Looking for an apartment

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Looking for an apartment

Looking for an apartment Image

Taking the plunge and moving into an apartment might seem simple, but there are many things to consider.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you achieve your project.

You must identify your needs and have access to all the tools needed to establish criteria for rating possible apartments and ranking them in order of importance.

Rental prices are affected by:

  • location: is the apartment downtown or in a residential neighbourhood?
  • number of rooms
  • floor: is it a basement unit or on an upper floor?
  • accessibility of public transportation

Start looking

  • Check classified ads in local papers and online to see what apartments rent for.
  • Write down the addresses of any apartments that meet your criteria.
  • Compare their rents to what you have budgeted.
  • If the rent exceeds 35% of revenue, consider possible solutions
    • get a roommate
    • choose a basement unit or an apartment with fewer rooms
  • Explore neighbourhoods, on foot or by car. Visit apartments you've found in the classified ads.
  • Make appointments for these visits.

Rank what you find, based on your criteria

  • Rank potential apartments in order of preference.
  • Contact the landlord if you have questions:
    • What utilities are included in the rent (e.g., heat, electricity)?
    • What kind of heat is there?
    • How long is the term of the lease?
    • How many rooms does the apartment have? Are they large? Well-lit?
    • Is the apartment located near services and public transportation?

Drawing up a monthly budget helps you figure out exactly what goes in your pockets and what goes out. It takes a little planning at first, but you will have the satisfaction of getting a clear picture of your spending as compared to your income. Learn how to draw up a monthly budget in 3 steps.

Furthermore, to get an accurate picture of your income and spending, check out the My budget management tool.

Keep in mind:

  • Plan to set aside between 25% and 35% of net monthly revenue for rent each month.
  • Ask utility and service providers to estimate monthly costs for expenses like heat, electricity, Internet, etc.
  • Build future purchases into your budget (for buying furniture and other necessary items).
  • Include projections for the moving truck, installing and turning on certain services, etc.

Once you've found an apartment that suits your criteria and budget, it's time to sign the lease. Because this is a contract with legal ramifications, it's essential to:

  • understand what the lease says
  • ask the landlord to make necessary repairs, if needed, and add this to the lease agreement


To make paying rent easier, check if your landlord accepts money transfers (Interac e-TransfersTM or Desjardins money transfers).

Make an inventory of items you'll want to gather or purchase, including furniture and appliances.

Solutions that won't break the bank:

  • Find out if family or friends can donate anything
  • Buy second-hand furniture or appliances
  • Use your creativity when furnishing that first apartment!
    • Buy easy-to-install shelving instead of a new armoire
    • Mix and match chairs
    • And so on

Get peace of mind with competitively priced tenant insurance

Tenant insurance protects you against bodily injury and property damage you may involuntarily cause another person, even if you're held responsible. To learn why it's important to insure your apartment, read Insuring your home: That's thinking ahead!.

To learn more or to get a quote, see our tenant insurance page.

Did you know?

Because you have home insurance from Desjardins, you get a free water and freeze detector with our Alert program to help you prevent water damage in your home.

If your parents are insured with Desjardins, their home insurance could cover you.

If your budget is balanced or shows a surplus, the coast is clear for you to put some money aside. A contingency fund is the best way to get ready for the unexpected.

Learn how to build a contingency plan in 3 steps.

To help you achieve your goals, take advantage of the Enhanced Savings Plan, a flexible term savings product for Desjardins members.

Whether you need to cover planned purchases, like new furniture, or more unexpected expenses, we have financing solutions tailored to your needs!

Learn more about cards, loans and credit.

Helpful tips:

TM Trademark of Interac Inc. Used under license.