There is a saying in Lagos that house hunting in Lagos is a full-time job. It was the case for me five years ago when I relocated from Abuja to Lagos. I had been working in Abuja and decided to relocate to Lagos due to my job. I must confess, house hunting is extremely difficult. I had a budget of ₦1million for a two-bedroom apartment in the mainland area of the state.
As someone who was born and brought up in Lagos then left for Abuja and now back in Lagos I felt it was going to be easy. I went the old school way, asked around, and was referred to several agents. This was the beginning of my journey with Lagos agents. I was introduced to an agent in Surulere Lagos, his terms and condition were that I would pay for his transport fare and for every house he showed me I would pay ₦2000, I found that quite ridiculous because he told me he had 10 houses that I would like meaning I would give him ₦20,000. So we went around looking at them one after the other, some of the houses were an eyesore, the environment was filthy, poorly ventilated, noisy as a result of generator sets and it seemed not to secure due to the presence of street urchins popularly known as area boys.
I also saw some houses that were really good however they were pricy. I was introduced to another agent who told me I needed to purchase a form for ₦10,000 just to be his client. I was in utter shock, this is someone who had no office, no registered company yet he wanted me to commit by purchasing a form for 10000. I had a take a break from the mental stress I was also experiencing from these agents.
I must say that the government needs to regulate these unlicensed agents. Everyone sees being an agent as a second source of income thereby causing an increase in the cost of rent by misleading the landlords. Another shock, I got was when I asked to meet a landlord whose property I really liked but the question he asked was really surprising, he asked about my tribe, religion, and occupation. I answered all his questions and asked him why he needed all these questions, he said he was asking from experience because he has had difficult tenants who made life difficult for him. It was one of the very few times I had been I had been profiled because of my ethnicity and religion
I finally explored online agents, it was a lot better than these unlicensed agents that were all out to exploit me. I must say that I was lucky to get a good one online as feedback from friends and family was that they were lots of fraudsters online. I filled the necessary forms online, was asked to meet up with the agent, lo and behold the first house I saw I like it and that where I stay up until now