Renting in Seattle: A Guide to Success

Finding proper housing that fits your personal style and preferences is a significant and often daunting decision. Your home will be the focal point in your picture of life in future months and years. On a more practical level, most people spend at least, or over, 30% of their household income on housing costs alone.

We have all chuckled over the story of the three little pigs. The first two pigs built their houses and suffered the consequences of the big bad wolf due to slipshod and careless work. Their poor decision making left them in a tumultuous predicament. Only the third little pig, who had done his research and built a structurally sound house, was left to tell the tale.

A lack of research and hasty decision making will leave you wishing you had thought more about your choices at the beginning of the process of choosing your home. The right information will help point you in the right direction, onward toward the most educated and confident housing decision you can make.

There are several tips to take into consideration as you begin your search for a house or an apartment. Whether you’re a first-time renter or an old hand at the game, keep these pointers in mind when renting in Seattle.

Consider the Area:

RentalHouse01Consider the various aspects of the area where your prospective home is located. There is a myriad of small changes that will affect your daily lifestyle. Is it next to a noisy highway? Are there train tracks nearby? What is the character of the neighborhood? Is there a good elementary, middle, or high school in this area? Where are the grocery stores? How close is it to a bus route? Is traffic going to be an issue? Will you need to be traveling during rush hour? Are there alternate routes available to work or school? Do you like the idea of renting in Seattle, or would you prefer a suburban location? This analysis will most likely leave you with a list of pros and cons, which you’ll use later to weigh your options.

Consider the Cost:

Certain areas present a higher cost of living. You will find higher housing rates in Bellevue than in Lynnwood. In general, when you move closer to Seattle, the cost of living rises. Keep in mind, cost of living affects more than just housing expenses. You should plan to pay more in every area of your budget. It is best to find a good balance between commute time and cost of living. A lower housing rate might be a good trade for longer drive or bus ride to work. Even though you may work in Seattle, renting a home in Bothell or Kirkland may be your best bet. Keep cost of living in your list of pros and cons you’ll use to weigh your options.

Consider the Neighborhood:

For yourself, and especially for your family, security is a high priority. Even if the renting rate is the best deal on the market, living in a sketchy neighborhood isn’t worth the risk. When you visit a prospective home, be sure to drive the surrounding streets and do a perimeter check. Check the crime rate. Get a feel for the neighborhood. If you do choose a house in a rougher area, check out the various security system options. It’s better to say you did than wish you had.

Weigh Your Options:

apartment01Once your evaluation is complete, you can make an educated decision. Using your list of pros and cons, make another list of pertinent aspects of your future housing situation: commute time, cost of living, housing quality, proximity to schools, secure neighborhood, close to family, available activities, etc. Prioritize this list in descending order with the most important aspects at the top. Then, rate each housing option you’re considering on a scale of one to ten in each of those areas. The housing option with the highest numbers nearest the top of your list will probably be the best choice for you.

Before you sign any papers or place a deposit, be sure you persevere through this process. These steps will help you narrow down your options and provide the basis for an informed decision. Follow the example of the third little pig, and make the best decision when choosing the place you’ll call “home.”

North Pacific Property Management provides an array of property management services for their clients. As a service to renters, they are committed to matching their clients with attractive and comfortable housing. Whether you’re looking for a house, an apartment, a condo, or a townhome, they have the information you need. If you’re considering renting in Seattle or in the surrounding area, they will smooth the way and help you discover the most fitting housing options on the market.