I wanted to share a little bit about our experience apartment hunting from abroad for people who are looking to move from the US to Vancouver.
First off I had a lot of help from friends that had already moved here years prior, they told us websites they used to find rentals, good and bad neighborhoods, expensive and inexpensive spots etc. In our case we knew from very early on we didn't want to commute, so North Van and West Side were immediately scratched off the list.
Living in LA you get stuck in traffic a lot and get used to needing a car for everything. We were curious about the idea of not having to depend on a vehicle, walking to restaurants, parks, etc.
After a little bit of researching we had our eyes set in a few areas: Yaletown, which has newer tall buildings, very close to work, near restaurants and pretty expensive. The west end, which has older buildings, but we liked walking around the neighborhood. Coal harbor, which seemed quiet and very close to the Stanley park. The Olympic Village, which was newer, seemed a little less expensive than Yaletown, but meant we had to take a one stop skytrain (which we now learned is like 5 min) every morning and night. And last but not least Kitsilano, which we loved but felt we needed a car for the winter and rainy days.
We used a few websites to search for apartments while still living in LA. Mainly we used Craigslist, padmapper and kijiji which it's like a Canadian craigslist. We also did a Google search for apartment management companies in the Vancouver area, and there we found a few that didn't list on the previously mentioned sites.
One thing we came to realize sooner than later, was that it was hard to find a place where pets were accepted. Often apartments would only accept a single pet instead of multiple. This represented a problem since we have two cats (Honestly... what is the difference in between one and two cats?)
Another thing we realized was that it was extremely competitive, homes that were fairly priced and looked nice in the pictures where being rented within days. This was a huge deal for us because we didn't want to rent a place without seeing it first.
We came to Vancouver twice for two long weekends, first time in July to check out the neighborhoods and to see if we really wanted to move here or not. Which I documented here.
The second time in September to do our apartment hunting trip. We had set up three days full of apartment viewings. I am very happy we did this because it really gave us a taste of the areas, and we got to see and apply for our place with time.
|Changing Leaves in September|
One thing we noticed across the board was that most places required a half months rent security deposit, and in our case half month's rent pet deposit.
It's safe to say that our method of planning so far ahead might not work for many, we were looking at apartments here in Vancouver two months prior to moving. We were willing to rent a place before we actually moved just so we didn't have to put our things in storage and have to rent a furnished place for a few weeks before we found our home. I can say that it worked for us and I wouldn't change a thing.
I hope this helped you!