Finding a rental that works for your family can be a big challenge. Really, anything regarding finding a suitable home in Vancouver is over the top difficult. As a real estate agent, you might be surprised to hear that I don't push buying a home on to all of my friends and clients. Owning a home isn't for everyone, there are many good reasons that people stay out of the real estate purchase market. I have close friends who rent a home in East Vancouver for $850 a month! It's a whole house with a garage and yard. $850 a month! Why would you move, you couldn't get a home that cheap.
So if you are looking for a new rental, how can you keep ahead of the game, or give you a leg up? Here are a number of tips that I pass on to friends who ask where to find a rental.
1. Use Craigslist/Kijiji properly: Craigslist and Kiji is the most likely rental source for many. And that's just it. Why go where everyone else is? Prices are higher and the ads are being viewed by thousands of people. You'll have to out bid people or dedicate all your time and effort towards getting to those places before everyone else. However, there are tools that you can use on these sites. Go to "Rooms Wanted" and post an ad for your family. Be as detailed as possible. Let them know you're a professional family, that you're willing to do yard work, that you don't have pets; or that you do have pets. Be frank, and sell your family as being the best tenant. You'll have those who don't want to post their ads contact you. There are some out there that want to have control over who they rent to. Some are not prepared to have anyone contacting them and pushing themselves on to them.
Side note: Use the other tools on craigslist, like the automatic email notifications for when rentals come up that meet your criteria.
2. Hire a Licenced Rental Real Estate Agent: There are real estate agents who have the proper licence to help clients find rental property's. There may be a fee involved, but it may help you in the event that you are too busy and you have a limited amount of time to find your home.
3. Walk Your Desired Neighbourhood: Walking the streets where you desire to live can be a great way to find something not posted on the internet. Some buildings merely put out sign posts and don't bother posting online.
4: Look in the Newspapers (Yes! Print!): I seem to find great rental homes in the paper from the older ones not using the internet or craigslist. There's not as many ads, but sometimes you can hit one out of the park. People who are unaware of craigslist will resort to the local papers
5: Door Knock: Find a street you want to live on, and start knocking. If you don't find a homeowner who is willing to rent, there is a great chance that the neighbours you do talk, may know of their friends or neighbours who are looking for renters. Make up some flyers to hand out.
6: Flyers: Nothing shows how great of a tenant you'd be if you had flyers or postcards made up, and paid for the mailman to deliver them. It would show how much you want to live in that area, and why wouldn't the potential landlords want to rent to someone willing to pay to find a home. It shows you wouldn't flake out on rent or just move months later.
7: Co-ops: Apply for co-op complex's in the areas you desire to live. These are drastically rental reduced homes. You may have to put a large deposit/fee down to gain entry, but you get it back when you move out. The co-op communities are for those that are willing to help out the complex by volunteering your abilities. You can anything to help, from yard work, paper work, or trade work. A great way to get some control over your home and neighbourhood and give back for better rental prices.
8: Ask Your Realtor/Realtor Friend: Some real estate offices send out daily listings with notes at the bottom. Sutton Group - West Coast Realty does this, and they have a number of realtors in their office. If you are looking for something specific throughout the Greater Vancouver Area, let me know. I'll happily post something for you.
Ultimately, the great rentals are usually shared between friends and family members of past renters. Think about it? If you were giving up your amazing rental because you bought your first home, would you not tell your friends looking for a home? The best rentals are usually not posted on the internet. Sometimes you have to get out there and search for the gems. Then you can be the one all your friends say have a incredible rental property!
Have any further tips to share? Comment below!