Recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show that Seattle has the ninth fastest-growing metro area in the U.S. This means the Seattle area gains approximately 1,100 residents per week, according to calculations from the American City Business Journal.
In other words, real estate is a hot commodity in the Emerald City these days. Whether transplants are ex-Bay Area professionals seeking relief from soaring property prices or fresh-faced Midwesterners hoping to experience all that west coast life can offer, an influx of residents mean that the housing market is more competitive than ever.
Keep reading for apartment-hunting tips that can help you nab the living space of your dreams (with enough natural daylight to counteract the gray, drizzly weather, of course).
Research Your Future Neighborhood
The Internet makes it possible to get a good feel for pricing and different neighborhoods without requiring you to actually hop on a plane. As Business Insider points out, you’ll want to focus on three categories: neighborhood personality, neighborhood price, and commute time. Dig deeper and check out recent news articles from each neighborhood as well as yearly crime statistics.
If you’re torn between neighborhoods, come up with your own ranking system and crunch the numbers accordingly. Some people prioritize a speedy commute to work and may want to check out bustling neighborhoods like Capitol Hill or Queen Anne. Others would rather live farther outside of the downtown hub if it means they can enjoy more affordable rent prices, perhaps leaning toward Beacon Hill or West Seattle. Finding the right neighborhood is subjective, but must be supported by objective analysis of many competing factors.
Ask Seasoned Residents Where and How
Word-of-mouth is a powerful influencer. After all, why trust a listicle about the hippest neighborhoods in Seattle when you can ask your neighbor’s cousin who has lived there for over 25 years? Post a Facebook status or two asking for input on renting in Seattle. Check Instagram hashtags for specific neighborhoods and locations to get a feel for what kind of scenery you may encounter there. You can even drop a pin on Google Earth to poke around various side streets and main avenues.
Next time you’re out and about, casually bring up that you’re moving to Seattle soon to friends, family, and acquaintances. You’d be surprised how many people will enthusiastically offer their input. Of course, it’s up to you to separate the valid suggestions from the random opinions. If you can make a few genuine connections with knowledgeable Seattle residents, you’ve stumbled onto a goldmine of firsthand material to help you figure out where to live and how to score a solid apartment.
Proactively Check the Listings
Once you have a better idea of the neighborhood you want to live in, it’s time to keep an eagle eye on Seattle property management sites for active real estate listings. Even if you’re working on a short deadline, don’t panic! As tempting as it may be to hit Craigslist and find the first available sublet, your living situation is not something you want to gamble with in terms of safety, quality, or legality. Working with a reputable landlord or property management company and finding something that checks most of the boxes on your wish list will help you fully settle into your new life in Seattle.
Seattle draws new residents with its unique culture and world-class amenities. With an influx of over 1,000 new residents every week (and no plateau in sight), it’s important to remain proactive in your apartment search so you get the best possible rental for your budget and lifestyle.