How can I find housing before I arrive?

Finding housing is a difficult task at the best of times. Finding a place to live before you've even arrived in Canada will not be easy, but it is not impossible. It is important to keep in mind that what you might consider adequate accommodation in your country of origin might be very different here.

There are a number of ways to start looking for housing before you arrive. Since places can be quite different from how they look in pictures, it is recommended to see the place in person before you make the final decision to rent or buy it.

  • Send a family member ahead of time
    If possible, a family member could arrive 1 - 2 weeks before the rest of your family. This person could stay in a hotel or hostel for that short period and find appropriate accommodation for the rest of your family. Once here, they could access the services listed below, especially settlement agencies.
  • Housing help centres
    Housing help centres help people find affordable housing. Usually it is free to use this service.
  • Settlement agencies
    Settlement agencies provide services to newcomers, including help with finding housing, employment, and access to any other service or information you need to get settled.
  • Classified Advertisements
    Websites like Craigslist and Kijiji, as well as, local newspapers usually have advertisements for house renting and buying. Landlords usually place their ads 1 - 2 months before they want someone to move into their property. It’s not a good idea to rent a place without seeing it first in person. However, visiting these ads will give you an idea about the price and availability.
  • Real Estate Rental Services
    Also known as Property Rental Management or Rental Locators. Although they usually work with landlords, some of these companies help tenants find housing. There is usually a fee for this service.
  • Rental Listing Websites
  • There are many websites that list rentals. For examples of these websites, see the How can I look for rental housing article.

Many community agencies can help you find information about renting or buying a home. To find help in your area, go to Services Near Me.

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Last updated: August 18, 2016 4001235