It isn’t cheap to live in Toronto. As the largest city in Canada, it’s no surprise that the cost of living is high. After living in the same apartment for eight years and not having our rent increased, we were shocked to learn that apartment rentals in Toronto experienced a sharp increase as a result of high real estate prices. To compound this issue, demand for apartment rentals has increased in 2021 since many people were reluctant to move in 2020 with the uncertainty of the pandemic. Keep in mind that renting a one-bedroom apartment can cost you at least $1,688. If you wish to live downtown, the amount for a one-bedroom unit can climb up to $2,000 a month!
Finding housing in Toronto can be pretty daunting. I hope the following tips can help you to find your dream home that fits your budget and lifestyle.
1. Do Your Research
Before signing a leasing agreement, do your research on the housing market first. You can make use of online resources or ask people who live in your desired neighbourhood.
Ask about the usual rent prices for your desired area and type of housing. This can help you negotiate or avoid leasing any overpriced properties. Forums and neighbourhood organizations can also give you information on landlords to avoid.
It’s also essential to research transportation options, as well as nearby grocery stores, schools and libraries to your desired home. These are crucial aspects of your quality of life once you move into a new neighbourhood. Getting around the city, going to work, and buying essentials are all factors to consider when choosing your new apartment.
2. Maximize the Internet
The internet is a very valuable resource, especially when going apartment hunting. There are a good number of rental websites out there, such as Kijiji, Craigslist, Viewit and Padmapper. You can also find a rental unit via Facebook Groups, Marketplace or friends’ recommendations.
Aside from finding a place to stay, you can also use the internet for tips and advice from other people who live in the neighbourhood you desire. You can easily find apartment hunters or Toronto residents on various online platforms.
3. Consider a Real Estate Agent
Apartment hunting can take up a lot of time and effort. Due to this, finding a suitable home can be difficult to juggle if you have a full-time job or are attending school. It might take longer for you to find one than you thought, or you could end up settling for an apartment that is less than ideal.
A real estate agent can help cut down on the work you have to do to find a home. They can help you find a place that fits your specifications; and all you have to do is show up and decide. In many cases, you don’t even have to pay for their services since typically, landlords pay real estate agents commissions for leasing their unit to a renter.
4. Come Prepared
The housing market in Toronto is quite competitive as we recently found out, especially if you are looking for affordable, well-maintained homes. This is why one of the most important tips to find a good apartment in Toronto is to always come prepared for every viewing in case you find the right place for you.
Some important documents to prepare are:
- your credit report
- proof of employment
- proof of income
- references from employers or previous landlords
Having these documents with you at every viewing ensures that you are ready if you need to sign a lease right away. Once you’ve found the apartment you want, you might like to lock it down immediately. Someone else with the proper documents could come by and snatch it right under your nose.
5. Know Your Rights
Leases in Toronto and the rest of Ontario are a lot less complicated now. Since April 30, 2018, a standard lease has become mandatory for all tenants and landlords. You can educate yourself on this standard lease and compare it with the one your landlord gives you.
It is also best to read up on the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) rules. This way, you can find out if your landlord commits any violations and react accordingly.
As a rule, most landlords will require you to pay a deposit of first and last month’s rent before moving into your new home. If you need some financial assistance, you can get fast access to cash through a trusted loan provider.
I hope the above tips to find a good apartment in Toronto were helpful. You might be interested in reading, “4 Ways to Lower Your Home’s Energy Consumption“.