Home-Finding Tips in a Tight Rental Market

Many factors impact the availability of rental properties on the local market. Seattle, along with a number of other US markets, is currently experiencing very low inventory for home-buyers. This factor then trickles down to the availability of rental units these buyers are planning on vacating. Seattle has also seen months of higher movement into the area than out. When looking for a home or apartment in a tight rental market, being prepared and moving quickly is imperative. Below is a list of home-finding tips for finding the right home and neighborhood in the current tight rental market.

Viewing Rental Homes
  • Don’t wait; make appointments to see homes as soon as they hit the market
  • Work with your local real estate agent to take a video of the property or conduct a live walk through (using FaceTime, Skype, etc.) if you are not currently in the area
  • Many landlords will not take an application from a renter who has not viewed the property
  • Check out homes on your own in addition to working with your local agent if timing dictates
Set New Parameters
  • Add more neighborhoods to your search
  • Increase your budget (if possible)
  • Consider different property types (condos, high-rise apartments, mid-rise apartments, town homes, single-family homes)
Upping Your Game
  • Offer a higher monthly rental amount than what’s listed
  • Sign a longer lease (15-month, 18-month, etc.)
Applying
  • Make a decision quickly; apartments in Seattle move fast
  • Applying for a unit only costs the up-front application fee and is not a binding lease
  • Consider filling out an application on more than one property to increase your chances in securing a rental
  • Be prepared to provide employer information, offer letter, pay stubs, contact information for previous landlords, and personal references
Pets
  • Write a letter or resume for your pet(s) that includes important information and a photo(s)
  • Obtain a pet reference from your previous landlord, vet, or caretaker vouching for your amazing furry friend(s)

In addition to the tips above, here are some important distinctions to consider when selecting the right property type for your lifestyle:

Apartment Communities
  • Lower move in costs (fees/deposits)
  • First month’s rent + deposit
  • Pet-friendly
  • Low maintenance lifestyle
  • Great locations (cities and neighborhoods)
  • Many new/like new communities
  • Shared amenities
  • Application holds the unit
Private Properties (condos, single-family homes)
  • Higher move in costs
  • First month’s rent + deposit is equal to one month’s rent + last month’s rent, in many cases
  • Pets allowed at the discretion of the owner
  • May require additional upkeep
  • Various locations, can be more suburban
  • Multiple applications possible on the same property

 

Need additional help securing an apartment? Station Cities has experienced real estate agents who can help find your perfect home in tight rental markets, including Seattle. Reach out to us today to see how we can help!