I learned the hard way that $1,600 is the average price of a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto and I can’t help but feel that singles are penalized in the rental and real estate game (no spouse to split the bills with).
As a single, suburban gal used to lots of indoor and outdoor space, I thought $1,200 would get me 600-700 square feet including utilities, on the subway line, in a safe neighborhood, with a cute interior and non-sketchy neighbors. Instead, it gets:
- 450 – 550 square feet in a rental building, a bachelor in a condo proper OR a basement apartment in a house
- “Renovated” and “modern” as euphemisms for shoddy reno job or a 100 year old building hiding under some fresh paint
- No air conditioning
- Laundry. Sometimes. But it will be shared with other tenants & coin operated
- A heating system you may not be able to control (Nelly, is it hot in herrr?)
- A pint-sized kitchen Polly Pocket would be hard done by
- A 10 – 15 minute walk to the closest subway station
This search is starting to resemble my foray into online dating, where my wish list went unmet. I just want to get that feeling, like honey I’m home!
9 harsh realities apartment hunting and online dating have in common
1. Decide on your non-negotiables
…And don’t waste your time meeting up with a unit that doesn’t meet your needs, otherwise you’ll wind up exhausted and more likely to settle on the first half decent option that comes your way
2. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
If the price is too low for the location and amenities, why hasn’t IT already been snatched up by someone else? Sounds like a case of sweet talking to get you in the sack. Don’t fall for it!
No profile pictures are a bad sign
The unit is likely hiding its true colours via anonymity (yikes). Also…
4. Pictures can be deceiving.
While it is unlikely that Mr. Unit is packing some extra square footage, IT may be older than it looks and definitely not into organic food, pedicures and routine physicals. In other words: TLC.
5. You may have to deal with excess baggage from an EX.
You got all dressed up but are disappointed to find unmade beds, clothes and crap everywhere. As if the current tenants literally transformed the place into an ugly, tear-stained mess. While the unit should have taken time to heal, they posted a profile prematurely. You may have to suggest that the unit works on itself before you consider dating it again.
6. The landlord (a.k.a mother) is not impressed with you.
Her baby has the upper hand, not you! Put your money where your mouth is because there is a lineup of competition around the block.
7. Take precautions before meeting up.
Tell someone the address. Better yet, bring a friend along for the ride – you never know who’s lurking on the other side. Meet up in broad daylight too.
8. Make sure you are on the same page
I prefer a month-to-month or 6-month lease but most units require a 1-year commitment. Sure it takes time to get to know someone and a year flies by but who knows where life will take me in 6 months? If your unit is looking for marriage but you want to play the field, move on!
9. Trust your gut feeling.
Does the energy of the space jive with your core-desired feelings? Don’t rationalize its virtues. If it is good on paper, but doesn’t feel like home, it’s not for you. There are plenty of fish (err properties) in the sea (ahem market)!
All I can say is if I do end up back at my parent’s house after this glorious 2-month subletting stint, I won’t feel bad. I’ll save double the cash to put towards my very own box in the sky!