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Vancouver apartments. Right: Moving boxes.

Vancouver apartments. Right: Moving boxes.

This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

Housing in Vancouver is no joke, so if you make the decision to move to the West Coast like I did, beware.

I moved to B.C. over a year ago, and have moved within Vancouver three times, so I have a lot of experience when it comes to apartment hunting in the city. Not only is it expensive, but it's just straight-up hard to find rentals in the first place.

I moved from New Brunswick to Vancouver last September, right when all the students and families were moving too. This made for a rough experience trying to find an apartment. Honestly, I feel like the majority of my year has been spent cruising rental websites.

It was worth it though because I have loved all the spots I ended up in.

Luckily, I work from home so I can be flexible about the neighbourhood I live in. Still though, it was a wild journey filled with too many Craigslist ads and apartment viewings.

Here's what I learned along the way, so you can save yourself from the headaches I had to endure.

Is it hard to get an apartment in Vancouver?

It's tough finding an apartment in Vancouver, honestly.

If you're moving to the city you should be prepared to search for a while before securing a place. Landlords often require a lot of information before approving you, and you also need to move quickly because they likely have a lot of people applying to live there.

It's a time commitment, so be ready!

How do I find an apartment in Vancouver?

If you are looking for an apartment in Vancouver, you need to look online every day for rentals starting at least two months before you want to move in.

To up your chances of getting a spot, make sure you're sending informative messages with some information about yourself. I would send out long emails every day to apartment advertisements!

I didn't always hear back, but when I did it was to my emails that were packed full of information.

What website is best for apartment hunting?

Craigslist is a go-to spot for housing rentals in B.C., but beware of scams on websites like this. Every now and then I'll see someone make a post that they got scammed on Craigslist.

Facebook Marketplace is also a great place to look too.

I spent so long wasting my time on Kijiji because that's where housing is posted on the East Coast and I found nothing there.

How do you prepare for apartment hunting?

To prepare for apartment hunting, make sure you have figured out your budget, the neighbourhood you want to live in, and what you're willing to compromise — because you might have to.

In Vancouver, prices vary depending on the neighbourhood a lot, so make sure you understand where you want to live. ​I was looking in a ton of areas when I first started, and narrowing it down would have helped a lot.

Are apartments in Vancouver expensive?

The biggest compromise you might have to make is how much you pay to rent in Vancouver. If you're used to Alberta rental prices, for example, you'll have to adjust.

West Vancouver especially has some of the highest real estate prices in Canada.

When I went from paying rent in New Brunswick to Vancouver it was a shock to my bank account for sure.

Which part of Vancouver is best live?

Depending on what you like, there are lots of great neighbourhoods in Vancouver. North Vancouver is close to lots of hiking trails and nature, while Downtown is super convenient.

Other neighbourhoods like Kitsilano and Mount Pleasant are also amazing.

If you want to save some money, go a bit outside of the city to the Richmond area. ​

To be honest, I wish I had understood what each neighbourhood had to offer before moving, and chosen carefully based on my interests!

  • Morgan Leet is the Western Canada Editor for Narcity Canada's Western Desk focused on interprovincial travel, and is based in Vancouver.
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