Real Estate

How To Win In Vancouver’s Competitive Rental Market

Posted on December 15, 2016 - It’s no surprise that everyone wants to live in Vancouver. We’ve got beautiful mountains, the beach on our doorsteps, lots of unique neighbourhoods and, generally speaking, pretty mild weather.

But with all that interest in calling Vancouver home, it’s hard to actually find a home in Vancouver. Forget the market for buyers, even renters are having a harder and harder time finding a lease to sign in the Lower Mainland.

Check out our tips below to help you land the perfect rental pad in Vancity!

How to find the perfect rental:

Know what you want

Before you start your search, it’s important that you know exactly what you are looking for. Do you need a place that is pet-friendly for your two cats or maybe something near transit if you don’t have a car? Figure out what your non-negotiables are so you can quickly eliminate inappropriate places from your search.

It’s also helpful to put together a list of things you’d like to have, but aren’t essential. Your nice-to-haves might include a covered parking spot, second bedroom, in-suite laundry, etc. Other info that’s important to know is your exact move in date and your budget.

Know the market

After you’ve figured out what you need in your next place, it’s time to figure out what’s available. Go through listings on Craigslist or another rental site, like Padmapper, to get a feel for different neighbourhoods.

What types of places are available within your budget? And where in Vancouver do you want to be? If location is important to you, you might choose a studio apartment in Yaletown to be close to work. But if you prefer space, perhaps you can look farther out at two-bedrooms in Marpole.

Tap your networks

Now that you know where you want to be and exactly what you’re looking for, it’s time to tap your network. Go public with your house hunt – let everyone know that you are looking for a new place to rent. And then ask for their help. Tell your friends, family and social media networks to keep their eyes out for any available places that meet your parameters.

Always be looking

Once you’re ready to official enter the rental market, you need to dive in head first. Check all of the sites and check them daily. The perfect place can come and go just like that so you need to be diligent.

Join Vancouver rental Facebook groups and drive by your desired neighbourhoods looking for vacancy signs. Leave no stone unturned!

How to get the perfect rental to pick you:

The first point of contact

Now that you’ve selected the dream place, you need the dream place to select you. Start off by responding to the ad by following the instructions. Some ads will say they prefer phone calls over emails or they may list things to include in your message.

Be sure to follow these instructions exactly. Your first email/phone call needs to be professional and concise. Let them know you’re interested, share a bit about yourself and express your interest in attending a viewing/open house. This email is your first impression on your potential future landlord so you want to make it count.

Put your best foot forward

Nailing the open house is crucial to securing your rental place. Be sure to show up on time and dressed presentably. You don’t have to pull out your suit and tie but a clean shirt and showered hair is a good call. This is the first time you’ll be meeting the landlord/property manager in person, so you need to make sure they have a positive memory of you when they’re sorting through applications later.

Even if the open house is busy, make sure to personally introduce yourself to the landlord, ask any questions you might have and express your interest in the rental.

To bring a friend or not to bring a friend

If you’re going to be moving in with a friend or significant other, definitely bring them along! One of your can talk to the landlord while the other checks out the apartment.

But if you’re looking for a place just for yourself, it can be hard to decide whether or not to bring someone along. We say, go for it – but proceed with caution. It’s great to have a friend along to be your second pair of eyes.

But make sure they know that you need to make a good impression so they can’t be goofing off or keeping you from getting time in with the landlord.

The early bird gets the word

Unfortunately, in a rental market as busy as Vancouver’s, it’s often the person who gets there first who gets the place. This is why we advise you to constantly be looking for a place. And once you’ve found one you like, jump on it! Respond to the ad right away, attend the very first available open house and submit your application as soon as you can.

Get your info together

When it comes time to fill out the application, it’s important that you have all of your information ready to go. This includes contact information for reliable references.

Chat with your references ahead of time and let them know you are house hunting. References can make or break a rental application so it’s super important that yours are easy to get a hold of, people who can speak to you as a tenant/employee and people who will say good things about you.

You may also need income information, bank statements, a credit check and past employment/rental history information for your application. Bring all of this with you to the open house so you can fill out your application on the spot and hand it in.

Follow up

If it’s appropriate to do so, follow up with the landlord/rental manager the day after the open house.

A quick email or text reminding them who you are and expressing your interest in the rental can be a nice way to move your application to the top of the pile. Ensure this correspondence is brief so as not to waste the landlord’s time and have you come off too clingy.

Bonus – bring a rental resume

A rental resume is a document you write up where you can talk a bit about who you are and what you’re like as a tenant, list your employment and rental history, list your references, and even include things like photos of yourself and your pets.

It’s a perfect way to introduce yourself on paper if you don’t get a chance to chat much with the landlord at the open house. Your application will automatically stand out if it’s accompanied by a rental resume. It shows your future landlord that you are organized and serious about finding the perfect place to rent.

Happy rental hunting!

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