Buying your first house in Nigeria can be a scary experience but it doesn’t always have to be that way. One of the surest ways to avoid falling into the pit of wrong decisions is by asking the right questions as well as asking them at the right time.
Remember that a house is not a pack of milk that you can return to the store for a refund. When you buy a house, you either keep it or sell it depending on trends in the real estate market. This is why it is important to ask probing questions before you make payment for your first home in Nigeria.
1. Does the Ground Around the House Slope?
Find out if there is a slope in the ground around the house? If you establish that there is a slope, which should normally be the case to control water flow, check to ascertain the direction of the flow.
If the ground around the house slopes towards the house, what this means is that when there is a rainfall, a lot of water will pool around the house.
Is the house located in a terrain that has hills? if yes, is your house sitting on top of the hill or at the bottom of the hill?
Take a look at the grading around the house. By grading, we mean the level of the ground. It’s important because it determines where the rain where water will flow. Positive grading slopes away from your home and directs rainwater away from the foundation of the house. However, negative grading slopes toward your house and directs rainwater towards the foundation of your home.
2. What is the Condition and Position of Trees Around the House?
The house might look really cool but are there trees around the house? If the trees are too close to the house, take a closer look at them to ascertain their condition.
You don’t want a huge mango tree calling falling on your house, do you? You always have the option of cutting the tree down if it poses a risk to the house.
Will you be willing to sweep fallen leaves around the house if you have trees around the house?
3. Will You Need to Replace the Windows of Your First House?
Windows are an essential part of the house. Buying your first house in Nigeria does not mean you will be buying a new house. Check the windows to see if they close properly.
Take a closer look at the window to know if what they have is chipped paint or lead-based paint.
4. How Much Will You Be Spending on Utility Bills?
Buying your first house in Nigeria is not just about the specific cost of the house. Rather, it’s more about the bottom-line. Those little extra costs eventually add up and you’ll find yourself paying more on the long run.
5. What Kind of Cars Do You See in the Neighbourhood?
Focus on the condition of the cars and not the brands. The condition and physical appearance of the majority of cars in a neighbourhood says a lot about its residents.
Where do residents park their new vehicles and used cars? Do you find a lot of broken down cars in the neighbourhood? Do the cars look vandalised? Look out for these little signs. If the cars look like they are cared for, you should key into such details.
6. What Do Your Neighbours Look and Sound Like?
Are your potential neighbours mostly career professionals and educated men and women who speak courteously or are they mostly rough looking men and women who have no legitimate source of income?
Do residents in the neighbourhood have a reputation for fermenting trouble? Are you sure the men and women you are looking at are people you want to have as neighbours?
7. Is the House Modern or Old?
The cost of running an old house naturally increases over a period of time. You don’t want to buy a first house that will cost you a fortune to renovate to your taste.
Are the renovation works needed things you can do yourself? Will you have to hire skilled professionals to help you with it?
8. Is There Any Foul Smell In or Around the House?
Sometimes, all you need to neutralise a foul smell is a good air freshener but what happens when you use it yet the foul smell refuses to go away?
You should be wary of houses that have a caustic or pungent smell within or around the house especially those that might be expensive to get rid of. Such foul smells could even indicate a bigger problem for you.
9. Are the Signs of Pest Infestation?
You can have a cockroach or two flying around the house but in a situation where you see termites inside or around a house that is close to becoming your first house, there is a problem.
Ants, cockroaches, rats, termites and bed bugs are pests that you should avoid by all means. If you spot them, take a closer look around the house to ascertain if it is a minor problem or one that will thoroughly frustrate you.
Make sure you check out all possible hiding places and deal with them swiftly and decisively.
10. Does the Neighbourhood Have Sidewalks?
Sidewalks are very important in any neighbourhood. A sidewalk, by definition, is a footpath or footway along the side of a road. It may accommodate some changes in grade and is normally separated from the vehicular section of the road by a curb.
There are several neighbourhoods in Nigeria that have left out this important feature. If you have kids who are old enough to go out and play, the sidewalks are a great place for them to ride bicycles and use their rollerblades with friends.
A sidewalk also gives you a great place to jog safely when you have to exercise.
11. Does the Neighbourhood Have a History of Having Paedophiles?
If you have children, paedophiles are the last people you ever want around your children. Find out if there has ever been an incident of paedophiles taking advantage of children within the neighbourhood. This information puts you in a better position to make sound decisions.
12. What Kind of Schools Are in the Neighbourhood?
For your potential first house, find out how the schools in the neighbourhood where it is located rank. Do they look like schools you would want to send your children to?
If you decide to sell your house in the future, will potential buyers consider its school zone location a plus?
Cut down the risk of making mistakes by asking relevant questions before you buy your first house. When you do a thorough job before you buy a house, you stand to gain a lot in the long run especially if you ever decide to sell the house.
The best way to get most of your questions answered is by working with a real estate expert you can trust to protect your interest. Property experts have a wealth of experience, which makes them the perfect guide to help you buy your first house.