Sometime around August up until November last year, I was practically homeless. My rent was to expire in August, my friend and I had begun house hunting in Abuja. We started by searching for apartment listing with our specification – 2 bedroom flat with strict a budget. You need a strict budget when searching for apartment in Abuja, because most agents are ready to show you houses above your budget and mostly interested in their commission. We found a couple of apartment, the first one we found was in Mabushi, nice apartment, neat and well maintained by the previous tenant. Unlucky for us, someone else paid for it before we could make payments.
What you need to know while house hunting in Abuja
If you ever consider house hunting in Abuja, lower your expectations especially if it’s your first time. You will be shocked to realize that some properties are junkyards and not even worth a penny. On some occasion when we visited some apartment, there were few apartments mismanaged by previous tenants, some every inch were falling apart, and they were all set above our budget and we were expected people to rent these apartments.
Some property owners will tell you straight up, they were not going to renovate. They will expect you to pay and still renovate their property. Some agents will purposely waste your time taking you to properties that are either, substandard, over prices and would request for inspection fee before showing you apartments.
Read my last post before the house search ‘DIY EMBELLISHED FASCINATOR’
So-called dream apartment
Fast forward to August, after house hunting every day in a week or every other day. We thought we finally found the apartment of our dreams. The house was perfect – new, spacious, standard in suite 2 bedroom apartment – for our budget. Knowing that power wasn’t yet connected and water wasn’t running, we still paid. The agents/legal firm in charge of the property assured us they will fix everything before we started living in the apartment.
We moved our things to the apartment. We started making plans to furnish while light and water were pending installation. Obviously, we couldn’t live there yet. I was squatting with my brother and friend was staying at a friend’s house. I would sometime rotate where I would stay pending when we could move in.
Stories started coming up every time we called for updates. Explanation on how the property owner has contracted someone who lives in Nasarawa to fix the light. AEDC were yet to connect the light. This went on for 2 months – I went to Lagos came back, same story. We were literally tired; we had to ask for a refund. Thankfully, they refunded us in full as people around us said we would be lucky to get our money back in full. We moved out things. Luckily, my friends had found a new apartment – I moved my belongings to her apartment.
I started a small business, currently stocking accessories. Visit to shop ‘BETH APPAREL’
The finishing stroke
With the house hunting and moving my belongings, I had to go to office every day. I took a week off to go on another house hunting. In October, I found the current apartment I live in. This apartment was brand new and was still under construction worse than the previous apartment. I waited for a month for the apartment to be complete. It was a self-contain part of a BQ of a three-bedroom bungalow.
Every week, I would call the property owner for updates and stop by on my way to or from work. Mind you, I was still squatting; my things were in a different place from where I slept. One day, the property owner called me to tell me five prospective tenants were on this house, and assured me he would rent the property to me that I have been patient with him unlike the others. I had to put extra pressure to pay once they installed power. I finally paid, moved my things, and started setting up. It took a while before I could start sleeping at my new place. Not long enough, they installed water. I finally moved into my new apartment in November.
I’m currently taking it slow with furnishing but organizing every corner of my space. I’m doing lots of diy which I will be sharing here from time to time.
Have you ever been homeless? What has been your experience house hunting? Is it different from what it’s like in Abuja?