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Finding a home

Renting an apartment, house or a suite in a home is how most newcomers start out in the Kootenay/Boundary. If you arrive in the region during the tourism off-season; October to April; (except at winter ski resorts) vacation rentals or motels are available for monthly rentals at a reasonable rate and are self-contained with dishes, bedding and include internet and telephone. Rental costs for housing varies widely from community to community with prices tending to be higher in urban areas such as Nelson and less expensive in rural areas such as Grand Forks/Boundary.

How it Works:

Property managers have a list of houses available for rent and can be found at real estate offices in each community. They can advise you on what is included in the rent, utilities, cable for television, internet etc. You can also look in local community newspapers and online sites for rentals in the Kootenay that are advertised by owners that are looking after their own rental collections and properties. Your landlord will want you to sign a rental agreement; the agreement will identify any damage the property has before you move in, the terms of the rental payments and required notice for vacating the premises.

It is wise to be selective and look at a few places before choosing your new home, taking into account neighbourhoods, nearby public transportation, (if you don't have a car) and conveniently located shops and schools if you have a family. You will want to ensure there are job opportunities for your partner, and whatever you feel you need as a life comfort exists where you are living. It is recommended to ask for a letter from the landlord for verification of your new address location; it can be requested when applying for postal service.

You will need to fill out a rental application form that will want your employment information, references from past landlords (if you have lived somewhere else in Canada). They can also request to do a credit check on your personal finances, and require your banking information to automatically deduct rent from your account, which you would have to sign a document to give permission for.

Purchasing a home

Most residents in the region own their own homes; as the real-estate market is considered in the low-price range province-wide for most of the region, with Nelson having some of the highest priced neighbourhoods and Trail having some of the lowest. When purchasing property there are legal costs incurred when transferring deeds that you must pay before taking possession of the property.

Real Estate agencies in each community can provide practical information to help you make informed decisions about your home purchase. Properties are also sold privately by owners; if you are considering purchasing your home from a private sale, check with either a Notary Public or Lawyer to make sure you have all the conveyance requirements to transfer the title of the home.

Some types of housing, such as condominiums and mobile homes have monthly fees to cover upkeep of the grounds and buildings. A realtor or owner will be able to provide you with this information. If you purchase a home, home insurance must be in place at the time of purchase.

Once you own your home, you will pay annual property taxes and fees for water and other services to the municipal governments; which in turn pay for essential services for snow removal, public roads and garbage collection.

Furnishing your home:

In the Kootenay/Boundary residents have choices where to purchase furniture for their new homes. For new furniture, both private furniture stores and franchise box stores are in the Kootenay centres and will deliver for a minimal fee, or there are furniture craftsmen available to custom build furniture for you. You can buy used furniture at thrift stores, second hand stores, auctions and at a fraction of the prices. You can access (mostly) free furniture and household appliances and items at "re-use" centres located at most garbage disposal areas in each community or "dumps" as the locals refer to them. Furniture and carpet shampoo machines are available at most grocery and hardware stores to rent by the day.

Re-using and recycling is considered important to the residents of the Kootenay/Boundary and the majority of Thrift stores are ran by volunteers of local organizations. The proceeds from the sale of donated clothing and household items are returned to the communities to support local needs such as medical and recreation equipment.

These organizations are always looking for volunteers and if you are looking to make new friends and get involved in your community, it is a good place to start with usually only a few hours a week commitment required. You can drop-in and request information.

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What you need to apply:

For renting a motel or vacation rental:
Credit card (to keep on file) or a cash deposit (up to one half month)

For applying with a rental agency to rent a home or apartment:
Employment information (name and address of employer)
References from past landlords (if you have lived somewhere else in Canada)
Driver's licence number (can request)
Credit check
Bank Account (information for automatic debit payment)

For purchasing a home:
Bank account
Proof of net worth / personal assets (banking documentation)
Proof of employment (if applying for a mortgage)

Please see 'housing' in your Community Directory for contact details.