In my last post, I not-so-subtlety alluded to some upcoming changes in my life. I didn’t say exactly what these changes are for fear of jinxing myself, but now that it’s official I can share my big news. In case you haven’t already figured it out by title of this post: The boyfriend and I will be moving in together in February!
To be honest, I’m not really sure how this happened so quickly! The boyfriend’s current roommate has been talking about moving out for a while now, so we casually entertained the idea of me moving in when he did move out (especially since I’m there all the time anyways). But, after a little more thought, we dismissed this idea because the building is currently for sale (again), and it could really use some TLC. We considered moving into my place, but honestly, with a landlord that never cashes my rent checks and being able to clearly hear my upstairs neighbours using the bathroom, I have no desire to stay.
Before I knew it, we were looking online every day to see what rentals were available.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for the local news to run stories about the ridiculously low vacancy rate and possibly illegal high rental prices/increases (ironically enough, they were talking about it on the radio this morning!), but I had no idea just how bad the rental market had become. For example, several one-bedroom places that I looked at back when I first moved here in 2009 have jumped from $650/month to $1000/month – without any upgrades or renovations and without any major economic changes to the city.
Admittedly, I went into this thinking that $1000/month was enough to rent a whole house, so I became very hung up on the price tag instead of the practicality. I wanted to find a place for as cheap as possible without considering what it would actually be like to live in that space… with another person… and two cats. Thankfully the boyfriend talked some sense into me. We crunched all the numbers, came up with a maximum price-point that we can both comfortably live with (which will still end up being less than I’m paying for my own place now), and made a short-but-sweet wish-list:
- 2 bedrooms
- Outdoor access
- Downtown North location
- Pet friendly
- Off-street parking
- Within our price range
When we found a listing for a place that checked all these boxes, talking about moving in together one day suddenly became talking about moving in together now.
I called up the landlord and arranged to go see the place, but sadly, another reality of the rental market here is that most of the time landlord = slumlord. (I really should pitch that as a reality tv series to TLC or A&E!) Anyways, the place turned out to be crap. It didn’t face the lake as advertised, there was an iron-mark burned into the carpet, the landlord was so condescending towards me, and in our researching we discovered that there was a bedbug outbreak in the building this past summer. No thanks!
On a bit of a whim, I went and looked at another place on my own that was nice, but I don’t think it’s fair to list a place as one-bedroom if there are no walls between the bed and the kitchen. Again, pass.
Thankfully, the other cliché of “third times the charm” holds true! The third place I looked at (with the boyfriend this time) is where we’ll be calling home in just over 6 weeks.
So how does our soon-to-be new place stack up against our wish list?
✓ 2 bedrooms (It’s a 3 bedroom townhouse!)
✓ Outdoor access (An end unit with a backyard, direct access to a recreation trail, and a park half a block away!)
X Downtown North location (But still a nice area, and actually a shorter commute to work.)
✓ Pet friendly (We could get a dog!)
✓ Off-street parking (My own assigned space and free street parking.)
✓ Within our price range (Under budget, especially if we keep our utilities in check.)
We honestly didn’t think we were going to get this place because it’s professionally managed and the application process was intense! We both had to go to our banks and get them to sign a form saying we’re in good standing. They called our current employers (which was a concern because he’s a seasonal worker and I’m only a short contract). They called my current landlord (who then freaked out at me, accusing me of not paying this month’s rent). And I’m pretty sure they ran a credit check on us (and I’m in a wee bit of debt). But in the end, I got the call saying we’ve been approved and can move in on February 1st! I can’t wait!
What advice do you have for a couple moving in together for the first time? What was that experience like for you?
Or do you have any decorating on a budget tips to share?
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