RentSeeker.ca Apartment Rental Blog

Flexing Your Green Thumb as a Renter

August 26th, 2014

Eco Friendly Apartment Living Want to go green? You’re not alone. The environmental-friendly household trend is no longer a trend at all. In fact, a study from Green Living/MacLean’s shows that 42% of adults have used a natural, organic or eco-friendly household product in the past few years. Sales of green cleaners have also increased by 229% between the years of 2005-2009 alone. As awareness of our “carbon footprints” increases, so does our desire to reduce, reuse and recycle. If you’re looking for easy ways to implement green living into your everyday, we’ve rounded up some tips that will make the transition a simple and, dare we say it, fun one.

The Three R’s

We mentioned them above, and you’ve probably heard the familiar refrain for decades – reduce, reuse and recycle. Most apartment buildings have recycling containers beside the trash bins, making it easy for you to redirect waste from landfills. Start the process in your apartment by setting aside a sturdy bag that you fill with your glass, plastic and paper products. When you have to take out the garbage, make it a habit to take your recycling out at the same time. Once you get a routine down, you won’t even think twice about taking out your recycling. You can also focus on reducing your consumption by switching to online billing (greatly diminishing the amount of mail you receive) and reading your newspapers and magazines on a tablet or the web. Buy a reusable water bottle that you can take with you to work or to the gym rather than using a new plastic bottle each time. And with that, you’ve conquered the three R’s!

The Electricity Ghost

Did you know that appliances that are left plugged in, even if they are not powered on or being actively used, still eat up your electricity? Some of the biggest culprits are cell phone chargers and coffee makers, silently gobbling up energy and increasing your monthly bill at the same time. Unplug these energy hogs when you are not using them; According to Home Guides, this small act can reduce your electricity bill by almost 40%. When you are going away on vacation, unplug your bigger appliances, too – TV’s and computers in particular.

Get a Handle on Your Heat

We all want to be comfortable, but turning your thermostat down in the winter will help to keep more green in your wallet and reduce your energy consumption. Changing your thermostat by just two degrees can cut down on carbon emissions produced by your apartment. In the summer, only turn the air conditioning on when it’s a particularly hot and humid day. Otherwise, use more energy-friendly ceiling fans or create a cross breeze by opening a few windows. Don’t forget to turn your A/C off when you’re out of the apartment – there is no need to keep it cool if there is no one home to enjoy it!

Clean Clothes

While line-drying your clothes is probably not an option (unless you have a balcony), there are steps you can take to help reduce the effect that washing and drying clothing has on the environment. First, switch to an eco-friendly laundry detergent that won’t pollute the waters with phosphates galore. Second, wash your clothes in cold water. Finally, set the dryer to a cooler setting and, if possible, let some of the lighter clothes air dry. If you have a washer/dryer in your apartment, set a schedule so you are only doing your laundry once a week instead of every few days. You can also inquire with your landlord or property manager about having your building switched to high efficiency machines. It will save both of you money in the long run – and help save the environment, too.

Just a few small changes can make a world of difference to your pocketbook and the earth. Implement some of our green tips today and you’ll be well on your way to giving that green thumb of yours a good workout.

Go Green Go!

The RentSeeker Team

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Maximizing Your Apartment Search Online

August 14th, 2014

RentSeeker Apartment Search and Marketing Searching for the perfect place to call home doesn’t have to be an ordeal. You can make the most of your time by doing most of your apartment search research online by sticking to a few basic rules. Of course, you will want to start by first having a rough idea of what you are looking for. With so many apartments for rent and options available, it can feel like an almost impossible task to sift through them all to find the right one.

Advanced Search Options

If you want to narrow down your search in the fastest, most efficient way possible, utilize the “Advanced Search Options” that are available on most apartment search websites and classifieds like Kijiji.ca and RentSeeker.ca. Not only will the price be right, but you can ensure you’re not wasting your time sifting through ads from apartments that won’t accept pets and other details which make finding your next apartment a lot less work. You can make your search even more precise by inputting the postal code of the area of the city you want to live in. Of course, if you don’t have a preference for the area or if you don’t have a cat or dog in tow, using the basic search functions will give you a good overview of what is available and how much it will cost you each month. Once you’re armed with this information, you can make much more informed decisions about the apartments you then want to see in person.

Slim Pickings

If you have found an ad that is short on content – no photos, no layouts, no neighbourhood information – it’s wise to move on. You will most likely be disappointed if you see the apartment in person. Instead, focus your search efforts on sites and ads that provide lots of data. You can head into the viewing knowing a lot about what you can expect before you even get there, giving you a head start on the hunt. RentSeeker.ca’s apartment listings for example are packed full of photos, floor plans and even 3D layouts and videos of the properties and area amenities in some cases. Don’t waste your time with ads that seem to have something to hide.

Utilize the Add-Ons

Finding the ideal apartment is not always just about the building itself; the location and neighbourhood can play a big role in whether or not you’ll be happy living there. RentSeeker helps to make this task easier on you by providing Property Videos and WalkScore information in each listing. Now you can know immediately if a bus stop is close to the apartment building, what kind of restaurants and shops are nearby and how pedestrian-friendly your potential new neighbourhood is. These kind of add-ons are there to ensure you find the apartment that is right for you, both in price and community living.

So don’t let the apartment search process overwhelm you. Even if you are not sure what you are looking for, RentSeeker.ca, Kijiji and other great apartment search sites offer features that will get you started on the path to apartment bliss with just a few clicks of your mouse :-)

Happy Apartment Hunting!

The RentSeeker.ca Team

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Keeping Up With Renovations of a Rental Property

August 6th, 2014

Rental Property RenoRegardless of the age of your property, renovations and maintenance are simply a part of the routine. Whether you’re painting a suite, fixing leaky faucets or even repairing a balcony, staying on top of your maintenance schedule will keep your property looking its best and give your tenants a safe and clean place to call home. Let’s face it, though – renovations and maintenance, while necessary, can be an inconvenience for your tenants. How can you ensure that you can do the work you need while providing minimal impact to the daily lives of the people who call your property home?

Before we get started, it’s important to review the laws in your province regarding regular maintenance and suite renovations. In Ontario, it is not required by law that a landlord or property manager must renovate a suite after a tenant has been living in it for a certain number of years. However, it is required that the landlord provides their tenants with suites that are in a good state of repair and they must also ensure that they comply with health and safety regulations. This means that if a window is leaking or not sealing properly, it must be replaced even if it is considered “new” or was installed recently.

Keep the Communication Lines Open

The first step to making renovations and maintenance easier on your tenants is to communicate clearly the changes that will be occurring. Outline specifically how it will affect them – when you will be entering their suite, how long the process will take and if there is anything they need to do (such as clearing out cupboards, for example). Failing to do this will cause immediate discord between you and your tenants. Remember – you must provide your tenants with notice of entry into their suite at least 24 hours in advance. For renovations that will be taking place in the common areas of the building, post notices in heavily traffic areas (the mail room, the elevator) letting your tenants know about the work that will be done and when they can expect it to be completed.

Tenant Appreciation

If the renovations you will be undertaking will cause considerable inconvenience to your tenants, such as replacing an elevator, show your tenants that you care. Help them carry their groceries upstairs or even provide water and juice in the lobby for tenants to take with them before they walk up numerous flights of stairs. While it is an inconvenience to have an elevator out of commission, the end result of a brand new elevator cab combined with your understanding and appreciation for their patience will help to ease the discomfort. When the renovations are complete, throw a BBQ for your tenants or give them all a thank you card with some chocolates. These kind of gestures, no matter how small, make a world of difference.

Renovating your property to provide your tenants (and potential tenants) with upgraded bathroom facilities, new flooring or even new window coverings, while not required by law, is very important. Not only will you be extending the longevity of your property, but you’ll be creating happy tenants who will be pleased to recommend your suites to their friends and family. Being known as the building that works to give their tenants the best possible living environment is always a great thing.

Happy Renting :-)

The RentSeeker Team

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Moving Into Your First Apartment

July 23rd, 2014

Moving into your first Apartment We know it’s still summer and you’re probably not worrying about how everything will fall into place come September when you need to head off to college or university. But trust us when we say that looking for a place to live should be on top of your to-do list, despite the fact that it’s still July. In particular, students who are moving into their own apartment for the very first time probably have a lot of questions: What amenities should you look for? What makes a good landlord? Exactly how much money is required for a damage deposit – and is it even legal for a landlord to ask for one? There’s a lot of planning that goes into moving into an apartment for the first time. Don’t leave it to the last minute when you should instead be focusing on preparing for school. Here, we help you to navigate the biggest questions that come along with moving into an apartment for the first time when you’re a student.

Keep It Simple

Ah, the stress of finding your first apartment. While it may seem overwhelming, there is an easy way to ensure that you can tame that strange sense of dread. Take a moment to sit down and think about what you really, really want, then put those wants into writing. If you’re not even sure where to start, enlist the help of your parents or friends that have lived in an apartment before – they’ll be able to tell you what kind of things should be on your list. It’s here that we should remind you that there is a difference between wants and needs. Of course, we all want to have a personal maid that will help us clean the bathroom but we don’t need it. Again, ask for the input of others to help you keep those apartment dreams a little more realistic.

Money Maker

One of the biggest shocks to the system when you move into your first apartment as a student is that you quickly realize how fast your money can disappear if you’re not being careful. Before settling on a place to live, look at exactly how much money you’ll have coming in to your banking account each month. Student loans, scholarships, bursaries, a part-time job – any source of financial assistance should be accounted for so you can determine exactly how much you can afford. We strongly suggest living with a roommate to help cut down on costs (and to commiserate with you about that long essay you have to write for one of your classes).

Stocking Up

It’s not just the monthly costs you’ll have to look at, either. The initial expense of moving in to your first apartment can often catch you by surprise. You have to consider the cost of renting a moving truck (mobilize friends and family to help you do the loading/unloading yourself to save money), purchasing furniture and house wares, and paying either first and last month’s rent upfront or paying a damage deposit. This is a very common concern and point of contention for many first-time apartment renters as they often are not aware of exactly what the rules are in their province. The laws are different across Canada, so it’s important to check with your provincial Landlord & Tenants Board to ensure that everything is above board. If you pay last month’s rent, for example, you should not have to pay a damage deposit, too.

Make the Most of It

Once you’re in your brand new abode, you’ll have new responsibilities that perhaps you didn’t have before. You’ll need to do your own cleaning, your own cooking and your own laundry. Living in your first apartment comes with many duties, some which you might not enjoy. But it also affords you freedom and independence that will help you to grow as a person. To keep things running smoothly, particularly if you’re living with roommates, create a short and sweet chore schedule to make sure that things never get unruly, with dishes piling up and laundry all over the bathroom floor. Taking a few minutes each day (or each week, if you’re particularly averse to housework) will make a huge difference to how your apartment functions. You will be surprised at how much better you feel when your apartment is tidy. And who knows? Maybe you’ll find out that you really love a particular chore. Vacuuming is oddly satisfying.

Above all, enjoy your first apartment experience. You’ll not only be learning from your college courses, but you’ll be learning about yourself.

The RentSeeker Team

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Preparing Your Apartment for a Baby

July 17th, 2014

Preparing your Apartment for a Baby Welcoming a brand new baby in to your life? Congratulations! Along with the other things on your mind, you might be wondering exactly how you can transform your apartment into a baby-friendly environment. Have no fear, RentSeeker is here to help make the transition easy on you and your bouncing new addition. Whether you live in one bedroom, two, or three bedroom abode, there are a number of ways that you can prepare your space (and mind) for the imminent arrival of a little bundle of joy.

Picking a Room

First things first – it’s time to decide what room will be transformed into the nursery. If you live in a two or three bedroom apartment, this decision should be relatively easy. If, however, you call a one bedroom apartment home, this will require a little more finesse on your part. Setting up the crib in your bedroom will require you to move around existing furniture (and perhaps even get rid of some things). Consolidate two dressers into one, move your bed away from the center of the room to one of the walls and say adios to that extra nightstand. When you purchase a crib, consider investing in one that has wheels so it will be easier to adjust the set-up of the bedroom as needs change and you discover that baby likes to sleep closer to the door.

Let’s Get Organized

One of the first things you will realize about having a baby is that they require a lot of, well, stuff. Big stuff, little stuff, medium stuff – babies come with a lot of accessories. This means you’ll need to up your organization game if you want to make finding baby-related items a breeze. Before you even begin to purchase all of the baby-related items, go through your own things first to help set the organization tone. If you’re not particularly fond of organization to begin with, this can be a bit of an arduous process. Start with the basics – go through each section of your apartment and set things into piles: the keep pile and the trash pile (don’t even bother with the “maybe” pile – it will only encourage clutter to grow). Downsize your closet and dresser by donating clothes you don’t wear to charity.

Now that you’ve got your personal items organized, you can tackle the way your baby’s things will be set up. Consider unlikely storage sources to help you in this task, such as under your bed or under the crib. For items that you need to have on hand at a moment’s notice, such as diapers, keep several on top of the change table for use throughout the day with the rest tucked away underneath. For toys, forego the traditional toy chest which can be bulky and take up entirely too much room. Instead, purchase stackable bins that can easily slide away and hide under the bed or couch when playtime is over.

Quiet Please

Let’s face it – babies can be noisy. Living in an apartment can make this problem particularly stressful for young parents who want to be good neighbours. Taking a few small steps to help with soundproofing can make a massive difference, including hanging a quilt on a wall that is shared with the person next door (this is particularly important for the room that your baby will be sleeping in) to help with absorbing noise. You may also want to consider folding a towel or blanket and placing it at the front door to prevent too much noise from spilling out into the hallway. Remember that the emptier a room is, the more sound will echo. If the bedroom has hardwood flooring, you’ll want to put down some rugs to combat this.

Some final words of wisdom – look for items that fold and can be easily tucked away. High chairs, changing tables, bath tubs; All of these baby necessities come in foldable options that will allow you to make the most of your apartment space while still giving your little one the room to play and grow. Following these steps should make the transition to a baby-friendly apartment an easy one for you and your growing family.

Happy Apartment Living :-)

The RentSeeker.ca Team

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Summer Living: Why An Apartment Makes the Season that Much Sweeter

July 9th, 2014

Apartments for Rent in Toronto
Living in Canada means that sometimes summer can fly by in the mere blink of an eye. Particularly after the long, cold winter we endured (a record-breaker in many parts of the country, according to The Weather Network), we all want to enjoy the summer months with as much gusto as possible.

With summer, however, comes some of the upkeep and chores that are decidedly, well, not that fun. Thankfully, for apartment dwellers, these tasks don’t even enter their lexicon. Living in an apartment in the summer has many other perks that you simply would not get anywhere else. From outstanding amenities to community-building opportunities, residents of apartment buildings have it made in the shade during the summer months. If you’re considering making the move to a rental property, the time is now – and here’s why.

Say Goodbye to the Mower

Picture it: you come home from a long day at work and you want to relax on your patio. But as soon as you set foot into your backyard you see just how long that neglected grass is getting. Instead of kicking back with a cool drink in a comfortable lawn chair, you now have to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Apartment dwellers know that they’ll never have to worry about firing up the lawnmower, breaking out the hedge-pruners or any other implements of landscape maintenance. They also don’t have to worry about painting, window washing and yearly upkeep to the exterior of the building. While they of course still need to concern themselves with the cleaning of their own suite, the big, tough jobs are left to the professionals at no extra cost to them. Talk about easy living.

Taking a Dip

Chances are, most homeowners do not have a swimming pool at their home. If they do, they can tell you just how much work they really are. Daily cleaning, ensuring chlorine levels are just right, purchasing all manner of pool accessories – really, the costs and the headache involved in owning your own pool can often outweigh the benefits. Thankfully, those who live in an apartment building with a pool get all of the perks without the fuss. Apartment dwellers also have the added bonus of fitness centres on site (no excuse to not hit the gym – or the pavement when it’s raining), with many apartments offering organized exercise classes, from yoga to Pilates.

Love Thy Neighbour

Living in an apartment in the summer means you will be presented with many opportunities to build up your community. In fact, most apartment buildings organize BBQ’s, parties and other events throughout the summer to encourage neighbours to get to know each other. It’s a chance to foster a sense of unity and truly make your apartment feel like a home. Many apartments have communal BBQ’s that can be used by tenants who want to organize their own summer parties for friends and family. Imagine hosting a mini-family reunion at your apartment building without having to concern yourself with whether or not there is enough propane in the BBQ tank.

Apartment dwellers have the best of both worlds – their own space to call home that is safe, clean and secure without the usual upkeep that comes along with home ownership. If you want to enjoy all the fruits of our Canadian summers, renting an apartment is the best way to go. See you at the pool :-)

The RentSeeker Team

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Knowing Your Tenant Rights

June 30th, 2014

Apartment Lease Agreement Whether you’re a first-time renter or you’ve been renting an apartment for years, it’s up to you to be aware of your tenant rights. Everyone is entitled to a safe environment in which to live with access to vital services (these include heat, hot and cold water, electricity and natural gas). There are also expectations of you, as a tenant, that you must abide by no matter where you live.

It’s important to remember that specific rights vary between provinces, so if you are moving across the country it’s imperative that you familiarize yourself with the tenant rights in your new home province. Unfortunately, sometimes issues do arise between tenants and landlords simply because one (or both) parties either did not understand the law or were not aware of it. Prevent these circumstances from becoming part of your life by learning about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.

The Basics

There are certain tenant rights that apply to everyone in every province when it comes to renting an apartment. Including access to vital services and a safe living environment, a landlord also cannot discriminate against you based on your race, religion, sex, disability, marital status or sexual orientation. They also cannot refuse to rent you an apartment because you have children or because you are a newcomer to Canada.

Money Matters

The issue of rent is where the province that you reside in will come into play. In Ontario, it’s legal for a landlord to request first and last month’s rent upon the signing of the lease agreement. In British Columbia, a landlord may instead ask you to pay a damage or security deposit (generally the equivalent of half a month’s rent). When your rental agreement ends and both you and your landlord have agreed that no damage was done to your suite, they must return the full deposit plus interest.

As you can see, the laws regarding your money vary widely from province to province and come with a number of stipulations. Visit the website of your provincial Residential Tenancy Board to read up on your complete tenant rights when it comes to rent payments and deposits.

Apartment Access

Another thorny issue for tenants is not knowing when it is acceptable for their landlord or property manager to access their apartment. The short answer is that your landlord cannot enter your apartment for any reason without providing you with 24 hours written notice, explaining when and why they will be entering your suite. The long answer is that your landlord can enter your suite without the required notice, provided that there is an emergency situation or that you agree to let them in. It’s also important to note that you cannot refuse your landlord access to your apartment if they have met all of the above criteria for gaining entrance. On the other side of the coin, if your landlord has indeed entered your apartment illegally, you have the right to file an application with your provincial Residential Tenancy Board who will decide the appropriate course of action.

Saying Goodbye

If you’ve decided you’d like to end your tenancy, your responsibilities again vary depending on where you live. For Ontario residents, you are required to provide your landlord with 60 days written notice. Failure to provide the full 60 days notice may result in you having to pay for an extra month of rent. If you would like to “break” your lease, it is legal for you to do so provided that both you and your landlord agree to it. In cases such as these, you will want to protect yourself by getting this agreement in writing. If your landlord doesn’t agree to you breaking your lease, you have the right to assign your unit to a new party.

If you’ve chosen the assigning route, keep in mind that it is different than subletting your apartment. The Landlord and Tenant Board of Ontario explains the difference on their website:

What is the difference between assigning and subletting a unit?

Assigning a unit means that the tenant moves out of the unit permanently and transfers their tenancy to another person. All the terms of the original rental agreement stay the same – the amount of the rent and what services are included, etc.

Subletting a unit means that the tenant moves out of their unit for a specific period of time but the tenant plans to move back into the unit before the end of the tenancy. The person who moves in is known as a subtenant. They are responsible to pay the rent to the original tenant who then pays it to the landlord. A landlord cannot refuse the idea of subletting the unit, but they can refuse to allow the tenant to sublet to a specific person if they have a good reason.

How can a tenant sublet their unit?

If a tenant has to leave their unit for an extended period of time but they want to return to it, they can ask their landlord for consent to sublet the unit. For example, if a tenant’s job is being transferred to another city for six months and then they want to return to their unit, they might ask their landlord if they can sublet the unit. They must tell the landlord when they are leaving and when they will be returning to the unit, and they must get the landlord’s consent before subletting.

A landlord cannot refuse the idea of subletting a unit, but they can refuse a specific person if they believe the person is unsuitable. However, if the tenant thinks that the landlord is being unreasonable in withholding their consent to sublet to someone, the tenant can file an application with the Board.

What happens if a tenant assigns or sublets their unit without the landlord’s consent?

If a tenant assigns or sublets their unit without their landlord’s consent, it is an unauthorized assignment or sublet. A landlord can file an application with the Board to evict both the tenant and the unauthorized occupant. However, if the landlord does not file the application within 60 days of discovering the unauthorized occupant, the unauthorized occupant will become a tenant.

Laws are in place for enforcement of both renter and landlord rights, however most times landlord and tenants can work things out smoothly by just understanding each others position and working in unison to figure it out :-)

The RentSeeker Team

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What Makes a Great Neighbourhood?

June 20th, 2014

Neighborhood Communities Searching for a new place to call home is so much more than just looking at apartment buildings and what they have to offer. The neighbourhood where your new rental is located in is just as important. Depending on your needs, your definition of a great neighbourhood can be completely different than that of, say, your parents. However, there are some constants that help to elevate every neighbourhood to truly awesome-status regardless of your unique preferences.

Walkability

Walkability and nearby amenities and neighborhood shops are a valuable resource when moving in to a new apartment. This means that you’ll want to be able to take a stroll over to a convenience or grocery store, a bus stop or transit hub (if you don’t have a car) and even a local restaurant or bar. For some people, living within walking or biking distance of their place of employment is another huge plus. Good walkability also takes into account some more technical issues that we may not even realize we are looking for. According to Reid Ewing, director of the Metropolitan Research Center at the University of Utah, a walkable neighbourhood should feature short blocks with wide sidewalks, human-scale lighting and benches, tree-lined streets that provide a buffer from traffic and landmarks (such as fountains and gazebos).

Whatever the reason, living a short jaunt away from life’s little conveniences makes for a great neighbourhood, which is why RentSeeker.ca features area amenities in all of our apartment listings, making it easy for you to determine at a glance if your potential home has that “it” factor.

Transportation

Having access to public transportation in a neighbourhood is a must. Even if you do own a vehicle, it’s important to live in an area where public transportation is considered a priority. With buses and subways come retail shops, restaurants and other community-enhancing establishments that will serve to enrich the neighbourhood you call home. This means that, even if you live in the suburbs, you will still get that “downtown” feel. The option to take public transit from your home will also leave you with more money in your pocket – and give you the freedom to enjoy the shops in your neighbourhood.

Community Involvement

When people love where they live, they will want to get involved in their local community. This means that a great neighbourhood will include places that can encourage an area to grow, such as a well-maintained park, a community centre and swimming pools. Establishments that encourage social interaction help to make a neighbourhood stronger and give everyone a sense of ownership over their surroundings. The more services that are available nearby, the more people will flock to a neighbourhood and stay for long periods of time.

The Project for Public Spaces offer even more ingredients of a great neighbourhood on their website:

1. Good places have lots of things to do

The places people love most are the ones where they can pursue a variety of activities. Without opportunities to do something more than sit and look around, the experience you have in that place is “thin” — there is nothing to keep you there for any length of time.

2. Good places are comfortable and attractive

They beckon you to come visit. Flowers, comfortable benches with a nice view, and attractive lighting all make you feel this is a place you want to visit often. In contrast, a place that lacks these kind of amenities often feels unwelcoming and a bit threatening. It may actually be unsafe or just feel unsafe, but either way no one wants to be there.

3. Good places are accessible

These places are clearly identifiable from a distance, easy to enter when you get closer, and it is simple to understand how you use them. A space that is not accessible will be end up empty, forlorn and often dilapidated.

So when choosing your next apartment for rent, think neighborhood – it will be an important factor.

Happy Apartment Hunting!

The RentSeeker Team

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The Benefits of Renting a 1 Bedroom Apartment

June 9th, 2014

1 Bedroom Apartment
Renting an apartment on your own affords you more choices and options than you realize. The biggest option, and one that trips up many first-time renters, is the type of apartment they should decide to call home. On the surface, renting a studio or bachelor apartment seems to be the most economical option for your wallet. However, the average price difference between a bachelor and a 1 bedroom apartment are not as disparate as they seem. According to RentBoard, the average monthly rent of a bachelor apartment in Toronto is $916, whereas the average for a 1 bedroom apartment is $1,113. With a difference of just under $100 per month, deciding to move into a 1 bedroom apartment might be right for you.

It’s All Yours:

It is true that it’s important to share – our parents have taught us this from a young age. Sometimes, however, it’s nice to have a space that is just for you. That’s why renting a 1 bedroom apartment is such a great option for those who would like to have their own private sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the world. After a long day at the office, coming home to your own space with peace and quiet can be just what the doctor ordered. You’ll also never have to worry about common roommate problems, such as being stuck with a roomie who just doesn’t want to clean up or who eats all of your groceries. When you live in your own 1 bedroom apartment, you’ll have control over the cleanliness (or lack thereof) of your own space.

Independent Women (and Men):

For someone living on their own for the first time, there’s a wonderful sense of self-sufficiency that comes with renting your own 1 bedroom apartment. Everything in the apartment is yours and all of the decisions about how it looks and functions are up to you. Having the extra square footage that comes with a 1 bedroom apartment truly makes the space feel like a home – one that you can be proud of and make your own in any way you see fit.

Let Me Entertain You:

Living on your own has many fabulous perks, but you’ll naturally want to have friends and family over to your home sometimes. With a 1 bedroom apartment, you have more room for entertaining than you would if you rented a studio apartment. The extra space means that your bed, clothes and other personal items will not be getting in the way (and potentially discouraging you from inviting friends over). Having a living room also means you can invest in a pull-out couch so visiting family members will have a place to stay when they are in town.

Workspace/Living Space:

If you’re one of the 1.8 million self-employed Canadians who work from home, you know just how important it is to have a separate area for work in your living space. With a 1 bedroom apartment, it’s much easier to set up your work station in an area that is away from your more personal items. Even if you work from home, it’s still necessary to have a healthy work/life balance. Renting a 1 bedroom apartment gives you the opportunity to set up your work life and your personal life just the way you want it.

Once you’re in your 1 bedroom apartment, you’ll be looking for ways to maximize space and minimize clutter. Check out these great tips from HGTV from their blog “How to Organize a One-Bedroom Apartment”:

1. Use wall shelving to get things off your floor and give you more space without sacrificing storage. The Home Organizing Ideas website suggests using vertical shelves to use more wall space. If you are renting, be sure to check your lease or speak with your landlord before you put any permanent holes in the walls.

2. Invest in a small folding desk and a simple desk chair that can easily be moved out of sight. This will give you an office-like area in your living area that can be stored to make space for times when you entertain guests. If you have a desktop computer or need a more permanent in-home workspace, put a small desk and chair in a quiet corner of the room or in your bedroom where the rest of the furniture will not be disturbed.

3. Get rid of any unnecessary items, such as used books that you aren’t going to reread, newspapers, clothes that no longer fit and kitchenware that goes unused. If your clothes and other items are in good condition, consider donating items to a non-profit organization. Getting rid of the things that just sit in your home untouched will free up space for the things you use the most.

4. Keep personal items such as laundry baskets in your bedroom closet. This will help keep your personal items out of sight for guests. No one wants to look at your dirty laundry over coffee or on game night. If you do not use a laundry hamper or basket, invest in one. Keeping your laundry organized is important in keeping your apartment clean.

There are benefits to renting Bachelor, 2 and 3 Bedrooms as well, so weigh your options and Happy Apartment Hunting :-)

The RentSeeker.ca Team

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Inexpensive and Do-It-Yourself Apartment Decor Ideas

May 6th, 2014

Do It Yourself Ideas from RentSeeker.ca With spring in full swing, the itch to refresh your apartment decor might prove irresistible. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and your apartment is begging for a make-over that will brighten up even the darkest of rooms. If you’ve ever watched a design-centric show on HGTV only to think that you could never possibly do something that incredible on your own, think again. With the DIY popularity explosion, there are now a number of inexpensive and relatively easy projects you can undertake with minimal supplies. Even if you’re all thumbs, refreshing your apartment can be as simple as clicking over to Pinterest to find some design inspiration.

Living in an apartment, you may be concerned that you cannot really dig deep into your design dreams. While it is true that you may not be able to paint your walls that bright aqua blue shade, you can employ a few crafty ideas that will liven up your space while still ensuring your damage deposit stays intact.

Make It Pop:

Pops of colour peppered throughout your apartment will instantly add some vibrancy to a muted room. If you love to knit, buy some colourful yarn and get busy making a beautiful throw for the back of your couch. Not so handy with the knitting needles? You can still purchase some brightly coloured items from a discount store like HomeSense or IKEA. Better yet, grab some pottery paint and put your artistic skills to work on some plain white vases that will soon house spring bouquets on your coffee table. Fabric markers are also available in a wide array of colours and can be used on pillows and tea towels to add some unique flair to your apartment decor.

You’ve Been Framed:

The quickest way to freshen up your apartment decor is with some brand new art. But, if we’re being truthful, art can be very expensive. A simple and one-of-a-kind solution is to frame fabric. This DIY trick allows you to showcase some absolutely stunning fabric, which can be purchased rather inexpensively at most craft supply stores, even if you don’t have the dexterity to sew something out of it. You can even dress up the frame your fabric will be housed in with a little paint to truly add your personal touch. Group a few of these masterpieces together, ensuring you vary the size of the frames for maximum impact.

Go Green:

Nothing screams spring more than fresh flowers and plants. As we’ve mentioned before, plants also help to clean the air in your apartment (something we all want to do after having the windows locked up tight all winter). Exercise your green thumb by purchasing seeds and growing your own plants from scratch on your balcony or windowsill. The DIY-er in you can even use “found” objects as planters, such buckets, bowls and mugs that you no longer use. Flea markets are amazing places to discover inexpensive treasures that you can use to get your plants potted. If you want to add even more creative planters to your apartment decor, using old wine corks (yes, wine corks) as tiny planters are unexpected and, frankly, adorable ways to mix a little green into your apartment life.

If you’re still not sure how you want to liven up your apartment decor, taking a trip to your local craft supply store and walking the aisles can provide you with endless sources of inspiration. You can also head over to the Rentseeker Pinterest boards to see some of the DIY projects that have us swinging into spring in style.
Feeling particularly crafty? We found these instructions on how to make your own braided rug from the blog A Beautiful Mess:

Supplies Needed:

- A piece of sturdy canvas. This will be the base of your rug. Ours was approximately 2ft x 2.5ft. You can choose any size you like.

– Plenty of scrap fabric to rip and braid. Choose colors that coordinate and fit your space.

- Black yarn

- Tapestry needle

- Scissors

- Fabric glue

- Tape

- Aerosal Polycrylic Protective Finish (choose the water based option).

Instructions:

1. Choose your rug size and cut the canvas base piece to size. Set aside.

2. Rip long strips of fabric. Each braid needs to be about 2.5 feet longer than the length of your base piece. I know that seems like a lot, but they will get shorter as you braid and you need extra for fringe.

3. Braid enough ropes to completely cover the mat. This is the most time consuming part. It’s a perfect job to multitask during evening TV shows for a few nights.

4. Tape the ends of each rope for easy access later.

5. When you are done braiding (whew!) glue your braids to the mat. Leave an even amount of braid hanging over the edge of each side. Use as much glue as you need to get a very study rug.

6. Use the black yard and a tapestry needle to stitch along the edges of the rug base, tacking down each braid.

7. Remove the ends of each braid after the yarn line. Trim the edges so that your fringe is even.

8. Go outdoors and use Polycrylic Finish to seal the rug. This will make your rug waterproof and much more durable for your next rainy day.

Follow this and more great ideas on our blog at: RentSeeker.ca/Blog

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