When moving to Seattle with the intent to buy a home, don’t overlook the option to do a temporary rental. The main benefit of a short-term lease is that it buys you time so that you can check out the neighborhoods, and ensure that you don’t make a hasty home purchase decision. The main disadvantage is that short-term leases is that you pay for the privilege of being able to break out of a lease quickly.
In the past, I’ve worked with Dale Hicklin of Short-term Suites and he does a decent job of providing for people looking to move to Seattle. His places won’t shock you in their upkeep (expect thrift and pawn-shop “finds” for your appliances), but on the plus side, he tends to fix things fast and he’s always only a phone call away. Another great option is to browse the sublet and temporary rentals on craigslist. The Stranger (an excellent local weekly magazine) lists a bunch of rentals, but I doubt that there are going to be a lot (if any) short-term rentals in a given week. Finally, you can always try the local newspaper listings, but I would use those as a last resort.
How can you learn about the neighborhoods in Seattle?
One way is to find an agent who knows all the areas in Seattle and won’t pigeonhole you into the neighborhood they know best. Also, I highly recommend wondering over to the “housing” forum on craigslist. (Have you noticed that I like craigslist? I find the community at craigslist extremely helpful!). As always, feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to give you a local’s perspective on Seattle!