Looking for an apartment in the city is the 2020 equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack. Though they can be hard to find, they're out there—lots of them. You just need to sort through the hay. And by that we mean search the right websites.
Whether you’re seeking an apartment close to your office, something with a gym, or a place with plenty of room for hosting, here are the top 10 websites to search for rental properties across Canada.
- PadMapper.com The site claims to make apartment hunting suck less. And it does. PadMapper lets you set all sorts of preferences so you can have tons of flexibility in your search. Simply start by choosing a city and then adjust the many filter options to isolate for exactly what you’re looking for—a long term or short term rental, with one or two bedrooms and even your budget. One major advantage of Padmapper is it allows you to search by listing date, so that you can see only the newest listings, rather than the ones that have been up for weeks. Viable places will pop up as red markers on an easy to navigate map. Click and peruse your options.
- WalkScore.com This is a good one if you’re looking for apartments located near the things you love. Their slogan is literally, “Live where you love.” Find places that suit your lifestyle or improve your commute (whether you prefer to travel by car, bike, or your own two feet). Learn about neighbourhoods, investigate their safety scores and get to know the school districts.
- Bunz Home Zone (Bunz.com) What started out as a Facebook group to trade unwanted things for other random things, quickly grew into a full blown, multifaceted app with numerous zones, and one explicitly dedicated to renters looking for or listing rental properties. The advantage of Bunz Home Zone is that the listings are from real people (most of the time renters) with searchable profiles, meaning you can start an honest conversation, learn about the place, the landlords and get the inside scoop before you commit to anything. You can often find people looking for roommates or to sublet their place for a short period of time here as well.
- ViewIt.ca Though it may not be the most attention grabbing site, ViewIt.ca is a tried-and-true go-to when it comes to sourcing a legitimate rental apartment. The site allows you to make an account, save the places you like, ask questions and look through several photos of apartments before even stepping foot in them—which is usually a good call. In case you weren’t aware, never fill out an application for a site you haven’t seen—you don’t want to be bound to a place that ends up having a plethora of issues.
- 4Rent.ca No bells or whistles, 4Rent is a straightforward way to search for listings. Search by street name or specific building, and choose to look through a list of places or view them on a map. 4Rent also offers tenant tips, which could be super helpful to avoid shady landlords.
- RentSeeker.ca Looking for a residential pad? Commercial space? Student apartment? Senior suite? The gangs all here on RentSeeker. Simply search by address, city or postal code and get going. You can narrow down your searches by toggling walk scores, transit scores, property types, price ranges, bedrooms, amenities and pet friendliness. RentSeeker also lists what’s included in your rental amount, such as hydro, cable, internet—so you can get a clear picture of your monthly spending.
- Kijiji.ca This may be the first place you look. But it will most likely not be your last. Kijiji is a good place to start, and usually has repeat listings from other sites, but don’t settle on anything until you see what else is out there. Searching on Kijiji is simple—just type in exactly what you’re looking for and go fish.
- Craigslist.ca Known for being an online marketplace where you can find literally anything- even a human-sized hamster wheel- Craigslist is a pretty handy place to look for a pad. Of course, there are scammers out there, so try to avoid any red flags, i.e: there are no pictures of the unit, the landlord is overly eager, there are too many upfront fees, the seller is asking for cash before you’ve even seen the place, or if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Condos.ca Their tagline: Research condos like a pro. Their modus operandi: Research condos like a pro. It’s a great site to look for apartments in Ontario and British Columbia and see what's available for rent, or sale. Search via neighbourhoods you like, addresses you desire, prices you can afford, and look through high quality pictures to select exactly what you want.
- Hotpads.com Though it isn’t exclusive to Canada, Hotpads is another site to find a good apartment. The site’s in-depth and dynamic search tools allow you to navigate by price range or even enter your own keywords to narrow down the listings offered. The user-friendly map showcases the proximity of each place to the things you might want to be close to.
A final word, if the sites we’ve listed fail you, don’t give up just yet. There’s still word-of-mouth, realtors, and the old go-for-a-walk-in-the-neighbourhoods-you-like trick. These are all ways to find a place in the big city without the help of technology.
It's a competitive rental market out there, and finding the apartment that is right for you can be tough. But knowing where to search will be a great help. And when you do find the perfect place to lay your head at night, Get Digs can help the money you spend on rent work harder for you. Find out how you pay your rent with your rewards credit card and earn more in the process.