Searching for housing is one of the principal preoccupations for those moving abroad, and often a time-intensive headache for the human resources manager guiding them. Discover how we help new arrivals find housing quickly that meets their needs and their lifestyle. Our handpicked team of professional real estate agents offers customized advice and support, step by step: Orientation in the city and assistance choosing a neighbourhood On top of introducing clients to the beautiful city of Montreal and giving them a tour of the main points of interest, we also give our clients a Read more…
Finding housing in Montreal: the steps for a successful move
Did you know? Housing is the number one preoccupation of expatriates. Budget, level of comfort and security, ease of the commute to work: immigrants and temporary workers need to understand the local real estate market to settle-in to their new lives with serenity.
Our experts will help you ask the right questions to find housing in Montreal and have a successful move, step by step.
Finding housing to rent or to buy in the right neighbourhood
The big question: buy or rent?
The majority of new arrivals make the choice to rent an apartment, at least for the first year, to build a strong credit history so they can borrow in the future, and to make sure of their choice to settle in Quebec.
Depending on your situation, buying may prove to be a better choice. Real estate in Quebec is very dynamic:
- Property is easily bought and sold.
- There are numerous options on the market.
- Transaction costs are low (notary fees, transfer tax).
- The opportunity for return on investment is without equal.
To simplify, the professionals agree that if rent would cost above $2000 per month, it would be better to buy.
The question of whether to rent or buy also depends on the neighbourhood. If you are looking for three bedrooms with a yard in the Plateau, know that the options will be limited, and you’ll have more options if you buy.
Discover the most livable neighbourhoods in Montreal
Deciding with neighbourhood to move to is an important step in your housing search. The Plateau, NDG, Little Italy, down town, Westmount, Outremont, Verdun, Hochelaga: how to best choose your neighbourhood?
C&G Relocation will help by introducing you to the principle neighbourhoods of Montreal: social and demographic indicators, real estate statistics, exclusive photos, and immersion in the lifestyle and culture.
Check out the NEIGHBOURHOODS section of our site or contact us to learn more about our Discovery of the city service.
Understanding local real estate for an effective housing search
Types of housing
To find an apartment or house that corresponds to your needs, it’s necessary to know the types of housing.
For rentals, apartments are described by the number of rooms: so a “3 ½” includes 1 kitchen, 1 living room, 1 bedroom, and ½ for the bathroom. Warning: apartments in Montreal are typically long, which sometimes leads to one long “double room” that counts for 2 rooms out of the total… Be sure to ask how many closed rooms there are!
When it comes to buying, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms are given, whether it be a single family (detached, semi-detached, or row houses), or a condo, apartments found in co-owned modern high-rise buildings.
Specific to Montreal: “Plexes”, duplex, triplex, multiplex. These are 2- or 3-story brick buildings, with external stair cases and 1 to 5 apartments, where several families, renters, or co-owners live.
The ball on the 1st of July: when and how to find housing?
Spring is the best time of year to find a house or apartment to buy or rent in Quebec.
The weather is nice, the majority of leases end on June 30th, school vacation is a favourable time to move a family: therefore, the options on the real estate marker are numerous.
By starting 1-2 months in advance, you give yourself the best chance to find your new home.
Start by getting an idea of what is available and at what price by consulting the classifieds. Kijiji, Craigslist, or DuProprio have ads posted by individuals. One the site Centris, you will find ads by professional real estate agents. Centris centralizes all the ads by all of the real estate agencies in Quebec: so you get to choose!
Finding housing in Montreal: it’s easier with a real estate agent!
Finding housing with a real esate agent is free… or almost.
Once you start to get serious about making a choice, we strongly advise you to call a real estate agent to find your housing in Montreal.
First of all, it’s basically free! The agent’s commission is in effect paid by the owner or seller, although it is not uncommon for the rent or selling price to take this commission into account.
As a future tenant or buyer, by working with a real estate agent, you will benefit from professional advice, and legal protection guaranteed by the OACIQ, the organization that regulates and controls the activity of real estate agents in Quebec.
Choose your real estate agent
To find an agent, you can contact the OACIQ or consult the Centris website, but we advise new arrivals to surround themselves with professionals who understand the stakes linked to their situation as an immigrant or temporary worker. Contact us to be put in touch with our handpicked brokers.
Find your housing and conclude the transaction
Want more good reasons to call a real estate agent? On top of helping your establish a reasonable budget to devote to housing as well as your criteria and priorities, they guide you step by step through the process, which can be complex.
Promise to rent or to purchase, lease or covenant, all are official documents legally required to conclude a transaction. Therefore, you cannot apply to lease several apartments at the same time.
Once the negotiations have been completed and an agreement found, you must sign an official lease by the Régie du Logement (or a lease conversion, which allows you to take over an existing lease in the middle of the year with the same conditions). If you are buying, it is the signing of the bill of sale at the office of the notary that makes the transaction official.
Congratulations, this is a major step in your move to Quebec!
Finalize your arrival: home insurance and setting up utilities
Now that you have found your home sweet home in Montreal, there are only a few remaining steps for you to settle in comfortably.
Organize the delivery of your belongings
If you have opted to use a professional moving company, it is time to contact them to plan for customs clearance and the delivery of your container (see also LOGISTICS).
For those who arrive with few belongings: go to Ikea or on Kijiji to furnish and decorate your new home.
As for all steps of your relocation to Montreal, we can help you in coordinating your setup, or by putting you in touch with our partners: moving, furniture rentals, home stagers, interior decorators, etc. If you wish, we can even accompany you on your shopping trip to help you discover local retailers!
Setting up the utilities: water, electricity, internet, telephone, etc.
Even though electricity and gas are already connected (the heat always works in Quebec, even in unoccupied housing!), we advise you to read the meters and set up your account the day you arrive.
To open an account with Hydro Québec, the province-wide electric company, you will need a SIN. Same thing for Gaz Métro if you need natural gas. It’s very easy to register via internet.
For water, there’s no need to do anything: landlords pay the water tax along with the municipal taxes (the equivalent of property taxes), regardless of your consumption—there is so much water in Quebec!
Obtaining home insurance
The insurance of your property is obligatory if you are the owner. If you are a tenant, the insurance of your personal belongings, with civil liability for damage you could cause to the building, is strongly advised, and is required by many landlords.
You can contact an insurance agent, or directly contact our partners who will be happy to serve you!
Finding housekeeping and maintenance services
No time or desire to do the housekeeping? No problem—our friends Les Services des Génies will bend over backwards to clean your house, and more (babysitting, cooking, repairs, accompanying seniors or children, etc.).
In conclusion: surrounding yourself with the best is essential!
Facilitate your search for housing by surrounding yourself with professionals like C&G Relocation to advise you, guide you, and accompany you. This way you will avoid landing in a bad neighbourhood, needing to move in 6 months, with all the costs that includes… You will also avoid the “new arrival fees” that certain landlords won’t hesitate to apply to the rent… We are here for you: take advantage of it!