Finding an Affordable Place in Vancouver

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If you live in Vancouver, or even if you read it in the news wherever you’re from, you probably know that Vancouver is the most expensive city in Canada to live in. I know Toronto and Vancouver have been neck and neck for that top spot over the years but, I think Vancouver has it for 2018. And if it isn’t the most expensive, then at least I know that I’m definitely not moving to Toronto any time soon.

I moved out of my parents’ house at the end of October and crashed at my best friend’s house until I could find a place with my boyfriend, Fern. My reason for moving out of my parents’ house just before I turned 21? Same as any other millennial I think. I needed out of that house. Out of that “My house, my rules” mentality. I respected it for the most part, but I wanted to be able to go out and do things without having to worry about some kind of curfew so I don’t wake up my younger brothers when I get home. I just needed that freedom you can’t get when your family is in the same house.

Finding a place that fit both mine and Fern’s budget was a tough one. I was only working part-time and I was studying full-time at SFU. We were looking in the smaller cities just outside of Vancouver, like Burnaby, which is where SFU’s main campus is. But, Burnaby is getting fairly expensive as well now. It’s a new up and coming city with a bunch of new highrises being built. I figured if we’re gonna pay that much for rent, might as well be as close to Downtown Vancouver as possible.

We used Craiglist’s map feature to track where each place was. We aimed for as close to a Skytrain station (Skytrain is Vancouver’s form of the subway or metro) as possible. The search filters are very handy in terms of searching for the right price range, area, and features that suit your needs.

We found an apartment 10 minutes outside of Downtown Vancouver that seemed too good to be true. We contacted the building manager to set up a viewing and we just fell in love with the place. This all happened quite quickly too! We just found the apartment that morning, texted the building manager to set up a viewing for 1pm, filled out the application at 1:30pm, got the call saying we got the apartment at 3pm, and we had to rush to get the deposit back to the building. And to top it off, Fern had to work at 5pm on the other side of Vancouver. But, it all turned out because we got a great apartment just outside Downtown Vancouver for just under $1300/month.

Although $1300/month for a one bedroom apartment seems like quite a lot, for where we are and what we get, I think it’s a steal.

We got the keys to the apartment on December 1st and I tell ya, that day was long.

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We were absolutely dead by the end of the day. And we still hadn’t gotten my desk, bookcase, and dining table from my parents’ house.

But we did it, we got a place in Vancouver. And my first home I can call my own. Something that I am responsible for. A lot of people my age are afraid of responsibilities but, I love it. I love being trusted enough to take care of something other than myself. And even taking care of myself is a hard task in and of itself.

This step was the first of many in my new adult life. In the 6 months that I have lived in this apartment, I can safely say I have learned at least 10 new things about being an adult that I don’t think I would have learned if I had still been living under my parents’ roof, or at least not learned in the same style.

It may be true that I like adulting as much as the next twenty-something but I still like adulting a heck of a lot more than being underestimated.

Mahalo and Aloha,

Caitlin Maira