Moving to a Furnished Apartment in Lagos Island: your quick house-hunting guide
It’s the time of the year when a lot of people are moving houses. Listen closely to conversations going on around work and you are likely to hear one of your friends saying to the next “I need a cheap apartment, do you have any pointers?”
Twitter timelines are also peppered with Tweets along the same lines. “I need a roommate in Lekki. Who’s down?”
Truth is, by the end of January, most of these people will still be looking for an apartment. Finding decent and affordable apartments in Lagos is a monster’s dream. It’s worse in January. From Ikeja to Ikoyi to Lekki (where luxury serviced apartments are usually the best recourse), prices creep higher as demand rise during this busy rental season.
For the larger percentage of younger professionals working on the Island, having an apartment closer to work, despite the steep pricing might making a better economic choice.
If you belong to that group of young professionals, here some ideas on how to pick out your Lagos Island apartment:
- Decide which part of the island you want to stay.
Most people coming to stay on the Island for the first time don’t know one part of the city from another. What we call Lagos Island consists notably of Ikoyi, Victoria Island, and Lekki. It’s easy to get sold on a luxury apartment in Ajah as a Lagos Island apartment, but you should know that Ajah is closer to Ogun state than it is to Lagos. Know exactly where your company is and as you house-hunt, ensure the part of the Island you are scouting is not far flung from your workplace.
- Settle on a budget
The rule of thumb is that you should not spend more than 30% of your salary on rent – but sometimes, you really need an apartment that allows you the type of space and mood that will get you excited about life. And if that comes at a higher price point, you could move your budget up to about 40% of your income. But regardless, ensure you have a specific budget in mind. Lagos agents have been known to be able to sweet talk apartment hunters into shelling out more money than they intended. So, set your budget and stick to it. If right now you are unable to find a good spot on the Island, somewhere on the mainland will give you a nice space with the same budget. You can easily get a serviced luxury mini flat in Ikeja for the same amount you’d get a studio apartment in Lekki or Ikoyi.
- Start your search early – a month before you move
Websites like JiJi.ng and Tolet.ng will often point you in the general direction of what could be a good apartment, but it’s often a good idea to tap your immediate network both online and in real life early in your search. Also …
- Find a trusted agent
Agents in Lagos are usually a hit or miss, so it’s often better to get a referral. Perhaps an agent a friend used in the past. These agents will often charge a fee to show you around in addition to their agency commission, but make sure you settle for one that you trust who specializes in the part of the Island you want to stay. With a good agent, you won’t spent as much time hunting.
- Be clear on what you want in an apartment
Is the house close to a major road? Will you be allowed to have your pet in-house? Is there an elevator? Is it serviced?
Be sure about what’s important to you and stick to them. You would be spending a large chunk of the next one or two years of your life in the apartment, so make sure you are not making any tradeoffs you would regret down the line.
Luxury serviced apartments popular around Lekki, Victoria Island and Ikoyi are known to provide most of the basic amenities anyone would need in an apartment as well as easy accessibility.
A site like 1313apartments.com has a robust list of options to choose from including short let alternatives.
- Find a roommate
Apartments in Lekki, either serviced or regular are often steeply priced – as we have mentioned earlier. It’s often hard to find that’s less than N1 million a year. Sometimes sharing the burden with another friend (or groups of friends) is the best way to go.