The housing market in Calgary is interesting. The median price for a house is $420K while it is $120K in Houston. This means that we are going to rent for a while until we know the town and we are ready to buy. There are quite a few websites out there to help renters find their home and rentfaster is clearly the best due to its advanced search capabilities. Melissa located a few houses that she liked based on the description, photos, and budget. The landlord had be be willing to accept cats. I called about ten people and was able to enter in contact with about half of them. Three days later, I was able to schedule two visits; A house located in Mount Pleasant, a neighborhood in the north west at ten minutes by car from downtown and a house located in Scarboro, a neighborhood in the south west, also ten minutes from downtown.
The first house was quite nice, the interior was new and clean. It was located one street north of Trans-Canada Highway 1. Thanks to double pane windows, the house was really quiet but we didn't really want to live right behind a strip mall facing one of the major thoroughfare across Calgary.
The second house, per Melissa's description, was a jewel. Built in 1929, the house has original wood flooring on the main level and the finished basement opens to the back yard garden were you can find a huge outdoor fireplace. From the deck situated on the main level, you can see hills in the northwest. I went to scout the location and it is a green and hilly neighborhood. In brief this was the house we wanted.
The only problem was competition. Other potential tenants were visiting the house when I arrived and the landlord later told me that he had many other applicants. It took some convincing and Melissa, still in Houston, had to have a conversation with our nice landlord before he decided to rent the house to us. For obvious reasons, most people move during the summer and combined with the low inventory, this creates quite a demand for houses.
Now, my commute to work is going to be forty minutes, just like in Houston. The only difference is that in Houston I had to drive while here, I will be walking to walk. I could also take the bus but I am going to pass on this option for now. According to long time Calgarians taking public transportation won't be necessary except one week a year when the temperature drops to -30C (-22F).