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7 Tips on Finding a Great Toronto Apartment on a Budget

If you cannot find an on-campus residence or you want to live off-campus for additional space, to avoid strict campus rules, to get important real-life experience, or for other reasons, Toronto offers a wide variety of apartments for rent. If you have to live off-campus, consider living near the school. You may pay more in terms of rent because of the higher competition, but you will save on transport costs, you get to enjoy York University residence events and activities such as sports, and you get to socialize with fellow students.

However, you do not want to spend half your student’s loan on accommodation alone. Here are a few tips to help you narrow down on an apartment that best suits your particular needs and your budget.

1. Search Online

There are several online resources, be they blogs, websites, and social media pages, available for Toronto renters. Search for an apartment in the likes of Condos.ca, ViewIt, Realtor.ca, PadMapper, RentSeeker, Kijiji, RentCompass, Apartmente, Craigslist, Nice Place Toronto, and Bunz Home Zone. Consider setting up a Google Alert for whenever there is a new listing that has your keyword/s.

2. Consider Older Buildings

Avoid the common temptation of finding the newest, hippest condo. Glass towers are relatively new, which means they are not subjected to rent control (which applies to buildings built before 1991) as older buildings are. With older buildings, you will avoid high initial rent as well as nasty surprise increase.

On the flip side, you could go for a new building that is not fully finished yet. The building management will be eager to have tenants and you are likely to get a good deal.

3. Enlist the Services of a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent has insider knowledge on where to get an apartment at a bargain. Hiring a real estate agent offers unparalleled convenience since he/she will do all the legwork. Note that you will not have pay for an agent – fees are paid by the building management.

4. Have the Relevant Documents

When going for a viewing, go with all the relevant documents so you can take the unit if you are satisfied. The high competition for budget Toronto apartments means you may miss your dream apartment while you are preparing the paperwork. Some of the documents you need to get an apartment in Toronto include:

  • Proof of school attendance and proof of employment (if you have a part-time job)
  • Credit report (CBC)
  • References from past landlords as well as professional and personal references

5. Bargain for Lower Rent

Work on your negotiation skills (or bring someone who has the skills with you) and you might be surprised that your landlord may lower the rent, or offer utilities such as electricity at a fixed price.

6. Be Flexible

You may have a particular type of apartment or neighbourhood in mind when searching, but you should be flexible because finding exactly what you are looking for may not be possible.

7. Consider where other students are living

Off-campus students tend to live together in convenient, hip, yet low-priced neighbourhoods. Following the trend is an easy and quick way of finding a Toronto apartment at a budget.

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