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A place to call home

How to find a home

When searching for a place to call home, many of us get carried away with the prospects the agents offer as regards the place you hope to rent/buy so much that we don’t put other factors that could make our stay unpleasant in retrospect. You can’t afford to let anyone make you feel you can’t be choosy because that person wants to get his cut for the purchase.

You must put into consideration that a typical naija agent will say all he can to convince you to rent an apartment under his auspices; that’s how he makes end meet. Just because you may feel restricted by price ranges doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a critical look at the amenities/infrastructures and the comfort the house in question offers before you move into the apartment. You ought to put into cognizance your chances of living in convenience and serenity in your place of abode considering the fact that you most probably will be staying there for a minimum of a year or the rest of your life depending on your status and mindset. And if you rent a house with the hope of buying or owning a home soon you should also bring to the fore a number of factors that will ensure you ain’t just sacking your landlord for any kind of home or abode.

Bearing the aforementioned premise in mind, let’s take a critical look at a number of possible factors to look out for when finding a home:

NEIGHBOURHOOD

The type of neighbourhood you live goes a long way in influencing or affecting your state of mind and the level of tranquility you and your family would be enjoying. Most people can’t make do with a noisy neighbourhood but some don’t have a choice, do they?

I mean which neighbourhood exists in lagos without a mega non-sound proof noise except that area is high brow. More so how many people can even afford the high brow areas? Even when the neighbourhood seems to be quiet, woe betide you if several religious centres, schools or other public places have stakes in that neighbourhood, then you won’t only be contending with your war-torn neighbours or the random indoor and outdoor parties that happens in and around your domain.

Noise is a menace to existence especially if its not constructive. On a second thought, is noise ever constructive or isn’t that why its called noise?

Noise has become commonplace in our society. To say you don’t want to stay in a particular location due to noise means you would rather remain homeless. However in a sane world a nosiy neighbourhood should not be considered when you are sourcing for a place to call home.

A typical lasgidi neighbourhood

A typical lasgidi neighbourhood

When you rent a house, you not only get an abode, you also rent into a neighborhood. Think about whether that neighborhood will suit you. Sure, you might love the house itself, but will the loud neighbors next door or the school across the street become too bothersome for you? Also, do you like the feel of the neighborhood and does it offer everything you need? It’s best to find a place in an area that you’ll enjoy.

INSECURITY

The safety of lives and properties in the place you most likely will call home for years should come fully under your radar especially when you are not single. You ought to do a background check on the location and if there has been any history of robbery, burglary, kidnappings, violence, homicides, maiming and other misadventures. If this extreme social misdemeanour have occurred in the location you intend moving into within a perimeter as large as a local government area, then such area should not even be considered for an abode. You won’t only be putting your live at risk but the lives of several others by moving into that neighbourhood.

Insecurity is one of the red flags to look out for when finding a home

Insecurity is one of the red flags to look out for when finding a home

Albeit if insecurity in the area is a question of ‘once in a blue moon’ then you can move into that neighbourhood because that shouldn’t pose much of threat.

However you should pray that the next time it happens you wouldn’t be the unfortunate one.

INFRASTRUCTURE/AMENITIES

Ordinarily an area without basic amenities should be a “no-no” albeit we live in an extra-ordinary society where nothing seems to work. An apartment that water and other necessary facility is non-existent should not even be considered an apartment.

However that raises another question in the hearts of many; “Am I going to pay for the luxury houses or those that come with the basic amenities at least?”

Now this is more about poverty and government’s neglect of the generality of the masses than it is a thing of choice. However places that lack good drainage, motorable roads or no road at all, recreational centres even walk paths, should be entirely avoided, all things been equal. Make sure you target rainy seasons when searching for a home.

I bet you wouldn't know this could happen in your neighbourhood if you move you move in during the dry season

I bet you wouldn’t know this could happen in your neighbourhood if you move you move in during the dry season

That’s when the inadequacies of the location you want to move into and worse still the particular apartment you are interested in will be revealed. So in one sentence; ensure your search for an apartment does not happen in the dry season; it hides the shortcomings and pitfalls of that neighbourhood.

ACCESSIBILITY
The remoteness of the location is also essential. Its proximity to important places such as religious centres, work place, market, entertainment and recreational centres should be paramount so you don’t have to travel miles to places of necessity. More so, you spend more when your neighborhood is in a remote location. Though, often times such locations go for a reduced fee compared to those apartments that are close to bus stops, major roads and within earshot of important buildings and places of convergence.

Truth be told when you count the cost of transportation to get to choice locations and places as compared to paying for and staying in easily accessible places, you will realize that the difference is not so much. The money you pay as rent for a place that is remote usually amounts to nothing when you finally weigh your losses months after you move in.

From the cost of transportation to the stress of getting home after a long day’s job, a remote location offers lot of disadvantages and only one advantage which eventually isn’t so much an advantage after all

TRAFFIC CONGESTION

This is one of the bane of Lagos- a major draw back. Traffic congestion ruins appointments. An area with the presence of heavy vehicular movement portends health worries to the people who live there.

Traffic congestion is one of the trademarks of Lagos

Traffic congestion is one of the trademarks of Lagos

PENNY WISE, POUND FOOLISH

It’s easy to shoot for the sky and overspend when getting a home; you understandably want the best your money can buy. Examine your finances, keeping in mind current and future expenses, and don’t exceed your means. It’s smarter to pay for a home you can easily afford than one you have to stretch to get into. Stay down to earth, and you’ll be better prepared should unexpected financial commitments and problems arise later down the road.

Also, aim for a home that can adapt to your needs as your life changes. If you can’t afford a place that’s large enough to meet your anticipated future needs now, look for one that will allow you to build on later on. Don’t go for a place that will shorten your life span and erode the life of your children if not you.

In summary, when looking for a home, search for one that you could see yourself living in for several years depending on your short term goals. Buying and moving to a new home takes a lot of time and effort, and can add up significantly in closing and moving costs, etc. Staying in place longer will help you avoid those added expenses that comes with relocation especially the agency fee and other accompaniments. Plus, the extra time spent in your home could be just enough to help you ride out a downturn in the real estate market.

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