STEP 1: Determine what you can pay.

Before hunting for a rental, draw up a budget and take a hard look at where your money is going. If you’ve got some time before hitting the market for a new rental, run the numbers using different services so as to come up with a final decision

Generally speaking, it’s recommended that most people spend no more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs, factoring in debt, commuting and grocery costs, savings and other expenditures? Some other landlords specify income limits — like that your annual income be a specific multiple of monthly rent, or that your rent shouldn’t exceed a specific percentage of your monthly income

Keep in mind that in addition to rent, you’ll need to budget for utilities cable and Internet, and other potential extras available to renters such as parking, storage and coin-op laundry. And that’s in addition to your fees for moving and furnishing your home — which, in some cases, could require special furniture e.g. long curtains and room dividers in a loft with tall ceilings, patio furniture for a balcony or house with a deck, storage accessories, etc. to make the place liveable.

STEP 2: Brainstorm the features you’re seeking.

Beyond a basic bedroom and bathroom count, ask if there are other “nice-to-have” versus essential features for example

  • Do you want a fireplace?
  • Do you need a full bathroom, or would a shower do?
  • If you’re a foodie, do you want a gas stove in the kitchen?
  • Would you be willing to live on a ground floor, use stairs or take your chances on street parking?

STEP 3: Map your day.

Cross-reference your geographic locations and schedule, and take a look at where you spend most of your time. Then check out what’s available in those locations e.g Shopping malls, hospitals etc.

What’s your schedule like? What neighbourhoods do you travel to and from daily or weekly? Do you drive to work, or use public transport — or would that vary depending on your choice of neighbourhood What do you do on the weekends, and do you want to live near those places and activities or is it OK to live elsewhere? If you work late, or if you rise early, are there grocery stores and open during the hours you need to shop

STEP 4: Choose your rental type.

This step will depend on how long of a lease term you’re after and how big of a place you need that is garden flats, high rise apartment flats, town house or a single family home. Depending on your market and your needs, you can rent a wide variety of home types from a variety of types of landlords you’ll find a wide variety of options on listings portals.

STEP 5: Tackle the application and approval process.

You’ve determined your budget, narrowed down a neighbourhood and found a place you want to call home. Your work is almost over, but now it’s time for the landlord to determine if you’re qualified to rent the property. Here are some things to expect during the approval process that is negotiation, deposit and other fees.

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