How to Choose an Apartment on a Budget

In this article, we thought we would go over some of the factors to consider when looking for a rental property in Calgary’s inner city. The article can help you budget, separate your must haves from your nice to haves, and can even help you to spot a bargain in Calgary’s rental market.


How Many People Are You?

At minimum, each person needs about 325 sqft of space. As a result, the minimum sized one-bedroom unit that will fit two people is around 650 sqft. Likewise, the minimum size for three people is usually around 1000 sqft. Compromising on space is generally a recipe for disaster, whether it’s a relationship or a friendship. We all need our space.


Which amenities fit into your budget?

Everyone has an ideal list of amenities they would like in an apartment or condo dwelling; however, each added amenity has a price attached to it. If you’re on a budget, you’ll need to compromise and trade-off between amenities.

The base price: An average quality, 1 bedroom, 500 sqft, non-basement apartment in Central Connaught: $1200

  • Quality of Kitchen, Bathroom and Flooring: In terms of finishing, a poor quality unit will rent for $200-300 less than an average suite. A high-end suite will rent for $100-$200 more than an average suite.
    • Characteristics of Poor Quality: Carpeted floors, Outdated kitchen cabinetry, old laminate kitchen counter-tops, old fashion bathroom sink, stained bathtub, basic light fixtures, faded paint
    • Average Quality: Laminate floors, older kitchen with laminate counter-tops, well tiled bathroom, decent paint job, basic light fixtures
    • High Quality: Engineered Hardwood or Hardwood floors,  maple or modern kitchen cabinetry, granite counter-tops, modern bathroom vanity, modern light fixtures, new paint job
  • Basement Suites: Basement suites typically rent for 10%-15% less than the same unit would rent for above grade.
  • Size of Suite: For suites above 500 sqft, expect to pay about $1.50-$2.00 per additional sqft. For example, a 600 sqft apartment will cost $150-$200 more per month than a 500 sqft apartment.
  • Dishwasher: Additional rent of $25 per month.
  • In-Suite Washer/Dryer: Additional rent of $75 per month
  • Parking: Outdoor parking stalls rent at $50-$100 per month. Underground parking costs $150-$200 per month.


Every Neighborhood has a price-point and a personality

Every neighborhood has its own amenities, and personality. If you’re working within a budget, pick an area that fits and don’t pay extra for lifestyle options you won’t take advantage of.

We’ve provided our table of different amenities neighborhoods offer, and the cost of renting comparable suites in each area. For a more detailed description, see “Neighborhood Comparison” on the main page of our website.


Each $ can be considered 10% – 15%. For example, a unit in West Connaught ($$) will be 10% – 15% less than a similar suite in Central Connaught ($$$).

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