Finding the Perfect Apartment

I’m in the middle of finding a new apartment at the moment and I realized once again how complicated and time consuming this is. In fact, finding a new place is not that complicated but finding something nice that also fits your budget might be a bit more difficult.

There are so many factors to consider when you’re looking for an apartment that it can become a real nigthmare! So I’ve decided to share my experience with all of our regular readers out there that are currently in the same situation as I am and hoping that it’s going to help some of you, I’ve done a ton of research for this post and I try to analyze the results and to give some insightful feedback, feel free to make a comment if there is anything else you think you can add to make this a valuable resource. Here are some external resources that also have unique research and insights;

6 tips when renting a new apartment
How to find an apartment
Finding the right apartment for you

Take your time

First of all, if you want to find the perfect place keep in mind that you will need to invest a lot of time! Unless you’re really lucky and you just happen to be able to get one of your friend’s apartment that is well located, cheap and freshly renovated! So here’s a list of the factors that I normally consider when looking for an apartment. These are not in priority order, as it can change from one person to another, it’s more in order of what came to my mind first.

Factors to consider

How close are you to work? or to school if you’re a student?
Is the neighborhood safe?
Is there a public transportation system close? or what are the parking regulations if you have a car?
Is it close to stores (supermarket, pharmacy, bank, etc.)?
Is it located on a busy (in other words noisy) street? My first apartment was located right in front of a stop sign and I can tell you that I won’t do that mistake again. Hearing cars stopping and then accelerating when you’re watching TV is not something I would do again!
At what level is it located? Ground level is normally more noisy because you can hear everyone walking but you won’t have to climb up the steps with your 4 bags full of groceries in the winter ;) Neighbors make a big difference as well, trust me I think I have the worst ones right now.
How many apartments are there in the building? Depending on the building insulation, some 20 apartments buildings might be quieter than a 4 apartments one.
How much is the rent? A lot of people are probably wondering at this point how much is too much for a rent? (i.e. How much of my salary should I spend on rent?) Well according to some research I’ve done on the web, 25% of your income seems to be what everyone agrees on. And from my past experience, I think that it does make a lot of sense.

Analyzing the perfect apartment

After you’ve considered all these factors and you pretty much know what you want to get (even though this could always change) and what factors you want to prioritize, you need to find this apartment. I’m normally start with a walk in the area where I would like to live (if it’s not too wide of course) to see if by any chance there would be anything for rent. This is always a good way to start as less people get to see the sign which means that you probably have more chance that the apartment will still be available.

One of the best practices is to go through websites that post offers about apartments for rent. The numbers of sites that offer such a service is impressive but here are the two that I prefer and where most of my friends have found their place: Kijiji.ca and Craigslist.ca. And finally the last solution is to go through Newspaper ads, you can normally find online as well as offline ones nowadays as well. I normally start with the regional ones (because advertising in it is cheaper so less houses and normally more apartments) as well as the biggest nationwide ones. Here are a few tips when you do that research, as it can become complicated if you’re not well organized.

Apartment Finding Tips

Refine your Search: If you’re living in a big city there could be more than 1,000 properties available so it’s important that you refine your search by budget, area and space available.
Call Straight away: If you find something that you’re interested in call straight away to get more information. Don’t wait because sometimes apartments are taken in the following hours.
Schedule a visit ASAP: After asking questions if you’re still interested in renting the apartment schedule a visit as soon as the owner is available because if someone visits it before you even though he called after you he might get it.
Take notes, and use your bookmarks: If you’re not able to talk to the owner or to leave him a message straight away, bookmark the apartment post (Control D on your computer) so that you’ll remember to call back. If you’re taking notes instead, remember to write down all the details you might need to remember when talking to the owner.
If it’s the one, sign the lease:I’ve actually have some friends that found the perfect place and said to the owner they would take it, but as he didn’t have a lease document on him they said they would come back next week to sign it. Unfortunately after calling him the following week, he claimed that he didn’t remember and said that the apartment was already taken.

The impact on a relationship

More importantly I think that finding THE apartment can be about luck and timing sometimes. Some people will find what they’re looking for in one day while others will take a few weeks or months. You need to be willing to invest time and effort to get your hands on that beautiful place that you can afford. I think that finding the perfect apartment is a bit like finding the right person, it could take a lot of time but when it’s done you can be sure that it will bring a lot of happiness in your life. But also take care not to deflect your house hunting stress on to your partner if you are moving in together, this can be the point when a relationship can go sour very quickly for little reason other than stress and frustration.

Important things to consider

This article is about finding apartments but I think that those tips can be easily applied to the search of a vacation property as well. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about renting a vacation home during your holiday, but this could help you save some money as you can cook your own food instead of going to restaurants (for example). And what about renting your house to others while you’re away? You can find vacation rental properties or list your house on websites such as VacationRentals.com or HomeAway.com. Check our pages to get the latest coupons for those two websites to save even more.

What are your thoughts? Share your tips on how to find the perfect apartment!

1 Comment

  1. Anne says:

    BTW I forgot to let you know that I did find the perfect apartment! I moved in a month ago and I absolutely love it. It has a backyard and it’s located in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Montreal! I think I might stay there for a while as it is also reasonably priced! I guess I was lucky!

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