Hello team, how are you?
Today we will talk about my search for an apartment in Toronto. For me, it was so hard. Let me tell you why.
1. From the dream to the reality
It must be said that I was very lucky because when I arrived in Toronto, I lived with my family. This allowed me to save some money and especially to take my time to find accommodation that suited me at a reasonable price. As I was saying, I got my job 3 weeks after I arrived in Toronto (check my post about my 10 tips to find a job). So I thought that with my contract and my employer’s letter, my research would be easy… Pfff. I started my research all confident. I was mostly well-defined criteria:
- Living in Downtown
- In a condo. For those who do not know the condos (diminutive of the word Condominium) are the apartments found in the major recent buildings of downtown Toronto especially, with some comfort and services like Rooftop, gym, swimming pool, Reception room and especially large glass windows that make your apartment very bright.
I quickly disenchanted when I saw the prices of these apartments for rent. It took about $1200 to $1800 for a living room or a studio. So I came back to reality and I reviewed my criteria downwards.
2. The criteria to be taken into account when looking for a rent
I asked myself the right questions and especially I compiled a list of my expenses to establish a rent budget: These are estimates and once again everything is relative. We will have the opportunity to talk about the cost of living in Toronto in a future post. One thing is for sure, compared to my salary, I needed a rent between $800 and $900 for a start.
PS: To give you an idea, the base salary is about $12 or $13 gross of the hour which corresponds to roughly $1900 gross the month (ie $1600 net for 40h). I see your smile, not bother to ask, I will not tell you my salary. Hahaha you will understand, it all depends on your salary. If you have a good budget, you will not have a problem. But with a smaller budget, it becomes complicated.
3. How looking for a rent?
Here are some sites that work well to search for housing and that I used for my housing search:
I also used some more specialized sites for roommate rooms like:
- Easyroomate: Only basic ads will be visible to see the ads of paying members you have to pay.
- Roomster: Also paying $3/week (don’t forget to cancel as it’s tacit renewal, I got made to have LOL)
Personally, I would advise you to pay that if really you are in a situation of distress because of pay for ads… You can find without paying even if it takes time. There are also Facebook groups:
Bunz Home Zone: This is the most popular of them. We find good ads but you have to be very quick to be among the first to contact the advertisers because it goes very very fast.
There are other Facebook groups less popular than Bunz on which I found good ads like:
Houses/Apt/Flat/rooms for rent/sale or lease in Toronto ON, Canada
Toronto rooms for Rent (Ryerson, George Brown, University of Toronto)
Toronto (G.T.A.) House/Apartment For Rent
Rent a Room in Toronto-House/Property/Home/Flat/Apartment/Accommodation
Toronto Rent a room/apartment/house/Condo/property/flat/Roommate
Toronto apartments for Rent
You understood I spent my evenings on the internet trying to find the rare gem. The studios (bachelor) in my budget did not like me at all. And those that I liked, were obviously above my budget. So I went to step two.
Yes, you understand, I was walking in the neighborhoods where I wanted to live in search of the famous posters “for rent bachelor or 1bedroom”. As soon as I saw one, I was heading to the office of the building to ask to visit. Every time, I would fall on housing well above my budget. So I went to step three.
Once again, it comes back to the word: networking. Oh, yes you will see it very often in my articles, I repeat it is the basis. So I started talking about it around me. I was touched by the generosity of all my own, my friends, my colleagues who called me or sent me announcements as soon as they spotted accommodations near their homes. By the way, thanks to all
4. The issues:
You must certainly ask why I said in the introduction that my search for apartments had been “difficult”. Here are the reasons:
– The apartments were leaving at a speed: when I saw rooms in colocation at a reasonable price especially on Facebook the time to call, I was not the first for the visit. Of course, the apartment was passing under my nose.
– “Credit Check” (Credit history): Generally in Canada to rent an apartment you will be asked:
- The first and last month’s rent,
- The employer’s letter (sometimes)
- Or even and the famous credit history (sometimes).
I don’t know if it was me, but they were asking me for this famous credit history. I had to explain that I had just arrived. I was even asked one day for my “statement”, i.e. my statement of account. Anyway, I was saoûlée. I was fed up and everyone was saying, “Why do you have trouble finding? It’s super easy yet “LOL like what everyone has his personal story. After 3 weeks, I ended up finding thanks to God on Facebook, a roommate room at $650 in High Park near downtown (on the map below is the WEST END district). For a start it’s excellent, I’m pretty happy. Like what, with perseverance, we get there.
- Visit the neighborhoods and surroundings especially if you do not know the neighborhood
- Make a good budget to pay the first and last month of rent
- Look online and make sure there is no “bed Bugs Report” (Bed Bugs)