For Rent: We are Moving…

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)
Total   $1,259    $1,320

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)
Rent $1,189 $1,499
Electricity $     70 $      70
Total $1,259 $1,569

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.



Categories: Budgeting, Savings

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28 replies

  1. Hello there! I see this was posted in the Spring but property management is my expertise and I am currently writing a blog relating exactly to this. I am curious now that it’s been a few months, how do you all like the new place? Are you glad you moved?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi thanks for reaching out. Yah I am glad I moved. More square footage, closer to work and the rent is decent. It’s a renters market right now in Calgary and there are a lot of great options. This was definitely one of them.
      I do miss being near the park but its only a 5 minute drive away so no big deal.


  2. I used to manage properties in a previous life, and all the weird pricing things all boils down to $$ in the owners pockets. One time, my boss bought a small apartment complex in a poor neighborhood and immediately jacked up the rent $200! I felt icky helping contribute to that ;). If I ever own properties in the future, I hope to not be that kind of owner.

    It’s a shame that you couldn’t get the same discount that new tenants get at your old place. That being said, it looks like you got a decent upgrade in your living situation! Best wishes in the new place! 😉


  3. I am so excited for you!! And the price increase isn’t too bad considering all of the benefits you’ll be receiving. I absolutely think you and your hub made the right decision. Can’t wait to come over and see the new digs 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. I am excited too. I was a little bit bummed that we were leaving our old neighborhood as you live in the same area and know how nice it is, but now I am totally excited to leave and enjoy all the amenities that this new place offers. I will totally invite you over once I get settled in. I will also have no excuses for not getting up at 7am in the morning to make it to work and workout. You have to hold me accountable.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t mind the looking for the place, I can’t stand packing and moving! It’s so much work. In any case, I’ve noticed that management companies do give discounts to new tenants. They gave me one year free parking my first year. When renewing, I’ve asked for make rates and they try to work with me, although I don’t know what they charged new tenants. I figure they don’t want tenants who pay on time and don’t have any complaints to move out. Well congrats on the move…it sounds like it has nicer amenities.


    • Thanks. Yah I was not too impressed too find out about the two prices either. Finding a decent place to rent that is affordable is hard in Calgary. Maybe it’s the lack of rent caps in this province. I don’t know. It’s gotten a bit better though with the slowing down of the economy over here.


  5. Congrats on the move! That’s always exciting. I’m surprised they’re allowed to raise rent that much though… Here in Ontario, there’s a cap for existing tenants, which I think has hovered around the 2% mark.That’s why landlords often prefer new tenants since they can set new rental prices to whatever they want as long as someone’s willing to pay it! That’s still a very good price though… Back when we were thinking of renting out our condo (1 bedroom + Den, 624 sq feet), rental rates were around the $1,500 mark in 2014!


    • Yes I know. I miss Ontario for that. There are no rent caps in Alberta. The whole experience of looking for a place to rent was not the best one compared to Ontario which has rent caps and in general is more of a renters market. Yah these prices are pretty good. I am sure they will go up one oil starts booming again.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I hated renting because of all of the weird deposits and fees and increases, so I definitely sympathize. We quite unexpectedly bought a house because we wanted to stay in our area of town and a house a few doors down cost about as much to buy as we paid in rent. I am glad to hear you don’t mind the packing and actual moving, and having children soon is exciting. My son is almost 8 months and it’s been the best 8 months of my life. Hope you like the new place!


    • Yah I know what you mean. Unfortunately homes in our current area are going for $700k and up and the current oil economy is very unstable now to warrant buying. I have ran the numbers and we come ahead with renting right now. As long as we invest the rest, we should be okay. We put away over $2k a month in savings and investing from our income in addition to any windfall income like my husband’s bonuses and tax refunds etc. The deposits are annoying though.


  7. Sounds sensible to me. Shocked the real estate agent can charge different rents to new tenants. You’d think it would be better for them because they’d have to advertise again, get another contract, do background checks etc. Oh well sounds like you are beating them at their own game. As a mum with 2 kids, I can say you will appreciate the extra bedroom. Best of luck with the move and post a photo of your mountain view for us all to enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That s a great idea. Will post when I move in. Yah I am not sure why they would have a two tier renting system in place like that. We are like the ideal renters. We pay our rent on time and sometimes early. Leave the place clean as a whistle and stay at most places for a minimum of three years. I am definitely looking forward to the second room and ample storage space.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. That’s great that you are considering all the factors in your move. Too often people only consider the rent number and forget about things like utilities in their budget.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yah that’s true. This experience has taught me that no life is about trade offs including renting. I am reading a more secluded community for more square footage and convenience.


  9. Very well-thought out and efficient move. I wish you the best. I like the way you explain finances and economics practical for laymen.


  10. Good luck with the move. The mountain view will do wonders for stress reduction. Stress reduction will do wonders for starting a family! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Having a mountain view while living in the city, that is more than a bonus!
    Not being at street level will be a very different feeling as well. The privacy you get from that…
    Hard to believe that a property management company can be so stubborn with existing clients. They basically prefer vacancy and future lower rent than keeping the existing people and do a big effort… Weird


  12. Top floor, mountain view sounds great. Should you have kid(s) the in suite storage will be huge plus.

    Liked by 1 person

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