The real cost of getting an apartment in Lagos

3 min read

My friend Gbolahan moved to Lagos last year, needing a place to stay. He set about looking for an apartment. His experience while searching for a new place inspired this post that looks at all the hidden costs and struggles of getting an apartment in Lagos.

1. Agents can be expensive

Depending on the kind of real estate agent you use, you will sometimes pay a one-time fee or you would have to pay a fee every time you go over to check a place. Bigger real estate firms charge a one-time fee and are usually more committed to finding you a place. However, the downside with them is that they will sometimes have to split the agency fee with other agents and this often causes an increased agency fee. So, ask if the consultancy fee you are paying is one-time or not.

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2. The transportation cost is on you

I am not talking about the cost of you going from your house to your office. I am talking about the cost of transporting yourself and the agent when you go around checking places. If you have a car, get it fuelled for that, if not, get ready to trek a lot. Gbolahan is still recovering from his many great walks.

Photo by Osioke Itseuwa on Unsplash

3. There are many hidden costs

Usually, when you are searching for apartments online the price stated is often just the basic rent. There are however a number of other costs tacked on to this amount. For example, there is an agency and agreement fee that should ordinarily be 10% of the rent, but is often more than that.

Also, some house owners ask for a ‘caution fee’ this could be from as little as 30,000 Naira to as much as 100,000 Naira or even more.

That’s not all. You also should bear in mind that although tenancy law in Lagos stipulates that Landlords should not charge more than a year’s rent at a time, it is still quite common that Landlords request for two years rent or a year and a half.

So, if your budget is 400,000 naira for an apartment, then the apartments you should be checking for should be those that cost about 300,000 to 350,000 per annum since you will have to add almost an extra 100,000 to that amount.

4. Budget for fixing the place up

Unless you are renting a serviced apartment, you will definitely have some fixing up to do. You might need to get a wardrobe and shelves made too. So, you have to be prepared for that.

5. You will need paint

There isn’t any kinder way to say this: most Lagos apartments are painted in ugly colours. So, unless you like that standard mustard yellow that most apartments are painted, prepare to spend some money on painting your new apartment.

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6. Interior decoration isn’t as easy as you think

You will need an interior designer to help turn that space into a home. Whether it is  choosing  the right colours or the right curtains to hang, how much all these will cost depends on how big the place is and what interior decorator you choose.

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Now that you know these things, I wish you all the best with your search


Usman is a content developer and screenwriter. Bizarrely, he has never been seen in the same room with Batman, leading many to believe he is indeed the Dark Knight. He refuses to comment on these claims.

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