Apartments in Downtown Vancouver, Apartments in West Vancouver, Beaver Pillow, best places to rent in Vancouver, Cinematheque Vancouver, Craigslist, Deep Cove, East Vancouver, flat hunting in Vancouver, Gastown, Granville Island Market, Granville Street, International Travellers in Vancouver, Living in Kitsilano, Lynn Canyon Park, North Vancouver, Samesun Backpackers, Tips for flat hunting in Vancouver, University of British Columbia, waterfront, West 4th Avenue Kiitsilano, Yaletown
So I’ve been here just over a week and can safely say I’ve found a room in a good part of town which is a nice room however I wish I had taken a little bit longer to work out prices and best places to live around Vancouver. I’d read a lot about the different places, asked friends also and had a lot of recommendations so I wanted to explore the different options. Here’s a few I looked into but there’s a good site which gives tips on prices and what you can find in each neighbourhood here.
Kitsilano is a beautiful part of Vancouver. About 20 minutes bus ride from Downtown it has a lovely homely feel and beautiful beaches. On West 4th avenue there is a long stream of shops, restaurants, coffee shops and again a good ol’ Whole Foods Market. Kits is a little bit upmarket but it is where University of British Columbia is located so quite often you can look for a room at the University Campus.
West Vancouver is known as the ‘Chelsea of Vancouver’. It is very upmarket with beautiful houses, most with swimming pools and several bedrooms and is where a lot of professionals live. Again you can catch a bus ride to West Vancouver from Downtown which takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
Downtown is very central, close to shopping centre, Pacific Centre, Waterfront, Stanley Park and the Cinematheque which I love! The hostel I stayed at for my first week was located on Gravnville street (not the best of streets – there are a lot of homeless people and you can smell weed everywhere) but I haven’t not felt safe on this street and it is centrally located. Gastown and Yaletown are both in walking distance close by which is great for if you want to go out one night for a few drinks and not have to worry too much about getting home.
East Vancouver (cheaper in price) which I have yet to explore.
South Granville seems nice and is close to Granville Island Market where you can buy the best beaver pillow I have ever seen plus lots of seasonal produce at the big food market.
The flat I have chosen is centrally located near Downtown. I was torn between going central or a little further out but I think for my first few months it will be nice to be centrally located and then after May I may head more South or to Kitsilano if I can afford a place.
The best places I found to look for a place to rent were: Craigslist & a group on Facebook called International Travellers in Canada where all sorts of things are posted from people looking to buddy up to someone selling their kitchen utensils, however, the majority of it is listings for rooms that are available.
I saw three other places before deciding on the one I chose. The first one was a room for $800 in Downtown on Seymour street. Beautiful location and in a high rise apartment building however when I entered the flat all I could see were huge curtains taking up the whole living room. There were two bedrooms either side of the living room with beds in them, however in order to make ends meet, many apartments rent out their living room space, turning it into a bedroom. Watch out if you are looking for a flat if the seller has not included a picture of the room, mentions shared room or den. Quite often the den is a closet room that has been turned into a bedroom. These are fine to stay in if you don’t mind and if the rent is say $400 but you will find a lot of people try and sell it to you for over $600.
I saw a lovely huge house close to West 29th Avenue, The house wasn’t too far out, between 10 to 15 minutes from Downtown on the skytrain and the rent was a reasonable price at $580, however factor transport in and you’re looking at $680. This was still a very good price for a room in Vancouver and I did um and aaah a lot as the room was very lovely, comfy bed, beautiful view, a, desk, however I felt it might be just a little way out. It was living with a mother and daughter as well as 6 other people who I didn’t meet which could’ve been crazy but also quite nice too. Part of me would have liked to test it out and perhaps it might have been the better option to do for a month but on the same day I was going to accept the room I saw the flat where I am now advertised and it was very central, had its own room and I had a good feel for the people. It is very nice however I am missing the hostel I was in already as although only there for a week I felt settled and it offered a wonderful way to meet others. They also hold activities and tours which were very good. I would definitely recommend Samesun if you don’t mind a little bit of noise and chatting to strangers over breakfast. Everyone just seems to dive in there and get on with meeting people which I found extremely welcoming.
Therefore tips for flat hunting:
Give yourself a couple of weeks before choosing a place. There are always places advertised so don’t feel rushed into anything.
Make sure you ask a lot of questions before deciding and ask about any added bills and what utensils they have already in the flat (Turns out the one I moved into doesn’t have a kettle or a pillow! I’ve had to go and purchase a pillow (not the beaver one – yet) and am making tea the old fashioned way in a saucepan. So yes when people tell you they have everything in the flat you need always check for a kettle.
Be weary if a person can’t provide pictures or if the rent seems very cheap for somewhere like Downtown or Kitsilano. It’s most likely it’s a scam or you’re going to be living in a room with no windows or a den.
Keep clear of a man called Chris or Chrissy Anderson. He is a scam trying to sell an apartment in Kitsilano. I think he manages to get your email address from Craigslist and then gets in touch asking for money for his apartment. If something looks too good to be true, it most likely is.
Make sure you have your rent ready to pay at the beginning of the month. Again, here is where I felt I jumped too soon and decided to move into a flat before having a bank account. Wait until you have all this set up before moving in.
Take time to explore Vancouver and figure out where you want to live.
Always check how long the lease is for, is it a monthly contract, 6 months, year?
Although I might’ve moved into a flat a bit too soon, I have been fortunate in where the flat is located and the three people I’m sharing with seem really lovely which is good. They also know places to explore and go to in Vancouver which is great as I love getting recommendations. So the main thing about picking and moving into a flat is meet new people, make new friends and enjoy the experience. You also get your own room, a cupboard and in this apartment there is a gym downstairs! No excuse for me not to be healthy now. Well apart from the poutine.