It is no news that renting an apartment is not an easy task. From the stress of house hunting, to having to deal with agents, to finally moving in. To make all of the stress very worth it in the end, there are some important questions you have to ask yourself before and during house scouting.
As long as you know what to look for and what to expect, there would be less hassle. Before making payment, ask yourself these essential questions about each apartment you’re considering.
1. What’s my budget?
First on the list to consider is your budget. How much do you have in mind? You need to consider how much you can afford to rent while meeting other financial obligations and goals. A tip is not to say yes to renting an apartment that costs more than 30 percent of your gross earnings.
For context, say you earn N1.2m annually, your budget for rent in a year should be between N360,000 to N400,000 at most. Apart from rent, don’t forget about food, utilities, transportation, and other life expenses and obligations. Don’t settle for something beyond you with the mind of either increasing your earnings or toning down your lifestyle. Rent for the money you have now.
2. What’s the condition of the roads in rainy season?
The best period of the year to go scouting for an apartment in Lagos is during the rainy season. It would help you filter which areas are still easily accessible after heavy downpours typical of Lagos, and save you the stress of wading through large streams of water right from your gate after you move in.
So, while making plans to move into a new apartment, do yourself a favour by going to the neighbourhood during rainy season to get a feel of the area. Observe the nature of the roads and drainage system on the streets.
3. How safe is the neighborhood?
No matter how nice the house may be, safety is a non-negotiable factor and should be put into top consideration. When you’re touring the apartment, take a good look around. Is it a relatively safe area? What measures have the house owner taken to ensure safety for its tenants? Ask the agent questions and make your findings.
4. Are there necessary facilities nearby?
The importance of convenience and quality is not one to be taken lightly. Can you make a quick rush to the grocery store, or do you have to take buses or drive for long minutes? How close is the nearest drug store, hospital, or bank? Important facilities should not be too far from where you decide to rent. You would most likely be there for a period of time. In some cases, it could be worth sacrificing size to afford a neighborhood you can actually function in.
5. Is it close to where I work or frequent regularly?
You have probably been living really far from work, and now, you get to pick. Distance should be at the top of your list, after budget. Renting an apartment a little closer to work will improve your quality of life a great deal. Consider the time it takes to commute, as well as the time it takes to get to the bus station or stop.
6. Are there any unbearable noise sources nearby?
While you can’t entirely control what happens after you move in, you could guarantee yourself a period of living in a fairly quiet environment. Think of noises you know you can’t put up with and decide. It could be a nearby bar that blasts loud music seven days a week, a school, or a religious establishment. Look out for potential sounds you know will disrupt your sleep, mood, or concentration.
7. Does the apartment have the necessary amenities?
You know your needs in an apartment. The structure or size of the kitchen or bathroom, the number of bathrooms, the positioning of different fixtures. Scouting is not easy, but when you finally find a place that is really close to your taste, you’ll be happy with yourself, and it’ll be worth it. Just don’t forget your budget.
8. What can’t I change?
Some leases state that the apartment must be in the same condition it was when you rented it. There are some apartments where you can’t nail things into the walls. Or repaint, or redecorate. If you’re big on interiors, you need to ask the agent or landlord these questions before you decide to rent the place, because it’s technically not your house.
9. Are there hidden or extra charges?
Apart from rent, there are other charges like security, trash emptying, electricity, water, and cleaning. Even in apartments where service charge is paid, one may still be required to make some payments separately. It is best to be clear on these things to avoid issues, and ask questions.
The list above is not exhaustive. They are however the major questions to bear in mind before getting excited and making payment for that apartment. It saves you regrets and stress.