As mentioned in the previous blog post, there are several sites one can visit that will reveal many of the properties offered for rent. When you see a property of particular interest, what questions should you ask yourself – and what questions should you ask the landlord?
Manoj had come across a beautiful and bright two bedroom condo ideally located close to their work in the downtown area. “Although we don’t need two bedrooms right away” said Shalini, “it will come in handy when we have our first child”. “I agree. Let me get some information” said Manoj.
When deciding how to qualify properties, it’s easy to get swayed by the attractive pictures. After all, landlords are trying to rent their places so of course they will be made to look especially appealing. So that you are not swayed by every listing you see, it’s critical to have a list of criteria of “must haves” that are important to you. These may include rental rate, proximity to work, places of worship, shopping, public transit – or being close to family and friends who already live in the destination city. For those arriving who don’t know anyone, some seek comfort in locating to a neighbourhood with the same nationality/ethnicity/culture. In fact, this is one of the features of the major Canadian cities in that they are fascinatingly multicultural with many neighbourhoods of various nationalities.
“So what questions should we ask?” wondered Manoj as he turned around to look at Shalini. “Let’s focus on what’s important to us, apart from the obvious property related questions.” With this in mind Manoj made a list of questions to ask the landlord including: do you need a lease signed or is a month to month rental sufficient? Do you need first and last month’s rent? Do you require a Canadian credit check? Do you require an application to be filled out or do you go straight to a lease? Can you describe the building/street – is it adult or family oriented? And “if I have any maintenance issues, who would I call?”
These questions will reveal the Landlord’s conditions, and motivation in renting the property to you. It will also reveal whether it’s a large professional landlord or a small private landlord – saving you valuable time and effort if you determine that some of the answers offered are not to your liking.
Edward Frezza, BSc, MBA is a real estate broker with Re/Max Professionals in Toronto. He started with commercial real estate in 1989, and since 2004 has focused on residential real estate in the Greater Toronto Area. His interest in multi-family rental real estate and new home construction led to creating his own real estate investment portfolio. His depth of knowledge and experience has him sought out by home buyers/sellers and investors alike. Edward is passionate about helping people achieve security for themselves and their family though home ownership. This passion has also led him to teaching real estate courses through the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) for the last 4 years.