Trying to figure out how to find an apartment in Seattle? Read on!
This in-depth guide offers all the tips, advice and resources you'll need to confidently search for an apartment in Seattle.
According to the city government, more than 50 percent of Seattle’s residents are renters. That can make finding an apartment in Seattle pretty difficult at times.
Here are the questions we'll answer in this guide:
- Where should I look for an apartment? We'll offer some recommendations on choosing the best neighborhoods for your search.
- How do I find an apartment? Some "pro tips" from an experienced real estate agent in Seattle.
- How do I apply for an apartment? Since the first rule in finding a Seattle apartment is "be ready to apply". We'll walk you through exactly what you'll need.
If that all sounds helpful to you, then read on!
Look for the right neighborhoods.
The best way to find apartments in Seattle is to first focus on your needs and your own personal style, and then find the neighborhoods that would suit them. For instance, if you’re hoping to find the perfect area for your kids to go to school, you’ll focus on a different part of the city than a hipster looking for the trendy part of town. Use our online neighborhood guide and other websites to find the areas to focus on first.
This part can be pretty overwhelming, but it’s how to find apartments in Seattle: Use websites like ours to find a good listing online. Whether you peruse a locator, app, or a free-for-all site like Craigslist, you can get overwhelmed. There are listings everywhere! Of course, if you don’t have time to sift through hundreds of listings, you can always contact a rental agent through Jumpshell.
Take a weekend and drive around.
Here’s another secret for how to find an apartment in Seattle: Go there. Go to the place where you’ll be working, calculate the distance of the commute you’d be willing to drive every day, and then use that as a measure to drive around in a comfortable radius, with your workplace in the center.
Look for "for rent" signs, and ask yourself, "What sorts of amenities are near me?" Start inward (near your workplace) and work your way outward (near the border of the maximum commute you’d be willing to do every day), and you may be surprised by what you find!
Image source: bbbupstateny.org
Learn about the typical price range.
Familiarize yourself with Seattle rental prices before you seriously settle on which apartment to choose. The current average rent is $1,959 per month. Even with a roommate, you should expect to pay $738 per month in the greater Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area.
The average for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,125 per month, and the average for a one-bedroom is $1,604 per month. The prices drastically differ depending on the neighborhood, ranging between $980 and $2,340 per month. Have an idea of prices before you go and you’ll get a better idea of what’s a good deal and what’s not.
Know your rights.
The city has had a huge boom of renters in recent years, specifically since 2010. To keep things under control, the city toughened up its regulations. That means that there are a slew of laws and regulations about renting that most people don’t know.
Finding an apartment in Seattle should include looking at fixed-term or month-to-month leases in detail. Become comfortable with the laws so that you’ll know what a landlord can and cannot ask for.
Expect to talk to relatively inexperienced landlords.
As rent prices have shot up, people who in the past never considered renting may now be setting aside rooms and floors of their homes to make a bit more money on the side. Not every landlord you’ll talk to in Seattle will know what to expect from you or from the process, and some don’t really know about the aforementioned laws.
Expect an application.
Because the area is such a landlord’s market and so very competitive, the process of applying to get an apartment can be long and arduous. Expect a background check, credit check, and other types of checks, and try to come prepared with your résumé and referrals. Note that Seattle has laws surrounding tenant screening: Landlords can charge you tenant screening fees, but they are required to tell you what they are and how much they are. In other words, they can’t profit from the screening and many charge you exactly what they pay.
That’s the essence of how to find an apartment in Seattle.
One of the best ways to get into Seattle quickly is to hire help rather than going it alone. Get a broker to serve as your apartment-finder and they’ll do much of the legwork of connecting you with the right neighborhood, a living situation with an affordable rent price, and a respectful landlord. It’s far more convenient and simple. Contact a local expert with Jumpshell and find a better apartment in Seattle, Washington.
Still planning your move to Seattle? Check out our other great resources.
Moving to Seattle Guide
One-sentence summary: This article is the opposite of those useless listicles that tell you 18 random factoids about Seattle— this article will give you in-depth, step-by-step guidance on how to actually plan and make the move to Seattle.