People refer to Lagos as the ‘Stress City’ , a city where you have to brace yourself for the stress ahead, and when they talk about this stress they mostly refer to Lagos unavoidable traffic every morning and evening. If you ask me, I would say that the stress of house-hunting in Lagos far supersedes that of Lagos traffic because, with traffic, you sometimes know what to expect, but with house-hunting, you are sure to be hit with unexpected outcome(s). It affects you psychologically and physically especially when you are on a tight schedule. 

Typically, finding a house as fast as possible anywhere involves an agent who is presumed to have an idea of available houses within your budget, but unfortunately, the reverse is the case here in Lagos as these agents end up delaying and frustrating your life. 

When house-hunting in Lagos, you are faced with agents who act like ‘mini-gods’ set out to extort you from anywhere possible. Lagos house-hunting compels you to deal with these agents’ never-ending demands for agent inspection fees, transportation fees, and recharge cards for each house they show you. Funny enough, there is no guarantee that the place is going to be habitable or that your given specification(s) will be met 

To get started finding a house in Lagos with an agent, you will be mandated to first fill out a form with a fee ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 naira that is if you are using a private agent and if you are lucky enough you may meet an agent that will be willing to collect 3,000 naira from you (this is the only fee you will pay once). With a property agency, the inspection fee may range from 40,000 naira and above. Mind you, the inspection fee varies depending on the location and is also mostly non-refundable irrespective of the state of the house or whether you take it or not. This fee is also not part of the agent and agreement fees you will pay once you get the house.

 Now the real story here is that the fact that you have paid an agent inspection fee does not guarantee that you will get a house as soon as possible. Some of these agents abandon you as soon as they collect their inspection fee. Oftentimes, they just show you a few houses below your required standard. Some of which may not even be in the area you want. This situation only pushes you to register with multiple agents whom you then hope will get you the house you want. One ironic thing with these Lagos house agents is that some of them have no house to show you. They connect you to another colleague of theirs whom you may still have to pay an inspection/transportation fee before they will agree to show you the house. 

Another frustrating thing that these agents do is that they take you to the slums where they will not even advise their close relatives to live and then expect you to like the place and take it up. If you complain, you will hear comments like “oga/madam, house na you go clean and design am to your taste oh,” or comments like “oga/madam no mind the neighborhood, the place no bad as you dey see am oh, shebi you dey go work, na if you come back you enter your house, wetin you wan use the area do?” and so many other comments like that.

 Another experience you might face if you are a working-class citizen who barely has time is that you might see the house you like in the evening of a particular day and decide to make some inquiries the next day, by the time you get back there, the house would have been paid for by another. You will then realize that the population of those looking for a house in Lagos is immense and you are just one out of many.

So my advice on this is that before you set out to look for a house, insist on an area you have already researched and are comfortable with it as well. Don’t let an agent convince you about an area. 

Need I also tell you about the agents who inflate the total package you are to pay for a house simply because they want to make more money from you? Lagos house agents no doubt make looking for a house a frustrating experience for people. 

So if you are coming to this beautiful crowded city of Lagos without a permanent place to stay or you are already in Eko city and intend to get your place any time soon, either through a property agency in Lagos or individual agents, I sincerely wish you good luck with that because you will surely need it.