If you’re relocating or a first-time renter, you may be wondering what to expect with the apartment search process in Canada. There are many factors to consider when searching for a new home in this country, so be sure to give yourself time to do the research beforehand. This will make it easier to find the rental that is a good fit for your lifestyle.
Location. According to a recent ForRent.com survey, safety is at the top of the list for over 55% of surveyed renters. If you’re moving to Canada from another country, or just moving to a new province, be sure to explore the area and do some sleuthing online to see how the area is rated in terms of safety. Remember, leasing agents can’t tell you directly if the community or rental is ‘safe’, so plan to do some investigating on your own.
Budget. Once you’ve selected an area, it’s almost time to start your rental search. It’s important to set your budget up front, so you won’t spend time touring rentals that are too pricey. Remember to ask the leasing agent what is included in the price. In Ontario, for example, a typical high-rise apartment includes most utilities, but does not include parking, telephone or cable TV. Some rentals may not include utilities like electricity or water, so it’s essential to ask in order to fully calculate your monthly expenditures. A good rule of thumb: your total monthly rent (including utilities) should not exceed 30% of your gross income.
Apartment Searching. Now that you’re ready to begin looking for an apartment, consider a variety of tools to help you find the perfect place, including: classifieds, word of mouth, real estate offices, and online. Searching online or on your mobile device might be an easier way to jumpstart your search. Try an Internet listing service like ForRent.com’s sister site, Homes.com Rentals, to find the perfect rental home, apartment, townhouse, or condo in Canada.
Leasing. You’ve found the perfect place for you, now it’s time to sign the lease and make it official. Before you do, be sure to thoroughly read through the lease so you’ll understand what is expected of you as a renter. Remember, a lease is a legally binding contract, so you will want to be sure that all questions or concerns are addressed before signing your name on the dotted line! You’ll want to strongly consider getting tenant insurance – many property managers will require you to have this protection, and even if they don’t, the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s article should convince you of the value of insurance.
Moving In. You made it to move-in day, so the hard work is almost over and you’ll be enjoying your new apartment in no time! Once you get in your new rental, do a thorough walk-through, making notes or taking photos of any damage you find. You’ll want to share this with your property manager so they are aware of these concerns before you move in, to prevent you from taking the blame later, if or when you move. Also be sure to ask about rules and instructions for getting mail, garbage & recycling, laundry, parking, and more.
It’s true that there are many steps in the renting process, and moving somewhere new may be daunting – however, it doesn’t have to be difficult! For more great rental tips and tricks, be sure to download the helpful Renting Your New Home Start-to-Finish guide. Do you have any great tips for finding an apartment in a new city or country? Be sure to share them with ForRent.com!