Top 10 Tips for Finding an Apartment in Edmonton

Edmonton is quickly becoming a favourite city for young people. There are amazing neighbourhoods and lots of job opportunities. Plus, for a major centre, the rents are still affordable.

At the same time, Edmonton is second among metropolitan areas on the Crime Severity Index in Canada in 2017, according to a study by statistics portal Statista. Follow these tips to make sure you get the best deal when finding an apartment in Edmonton – in a safe neighbourhood.

1 – Set Your Price Range 

There’s a wide range of prices in Edmonton. Before you start looking for a rental, you want to think about what you can afford. Try setting your lower limit and upper limit – and don’t look at anything above what you can afford. That way, you won’t fall in love with something you can’t have.

2 – Check Out the Crime Statistics

Much of Edmonton’s crime occurs in a few neighbourhoods. One of the best ways to stay safe is to check which are the high crime areas and stay away from them. Go to the Edmonton Police Service Neighbourhood crime map to see neighbourhoods with the most crime. And, a survey from avenueedmonton.com lists the best Edmonton neighbourhoods.

3 – Hit the Internet

Edmontonians are happy to share their views on the city and its neighbourhoods. If you want to learn more, hop on a web forum and read the comments. Still have questions? Ask them! It’s a great way to get the inside information on everything. Check out listing sites such as Rentals.ca, where you can find a wide range of apartments for rent in Edmonton, and you will also see some virtual 3D apartment tours. 

You can also use the power of Google: set up a basic Google Alert with keywords relevant to the neighborhoods you like. Whenever the search engine finds them on a new page, you’ll get an alert.

4 – Leverage Your Social Network 

Ask friends, family and coworkers if they know of any good rental units available. Who knows, you might also get insight into the neighbourhood you’re considering! You may even stumble upon that one person who knows the city inside and out, and where all the trendy areas are.

Social media is also a great spot to find information. Check out CBC, and the Certified Rental Building Program for rental information Finally, a post on Facebook asking for help or information costs you nothing. Put those 400+ friends to work!

5 – Check Out a Few Neighbourhoods 

Once you’ve done some research, pick a few neighbourhoods you like. Make sure the area has the vibe you’re going for, as well as the staples you need. No matter what you’re seeking, Edmonton has the neighbourhood for you. It’s one thing to hear about an area, but it’s another to experience it. That’s why, before picking where you want to live, it’s important to check out various neighbourhoods. What areas make you feel comfortable? Where do you have what you need? Where are there rentals that you love? 

Update your list of target neighbourhoods after your visits. Take a stroll or a drive to get a feel for the residents, to gauge the flow of traffic, and to see if it fits your lifestyle and demographic. Take note of any “For Rent” signs. Check local coffee shops and community spaces for postings. Pick up neighbourhood newspapers.

6 – Ask Around

The other great resource for finding independent rentals in Edmonton is people. If you live in the city, ask your friends and other people you trust. If you’re outside the city, reach out to some local community groups and friends of friends. Going to school or moving for a job? Ask at your college, university, or workplace.

7 – Check Options Thoroughly

Like most major centres, Edmonton has some areas with significant pest problems and rentals with damage. So before moving in anywhere, you should do a full walkthrough of the space. Check cabinets for signs of cockroaches or rodents. Run showers and sinks. Make sure the electricity is in working order. Can’t make it to the city? Ask someone you trust to look at apartments for you. If possible, have them video call you, so you can see what you would be getting should you want to move in. You can check if the property is listed in the bed bug registry.

8 – Treat Viewings Like Job Interviews

In most viewings, you’ll be meeting the landlords. While you’re there to see if the apartment fits your needs, the landlord is also assessing you. You need to instill a sense of trust that you’ll take good care of the rental unit and won’t be a hassle for him or her. It’s the same dynamic as in a job interview.

Here are key points that will make a good impression on a landlord:

● Arrive on time.If you’re going to be late, text them the reason and when you plan on arriving.

● Be friendly and polite.

● Take your shoes off when entering the unit;that shows respect and indicates that you will take pride in and care of his or her rental while you live there.

● Shut off any lights behind you, close any cupboards you open and put anything you move back in place.

● Look reasonable.A suit and tie or business dress aren’t necessary, but wouldn’t hurt. But shorts, T shirts and jogging pants — please leave in your closet. 

During the visit, be attentive to the questions the landlord asks you. Did he or she forego a proof of employment, reference or credit check? Those checks may not have been made on your future neighbours, either. This might be a sign the building isn’t properly managed or that you have a few sketchy neighbours.

9 – Read your Lease

Never sign a lease without reading it. You may also want to get a lawyer to look over everything. If you can’t afford the price of counsel, head over to a local legal clinic that handles rental law. Do not sign a lease until you have read and understand all elements. Some rental agreements contain pages and pages of legalese with addenda for a variety of things. Reputable leasing agents and property managers will let you review the lease before they add dates and dollar amounts. A good landlord will also take you through the entire lease and explain all the elements.

10 – Be Ready to Close on the Spot 

Bring proof of employment (two-to-three pay stubs over the last months), references and cheques to any viewings. Imagine finding that perfect rental and losing it. The reason? You had to go home to pick up missing documents while someone else came in and swooped up the deal. In some competitive neighbourhoods, that little detail could make a big difference. Remember to take your time and not get carried away with emotions. Any lease is negotiable so don’t be afraid to ask for a discount, no matter what the market is like.