Coming to a theatre near you: one Toronto tenant's search for the elusive one-bedroom
Fed up with sharing space with four roommates, 27-year-old Huy Do made his quest into a movie poster.
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It has all the makings of a Hollywood hit: a sympathetic protagonist on a near-impossible search for the urban holy grail, a $1,300 one-bedroom apartment in the downtown core.
Fed up with sharing space with four roommates, 27-year-old Huy Do just wanted a reasonably priced place of his own. So, inspired by all the great films he’s seen at TIFF, he made his quest into a movie poster, marketing himself as the perfect tenant.
“For anyone who really wants to find a place, at this point with how competitive it is, it’s just necessary to stand out,” Do explained.
"One man, one dream, one bedroom near the core of Toronto,” the poster proclaims, adding rave reviews about Do such as “never parties” and “very likeable” as well as “employed full time” and “can pay by any method.”
Do shared the poster, which only took him about a half hour to make, on sites like Facebook, Reddit and Kijji, where it “blew up.”
While some critics are panning the price — one Reddit user said they’d rent him their bathroom for that pittance — he’s also seeing some success. Almost 20 landlords have reached out to him, and he’s already got a few viewings set up at around his price point, he said.
In a market where the vacancy rate for Toronto is one percent, Do is not the only one going to great lengths to find a place.
Conrad Rygier, a real-estate broker with Keller Williams Neighbourhood Realty Inc., said he’s been advising clients for a while now to make a renter resume that offers a bit about themselves, personalizing their paperwork in a market rife with bidding wars.
That's not going to compete against someone offering $100 or $200 more in rent, but “if offers are very similar and they’re in competition, it gives them a slight edge," Rygier said.
He added that downtown rentals at around the $1,500 to $1,600 mark are becoming a "dying commodity," at least from what he's seen on MLS.
Do said he's "open to negotiation" on price but doesn't want to go too high, because he's trying to save for retirement and to one day buy a home.
While he's “having fun” with the process, he knows the search for a place to live in Toronto is much more stressful for many people, especially those on tight timelines.
"Hopefully it shines a light to kind of a different story as well,” he said, “that it’s just a tough market out there.”