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Tips for finding a great rental

With a large amount of real estate and rental properties on our sites, we want to make sure you have all the tips you need to score a great new place.


Make a list

Before you begin your search, know what you are looking for. This way you don’t have to settle, instead you can determine the compromises you are willing to make. Make a list of what is important you to, in order of essential to desirable and ask yourself lots of questions. Do you want your rental furnished or not? Would you prefer a shower or a full bath? Do you want a large yard or will a balcony do? You can use your answers to filter your searches, streamlining the process and refining results.

Set a location

To make your search easier, use the search filter to select the communities you’d like to live in.  Then use our ads on a map tool to get an estimate of where the each property is located. If you have specific neighbourhoods you love, you can focus just on those listings.


Please note: although our map feature may display a user’s location, this is not an open invitation to visit someone’s home. For both the safety of yourself and the seller, please communicate in order to arrange a meet up time.

When contacting the owner

When you first reach out and contact the potential landlord or property manager, tell them a little about you and your situation. You can write up a quick summary and just copy and paste it for multiple inquires. By sharing a bit about yourself, your family or your roommates, they can get to know your situation quickly. Remember to keep it positive and if they have asked questions in their post, answer them. If it is a non-smoking property for example, let them know you do not smoke. If it is pet-friendly, let them know what type of animal you have. If you seem like a good fit, the process will often move faster.

Note: you can send an email copy of your inquiry to your self to keep track of the places you’ve contacted.

Set up an email alert

When something is a good deal it goes fast, we all know it, especially when looking for a rental. It is important to be persistent in your search. Learn how to set up an email alert here, and be notified when a property with your specifications becomes available.

Ace the viewing

Once you have arranged a time to view a rental, arrive prepared. Although you will have an initial emotional reaction to a property, make sure you also think rationally. Be prepared with a checklist to ensure that you inspect the whole property during your viewing: look outside and inside the property, check the security of doors and windows, check the electric sockets, and look for the smoke alarm. Ask any questions you have, this is your chance.

Understand the terms

When you prepare to rent a property, there needs to be an agreement established between you and the owner (or, in some cases, the property management company). Read over the agreement carefully, and always ask questions if you are unsure of any of the terms. The agreement is in place so that you hold to your end of the bargain, but it can help to ensure the owner stays true to their word, too.

Have referrals handy

Imagine you owned a home and you were ready to rent it to someone. The first thing you would want to know is that the people to whom you are renting are reliable and good folk. Be sure to have references, whether they are employers, past teachers, or former landlords. Usually, references from parents or friends wouldn’t suffice, but if you’re really stuck, you could try putting a close friend down as a reference. Be sure to ask them first, so it’s not a surprise when they get a phone call.

Anticipate a rent increase

When you get into a lease agreement, it’s important to understand that a rent increase may occur. There is a time obligation that the owner must adhere to before they can increase your rent, and it’s different depending upon location, an increase can happen and it’s good to know this. When you are choosing a place to live, choose house rentals and apartment rentals that are within your budget, and still within your budget if the rent were to increase by a few dollars. Ask your landlord about increases if you are unsure.

Act quickly

If you’re searching on your local site for rentals, and you come across something really great, be sure to act quickly. This is not to say that you need to sign the papers tomorrow, but be sure to set up an appointment to view the place as soon as possible. It’s good to get in the door quickly so that, if it’s the right place for you, you can ask to fill out an application sooner than later. Desirable apartments in desirable areas go quickly.

Know the important numbers

Before leaving the house rentals office, or signing on the dotted line, it’s important to be sure that you have the contact names and numbers of the people you will be connecting with regarding rent payments, appliance repair, and so forth. If you are dealing with a property management company, they will often provide those details to you in a nice folder once you have signed your agreement. Sometimes, you will need to ask for that information, and it is important that you ask because if, all of a sudden, your heater stops working and you rely on it to keep your family warm, you need to know who you can call.

Make it yours

Once you find a rental that’s right for you, it’s time to add your own flair and taste. Always check with the landlord on what is appropriate, some will not allow paint or even nails in the wall. Decorate with decor that you enjoy, that relaxes you or comforts you, as this will make your new place feel like home. Look at our decor tips for renters for more inspiration. Welcome home!

Useful links

Find rentals on your local site here

Create an email alert

Look at our decor tips for renters


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