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A Few Thoughts on Rentals & the Seattle Market

I’m in a real world real estate scenario right now.

I need to find a place to move by September 1st.

Cmicro unitontext: A year ago, after several years of not having a permanent place of my own, I finally resettled full time in Seattle, and rented a condo in Queen Anne from a friend. That friend is now selling the condo rather than continuing to rent it out, so I’m seeking a new rental in the exact same area (Lower Queen Anne). I thought about buying, but given I’m self funding a startup and in the red already, thought better of adding another financial stress to my life at the moment.

I’ve been looking at rentals (& a couple for sale listings). Some with my current roommate, and some on my own. A few observations…

  • I’ve been using primarily Hotpads, with Craigslist mixed in. Zillow occasionally. Knock (rentals) has come across my radar several times. I’ve also been using good old fashioned word of mouth (note Horizon recently added sublet support, but I’m looking for a longer lease).
  • Micro units are a real trend. I looked at this for sale listing that’s 450 square feet. I also looked at micro studios at Vistana (see here). The micro studios have shared kitchen, which isn’t ideal — though I do think there is a clear market for these units, and would be an ideal corporate temporary housing option. Those who know me know I’m a minimalist, which makes these more appealing to me than someone with mounds of “stuff” they’ve accumulated.
  • I’ve looked at both condos for rent, and regular apartment buildings. Condos for rent are generally slightly better deals — but harder to find.
  • Units are flying off the market. Generally, there is a showing day, multiple people apply that same day, and someone is selected from that pool based on credit and personal preference by the landlord/property manager. If you wait a day or two to apply (for a good unit, priced well), you’ll likely be out of luck.
  • Scheduling showings is a clunky, manual mess.
  • Social context is critical to my search. I want to stay close to where my friends live, and I don’t have a car, so need to remain in a walkable area.
  • A month out is about the time to start hunting for a place.

What rental sites am I missing out on? Is there a fantastic aggregator that puts all your listings and conversations into one place. Someone needs to build an “inbox” that contains all the rentals I’ve looked at, the conversations and the status. Of course, building that is easy. The hard part is getting all parties to cooperate and use it so that it can serve as the central repository of information.

In Seattle, and happen to know of any good 2 bedroom places coming on the market late August or September 1 in Queen Anne? Let me know.

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Product & Marketing for 360modern. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • The rental market in Seattle is really disjointed. You’re obviously seeing that.

    Have you tried Zumper or Seattlerentals.com? The problem is that there’s little compensation for representation on the tenant side. Until someone puts that together and gets landlords to buy in, there’s no reason to build the technology.

    • Agreed. Lack of incentives make it tough.

  • Roy is the money Seattle rental broker http://www.rent-guru.com/

  • Not something most sellers would have any interest doing. Nor, something that I would recommend to my clients.

  • Jackson

    I would say Padmapper.com, but they were acquired by Zumper a few months ago. As such, I believe Zillow and crew pulled their listings. Craigslist should still be getting pulled from, though.

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