How difficult is it to find a good rental in Seattle?

I have a few “Google alerts” set up to be notified when certain terms are published on the web, such as Rhonda Porter, Mortgage Porter and West Seattle.   Tonight, the West Seattle Google alert pointed me to someone who is looking to rent a 2 bedroom home with “a soul” for up to $2800.  

We are moving to Seattle very soon. Need online resources to find a nice rental home for the two of us. We are looking in the Ballard, Queen Anne, and West Seattle areas. I’d prefer non-mega corporate rentals, ie. one or two unit townhomes, a house, or a smallish apartment building. I’m familiar with craigslist, which I’ve been using a lot. Also familiar with NWapartments. The larger sites like list rentals that are just too cookie cutter and commercial for us. Please give resources to help us find a nice, unique, home with a soul. BTW, we are looking at the $1800-$2800/month rent range for a 2bedroom.

Are rents that high?  Do rental homes really lack soul?  I rented my two bedroom in West Hill Auburn on Northlake a short time for $1800 per month a couple years ago that had “the soul” of worn out shoes.   I loved that funky house.   However, it was not a “good rental” for many reasons (1/3 acre garden, septic tank, etc), I clung onto it for personal reasons and have since sold it. 

I’m just full of questions after reading this!  🙂  Guess you could call it soul searching.

This entry was posted in General, Rental, Seattle and tagged , , by Rhonda Porter. Bookmark the permalink.

About Rhonda Porter

Rhonda Porter is an NMLS Licensed Mortgage Originator MLO121324 for homes located in Washington state. Her blog, The Mortgage Porter, is nationally recognized for sharing relevant information to consumers about mortgages. She has been originating mortgages since 2000 at Mortgage Master Service Corporation #40445 Consumer NMLS Website: NMLS ID 40445. Equal Housing Opportunity. You can follow Rhonda on @mortgageporter, Facebook and/or Google+

38 thoughts on “How difficult is it to find a good rental in Seattle?

  1. I think that range is right for a house. In my recent experience in searching for a rental in the central and north Seattle areas, most of the sub-$2000 houses advertised (ie craigslist) are very small, in an awful location (at a busy intersection, near gas stations), or are run-down pits (the most common).

  2. 3 BR, 2 Full bath in NC = $1,100.
    5 BR, 3 Full bath in NC = $1,500.

    And they are both located in our capital city of Raleigh.

    Go east and you’ll see the same houses going from anywhere between $400.00 – $600.00 a month.

    One of my ex’s had a regular house just outside of Raleigh where he folks lived and a 3 BR townhouse in Greenville where she was staying. Her total mortgage per month was just over $900.00

    You guys are rich folks up there in Seattle. We’re poor country folks over here in North Cackalacky.

  3. I think it totaly depends on the area and the society where the room is located and also now a days it is very much difficult to get the rooms at the cheaper rate. I agreed with MM that the rental in the central and north Seattle areas are high so it is.

  4. There are lots of reasons to rent and not buy.

    1) Not planning to stay in the same area for longer than 2 years
    2) Just took a new job and want to make sure you like the job and they like you.
    3) Too young to be tied down to one place.
    4) Don’t like the stress of worrying about 30 years of mortgage payments.
    5) Scared to death about job security

    My sister has rented the same house in Licton Springs for about 8 years now. Sometimes she wishes she bought it once she decided to stay in Seattle. But most times she doesn’t really think about house prices. A couple of years ago she freaked out when the owner was thinking of selling. But it worked out and her rent is about $1,700 a month for a big split entry home, and she runs her business from home. So given it is both home and office rent, not bad. She’s single. Has no children. She travels a lot for business and likes that most big problems are the owner’s and not hers. Helps her keep her mind on business.

    Agents should help people buy who come to them wanting to buy. They shouldn’t try to convince people to buy who are happy renting. We help people do what THEY want to do. We don’t twist people’s arms to buy vs. rent.

  5. Rhonda,

    An older home here in Kirkland East or West of Market or South of town would likely fit that description well. Good Luck finding one though. You pretty much have to drive around looking for “for rent” signs.

    There really is no good source for rentals of the type they are looking for. Someone puts a for rent side outside, and someone snatches it up. The owners don’t want 100 phone calls and appointments. By putting the sign outside they generally can rent it to a local pretty quickly.

  6. We’ve rented in Kirkland 98033 for eight years. Three different SFHs within 1 miles. We moved due to growing family. The weird thing is that our rent has gone down for bigger and better homes…We started at $2100 for ~2000sqft brand new home in 1999 and is now at $1750 for a 2500 sqft, though a couple of years old but better located (quiter street with better view ) also with a bigger yard. We found all the homes through re-agents from the same big real estate agency in the area. They were already on the market or on the way to the market at the time we contacted the agency. The first home was rented from a developer, the two last by private individuals. I guess the amrket is ever changing though and agents like Ardell & co will for sure know better than me what the current market is like. I’m considering buying about a year from now so I’m currently not looking at the rental market but we renewed the lease recently and our landlord did not raise the rent one cent.

  7. Does or home has soul? No. Did any of them have? No. To me the Eastside is pretty much soul less accept for a very few homes from the early 1900s. They seem to be either really small or hugely expensive. Seattle proper though has plenty in my opinion.

  8. I’m renting a 2/2 1200 sqft condo near Microsoft for $1150. They should be able to find a very nice place to live in that price range.

  9. tj,

    My house has LOTS of “soul” and soul music as well 🙂 Sounds like we’re neighbors. You should stop by some time. I bet the price differential has something to do with where in Kirkland. Huge price differences from Moss Bay to West of Market to the Highlands, vs. Houghton, etc…then there’s Juanita and Kingsgate on the opposite extreme.

    Many owners just like to have a good tenant and hold the properties more for appreciation in the land values than to make a big/bigger “profit” on the rent.

  10. Ardell said, “Many owners just like to have a good tenant and hold the properties more for appreciation in the land values than to make a big/bigger “profit

  11. Our company, Real Property Associates, Inc., has a division that specializes in single family and small multi properties. From time to time, some “soul” to be found there. Most in greater Seattle. Current inventory, always changing, at:

    Also good options from other small prop mgrs:

    Small, “non-mega corporate” rentals are a fragmented biz, lots of “by owners” (mostly by owners), but you can still find some good options if you dig a little.

  12. I have some “soul” for sale. Add it to any normal rental and you’re immediately more at home.

    I’m also buying soul, if anyone has one to sell. For 100 real estate professional souls I can make sure Seattle is never negative YOY again!

  13. Very interesting thread … my best friend back in Chicago suburbs is in her mid-20s and still lives at home. She mostly has been because she does not believe in renting, to her it’s throwing her money away. But as you all mentioned there are pluses and minuses to both buying and renting.

    And while I’m renting, I have a roommate who owns her place so I live in a townhome that has a “soul” and I pay nowhere near $1,000 a month. If I had a mortgage to deal with I’d be in dire straits. With the recession etc., I’m not sure how many years it will take me to buy a place, even though I am saving a bit of money living with a roommate. It’s so sad how expensive it has become to like now-a-days.

    Another one of my friends back home, who resides in the South Chicago suburbs, recently got married and they are barely making ends meet with a $1,600 month mortgage for a townhome in a severely undeveloped area. Crazy scary to me!

  14. Home ownership is the #1 factor that separates the lower from the mid to upper mid class.
    The easiest, most reliable, most tested manner of accumulating wealth begins with land acquistion.
    Get with the program people!

  15. I have been a happy renter here for 18 months now. Alot of the people I know would like to sell their homes but can’t. I was a home owner for 20 years and my husband and I are really enjoying the freedom of renting, it’s actually less expensive than buying. We are moving in Sept and will be saving about 20% in rent because there are many rental homes eastside on the market now.

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