My husband and I decided to move after living in a one-bedroom suite for the last 3 years. I don’t mind moving, but it’s the looking for a new place to move to I don’t like, not the packing or unpacking. So if we don’t like moving so much, why not stay and renew another 1-year lease. Here are a few reasons why:
Why we chose to move now:
- We renewed our lease in July 2015 at $1,269 + electricity, a price that we felt was much higher than what other competitive property management companies were offering given the current recession in Calgary due to falling oil prices. At the time we had too much on the go and could not be bothered to move
- Since moving here 3 years ago, our rent went from $1,169 to $1,209 to $1,269. I understand that rent prices always go up, but it was the last rent increase that did it for me. A $60/month rent increase during an economic downturn, that didn’t seem right.
- Our property management company has a two-tier renting system. In considering to renew for a 4th year we researched on their website and found out that our unit is actually going for $989 market rent. We were excited about the considerable cost savings that a decrease of $280/month ($1,269-$989) in rent would allow us to accomplish for our long term investing goals. When we called to renew our lease another year, they said that this rate was only for ‘new tenants’. Since we were existing tenants we would have to pay $1,189. The lady then went on to tell me that my rent would still be decreasing by $80/month ($1,269- $1,189) …I was not impressed. I was surprised to see that companies treat their new tenants better than their loyal existing tenants. We had rented from this company for a total of 5 years between Alberta and Ontario and were not too impressed about their business practices as of recent.
- In addition to all of this, they would charge us a one time $250 fee if we wanted to transfer to another building owned by the same property management company. This fee would cover the cost of transferring our deposit from our current building to the new building. Considering the fact that everything is done electronically now a days and it’s within the same company, I am suspicious of a $250 electronic transfer fee between the same company.
I don’t work in real estate or the rental industry so I am not going to sit here and pretend to understand why things are done this way and whether or not these practices are industry standard or just company specific. What I do know however is that I don’t appreciate getting screwed. With that being said, we found another property management company that appreciates our business and is a bit more reasonable in how they treat their tenants.
So how does the new place compare to our old place come July 2016 when we move. Here are the numbers… you may be surprised, but I will explain why this makes sense for us afterwards so please read on.
|Monthly expenses||Current Rental||New Rental|
|Rent||$1,189 (750sq ft.)||$1,200 (960 sq. ft.)|
|Electricity||$70||$0 (Included in rent)|
|Heat & water||$0 (included in rent)||$0 (included in rent)|
|Internet||$0 (included in rent)||$70|
|Parking||$0 (street parking)||$0 (street parking)|
|Laundry||$0 (included in cost of electricity)||$50 (laundry mat on 1st floor)|
So our move would cost us an additional $61/month at $1,320/month. If you are wondering, why we have opted for a more expensive rental unit after complaining about paying too much as it is, here is why:
The benefits of paying an additional $61/month in housing costs:
- 2 bedrooms + in suite storage unit: our new rental place will be significantly bigger than where we currently live (960 sqft vs. 750 sqft) and will have an extra bedroom and storage. This is a huge plus for us as we are planning on growing our family & a storage unit is a huge bonus to keep our things as the average 5ft x 5ft storage rental is $105/month in Calgary
- More square footage: On a square footage basis we actually pay less for our new suite at $1.375/sqft ($1,320/ 960 sqft) compared to $1.678/sqft ($1,259/750 sqft)
- More privacy/ top floor suite: Where we currently live, we are at ground level. Even though we have a balcony, it doesn’t really feel the same as being higher up. With our new suite we will be on the top floor/18th floor with a balcony overlooking the mountains.
- Lots of amenities & transit accessible: both locations had the added benefit of being 10 minutes from the train station. Both are conveniently located by a mall, restaurants and grocery stores. With the high rise building we are moving to (the other was a low rise), we have the added benefit of seclusion while we are in our apartment overlooking the mountains.
- Social hall & library area: an added bonus that I really liked was that our new location has a common studying/library area on the main floor for residents to use. They also have a fairly large social hall that can fit about 60 people with a full kitchen that is available for renting to tenants at $50/day.
- Quicker commute to work: Lastly, my commute time to work will be considerably reduced to a quarter of the time, although my husband’s commute time will increase by double.
So what will I miss about our old place:
If I said I wouldn’t miss anything about our old place, I would be lying. Although I will not miss our particular unit, I will miss the community and surrounding area including:
- The parks and trails that are just a 20-minute walk from our place. It would be a 5-minute drive to the nearest trail/park at our new location
- The close distance between our place and our church. It would be a 7-minute drive to church from our new location
- The secluded feeling our current location provides with the added benefits of being minutes from downtown on a train.
Why we chose not to rent a 2 bedroom at our current location:
In a perfect universe, we would simply move from a 1 bedroom to a 2 bedroom in the same building (a 3 floor low rise building) and be offered market rent like everyone else. We would get to stay in the community we have grown to love over the last 3 years and all will be well. But the numbers just don’t add up.
|Monthly Expenses||Current Location (1 Bedroom)||Current Location (2 Bedroom)|
|Electricity||$ 70||$ 70|
That is a $310/month (or $3,720/year) to move from a 1 bedroom to a 2 bedroom as existing tenants in our building. Keep in mind that this building does not provide a storage unit so we would also have to include an additional $105/month in storage fees if we chose to stay here, grow our family and stay in this community.
Why we are okay with increasing our housing costs by $61/month:
When you compare apples to apples (as much as possible) we are not really losing $61/month by moving, but saving $249/month ($310-$61). That’s almost $3,000 a year.
The reality of the situation is that we would like to grow our family and hopefully have children soon. Our current housing situation will not accommodate this and we are not willing to pay to ridiculous prices to stay in this community. The distance from our new location to our old location is a 5-10-minute drive and we are still in the same quadrant of town. This will allow us to visit our friends and remained engaged in the community without shelling out $249/month more to do so. It will also offer us an opportunity to meet new people and form new perceptions of the city as we continue to make Calgary our home away from home.