better.
    Oh yeah, and the quality of these so called pics (for those who actually post them)…I thought it was a joke most times. People practically post dustbins and post them as houses (unkempt, sometimes destroyed homes, trash everywhere, just disgusting stuff!!, and this is considered normal in the industry!) There is absolutely nothing that’s done to present the home in a positive light to the prospective buyer. The attitude of the agent and landlord is, you want it or not? cuz there are several people who will jump at it. I kept thinking to myself…Is the housing market really THIS BAD in Lagos? Oh yes it is!!

    2. THE AGENTS: There are lots of quacks posing as agents (the professionals are very few and far between). You call them on the numbers they listed, none of the numbers will work, most times their phones are switched off (like do you really do this for a living or what???) And when they pick up, they act like they’re doing you a favor as if they’re doing it for free. No customer service, no courtesy, rude sets of people. I truly believe a lot of them just woke up one day and decided to be an agent, and BOOM…agents they were. Oh yeah, a lot of them have a practice of asking for “house showing fee”. The one agent that did this the most said he collects house showing fee at the beginning of the process and if you get to the point where you actually meet the attorney, landlord, etc but for some reason you don’t close the deal and you want to keep looking at other options, he’ll collect another house showing fee because it’s starting the process all over again for him. This is in addition to the commission they’ll make o! But some of them will ask you for “something” everytime you meet with them. “Ehn…ma…anything for me today? Do weekend for me now”…UGH..Really?? After all these trash cans you just showed me as houses? Okay o…
    My advice: As you wade through the sea of agents, just find one you’re comfortable with and just stick with him or her through the process. You’ll endure less stress. In the beginning, I was going through different agents because they were all just so annoying and unprofessional. The one I ended up using, once I sized him up to be tolerable and competent enough (not that he’s ghen ghen o!!)…he was tolerable and competent enough. I just decided to stick with him. They all work with each other and are all the same. It doesn’t get better as you go through the list.

    3. THE WOMAN BIAS: Hmmm…this one…it has to be the most annoying thing ever. It really makes one sad the way women are treated in this our Naija society. If you don’t show up with a man beside you to look at houses, hmmm…you better be ready to be strong and hold your own with them. All these agents, landlords, attorneys, etc ( I never got a chance to work with a woman throughout the process) automatically assume you can’t handle such “a major transaction such as renting a house, o my you weak woman!). As soon as they see you, they automatically assume you don’t know what you’re doing….and God help you if you’re not married…you better be ready for stupid, irrelevant, rude, annoying questions. My advice: There is a strong bias AGAINST unmarried women looking for a house. So if you’re not married and you’re not comfortable lying that you’re married just to avoid all the intrusive B.S., try to go with a man if you know you can’t hold your own against them. Trust me, they’ll try to belittle you. And oh yeah, they won’t simply ask you who you’ll be moving in with…They will specifically ask “are you moving in with your husband?” So annoying…what if the person is not married? Anyway…

    4. THE TRIBE BIAS: Yes, sadly you know if there’s a woman bias, then tribe bias is not far off. We’re so mean and prejudiced towards each other…it’s quite sad. A lot of landlords are very specific…only Igbo single men, only married Yoruba woman etc.., so just be aware and don’t take it personal. It’s how they run the show. Some of them don’t care and only want to know you have a job and won’t become a deadbeat, but some do care about your tribe. I was shown a house where the compound was quite dirty and it was just one woman living in the compound so I asked the agent why aren’t they taking care of the compound…it shouldn’t be that messy with just one person there. The gateman turns to me and says…”na Yoruba girl they live there, what do you expect? They no send”. Okay o….

    5. WHEN YOU ACTUALLY SEE A HOUSE YOU LIKE: *sigh* It’s a mess. Let’s just put it that way. First of all, don’t let any agent rush you. You like what you like and if you don’t like it, you don’t like it. A lot of them will tell you, “but iz okay nau”…NO IT’S NOT OKAY. I don’t like it. If there’s a major deal breaker in the house, don’t be afraid to walk away. When you walk into a house, be prepared to be disgusted. All the houses, WITH NO EXCEPTION were disgusting, unkempt, horrible finishing, trash everywhere, in some cases destroyed (I kept asking why people destroy homes when they leave, or who’s destroying them??). I was told that since people spend so many millions just to rent a house and make it appealing, then they just have to destroy it when they’re leaving so the next person that rents it can also spend his or her own millions to fix it up just like they did. WOW…Oh yeah, what do we have against windows in this country? Some places look like dungeons with one tiny window in a building!! No natural light, nothing! My advice:…whatever you can not stand to live with for at least a year, don’t accept it. Either ask the landlord to fix it and if they say no, walk. The houses are AS IS!! Don’t expect the landlord to fix anything o! THEY DON’T FIX ANYTHING. Once you’ve paid you’re O.Y.O. o!!!

    6. ONE YEAR RENT or TWO YEARS RENT: Some landlords will ask for two years (even though they’re not supposed to). If you say no, they will calmly tell you to leave. One actually asked me for 3 years. I LOL..ed out of the compound. Now, if you have the financial muscle to do two years by all means go ahead and don’t miss out on a house you really like. But if you’re like me and you refuse to pay anything over 1 year, not even one year and 3 months like some of them tried to get me to do, then try not to fall too in love with any house until you are sure they will take one year. Oh yeah some of them will tell you one year over the phone and when you show up they’ll change it to one year and 6 months or 2 years, don’t be afraid to walk. There’ll be other houses.

    I know I’ve written an encyclopaedia, but the thing just pained me as I read this topic lol so hopefully this helps someone. I’m seriously thinking about getting into the real estate industry just to right all these wrongs. SHEESH!!!

    • Mr Jey

      June 15, 2015 at 10:36 am

      Hi, Lady, long chronicle! Just to let you know I read it- all! Would really be excited if you become an agent- female (if you’re really!) at that! Ciao. [email protected]

  8. Estás tontos

    June 14, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    I like how this Article made everyone let out their tribal bias,streotypes and sentiments. Keep it coming.

  9. keeks

    June 14, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Now this article is good! Lagos and Nigeria as a whole need to evolve. I am sure many ladies would love to live alone before settling for marriage but things are difficult.

  10. Ocean Beauty

    June 14, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    As a professional house hunter ( always moving once the rent expires due to no fault of mine), nothing is as annoying as this scenario. You call the agent, met him up somewhere. You are lucky if you are driving yourself. If you take a cab, sorry for you. When u pick the agent at the agreed place, he then tells you that we have to go pick the person who will show us the house. When we manage to pick the second person, that one will tell you that we have to pick the person who has the keys to the apartment. Bearing in mind that you and can man didn’t bargain to that extent oh.
    Another scenario: you have finally managed to secure that small self contained room. The landlord comes with his family terms and conditions: you can’t park inside the compound and if you must buy a generator, make sure it is a soundproof gen.
    Or is it, the no female wanted or the stupid house they show you that makes you wonder if the person who built the house had brains. You get a mini flat, but the toilet and bathroom is in the living room. Meaning if you have a guest and you want to take a shower, you have to come out from your room and pass your guest in the living room to go to the bathroom.
    Or is it the female agent who was already reeling off the names of big guys she knows in ikoyi and lekki who she will pay big money to take care of you should you stay in the apartment she’s showing you.
    Sleep dey worry me jor.
    The thought that I might be homeless in a few weeks time is scaring me as the agents haven’t been able to show me something reasonable. For those of you with free accommodation over your heads, enjoy it while it lasts.
    ?

  11. Kili

    June 14, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    House issue? hehehe. It is so stressful.
    1. The agents always think they are doing you a favor
    2. They ll ask for a non-refundable “consultation” fee of 5k.
    3. They are so unprofessional: if you have a car, they ll pick up another agent and then pick up another one that has the key, or you get to the house and you are told the person with the key isn’t around.
    4. 2 year rent ish
    5. Very funny, and unbelievably ridiculous structures in this Lagos. I was shown a house that was just 3 ft wide, NO JOKES ?.

  12. femi

    June 15, 2015 at 12:15 am

    I like that battabox girl. She’s so sassy

  13. D

    June 15, 2015 at 1:29 am

    I just forwarded this to my hubby because real estate or rental properties in Nigeria is something we are considering doing and have actually started working towards it. I think it is a two-way street. My dad is a landlord and I know many of his tenants that have either destroyed the apartments once they live and some don’t pay rent and since the judicial system is partial to tenants in Nigeria it is not even worth the $$$ to go to court. My dad only insists on yearly rent infact, he was strictly monthly rent until getting rent from tenants became an issue, na so so story you will be hearing but then you see the person that cannot pay rent buying car that is better than your own, yet they owe several months rent. Some of them told him that he already has money so their rent should be nothing to him, like really is it your place to help me decide my financial state? Nevertheless, I believe it is still takes one person doing things right for other landlords to begin doing the right thing and I don’t mean just a small pops property owner but someone who can have several massive rental properties. We complain but the truth again is WE both landlords and tenants are the ones that cause this problems. Landlord is reacting to the bad hand he has been dealt in the past (my dad used to clean, repaint and make repairs on houses once a tenant moves out) he has since stopped because it is an unending cycle as well as moving to yearly rent after he was cheated out of his rental fees. But for the windows, I complained so teee eeehen even said father is guilty of this. My hubby did not understand what I was talking about until he moved out of the country, he had never lived in place with proper window configuration.

  14. Bev

    June 15, 2015 at 2:44 am

    Hahahahahahaha, house hunting in Lagos is na war! They show you all manners of houses, from ok to downright annoyingly bad. First, the agent makes you pay his/ her agent fees and then you pay for his transportation to and fro.he then takes you round all the stupid houses that nobody wants. Some of the conditions are you must be married, you must not bring a number of male visitors, so you don’t bring armed robbers or kidnappers to the house.Infact, better you just endure them till you get a house you like eventually.

  15. Kathyzino

    June 15, 2015 at 5:45 am

    Getting the House is not an issue for me because I’ll definitely make my choice.
    The main issue that annoys me the most is the Rate at which the house is been lease out. Lagos landlords are not just friendly when it comes to house increasement. Its begin to piss me off that I can’t bear to stay in Lagos again.
    I think its high time the minister of Housing and Environment take it up with the Land occupant.

  16. bluebird

    June 15, 2015 at 7:56 am

    Reading these comments makes me appreciate the last landlord I had during my Lagos days. The flat wasn’t that great, really small bathroom and all, but he didn’t discriminate. He was an yoruba muslim from Ijebu-ode with little education. However he took on single ladies, divorcees, Igbos, christians, lawyers and he lived in the compound with his family. In emergency situations, I was even allowed to use his landline phone. This was all in the 90’s. My prior experiences consisted of the usual: you’re single, men will visit; you are Igbo, yoruba landlord says no. It was terrible. I hadn’t even told an agent that I was igbo, but he said I ‘looked’ like one anyway. Also, when I had a one-month job working as an estate agent, we were under stern instructions by a few landlords not to give their houses to igbos. The claim was that it was difficult to extract rent from them.
    Let’s not even talk about fake agents, fake landlords, extortionate rents and being shown properties that are not vacant.
    Take heart, prospective Lagos tenants, my thoughts are with you.

  17. Ann

    June 15, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Hmmm, house hunting in Lagos? no be today, i still remember an experience i had with a friend i was to share a two room apartment with, nice apartment somewhere in surulere, landlord said he was relocating to join his family in the US, smh, after paying the thief the rent then the stories began, give me one more week, next thing in two weeks, we had to now request for money back and guy scattered our money, i had to go to a house opposite which he said was his sister inlaws house to create a scene, sister inlaw wasn’t home. I called the guy and told he he was ust lucky but that the next time i visit i would shout and scream until all his neighbours come out, as per Lagos big boy wannabe guy arranged my money fast ooo cos he didn’t want his neighbours to know what he has been up to… sotey him mama sef come dey beg make i pity her old age mtchew..told her i didn’t have any business with her joor, make she no vex.

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