Moving before you've seen it in person is tough!
Moving anywhere can be super stressful, but a whole other layer is added when you are in an entirely different province from the one you're headed to.
Going across the country a lot of the time means that you can't even physically see your new home. It makes the entire process a lot more complicated.
You'll probably spend hours online, searching through all of the different sites, hoping to find the perfect spot to move into.
You're also basically putting all of your trust into your landlord or realtor, hoping you chose the right place based on what they tell you.
I moved from New Brunswick to Vancouver in the fall, and it was really tough to find a place to live while not actually being there. I wasn't super familiar with the city, making it even more difficult.
Luckily, I found a great home — but learned some big lessons along the way.
It can be stressful and super chaotic, but here are some tips that I wish I'd known before trying to find a rental property while in another province.
Know Your Neighbourhoods
Research, research and some more research!
Look into the neighbourhoods you like and narrow down your search to those. If you don't have a car, make sure you're in a location with a great walkability score or public transit.
If you love to eat out, then you'll want to check out the restaurants in your area.
I was so happy with my neighbourhood in Vancouver, and it made a big difference in how much I got to know the city!
Ask Lots Of Questions
The rental market is competitive, so you'll want to hop on a house or apartment right away if you totally love it, but don't forget to ask questions!
In Vancouver, basement tenants are super common in houses, which isn't really a thing in New Brunswick. Some properties didn't even say in the listing if they had one, so you often have to ask!
Since you can't be there in person, it's great to ask things like how much sunlight the place gets during the day, what the neighbours are like, and anything else you can't figure out over video.
You can also ask things that are unrelated to the house! For us, it was super important to be close to good hikes, so we asked what trails were in the area!
Narrow Down The Search
If you're moving to a big city, there is a lot out there online.
When looking through rental sites, make sure to filter the results based on what you absolutely need. I put a price maximum, a bedroom minimum, and then checked off the neighbourhoods I wanted.
This allowed me to see exactly the type of places I wanted so I didn't waste my time looking at random homes.
Ask For Videos
Pictures don't tell the full story.
I can't tell you how many places I saw where the photos made it look huge. The videos, on the other hand, showed a much smaller reality.
While photos can be staged more easily, asking for a video or FaceTime call will give you a better idea of what it's actually like.
If you're moving to B.C., you always want to see how good of a view of the mountains you can get!
Send A Friend
If you know people in the areas, send a friend! There's nothing better than getting someone you trust to lay eyes on a place, so you don't have to hop on a plane.
This will give you some extra assurance that it's all legit, and you can ask them tons of questions!
Check Out Street View
Google Street View is your friend!
Like I said before, photos can be deceiving. If you go on Google Street View, you can check out the outside of the property and see how well it's maintained and what the neighbourhood looks like.
Overall, it's a great way to get a vibe for the building or house, and the street.
Be Prepared To Compromise A Bit
Searching for rentals is tough. They go super fast in some places, so when you find one that checks most of your boxes, you might need to sign a lease quickly.
This might mean compromising on a few little things, but at the end of the day, it's worth it to move to the city of your dreams.
My biggest tip — don't compromise on the neighbourhood!
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