So I have about 60 days until my orientation begins which means I have about 50 days to find an apartment AND MOVE! So here are the tales of my struggles:
First step to finding an apartment is establishing a budget. I currently pay $745/month for rent and $25/month for hydro. Included in this step is doing research about the city you're moving to. My $750 gets me a nice 1 bdrm in a crappy neighbourhood in Ottawa. But if I was to move to Toronto or Montreal I'm looking at an instant increase of a couple hundred minimum for the same apartment. Thankfully, I'm moving to a smaller city (population: 60,000) so their renting market is slightly cheaper than here.
Take note of what is included in the majority of rentals. I'm very excited because most of the rentals I've come across include all utilities, parking, laundry (60%), internet & cable (75%)!! None of these are included in my current place so my budget remains at $750 but because of all the "perks" I'll be saving about $100/month by not paying for hydro or internet. Plus free cable (I don't currently have cable) and laundry (I hate paying for laundry).
Decide what is important to you. Hardwood flooring? Stainless steel appliances? Balcony? I recently realized I need a tub, a full size fridge and an oven. I love my bathes! And while I don't entertain too often I do cook for myself quite a bit so a kitchenette wouldn't be ideal.
Be prepared! Talk to your current landlord and boss for reference letters. Get a copy of your credit report (you get a free one every year to check for accuracy so kill 2 birds with one stone [poor birdies]). Also, be ready to fork over two months worth of rent plus the costs of moving. Give your notice in time. In Ontario you're required to give 60 days notice. Check your current lease for details.
Stay with me as through this journey! I'm traveling across the province later this week to view some potential apartments. The hope is that I'll walk away with a lease :D