For those of you relocating to Seattle, you got a taste of the Seattle neighborhoods in our last post, but what about finding the right house or apartment? Moving to a new city can be daunting, so we’ve collected a bunch of resources to help you in this time of transition, especially regarding your house-hunting search. Keep in mind, the Facebook Group is a great place to connect with others who might be looking for roommates, or to seek the insight of your incoming classmates who live locally.

Tips and Tricks for the search:

  1. Timing – Most rentals get picked up fast, especially in the summer, so landlords often post their vacancies three weeks to a month out. As such, it’s not unreasonable to start looking a month prior to your timeline. Also because properties go fast, you need to have your ducks in a row before you see a place. Go ahead and decide who your references will be and start estimating your monthly income. That way you’ll be able to fill out the paperwork quickly.
  2. Avoiding the dreaded inept landlord – Trust your gut on this one, folks. If you don’t receive prompt communication, take note. If they answer your questions with vague or confusing language, pay attention to that too. Seattle is a huge rental market, and if landlords know they have a great place on their hands, they may think they can get away with less than stellar follow-through. It’s also a great idea to familiarize yourself with your rights as a tenant, which actually go farther in Seattle than in many cities. The Tenants Union of Washington State’s Seattle Renters page is an incredible resource on this.
  3. Utilities – Rental properties in Seattle sometimes include water, sewer and garbage (WSG) in their prices. Always ask what’s covered under that monthly check you’ll be writing. In some cases, you may only have to pay separately for electric and internet. (And with all the coffee shops that have wi-fi around town, many people opt out of having internet service at home.) If water isn’t included in the rent (this is rare!), know that water service in Seattle tends to be pricey, so you’ll want to budget accordingly.
  4. Keeping your place warm in the winter while keeping cash in your wallet– Many houses in Seattle are older, and therefore drafty with poor insulation. You have a few options for how to deal with this. Keeping doors closed to rooms that aren’t occupied helps a lot. Avoid places that use oil heat if possible – it can be expensive and high maintenance. Also, there is a plastic film you can buy that is used to seal off your windows during the winter. It goes on the inside, so it’s a bit unsightly, but it may save you a bundle on your heating bills. Ask the lovely people at Home Depot for help – they’ll get you sorted out. Supplementing central heat with small space heaters in your individual rooms (which can be turned off and on as needed) can be a money saver too.

Settling In

Commuting

Other than rush hour, traffic in Seattle doesn’t get too congested, compared to other large cities, and there are lots of great shortcuts. A few things you will experience pretty quickly though:

To everyone relocating to Seattle to be a part of the 2018 Cohort, welcome! May it become a home away from home.