Deciding where to live is one of the biggest challenges most international students face, especially when they get admission to study in any of the universities in Vancouver.

In this blog post, you will receive interesting housing tips. Vancouver, no doubt is one of the best cities in Canada, where students get the best of housing, education and lifestyle.

Vancouver is also known as: ‘Metro Vancouver, Greater Vancouver or Lower Mainland’. Vancouver is made up of a wide range of municipalities namely:

  • Maple Ridge
  • Vancouver
  • Port Coquitlam
  • Coquitlam
  • Delta
  • Langley
  • Burnaby
  • Richmond
  • Surrey
  • New Westminster
  • North Vancouver
  • Port Moody
  • West Vancouver
  • Pitt Meadows, and
  • White Rock

The Housing Options in Vancouver

After making up your mind to study in Vancouver, and selecting the University of your choice, the next thing you will do is to decide on a suitable accommodation option. There are so many available options for you, and below are some of the ways you can find the perfect lodging for you:

Staying on Campus

Most universities and colleges in Vancouver provide on-campus accommodations for their students. To most international students, this is a perfect opportunity to meet and interact with other students from around the world.

Some of these on-campus hostels have shared or private dormitory rooms with cooking, dining, laundry, parking, internet and telephone facilities. Some also offer one or two bedroom options for students that come with their families.

All you need to do is to visit the university or college website of your choice and read information about their various housing options. Some of these institutions will go extra mile to guide you, should you need further assistance with accommodation issues.

Living off Campus

If you want to live off campus, you will surely see a lot of options to choose from. Some campus bulletins are offered to students free of charge; you can browse it to know the areas that are closer to your school, the average rent charged in most locations. You can also speak with your institution’s off-campus housing office or student affairs department to get useful information about this.

Sharing an apartment with a friend

Most international students are not buoyant, so they may not have the required funds to rent a full apartment for themselves. Thus, sharing an apartment with a trusted friend or schoolmate will be the real deal or surest option.

Apartments near the downtown area are fairly easy to rent, but might not be affordable to most students; Vancouver is quickly becoming one of the most expensive cities in Canada to find quality housing. Transportation from downtown is not an issue, because there are more than enough buses, sky trains, sea buses, and bike lanes to get around. So, no matter your location, you can easily get to your school on time without stress. The prices of the transportation are also moderate.

Less Expensive Options

If you are seriously sticking to a budget, I recommend you either bunk up with a friend, or look for rooms and suites in areas away from the city. Some municipalities are less expensive than others, such as Port Moody, Coquitlam, New Westminster, and Burnaby. However, depending on the location of your school, you may be commuting up to 45- 60 minutes to school daily. You can live in those municipalities if you are comfortable with this. Many students decide to live in the neighborhood within the catchment area of their school. Public transportation will always be the best way to get around.

More Expensive Options

There are so many good housing options for international students in Downtown Vancouver, but you will need to research to find a place worth paying top dollar for. However, it is important to know that prices are varied- some locations are more expensive than others. You might just luck out if you spend enough time looking.

Yaletown is more expensive than other areas like Gastown, Downtown Eastside, and West End- Downtown Vancouver is developing at a fast pace. If you are looking for less expensive housing options in downtown, then you may have to consider Downtown Eastside, West End, and Gastown.

Other things to look for

As an international student desiring to rent a house or apartment in Vancouver, there are other things you need to consider. First, you should choose a location, decide the amount of rent you would like to pay, know the terms and conditions of renting an apartment in those areas. Do you want the home to be closer to areas you normally visit such as?

  • Transit shops
  • Downtown or
  • Stores

You should compare the price of rent in the location, so that you won’t end up paying more. Make sure you live with the landlord’s rules – since you may be competing with other international students that are looking for a house in the same area. So, you need to increase your chances of securing a good accommodation at friendly rates.

Below are some of the house options you will find:

  • Town houses
  • Apartments, and
  • Rooms

You need to arrive at least few weeks before the term begins, this will give you ample opportunity to choose a better place to live, because you need to be settled before the academic activities starts.

Online listings

There are many available online listings- kindly check them out especially early in the morning. If you see any vacancy that interests you, contact the agent immediately because rentals go up quickly especially during August and September.

Community newspapers

Welcome to Vancouver. Some newspapers may display interesting housing options for international students. The following newspapers may be of great help to you:

  • Vancouver Courier (Vancouver).
  • Burnaby Now (Burnaby).
  • The Record (New Westminster).
  • The Now (Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, and Coquitlam).

Rental Services

There are some real estate agencies that will offer you a comprehensive list of house vacancies. Some of these vacancies are advertised in some local newspapers. They can truly be of help, but you may be asked to pay a charge for this service. If you are interested in hiring an agent to find you suitable housing, be sure it is someone you trust, or you have a connection to. The industry can often lead to some “black hat” schemes.

Word of Mouth

You can get good housing options by asking fellow students if they are aware of any vacancy around their area. Most buildings have suites, so someone living there might be the first to know about any vacancy. So, you may get a good deal by asking them.

Things to look for in a house

Most houses in Vancouver have appliances such as:

  • Washing machine.
  • Sturdy locks.
  • Working faucets.
  • Freshly painted walls.
  • Working shower.
  • Working toilets.
  • Clean carpet.
  • Pet policy.
  • Dryer
  • Neighborhood
  • Parking
  • Public transit access