I did it. I finally did it. I am taking action and making a change. The skies cleared, waters parted and I walked on….wait…wrong story. It almost was an epic biblical moment; it could be classed as such when it comes to me. I am quite stubborn and moving mountains is normally what it takes me to budge. 😉
After all the mental battling and back and forth with the roommate* in my head, or the one I like to call the Fear Femme, I’ve conquered her and am working on finding a place of my own.*Thank you Arianna Huffington (Thrive) and Michael A Singer (The untethered Soul)
You read right my friends, this means I am officially condo hunting in Toronto and I know it’s going to be entertaining and eventful in some way. Of course, I’m not buying, just renting. Condominiums in the Toronto core are way overvalued, as is most real estate in Canada for that matter. I’m not jumping into that deep end of the pool when I will a) pay too much and b) have next to no down payment to offer. It took some soul searching to reach this decision, the biggest challenge was deciding where I going to move. Did I want to stay in the sticks, go right into the core, or stay just outside the core of Toronto? Even though I had wanted to get the whole career dilemma ironed out before moving, I’ve figured that I’ll be better off in the city, socially, mentally and professionally.
Finally I said screw it, it could take me a year to get my “happy place” job and with some advice from friends, the location came down to “what do I do outside of work”. Where would I be most happy? Ultimately, that meant staying close to somewhere with a bit of greenery and since I’m active, close to paths and trails.
It’s all new to me.
The last time I rented was back in my twenties in college and it was a very small basement apartment. So, it’s all new to me again, and my goodness…
Who knew finding a condo would be like finding a full time job?
I can’t blame an owner/landlord for wanting to ensure their bases are covered when leasing or renting their unit to a perfect stranger. The unfortunate fact is that once you have someone in there, if they don’t pay, it’s hard to get them out.
Many of the postings I’ve read request all of the following:
Credit report with credit score
First and last months’ rent and/or security deposit
Minimum of 1 year lease signing
Makes me feel like I’m applying for a full time job or mortgage! It also makes me a bit nervous handing over my credit report with all my credit history to a complete stranger that for the most part has no business looking at it.
Finding That Great Rental
Enlisting an army of friends
Just like finding a job, finding the right condo and neighbourhood requires a lot of networking. Networking with friends, co-workers, and real estate agents will be well worth it. I’ve already spoken to several friends and colleagues about living in Toronto and many have offered up some great advice. The last step is to speak with a real estate agent in the area and I’ve got one of those lined up to speak with next.
Scour Kijiji, Craigslist, Real Estate Rental pages and Viewit.ca
Visit and stay awhile in your future neighbourhood
What do you need to be near you? Do you need public transportation, grocery stores or pubs? Determine what your “must-haves” are for the neighbourhood you’ll spend most of your time in, then make a weekend visit and spend some time discovering and playing in that neighbourhood. Is it convenient to you? Do you need or have access to a main highway to get out of the city?
What’s your budget?
Keep watch on rentals in your chosen area to determine if they’re even in your budget range. One of my friends did this and she found that places like the up and coming trendy Distillery District would be way out of her budget range, just as I found out Annex/Yorkville is out of mine. Another tricky thing to watch out for with condos, there is no rent control! Unlike an apartment building, at lease end, your landlord can evict you if they want to sell or raise your rent if condo fees jump. Basically, there’s limited stability and security but apparently its getting better as more condo units come into the Toronto market.
I ultimately wanted to be much further out of debt than I am before committing $1500 a month to rent, but my sanity and general well-being are most important. Besides, I figure I’ll have more time to commit to getting a side hustle up and running and can bring in more income by being closer to my sales territory.