Your first decision when you are looking for a place to live is whether to rent or buy a house or apartment.
Apartments and houses for rent are usually listed in the classified advertising section of your local newspaper.
Most homes in Canada are sold through real estate agents, although some owners sell their homes themselves. You may see For Sale signs posted in front of such homes and you can read about them in the classified advertising section of your local newspaper. There are also many Internet sites that advertise homes for sale.
Whether you decide to rent or buy a home, it is essential that you establish a good credit history in Canada. Banks will use your credit history to determine whether they will loan you money to buy a home. If you decide to rent, your credit history will be used by your landlord to determine whether you are likely to meet your rent obligations. For more information about the types of credit available in Canada and what you can do establish and maintain a good credit history once you arrive, visit the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada website.
Experience has shown that it's much wiser to rent in your selected area for several months before "taking the investment plunge". By living in the area you really gain the opportunity to assess all the practicalities: proximity to shopping, schools and medical facilities; traffic patterns; assess the area to your expectations; market trends and values; planned development etc. It's important to get a "feel" for the area and be happy to settle there. It also avoids the pitfall of impulse buying.
Owners advertise houses and flats for rent in newspapers and at real estate offices. The staff members of real estate offices will assist you find, inspect and decide on a suitable house or a flat to rent. You may need to supply some paper work before you can rent a property.
You will be required to pay rent in advance. The first payment will include a bond that is refundable at the end of the rental. A lease is an agreement to rent housing. It is a legal contract. If you have, doubts or concerns about a lease seek legal advice before signing the contract.
As a tenant, you have rights and obligations. You can get more information on rights and obligations that apply in each province or territory.
Buying a home is usually considered to be the biggest single investment and great care needs to be taken - even more so by a migrant.
There is a wide range of housing available, especially in some of Canada's larger cities and their suburbs.
A trend in all the main cities is to live as close to the centre as possible. This is a result of increasing traffic conditions and the time taken to commute. Inner city suburbs are being revitalised and renovations abound.
City apartments are also in big demand, however many families choose to live in suburbs within 10 – 20km to the city.
For further information about renting or buying in Canada, visit the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website for newcomers to Canada. Information on renting or buying a home is available in eight languages.
To view all properties currently listed for sale and to rent in Canada, please visit the Multiple Listings Service at www.mls.ca