Took me a while – about 5 months, to be exact – but I’m finally getting comfortable in my own space that I paid for with my own money.
As far as baby steps go, I took the baby-est one when I paid for and moved into my room early this year. Before circumstances forced me to start looking for my own place, I already had a bit of an idea about how difficult renting a room in Lagos could be. The ideas, however, did not prepare me for the real struggle.
It took me about two weeks to find and move into my current place, but I’ve honestly spent the last couple of months trying to adjust to the place. I’ve had moments where I absolutely hated it and those where I just lay on my bed and appreciate having a roof over my head and a space to call mine. It’s been a very emotional ride, but I’m now finally settling in.
A few things I (re)learned about renting a room in Lagos –
Don’t do it when you’re desperate
I was in a tight corner when I started looking for a place to rent. I got so desperate I almost considered renting a room in a house for N100,000 a month (yikes!). Being desperate and trying to rent a space is a prime recipe for disaster. Agents will show you the most ridiculous places, and you will be looking at them like Nirvana. Don’t do it, fam. When renting a room in Lagos, or anywhere really, let your mind be at rest so you can think things through properly.
Shop around and find what you want
You can check out those sites online that show you places available for rent just to have an idea of what are you want to live in and how much it will cost. If you don’t already have your rent money, at least you’ll have an idea of how much you need to save up. Also, if you’re already hunting for a space, don’t be afraid to look at multiple places. One place always looks like “the one” until you see another one. I had an agent take me to several places in my area of interest on the same day before I made a decision.
Use an agent someone has already used
I used a friend’s agent and it really helped. You see, renting a room is big business and everyone’s eye is sharp. People will try to scam you, whether they want to or not. Some people are also very mentally unstable. Before I got my friend’s agent, I met one shady guy and one that was just unbelievably rude. This is why a trusted agent is always the best way to go. Once you say someone he worked with previously recommended him, he knows his reputation is on the line.
Have your money ready
It’s a tough market out here. You’ll see one place and be like “Oh, this is great! Let me pay you tomorrow.”. Trust me, when you call to pay “tomorrow”, they might tell you someone came and paid as soon as you left. This is another reason why using a trusted agent is great. You can just codedly talk to the guy and ask him to hold the place for a few days. Don’t keep him waiting too long, though – it’s still a buyer’s market. I lost one really great place because I didn’t have the money, and the sadness still haunts me sometimes.
Be ready for opportunities
If you have your money ready and know what area you want to live in, always keep your eyes open for opportunities. I saw a lot of people tweet things like “Looking to rent out a room in my two-bedroom apartment. Interested? DM me”. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the money at the time and missed out on a lot of those. It’s honestly less stressful as you save time and cut out all the agency fees.
Finally started setting up my room and thinking about doing a room tour when I’m done. Is this something you would like to see? What has been your experience renting a room somewhere? Dealt with any shady agents or found any interesting places you missed out on? Did I miss any tips? I’d love to read your own stories in the comment section ^_^