Kijiji posted this article a little while ago and I thought it was worth sharing. I condensed it to what I thought were four of the most important points. Enjoy!.
Low vacancy rates are great news if you are a landlord, but significantly less so if you find yourself searching for a new apartment. Finding a good apartment at a reasonable price is significantly more difficult when rental units have a low vacancy rate. Not only will the prices for accommodation be higher, but the competition between renters to land a choice apartment can get fierce. What do you need to do to land a great pad when vacancy rates are low?
Be realistic. If you are moving out of your parents’ house, moving into a new city, or switching to a more central or expensive neighborhood, you may be in for a shock at the size of apartment your budget gets you, or the sticker price to live somewhere up to your current standard. Spend some time browsing apartments similar to what is within your budget on Kijiji before going to a showing so you have a good idea of what the market is like before you start going for showings – that way, you can identify a good deal when you come across one.
Separate wants from needs. Before seeing any apartments, figure out what you consider absolute must haves, and what you can live without. Knowing what you will and will not compromise on before your search will help you make decisions on a tighter timeline.
Figure out the prices of all the things you think you need. Maybe you feel you need access to an underground parking spot, but have you looked into what the cost is? If parking is easy to come by in the area near your apartment, is it really worth shelling out the additional cost?
Be prepared to act. If you see a great place, be prepared to negotiate and lock down the agreement on the spot. Research what is standard for documents required to sign a lease. This may include a reference letter from a prior landlord stating that you were a good tenant and paid on time.
Familiarize yourself with any possible signs of rental fraud and be wary of any requests for cash or other similarly untraceable transactions. Stick to cheques, credit cards, certified cheques, and other traceable forms of payment, and never send money online for an apartment that you haven’t seen.
Just a few minutes of educating yourself could save you a lot of time and heartache (not to mention money) in the long run. Happy hunting!