“I can finally afford to live roommate-free”

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I found a place that was listed for $2,500 a month. I got it for $2,000

Vivian Hua, 27

Lawyer, Moss Park

My roommate and I got along really, really well… until quarantine. I’m tidy and my roommate isn’t, but I was never home enough to care about it. I only came home to sleep and shower.

I’m very junior in my career, which means I do the not-fun tasks, like reviewing 30,000-word documents. It’s so mindless that I would put on Grey’s Anatomy while I was working in the living room, but if my roommate didn’t want to listen to it, I would work in my bedroom, which took a toll on my mental health—because I had zero separation between work and life.

I don’t think I was very good company. Quarantine made me realize that I need time and space for myself. So I started looking at one-bedroom listings.

The process was stressful. Every place you visit is an exposure risk. I was looking for something around $2,000 but was willing to go to $2,400. I got a job in Mississauga and looked around Square One, but I realized it isn’t that much cheaper there than downtown.

I checked out a massive one-bedroom with two dens with parking and utilities included for $1,950 at Bay and Wellesley. I put in an offer for $2,100 but seven other people placed offers as well, and I lost out.

For most of the search I felt like I had the upper hand. I saw a nice unit but it lacked storage, and that’s important: I have an extensive board game collection. I declined. The owner reached out and asked what I didn’t like about the apartment. That never happened before the pandemic.

The next place I looked at was an industrial-looking one-bedroom near Wellesley station. It had been sitting on the market for two months. It was initially listed for $2,500. I got it for $2,000.

It’s my first big-girl apartment, and I’m happy with it, and really happy about the price. I’m now in, and doing fun chores like painting my couch. This is the first time I’ve felt remotely settled since the pandemic began.

I’m excited about being able to fit all my stuff, including my board games. Maybe one day Covid will end and I will be able to have people over for a games night.