Finding a dream apartment is on everyone’s wish list. However, searching for and renting an apartment can be as tiring as it is exciting. That’s because, as the saying goes, good things don’t come easy.
Apartment hunting comes with its challenges and risks. It requires a lot of work, as no one wants to end up in a house that will leave them with regrets. Before parting with your hard-earned money, you should ensure that the critical requirements are scrutinized meticulously ahead of a final decision.
To secure your dream apartment with the least hassle, you have to be strategic about your choices. Here are seven things you should know before going ahead to rent that apartment.
Know how much you can afford
Before you begin your hunt for that dream apartment, you need to determine what you can afford. It is advisable not to get an apartment that is too expensive.
Ideally, your rent should not be more than 30% of your earnings; that is 3 months of your salary or earnings, maximum of 4 months. For instance, if you earn N100, 000 per month, which gives you N1, 200, 000 yearly, your rent should not go beyond N300, 000 to N400, 000 per annum.
When you know your maximum budget for rent, your search can be tailored toward an apartment that costs less than your budget. This helps you avoid financial pitfalls that can leave you indebted.
Be informed about your choice neighborhood
Now that you know how much you can afford to pay for rent, don’t plan for a new apartment without considering the location. If you have difficulty doing this, you might want to consider scouting around various neighborhoods that interest you to determine which one you may likely want to settle for.
Take a good look at the environment and look out for potential environmental problems. Many people have rented properties in areas with flooding challenges without paying attention, simply because the house they wanted to rent was newly built.
Also, take note of proximity to key amenities such as hospitals, airports, highways, schools, and markets.
- Are there potential health hazards like garbage dumps, factories, etc. nearby?
- How consistent is the power supply in the area?
- If you have children, is the neighborhood a place you want to raise your kids?
- How far is it away from your workplace or children’s school?
Also, consider the security situation of the neighborhood. Security is becoming a more serious issue by the day, and it starts with where you live.
You should be at peace once you are approaching where you consider your dwelling place. It should not be an area notorious for gang fights or where you need to watch over your shoulder.
Ensure you are dealing with the right person
Since the demand for rented properties is higher than the available properties, many rent-related scams arise because of the desperation of prospective renters. This is one of the biggest nightmares of house hunters.
Some agents and caretakers are known to defraud unsuspecting clients by illegally collecting money from them and several other clients without letting out the apartment to them. Some agents rent houses that are for sale to people. They know each other and it is not uncommon for two or three agents to show the same house to prospective renters, even when they are not the primary agent for the property.
Hence, it is important to ensure that you are dealing with the person who has the authority to rent the property out. The best way to avoid being defrauded is to use an agent referred to you by others who have successfully used their services. You can also ask other tenants living on the property if you are suspicious of the agent you are dealing with.
Do a comprehensive walk-through
When you go for an inspection, be sure that the house is suitable for your comfort (in terms of proper ventilation and water supply). When inspecting apartments, do not get caught up in the aesthetics alone.
When you buy a used product, you scrutinize it for defects. For example, you kick the tires when buying a used car. So, do the same for an apartment. Scrutinize your apartment for defects before you move in. Don’t be carried away by the fresh paint or shiny surfaces.
Many houses suffer defects that may not be apparent at first glance. Make sure that electrical switches, sockets, plumbing, and other fittings are in good condition. Avoid houses with too much damage that will cause you to incur more costs.
Review the tenancy agreement carefully
After finding the apartment that meets your financial and aesthetic criteria, don’t be too excited to grab the offer without reading and fully understanding the terms and conditions in the tenancy agreement.
This carelessness on the part of tenants often ends up being a costly mistake that will make you regret renting that apartment in the first place. So, before you sign the tenancy documents, it is advised you get legal advice and read between the lines.
Be on the lookout for key parts of the agreement like:
- who pays utility bills
- length of the tenancy
- mode of rent payment
- caution and agreement fees
- who will hold the caution fee, and how you will get it back
- details of renewing the agreement
- the party responsible for property maintenance
Some landlords do not allow generators, kerosene stoves, gas cookers, etc. Know that you can negotiate aspects of the agreement, and do not be afraid to request changes before signing.
Ensure anything promised to you by the landlord is in writing. It is necessary to be informed of these things to avoid uncomfortable situations in the future.
Find out about unpaid electricity utility bills
A major challenge for new homeowners is huge electricity bills inherited from former tenants of the house, who defaulted in paying up their electricity bills. Sometimes, these bills accumulate to the tune of hundreds of thousands. Therefore, before you pay for an apartment, ask if there are outstanding utility bills.
Be sure to insure your belongings
After deciding on your new home, you need to protect yourself from the financial implications of unforeseen incidents. Your landlord may have an insurance policy on the building, but when it comes to your personal effects, it is your responsibility to get insurance coverage.
If there is a break-in and all of your belongings get stolen, your landlord is not liable, as his insurance plan would only cover the building and not the content.
You might say that your new home is in one of the safest neighborhoods, and you do not need insurance. But, if a disaster such as a fire or a storm strikes your home, the landlord’s insurance plan would only cover the building repairs. If you want coverage for your possessions, you’ll need an insurance policy that covers you as a tenant.
The Leadway Household, Automobile, and Personal Accident Policy (L-HAPPy) covers your household contents in the case of theft, fire outbreak, flooding, natural disaster, or other unexpected occurrences. It is designed to suit the needs of all types of house occupants, whether it is a self-owned or rented property.
L-HAPPy insures more than just your personal effects; it provides coverage for the members of your household, your vehicles, and personal accidents. It also provides compensation for expenses incurred from legal liability due to injury to a visitor or household member. This can even include your house helps, if you choose.
Live Happily. SMS HAPPY to 22865, and we will call you back to take your inquiry on L-HAPPy. You may also contact our team on (01) 2800 700, 2800 701, or 08129997070, to find out more about L-HAPPy and other insurance policies in our offerings. Send an email to for more details on L-HAPPy.