We’re looking for rental accommodation for the first time in nine years. I was really hoping that, in the interim, things in rental property search had improved. They have, but not as much as I’d hoped. Consider our options in Victoria:
- Craigslist – Everybody loves it, but I think the interface sucks. I can’t filter by location. Plus, the quality of the ads is seriously mixed. I have to wade through a lot of noise for a little signal.
- Househunting.ca – I gather this is Canada.com’s housing portal. It’s actually really good. It presents results on a map, and you can sort on price, number of bedrooms and so forth. And, wonder of wonder, it looks like I can subscribe to an RSS feed for new results on my search. It’s lame, kludgy RSS, but better than nothing.
- Random property managers’ sites – These are poorly designed, and have laughable search. Check out these results–they’re clearly designed for the property manager, not the renter. The renter cares about price, not the name of the building.
The essential problem is that, unlike MLS.ca, there isn’t a one-stop rental site that lists every available apartment. I ought to be able to specify my requirements on such a site, and get notified when there are apartments which meet my criteria.
Instead there are a bunch of silos, and only one of them will let me know when there’s new apartments in the inventory.
Two other observations: it’s shocking that so few of the online listings have photos. Even more shocking is the dearth of email addresses for contacting people in the classifieds. Wouldn’t they prefer to receive and manage inquiries via email instead of with a barrage of phone calls?
What We’re Looking For, and a $150 Bounty
For the record, we’re looking for a furnished, two-bedroom apartment within walking distance of downtown for less than CAN $1800, to rent as of March 15 or April 1. We want to live there for one to two years. I’ve rendered our ideal location in the magic of Google Maps:
Unless it’s exceptional, we don’t want to live in a suite in a house. I like the anonymity of apartments. We might consider renting an entire house, though that seems unlikely in this price range. Nice to haves include:
- Close proximity to a grocery store.
- We’d prefer not to be on the ground floor.
- Hardwood floors.
- A view.
I’m not relishing the thought of searching and checking out a bunch of apartments in rental-starved Victoria. So if anybody finds us the apartment which we eventually rent, I’ll pay you CAN $150.