The first thing that we need to decide when we are picking the perfect apartment is our budget. Once we determine how much we can afford to pay each month for rent, then we can start searching for the perfect apartment.

When I first moved from Toronto to Montreal I found my first apartment online. I had been to Montreal before so I was familiar with the city. However, I was unable to travel to Montreal and visit apartments. I searched through the classified ads on the McGill website to find an apartment that was within my monthly budget. If you are moving to a new city and you are unfamiliar with the new city, it is a safe bet to search for an apartment in a university neighbourhood. Even if you are not a student in university, living in a university neighbourhood has several advantages.

University neighbourhoods are generally very safe living areas; they also usually have several apartments for rent within the neighbourhood. Daily living amenities such as grocery stores and pharmacies are usually very close by, and most apartments in university neighbourhoods are offered with utilities included in the monthly rent.

It is a very smart financial move to search for an apartment that offers utilities

When utilities are included in our monthly rent it is easier to budget because our monthly expenses are fixed. To this day, I still live in an apartment that offers utilities included in my monthly rent. I enjoy having only one fixed monthly bill which includes my rent and all of my utilities such as heat, hot water, and electricity.

It is common to find an apartment that offers utilities such as heat and hot water, but the tenant pays the electricity

I am not the type of person who leaves the lights on when I am not home, or leaves the television on when I am not watching it; therefore I don’t waste my electricity. I like having utilities included in my monthly rent not because they are expensive, but because I like having fixed monthly expenses.

If you live with a roommate it is a good idea to find an apartment that offers utilities because roommates share the monthly financial responsibility of paying rent

When roommates find the perfect apartment both names are on the apartment lease, this means that we equally share the monthly financial responsibility. If we do not find an apartment that offers utilities one roommate will be forced to register the utilities in their name only. This means that one roommate will be solely responsible for payment of the utilities. If only one roommate is financially responsible for payment of the utilities and the other roommate moves out, it could be hard to force someone to pay for a monthly utility bill that is not registered in their name.

Some people choose not to search for an apartment that offers utilities included in the monthly rent because they feel the landlord over charges for the cost of utilities

Some people prefer to pay for their own monthly utilities because they feel it is better to have variable expenses and a lower monthly cost. I have never lived in apartment where I had to pay for the monthly utilities; therefore I am not sure how much the monthly cost is for heat, hot water, and/or electricity. I prefer to have one fixed monthly living expense, even if the monthly cost is little bit more expensive.

Here are the other posts from our Leasing vs. Buying Series:

How to Choose the Perfect Roommate

The Pros and Cons of Having a Roommate

The Pros and Cons of Leasing an Apartment

The Pros and Cons of Buying a Home