This past month has been an absolute roller coaster ride. I’ve started to take on more responsibility at work and I also started to apartment hunt. The goal initially was to move out by July/August. But being a first time apartment hunter, I definitely underestimated the rental turnover time and ended up moving out a lot earlier than I expected. 

As speakoftheangel has always been my outlet to share experiences in hopes that they’ll help others who might be in a similar situation—I thought this would be the perfect segue into this new chapter in my life. So if you’re like me and you’re on the hunt for your first apartment in Vancouver this summer, here are 5 things to know! 

The Rental Turnover In Vancouver is HIGH

Apartments were literally flying off the market within DAYS of being posted. The quickest I’ve seen was posted on one day, and when I went to contact them the next morning, it was already gone! This was definitely a shock to me and it’s why I ended up moving in May rather than in July. I realistically could’ve started looking at the end of June and would’ve found a place just as fast. But we found a place that was in the perfect location so we didn’t want to pass it up. 

Even the process of me acquiring my new apartment was insanely fast. I went to go view the apartment on Wednesday, applied for it Wednesday night, they replied me saying that my application was accepted on Thursday, and I signed the lease on Friday. Three days. That’s all it took. 

I found my apartment from Rent From Advent. I did most of my hunting on Craigslist but I should’ve also probably looking directly on property management websites as they usually have a way wider breadth of places posted. 

Have All Of Your Documents Ready 

My first application was a huge SCRAMBLE to prepare all the documents and information I needed. So here’s a little mental checklist for you of things that people typically ask for with your application. 

  • Credit check
  • Acceptance letter to school if you’re a student
  • Employment letter 
  • References (landlord and/or employer)
  • Resume (YES, sometimes they do ask for it)
  • Personality quiz (YEUP)

My experience with apartment hunting was very similar to job hunting. Have all my documents ready to prove that I am a nice, valuable, and dependable human being. And then meeting the landlord/property management rep is like going to an interview. It was INTENSE. Especially when you’re viewing a place with a group of others who are clearly on the hunt as well. Some people brought all their documents (including their resume) WITH them to the viewing! I knew I had no chance when I saw that. 

Now I’m not saying that you need to do that, but be prepared for when they do ask for those documentations. If you falter and aren’t able to provide them right away, there’s a chance you could lose your apartment to someone who can!

If You Love An Apartment Apply Right Away

This builds onto the last two points: apartments go FAST. If you like the location, price, and apartment itself make sure you apply RIGHT AWAY. Immediately after you leave the viewing if possible. Another tip is to make sure you leave a lasting impression on the agent or landlord showing the apartment as well. Whether or not I loved an apartment, I made sure to make the extra effort to chat with the person showing the place. Ask them questions, have a conversation with them. Even if it has nothing to do with the apartment!

One thing to remember, no matter what situation you’re in, is that people don’t remember what you say or what you do—they remember how you make them feel. So be a friendly, memorable person. This will help you immensely in your hunt. 

I chatted up an old couple so much during one of my viewings (just because they were amazing people and we connected really well) that it left such a deep impression on them where they actually called me several days later asking whether I was still interested because they were willing to hold the apartment for me! Just shows how being a nice person can still take you pretty far. 

Leave Clues About The Type Of Person You Are In Your Email 

This tip was something recommended to me by a friend of mine who has tons of experience looking for apartment rentals. He says to ask questions that drop clues about you being a responsible tenant. Some examples are 

  • Is the suite quiet? I often work from home so I prefer a really quiet space. 
  • Can you automate the rent payments? I’d love for the rent just to be directly withdrawn from my account on the first of every month.

Questions like these are great for your own information but also tells your landlord that you are 1. someone who values quiet spaces, and 2. that you can cover the rent no problem. 

These two questions just so happen to work in my case perfectly, and the emails that I’ve sent WITH these questions had an 100% reply rate! 

Ask Questions

Other than your clue-leaving questions mentioned above, make sure you ask ample questions during your viewing as well! You don’t want to leave anything up to mystery when it comes to apartment hunting. Ensure that you know what utilities are included, what amenities there are, what the neighbours are like, what the neighbourhood is like, whether there is parking, whether the parking is included in the rent…. 

I even when to the point of creating a checklist in my notes on my phone and checked off all the items as I am viewing the place and chatting with the person showing it. 

I don’t know about you, but it’s important for me that my apartment is everything that I am looking for and more!

I hope that this article helps you in your apartment hunt! I know it can be a stressful and crazy time (I was just there!) but it is so SO worth the work once you find your perfect place. 

So get on it and HAPPY HUNTING!

Until next time, 

Angel Zheng